The Sunshine State’s got a great mix of attractions that appeal to all sorts – from cultural to kid-friendly and just plain weird, with everything in between
Words: HASHIM BADANI
1 TRAWL FOR ART
The Wynwood Art District is the geographical equivalent of an LSD trip. It’s an urban Alice in Wonderland set, an industrial warehouse-filled landscape covered with wild and imaginative graffiti. Since 1999, the streets have been lined with artwork by some of the best contemporary graffiti artists in the world thanks to an initiative by famous property developer Tony Goldman, who owns large parts of the area and doesn’t mind the paint. It still remains a warehouse district, but now also shares the honour of being Miami’s art district, boasting a large number of galleries that come alive during Art Basel, the world’s largest art festival. The district will also leave you spoilt for choice with its fun eating options!
2 GET SOME SUN
Miami’s beaches (all of them more than meeting the minimum requirement of gorgeous white sand and blue waters) mean different things to different people. The most popular one is South Beach. Visit during the peak of Spring Break, and the beach is packed with students doing typical Spring-Breaky things, and the sidewalk is filled with fitness enthusiasts running, roller blading or cycling – after all, they’ve got to keep those bikini bods in shape. The city’s architectural theme continues onto South Beach too, with its colourful Art Deco lifeguard stations, marvels in their own right. Once the sun sets, there’s no reason to pack up and leave, as South Beach is one of the best spots from which to view Ocean Drive’s glitzy neon.
3 INDULGE IN SOME PORN
If ‘ruin porn’ is your thing, row your way to the Biscayne Channel in Biscayne National Park and visit Stiltsville. Seven empty shacks on stilts still stand in these shallow azure waters, and they come with urban legends in tow. Rumour has it that Stiltsville came into being in the 1930s, when one ‘Crawfish’ Eddie Walker built a shack on stilts to facilitate gambling. The tricky little bugger knew the law stated that gambling was only legal if it was one mile offshore. So he found a loophole – and some stilts – and the rest, as they say… His stilt house was also where he sweet-talked people into buying his special chilau, a crawfish chowder made from the fish he caught under his shack. Soon, the colony grew, and, at its peak, there were 27 structures playing host to Miami’s vice lifestyle of the time. These included the Quarterdeck Club, a popular by-invitation-only gambling club. Today, the houses are managed by the Stiltsville Trust. You can rent one of them for yourself and enjoy the ocean, take a dip or watch the city lights and setting sun.