I should really start on my research for our New Zealand trip this December, but my infatuation with beaches led me to google "Miami" instead.
The last time I visited the US was more than a decade ago. Then again, I only visited Hawaii, Las Vegas, L.A and San Francisco. Hawaii stole my heart. I was besotted with Waikiki beach even as a teen, and that experience ignited my love for beaches. Why, what's not to love about crystal clear waters and soft white sand?
My girlfriends and I were supposed to visit Miami last October, together with a host of other cities, but luck wasn't on our side and our plans didn't materialize. Fast forward 1 year on, and I'm still in a Miami state of mind (New York too, but we'll save that for another day).
Here's a list of things that I would do in Miami:
1. Relax on South Beach
South Beach is the place to be seen in Miami and it certainly lives up to the typical Miami stereotype. Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to catch some models or celebrities basking in the sun.
2. Take a stroll along Art Deco Ocean Drive
Home to the world's largest collection of Art Deco architecture, Ocean Drive is the perfect place to start the tour of the Art Deco district in Miami. Immerse in the beauty of over 800 flamboyant buildings, painstakingly preserved to reflect their past glory.
The Versace Mansion, which has since been converted into a hotel, is on my list of buildings to visit.
The entire strip comes alive at night as the buildings light up in bold shades of neon against the backdrop of palm trees swaying gently in the sea breeze.
For a better idea of what Ocean Drive looks like by day, check out this Ocean Drive flash mob video from the "Step Up 4 - Miami Heat" movie trailer!
3. Explore Little Havana
Did you know that 80% of the Miami population is Cuban? Many Cubans sought asylum in Miami in the 1960s after communist leader Fidel Castro came into power.
Well then, what better way to get to know more about Cuban culture than to visit Little Havana, a quaint neighbourhood reminiscent of Cuba? Apparently, the buildings and restaurants that line the street are very similar to what you would see in Cuba.
4. Visit the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Vizcaya Museum is a piece of Italy, or more specifically, Venice. Certainly, a few gondolas in the river would complete the imagery, wouldn't it?
This opulent Renaissance-style mansion was built in the 20th century and is a treasure trove full of antiques and paintings dating from the 16th-19th centuries.
An avid fan of European interior design, I wouldn't miss this for the world.
5. Attend the Art Basel Exhibition
Art Basel is the world's leading art show for modern and contemporary art, and the Art Basel Exhibition in Miami Beach is the most prestigious exhibition in America. Art collectors, curators, dealers and enthusiasts alike congregate on Miami Beach every year for this spectacular showcase of artworks.
There's so much to do on Miami beach, but these are my top 5 picks for now. A trip to the US will not happen any time soon, although I wish I could scoot off to Miami right away!
For those of you staying in the UK, lucky you because flights to Miami are way more affordable!
Credits: Timeout, Wikipedia