Few American cities are enjoying greater and more continuous growth than Miami and Miami Beach, Florida. In a recent column, I expressed my own surprise at the enormous expansion of cultural activities, the new museums and art galleries, the constant opening of new and superb ethnic restaurants, the building of more and more hotels and condos, that I witnessed on a recent stay.
And that growth continues. According to city officials, income from tourism is up 7 percent this year, and the average visitor stay has become six nights. A former decrepit warehouse area north of downtown Miami has become the Design District, filled with stunning retailers of every kind; while another formerly ugly warehouse area has become the Wynwood Art District, with multiple galleries alongside restaurants and cafes.
Again in downtown Miami itself, on Biscayne Boulevard, the new Perez Miami Art Museum (it opened in 2014) is a major addition to the city’s resources, and it soon will be joined by the new Patricia Frost Museum of Science, in the very same Museum Park. Hundreds of thousands are now visiting it each year.
And not all of the new developments are upscale or expensive. You can find reasonably priced meals in South Beach restaurants, like Puerto Sagua on Collins Avenue, Chalan on the Beach on Washington Avenue, Pizza Rustica on Lincoln Road and at quite a few places on Alton Road (try David’s Cafe or Jimmy Z). For accommodations, you can find $99 double rooms at the Clay Hotel at Washington Avenue and Espanola Way, at the Freehand Miami (doubles starting at $149 in January), and the even more amazing $119 per double at the newly opened Lux Hotel, which is located a few blocks north of South Beach.
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Coming in 2016: 2,300 new hotel rooms, and still later, the largest mall in North America (with an indoor ski slope), which will be called “American Dream” and will be financed by the people who own Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Bringing additional crowds to enjoy these attractions and facilities are brand-new air services by Turkish Airlines, flying nonstop to Miami from Istanbul; Qatar Airlines, flying nonstop here from Doha (the first such service from the Middle East); and Austrian Airlines, flying nonstop to Miami from Vienna.
Miami and Miami Beach obviously are thriving, and I will repay them a visit in the months ahead.
Note to the reader: Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip. The information in this column was accurate when it was released, but prices are competitive, sometimes limited and can always change without notice.
Arthur Frommer is the founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book series. Find more destinations and read his blog at frommers.com.