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What to do in Miami-Miami Beach Cruise along oceanfront Collins Avenue, past rows of hotels and condos, to Ocean Drive in South Beach, where people-watching is an art form. Marvel at the architectural things to see in the Art Deco District as you dine, drink or shop in this oh-so-trendy area. South Beach doesn't really come to life, though, until the sun goes down. Then there are the fun things for couples to do: Neon-lit lounges, hip cafes and dance clubs pulsate into the wee hours with jazz, salsa and pop rhythms. You might even spot a celebrity or two among the cosmopolitan, international crowd.

Cheer on the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Golden Panthers or Hurricanes, depending on what time of year you're visiting the destination—if you can get a cheap ticket.

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Imagine what life was like during the Gilded Age at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (3251 S. Miami Ave.), the lavish 34-room winter estate of industrialist James Deering. The estate enjoys a beautiful setting on Biscayne Bay that includes a 10-acre Italian Renaissance formal garden with paths, fountains and statues; a hammock of native hardwood trees; and an ornate stone “barge” just in the estate's boat harbor.

¡Bienvenidos a Calle Ocho! Welcome to Eighth Street, the main thoroughfare of Little Havana. Immerse yourself in Cuban culture, transplanted to South Florida, as you sip a café con leche or shop for hand-rolled cigars and the perfect souvenir guayabera. Join the celebration every month on the last Friday during Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays). This family-friendly street party features visual and performing arts, food, dancing and music.

Feel the sand trickle through your toes, wade into the gentle surf (being careful not to get a mouthful of saltwater) and test your architectural skills with a plastic pail and shovel. Two favorite beaches are nearby in Key Biscayne: Crandon Park (6747 Crandon Blvd.) and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach (1200 S. Crandon Blvd.).

Squaaawk! You can pose with a parrot, feed a flamingo or mingle with a macaw at Jungle Island (1111 Parrot Jungle Tr.). Other residents you'll want to meet include cute twin orangutans and a lion-tiger hybrid named Vulcan.

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Steer your car south toward Florida City to the main entrance of Everglades National Park , where trails, boardwalks and tram tours provide access to hardwood hammocks, swamps, mangrove forests and sawgrass prairies. Also south is Biscayne National Park , 95 percent of which is underwater and suitable for adventurous things to do, such as scuba diving, snorkeling or kayaking. Guided boat tours are offered most Thurs.-Sun., year-round.

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You won't be able to tiptoe through the tulips, though you can travel through a rainforest and among the palms, bougainvillea, hibiscus, vines and fruit trees that grow in organized profusion at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd.).

Glide your way through the Zoo Miami (12400 S.W. 152nd St.) on a monorail, taking time to admire the habitats where animals native to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America live. More than 3,000 animals including endangered animals are visible from the zoo’s 3 miles of walkways. Close-up and some face-to-face encounters are available at the free-flight aviary and more than 100 cageless exhibits throughout the zoo.

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In a city famous for its diverse cultures and lifestyles, The Holocaust Memorial (1933-1945 Meridian Ave.) is a fitting reminder of our world's need for tolerance. The Miami Beach memorial features a circular reflecting pool bordered by bougainvillea-draped arbor surrounding a towering bronze sculpture of an outstretched arm.

Watch sea lions frolic beneath the Golden Dome at Miami Seaquarium (4400 Rickenbacker Cswy.), a Miami institution on Virginia Key that's been enchanting visitors since 1955.

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Miami, FL

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

JW Marriott Marquis Miami

255 Biscayne Blvd Way. Miami, FL 33131

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Members save 5% or more and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Embassy Suites by Hilton Miami International Airport

3974 NW South River Dr. Miami Springs, FL 33142

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Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

W South Beach

2201 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139

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Best Western On The Bay

1819 79th St Cswy. North Bay Village, FL 33141

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Travel Information

Miami Population

399,457

Miami Elevation

20 ft.

Miami Beach Population

87,779

Miami Beach Elevation

4 ft.

Sales Tax

Miami-Dade County sales tax is 7 percent. An additional hotel room tax is 6 percent in Miami-Dade County, with the exception of Surfside and Bal Harbour, where the resort tax is 4 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(305) 476-5423 (Miami-Dade County) or (305) 579-6111 (Miami)

Fire (non-emergency)

(786) 331-5000 (Miami-Dade County) or (305) 416-5400 (Miami)

Time and Temperature

(305) 324-8811

Hospitals

Baptist Hospital of Miami, (786) 596-1960; Jackson South Community Hospital, (305) 251-2500; North Shore Medical Center, (305) 835-6000; University of Miami Hospital, (305) 689-5511; Westchester General Hospital, (305) 264-5252.

Visitor Information

701 Brickell Ave. Suite 2700 Miami, FL 33131. Phone:(305)539-3000 or (800)933-8448

Air Travel

Miami International Airport

Rental Cars

Miami and Miami Beach are served by many major car rental agencies. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, or (305) 871-0300 at Miami International Airport, and (305) 534-4661 inside the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

The Amtrak Station is at 8303 N.W. 37th Ave. For arrival information phone (305) 835-1221; for reservations and other information phone (800) 872-7245.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc. stations are at 3801 N.W. 21st St., (305) 871-1810, in Miami; at 16000 N.W. Seventh Ave., (305) 688-7277, in North Miami.

Taxis

Cabs are plentiful and operate on the meter system. Fares are $2.95 base fee plus $2.40 per mile and 40c for each minute of waiting. A $1 fuel surcharge and an airport surcharge may apply. The largest companies are Yellow Cab Co., (305) 444-4444, and Metro Taxi, (305) 888-8888.

Public Transportation

Transportation by elevated light rail, people mover and bus is available in Miami.

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