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When you hear "Miami" in conjunction with "music festival," you probably think of Ultra or Winter Music Conference, the EDM-fests that take place each year in March. But there's much more music on tap in the Magic City, too. In fact, the Miami Summer Music Festival is happening right now, and it runs through August 2.
Admittedly, this event is for a different crowd than the fist pumpers that flock to Ultra ó†but that's part of what we love about it. They say that summer is for locals in Miami, and this month-long affair certainly seems to cater to residents with, shall we say, a more refined musical bent. We've also heard that the concert series has drawn a number of tourists to town, which is great news in what is typically a slow off-season.
If you haven't heard of the Miami Summer Music Festival, you can be forgiven since it only started last year. This year's festival actually began on July 5th, but you still have time to catch some top-notch chamber music and opera performances.
Why visit Miami in July when it's hot and humid with a 95% chance of thunderstorms every day? Models.
OK, so gawking at beautiful people may not be reason enough to jet to Florida ó but hey, if you're already in the area, there is nothing wrong with knowing where said beautiful people are going to be during a weekend filled with swimsuit fashion shows, pool parties and stylish soirees.
Sharp-eyed fashion spotters already know that this year's Miami Swim Week is not the IMG-sponsored event of years past (they're taking a break this year but should be back in 2016), but there are still a slew of swim shows taking place on Miami Beach today and through the weekend.
Funkshion Fashion Week Miami Beach Swim and SwimShow, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, are the biggest runway events, but naturally, there is much more activity taking place in the form of everything from pop-ups to trunk shows to model-studded yoga sessions.
You may consider yourself above guided tours, but there are many new-and-improved versions of tours these days that are worth considering. Case in point: the Wynwood Food & Art Tour by Miami Culinary Tours.
Right off the bat, you know a tour is going to better when food is involved. And, frankly, there could be no better way to introduce yourself to the creative vibe (and bright and splashy street art murals) of Miami's Wynwood than by strolling around the neighborhood noshing along the way.
We recently took part in a Wynwood Food & Art tour as part of a private group, but you can sign up for one of the regularly scheduled Saturday outings at 12 PM. You'll take in lunch and stop at five restaurants. Tours run for 2.5 hours and you'll walk about a mile, but hey ó†at least there are a lots of stop to refuel as you go.
The view from the rooftop hydro therapy spa terrace at COMO Shambala Urban Escape.
Weíre not sure if itís the blistering heat that renders people unable to count or rename this annual promotion, but the good news is that Miami Spa Month actually runs for two months: July and August.
There are many great spas in Miami, and all across town (ie: not just at the beaches), but here are five spa month specials that caught our eye for being, as the cityís tourism slogan goes, ďso Miami.Ē
All treatments are $99, unless otherwise noted (some spas are also offering upgraded treatments for $129.)
Lincoln Road on South Beach has seen a lot of changes lately, with glossy new retail stores pushing out local eateries. (RIP Van Dyke Cafe and Pasha's.) The tourists who come to shop up a storm are no doubt happy, but locals have long lamented the loss of Lincoln Road's character. Perhaps the revitalization plans, as reported by Racked Miami and The Next Miami, will lift their spirits.
The most striking feature in the master plan proposed by James Corner Field Operations (they of The High Line) is the stretch of green running from one side of the South Beach island to the other. With temperatures in the 90s and little shade, Lincoln Road is a sunburn death trap in the middle of the day and this plan should make it a much more pleasant place to stroll. And isn't that the point of Lincoln Road in the first place?
As Racked reports, the proposal calls for more easy access to the cool MiMo water features that already exist in the middle of the Lincoln Road strip, as well as more stylish seating, an outdoor art and sculpture gallery and an outdoor market.
With much cooler spaces like Wynwood and the Perez Art Museum Miami around town, it sounds like South Beach has put itself on notice. Fingers crossed this plan gets approved and goes ahead.
[Image: Master plan rendering via The Next Miami]
[Image: Master plan rendering via The Next Miami]
Speaking of Miami today
We spotted a
creepy lovely hologram helper speaking Spanish and English just after we went through security at the airport's South Terminal. Of course, we had to stop and take a picture. Technically, the official name for the hologram helper is called a "Virtual Reality Passenger Assistant". And she also has a "human" name, Leticia. She may not be the hardest working airport employee but she does "work" seven days a week, 24 hours a day. (Cue the movie about a man who falls in love with the hologram helper and decides to move into the airport to be closer to her.)
Unfortunately, Leticia can't help you get an upgrade or put you on a different flight as her main goal is to give passengers tips on where to shop within the terminal. #hologramfail. Well, at least she looks pretty?
Airport Lounges / Miami Travel / American Express / Centurion Lounges / Miami International Airport / → All Tags
MIA just got a lot more, well, ďso Miami.Ē
That is, the airport now has a new hard-to-access lounge where you can mingle with the moneyed set and enjoy cocktails and food from one of Miamiís best chefs. So, itís just like the clubs and hotels of South Beach!
The good news is, you donít have to be a club kid partying past 2 a.m. to hit up this lounge. Itís open from 5 a.m. so even if you have the first flight out, you can still enjoy some serenity and first-class amenities before you board.
The catch is that youíve gotta have a good Amex, baby. The Centurion Lounge from American Express is complimentary for global Platinum Card and Centurion members who are visiting on the same day as a flight. If you donít have the expense account, credit or stomach for the $450 annual fee that comes with the Platinum Card (or the $7,500 initiation fee and $2,500 annual membership fee for the Centurion Card), you can still access the lounge for $50 per day if you have a valid American Express credit or charge card. (Thatís subject to capacity, of course.)
Usually, there's nothing better than arriving at your destination and finding the airport taxi line completely wide-open. That means there's no waiting; just drop your bags in the car, give the driver the address of where you're headed and you're off.
The other day this editor arrived at Miami International Airport at 5:30am after a red-eye flight from Los Angeles. The taxi line was free and clear so I took the first taxi available. Before I got in, I made sure the taxi took credit cards. The taxi line agent assured me this taxi did and the driver himself assured me as well. (It's also a new law in Miami that taxis must be equipped to accept credit cards.)
But once we got moving, the driver asked me if I had cash. "Er, no," I said. "I need to pay by credit card." He sighed and then got on with the driving. During the quick drive (about 20 minutes), he seemed to struggle with keeping his eyes open. Which I could understand since he was probably at the end of a long overnight shift. But he also wasn't wearing a seatbelt and he was driving about 80 miles per hour on a highway. And I thought turbulence was bad.
Once we got over the bridge and into Miami Beach proper, he turned around and told me, "I'll take you to ATM now and you can get cash." There was no way I was going to have a cab driver take me to an ATM at 6am so I could get cash. I responded firmly with "No, I'd like to pay by credit card." When he dropped me off at my hotel, I gave him a cash tip. On the bright side, the fare was just $35, by far one of the cheapest airport taxis we've ever taken. But also, one of the scariest.
Public Transportation / Miami Travel / Florida Travel / Trains / Airports / Airport News / Train Travel / MIA / → All Tags
Good news for those looking to head into or head out of Miami, as another of the areaís commuter trains has finally linked itself up with the airport.
Earlier this month a new Tri-Rail station opened up at Miami International Airportís transit hub, and that means passengers are now just a short people mover ride away from the terminals and concourses.
Retro Travel / Florida Travel / Miami Travel / Throwback Thursday / Miami Beach Travel / Cruise Travel / → All Tags
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
How much was a 10-day Bahamas cruise over 60 years ago? Well, you have your answer in the ad above, placed in Playboy in 1960. It advertises a voyage on a Windjammer sailing ship, departing Miami, with stops at Bimini, the Berry Islands, Nassau, Havana, Abaco, Cay Sal, and Grand Bahama all for $175 per person.
Miami's Wynwood district has become the city's epicenter of art but, ironically, the neighborhood's middle school has no arts programs for its 600 students, due to budget cuts.
Last year, the Wynwood Arts District Association and WynwoodMap.com brought together a group of non-profits, corporate partners, local businesses, artists, and city officials with the common goal of not only bringing color to the Jose De Diego Middle School's stark white walls, but to create a long term fundraising campaign that will finance a new arts program at the school.
The RAW (Reimagining Arts Wynwood) Project was launched during Art Basel in December 2014 as an army of more than 30 world-renowned arts - including David Walker, Pixelpancho, Anthony Lister, RYCA, D*Face, Jaz, LezaOne, ABSTRK, Shark Toof, Santiago Rubino, and Derek Hunter - covered JDD's exterior walls with large-scale, one-of-a-kind murals.
And now you can make it a stop on your next trip to Miami. Jose De Diego Middle School, located at 3100 NW 5th Ave in Miami, welcomes the public to tour the grounds, view the murals, take photos and, most importantly, donate to their cause.
To make a donation, visit crowdrise.com.
TO DO / South Beach Travel / Miami Beach Travel / Miami Travel / Presidents Week Travel / → All Tags
Snow? Slush? Ice? Never heard of it. Unless it comes in the form of a slushy, boozy drink. Welcome to Miami, where it's a sunny 75 degrees in the middle of winter and the arrival of The Season means that the town is full of the bold, the beautiful and the highly entertaining.
Here are five ways to get into the swing of things here on South Beach: