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12 things every traveler should know before visiting Miami

By Kevin Brouillard, Oyster.com on

Published in Fashion Daily News

While Miami bustles throughout the year, the high season for tourism runs from December through mid-April, with notable peaks around the Art Basel festival in early December, between Christmas and New Year's Day, and during spring break. While prices do rise with demand, you can reduce the added expense by booking flights and hotels several months in advance if you want your visit to coincide with the city's best weather.

10. The gay scene is out and proud in Miami.

When it comes to gay life in Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale (up the coast) take the cake. Miami serves as a major party destination for LGBTQ travelers and has a handful of legendary gay clubs. Twist and Palace are the most famous of these venues, and each draw world-famous DJs and host excellent drag shows. You'll find plenty of smaller venues throughout town as well, some of which cater to a mixed gay-straight crowd. Hotels in Miami are almost all universally welcoming of LGBTQ travelers, and you'll see couples of all stripes holding hands in public. The city hosts several major gay events throughout the year as well, including the White Party and Miami Pride events.

11. Miami is expensive (but there are ways to save).

There's no way around it: Miami is one of the priciest cities to visit in the United States. Given its legendary status as a mecca for parties, beaches, luxury services, amazing restaurants, art and nightlife, the city has enough pull to make it a hotspot year round. While we've already told you that the winter months and early spring are high season - and thus mean paying a premium on everything from flights to hotels - there are ways to save. You'll find slightly cheaper hotel rates if you're willing to stay on the back side of Miami Beach, toward Biscayne Bay. From there, it's only a 15-minute walk to the beach, and you'll enjoy a quieter vibe. You'll also find meals for slightly less if you dine away from hotspots like Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. Food and drink on the mainland are generally less expensive as well, and you'll likely get more for your money when it comes to hotels, too. However, you'll be paying to commute to the beach and nightlife of South Beach. If you're willing to visit when the weather is humid and hot, May can be a decent time of year as well, with rates that are lower than the winter and early spring months.

 

12. It can be fun to brush up on your Spanish in Miami.

Miami's mix of Latin American and Caribbean cultures means that Spanish is the first or second language for the majority of its residents. In fact, only about a quarter of Miami-Dade County speak only English. That being said, you aren't expected to be a Spanish master here. However, it can be fun to practice your Spanish while you're in town. If you're addressed in Spanish, certainly make a go at having a basic conversation. For Spanish newbies, using simple greetings like "como estas" (how are you) when appropriate will earn you some credibility. Even more skilled Spanish speakers may still find the more prevalent Cuban accent hard to decipher, so be patient and don't hesitate to employ Spanglish in this multicultural city when necessary. It's also worth building up your knowledge of food-related lingo to help navigate menus at hole-in-the-wall establishments and restaurants alike. That's particularly true at the old-school Cuban diners found throughout the city. To put your language skills to the test, try ordering a cafecito (Cuban espresso) in the Little Havana neighborhood.

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At Oyster.com our special investigators visit, photograph, review and rate each hotel. We uncover the truth, before it's "uh-oh" time.

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