Miami, also known as the Magic City, is situated on the Atlantic and serves as the Gateway to the Americas. It is the fourth largest urban area of the United States with a population of about 5.5 million. Our climate has a tropical monsoon climate, consisting of hot and humid summers with dry comfortable winters. Miami is considered to be a multi-cultural mosaic, rather than a melting pot, where cultures maintain their own cultural traits and traditions within their communities. Hispanics and Black Caribbeans heavily influence the culture in many ways. The prominent language spoken by the majority is Spanish followed by English.
Greater Miami and its surrounding islands is a paradise of interconnected waterfront cities, hip urban areas, charming quaint neighbourhoods, and beautiful tropical parks. The city’s magic is seen throughout the combination of beaches, architecture, weather, culture and entertainment. These all also influence the flavour experienced in the cuisine. A visit to the area would not be complete without a real Cuban meal; where the empanadas, croquettas and café con leche, will have your taste buds craving more Cuban flair!
CUSTOMS AND SAFETY
Because of its international flavours and highly diverse population, Miami doesn’t resemble the typical American city. When dining, it is customary that most restaurants add a gratuity of 15-20%, which is automatically included in the bill. Tipping in Europe is usually pretty modest like 5-10%, but in Miami, most places make sure its clear that one is expected of at least 15%. So be sure to double check before adding any extra tip. Also due to the warm weather and Latin influences, clothing tends to be much more on the revealing side, both on the streets and waterside. There are several beach locations where topless and/or full nudity are allowed, so if you are sensitive to these sights be sure to check prior to your journey. Don’t be surprised if you see old men riding their bikes in nothing but a nude-coloured thong through the streets of Miami too!
When it comes to safety, Miami is like any other city with its pockets of not-so-good areas. But always exercise caution when the late night hours roll around. There are many all night party scenes, which lends itself to some alcohol-induced mischief and unexpected accidents.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
Traveling to the South Florida area is made easy by way of its many surrounding major commercial airports, from Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami airports. There are also a multitude of smaller airports for private charters and personal planes. One can also arrive by boat; the coastal areas are fully covered with marinas for overnight to long-term slip rentals. But when it comes to navigating the streets, like any other major city, driving can be a bit anxiety-ridden. The infrastructure of the city has yet to catch up to the exponential growth. However, the public transportation is extremely safe and affordable, and sometimes complimentary in many parts. The Metrorail/ Metromover serves as the safest, the cheapest, and the most reliable form of public transportation. Many new trolley systems are also in place, free of cost, serving within communities of high foot traffic. Taxis charge a flat rate of $32 to South Beach and $22 to downtown. There is no charge to share a cab. The Airport Flyer is an express shuttle bus that offers service between MIA, Metrorail, and Miami Beach for only $2.35 and runs every half hour from 6am to 11pm.
NETWORKING AND EVENTS
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ABOUT ANNA CRAFT
My parents are both from the Philippines, but I am a first generation Filipino-American. Born in New York City and was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved to Miami about 12 years ago. When I was pregnant with my first child my husband and I wanted to relocate to a port city to have access to water activities on a regular basis. It was between Los Angeles and Miami, Miami won it for us. But we still find the West Coast just as appealing.
I have 2 boys ages 10 and 12, married for 19 years. We moved to Miami to open up a full-service Cosmetic Surgery Center, offering the best of the aesthetic services including an in-house ambulatory centre. Now services have merged with The Miami Institute, located in the heart of Brickell Avenue.
I have spent the majority of my career in the healthcare industry and part-time in the fashion world. I modelled professionally for most of my pre-baby years and then worked as an assistant buyer for couture shops. Thus leading to my passion for high fashion and the arts. I have partnered in art gallery developments here in Miami as well as the cultural arts industry.
Traveling, whether it be for work or pleasure, has been a source of pure enjoyment, no matter where the destination. I love the fine dining as much as the “hole-in-the-walls”, and I find myself always looking for the best sales of finer things in each city.
So if you find yourself in Miami for work or pleasure, I can surely give you some customized tips on where and what suits you. Please email me or text and I’d be happy to steer you to some good food, memorable times, and fantastic finds!!!
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