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The Miami Metropolitan Area has an estimated population (2007) of over 5.4 million, making it the 7th most populous metropolitan area in the United States. A 2007 estimate by the United Nations, labeled the Miami metropolitan area as the forth largest urban area in the United States after New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Due to the proximity of the Everglades wetland area to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Miami metropolitan area is 110 mi(180 km) north to south but never more than 20 mi(32 km) east to west.

History

The area in which the city of Miami, Florida later founded by Europeans was inhabited for more than a thousand years by the native Indians named the Tequestas. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men first claimed the area around Miami for the country of Spain in 1566. There, a Spanish mission was established a year later. Historic Fort Dallas was built in 1836 and was a site of fighting during the second Seminole War.The Miami area was better known as “Biscayne Bay Country” in the early years of its growth. The few published accounts from that period describe the area as a wilderness that held much promise. The area was also characterized as “one of the finest building sites in Florida.” However, the Great Freeze of 1894 changed all that, and the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle, a local citrus grower, convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railroad to Miami. On July 28, 1896, Miami was officially incorporated as a city with a population of just over 300.

Miami prospered during the 1920s but weakened after the collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression in the 1930s. When second World War began, Miami, well-situated due to its location on the southern coast of Florida, played an important role in the battle against German submarines fleets. The war helped to expand Miami's population to almost half a million. After Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, many of the Cuban people emigrated to Miami, further increasing the population. In the 1980s and 1990s, various crises struck South Florida, among them the Arthur McDuffie beating and the subsequent riot, drug wars, the ravages of Hurricane Andrew, and the Elián González uproar. Miami remains a major international financial and cultural center.

Miami Climate

Miami boasts a sub-tropical climate with hot and humid summers and winters on the dry side. The hottest months of June through September, with temperatures in the high eighties and low nineties, concurrently are also the wettest months with around eight inches of rain per month. With rainfall like this, it's probably no surprise that Miami is one of the countries most humid cities with relative humidity commonly being more than 85% in the summer months.

The months of December through February are the driest, still receive plenty of wonderful sunshine, and have a very pleasant temperature with in the high sixties and mid-seventies — sometimes getting into the eighties. This makes it a popular destination for both family and solo vacations and retired couples looking to escape the cold from further north country.

By Airplane

Miami International Airport (ICAO: KMIA, IATA: MIA) is located just west of the city of Miami in a suburban area of the metropolis. It is an extremely important hub for traffic between North America and Latin America, and boasts itself on being one of the largest airports in the entire civilized world. As a result, the Spanish language is just as likely to be understood as English. The international traffic makes MIA a large and very congested place. Make sure that you allow extra time when departing MIA, particularly if flying internationally, as it can take up to an hour-long line just to check your bags. Curbside check-in is an excellent option.

American Airlines is the main carrier , which has direct flights to most major cities in the Americas, and several European cities as well. European, Asian, Latin and Caribbean carriers are well-represented at MIA. The airport has no direct service to Africa or Oceania. Two new terminal were recently constructed at MIA and have helped with the airport's passenger capacities as well as the efficiency in going through customs and baggage claims.

MIA also has several restaurants ranging from local chains such as La Carreta to national chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and Starbucks. Be aware that some restaurants serve beer, wine and/or cocktails. If you drink too much the airlines can refuse your boarding on a plane. MIA also has several retail stores, including several magazine stands and bookstores (including a Borders). Other retail stores include, but are not limited to, Brookstone, K-B Toys and Ron Jon Surf Shop. There is also a hotel connected to the airport.
Money can be exchanged for US dollars at the airport. Wireless internet is also available at MIA for a small fee.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport aka (IATA: FLL) is 25-40 minutes north of Miami proper, depending on traffic, and does not have nearly as many international routes. It only offers a small variety. However, it is smaller and less trafficked than MIA, making customs, immigration and security a bit easier to go through. Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and other low-cost carriers generally use Miami's other airport, FLL, instead of MIA, making FLL a cheaper alternative in many cases as well.

Public transport is available to MIA and FLL. If arriving from FLL, there is a free shuttle to the Tri-Rail nearby train station. Tri-Rail trains connect West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Public transportation at MIA includes a free shuttle to the nearby Tri-Rail station, as well as to Metrorail and Metromover. A taxi is your best option from the airport or rent a car, depending on what your stay involves (if you need to get around parts of Miami with no nearby Metrorail stations). MIA's car rental facilities are conveniently placed around the airport and connected to the terminal by shuttle buses. FLL's facilities are more conveniently located in the parking garage next to the terminals.

Currently at MIA, Miami's version of Grand Central station with hub connections of Amtrak, Metrorail, Tri-Rail, taxis, Metrobus, and all car-rental facilities is being constructed with completion slated for 2009/2010.

Shopping Districts

Colins Avenue between 15th and 3rd Streets, Miami's Colins Avenue has plenty of stores to satisfy all shopping tastes and budgets.

Clothing stores

This is only a handful of clothing shops located just a short hop away from major Miami area shopping centers.

Guess, 736 Collins Ave., +1 305 673-8880 – National retailer specializing in men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. Two-story building.

Nicole Miller, 656 Collins Ave., +1 305 535-2200 – Women’s clothing and accessories.

United Colors of Benetton, 668 Collins Ave., +1 305 538-3777 – Women’s shoes, clothing and accessories.

Kenneth Cole, 190 8th St., +1 305 673-5151 – Open Fri-Sat 10AM-9PM, Thu 10AM-9PM, Sun 12PM-8PM. Men and women’s apparel and accessories. Two-story building with a kind of minimalist feel.

Barney’s New York Co-op, 832 Collins Ave., +1 305 421-2010 – Open Mon-Thu 11AM-9PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10PM, Sun 12PM-7PM. Men’s and women’s clothing such as A Bathing Ape. Reputedly more affordable than a regular Barney’s of New York, still yet the prices can be a bit steep.

Diesel Jeans, 801 Washington Ave., +1 305 535-9695. Italian retailer that specializes in jeans for men and women. Sometimes hosts such special events such as a showcase for the famous electronic labels Ghostly and Spectral Sound at the 2007 Winter Music Conference.
Attractions in Miami

Miami Beach is a barrier island very well connected to the mainland city of Miami by a series of bridges.

Miami Beach, like Miami, has a huge Latin American population, and Spanish is a language used for day-to-day discourse in a variety of places. However, English is the language of preference, particularly when dealing with businesses and government. Spanglish, a mixture of English and Spanish, is a somewhat common occurrence, with bilingual locals switching between English and Spanish mid-sentence. The local Latin population is mostly Cuban exiles (which have now become second and third generation locals,) with South Americans from various countries gaining ground. There is also a large Haitian community and many signs and public announcements are in English, Spanish and Creole languages.

The city is often referred to under the umbrella term of "Miami”, with a population of 87,925. The vibrant area, with its pastel-hued buildings, hip nightclubs, trendy shops and see-and-be-seen Miami restaurants, attracts socialites and their satellites year-round. As a world class destination, Miami Beach offers several kinds of lodging options. The visitor can stay in a normal hotel or choose from a variety of Miami Beach vacation rentals. The Beach can be affordable, depending on where you stay, eat and play. Visitors can plan to stay in a Miami Beach condo rental. You should plan to spend some time in South Beach cool bars; things start heating up when the sun goes down. Miami Beach has a rich history as a trend setting arts center from the world famous nightclubs of the 1950's, to the rich cultural life of today's modern South Beach. Our entertainment, production and arts communities are stronger than ever. Miami Beach is truly a major international entertainment and cultural destination.

If you come to Miami to shop, then Miami Beach can give you the best shopping experience ever. With the famous Lincoln Road Mall and glamorous shopping centers located in South Beach and all over the island, you’ll have great options to spend your time and money in the trendy retails stores that carry garments from international designers. Art museums, ballet performances, cultural events and entertainment are a part of this great city. You will have the chance to choose from a wide variety of Miami attractions. Art Center at Lincoln Road has performance art exhibitions. Classes and courses are available as well and they include photography, jewelry-making and painting.

Discover Miami Beach’s culturally rich history as an entertainment and cultural destination, from world-famous Art Deco architecture to the renowned nightclubs to designer fashions on Collins Ave and Lincoln Rd. There’s a whole lot going on in Miami Beach, you’ll need that extra day to enjoy everything that makes this city so vibrant. So, plan to stay in an affordable Miami vacation home and completely enjoy the world’s elite playground. Miami Beach promises a 25-hour day, and whether you're an arts enthusiast, a socialite or a sun worshipper, there are plenty of great options for where you can spend that extra hour.

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