By Merle Rosenstein
With its white sand beaches, blue skies and 135 kilometres of Atlantic coastline Miami is a tropical playground. By day Miami moves at a brisk pace with a never-ending array of outdoor pursuits. At night, visitors can move to the throbbing rhythms of Miami’s famous DJ dance clubs.
And now with the launch this month of Miami Live Music Month, local musicians, performers and venues will take centre stage and visitors can build trip itineraries around key performances. A month-long kick-off to celebrate live music in Miami, Miami Live Music Month paves the way for live local performances throughout the year. With a focus on small local clubs such as the Biltmore Bar (Biltmore Hotel), the Vagabond and Tobacco Road, visitors will have access to the hottest local acts in unique settings. Miami is said to be gaining ground on New York and Austin as a live music hub and with local musicians like Sean Kingston, Gloria Estefan, John Secada, Ricky Martin, Timbaland and Enrique Inglesias, it’s easy to see why. A new website, www.maimilivemusicmonth.com houses an events calendar and participating venues.
Miami is also home to annual international music festivals like MDC’s Jazz at Wolfson Presents Monthly Concert Series (September-April); Festival Miami and Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest (October); Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival, Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival (March); Heineken TransAtlantic Festival (April); and Mainly Mozart Festival (May). For a full list of music festivals, go to www.LiveMiamiMusic.com
• New at Magic City Casino: Live music performances by Jon Secada and musical guests at Secada’s, the casino’s new bar.; more than 7,000 Las Vegas-style slot machines, an 18-table Poker Room, outdoor concert amphitheater, live greyhound racing and multiple food and beverage outlets. www.magiccitycasino.com
• Coral Gables Cinematheque: A much-anticipated art cinema on Aragon Avenue that offers international programming. www.cinematheque.org
• Coral Gables Museum: Housed in the city’s historic fire and police station, the museum showcases architecture, urban design, planning, and historic and environmental preservation. www.coralgablesmuseum.org
• DECOBIKE: The official City of Miami Beach public bike sharing and rental program includes approximately 1,000 Custom Program Bicycles and 100+ Solar-Powered DECOSTATIONS located at all major attractions. Daily and hourly rates are available. www.decobike.com
Zoo Miami• Indian Rhino Encounters: The newly renamed Zoo Miami (formally Miami Metro Zoo) has opened a new $168,367 Indian Rhino Encounter Station where zoo patrons will have a unique opportunity for up-close and personal encounters with Indian rhinos. www.miamimetrozoo.com
• Jungle Island: New Jungle Island residents are a family of prairie dogs, a baby camel, a baby zebra and a family of marmosets (the smallest primates in the world). The new Garden Outpost will provide lots of fun including floating Beach Balls, life-size and see-through spheres that allow kids to climb inside and walk on water. www.jungleisland.com
• South Beach’s Lincoln Road: Recent enhancements to this iconic Miami attraction include new luxury stores on its east end at Washington Avenue and recent block-long expansion west to Alton Road, which includes 4-3, MAC, Journelle, Osklen, Coltori, Swarovski, All Saints and Herve Leger. The promenade’s captivating 1111 Building and its iconic new parking garage will become another mainstay, with its open-air design, black and white geometric stone paved plaza and native Floridian landscaping that pays tribute to the plant life that once dominated the region in the early 20th century. And in January 2011, the Frank Gehry designed New World Symphony performance hall will also open.
For more information on what’s new in Greater Miami, go to www.miamiandbeaches.com