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How Not to Be a (Dumb) Tourist in Miami Beach

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

1) Do not move in a zig zag pattern on the coastal path (please stop calling it a boardwalk, we don't have one anymore). The beach-walk serves as a busy human thorough-way for various users, including roller-bladers, skaters, e-scooter riders, and cyclists who often speed excessively. It's essential to maintain a straight trajectory and avoid diagonal movements to prevent accidents. If you need to cross the path, ensure you look both ways BEFORE proceeding, not after. Acknowledge that the world doesn't revolve around you; it's a shared space for everyone.

2) Streets are numbered from south to north (1st to 87th), so if you are referring to specific area in Miami Beach, the street number is the most important metric. They made it so easy for you, and you still can't get it right. Imagine remembering 87 different random names for each street, which is the case in most European cities as they don't use this grid/block system. Please don't say just Collins Ave. - it's the longest road in Florida (A1A) stretching north to Jacksonville.

3) Tip is already included in your restaurant/bar bill, in most cases. The 20% "Service Charge" on the bill is a tip which is most often automatically included. (Unless you actually want to) do check the bill, it's often a trap, they are hoping you will not notice. Don't be a tourist who finds out on their last day of vacation here.

4) The most enjoyable way to stroll along Ocean Drive is by using the sidewalk on the eastern side. This positioning allows you to fully admire the unique architecture from an ideal vantage point, steer clear of overcrowded spots, and avoid being approached persistently by bar hostesses attempting to lure you in.

5) It's a gayborhood, amongst other things. It has been historically, since the early 1980s. The arrival of Gianni Versace in 1992 solidified South Beach status as an oasis for LGBTQ+ community even deeper. Should you harbor animosity towards those who differ in thought or form, prepare yourself for a weekend of ordeal.

6) Miami and Miami Beach are two different cities. They are legally independent municipalities divided by Biscayne Bay. Be specific to avoid confusion when you are here. Once you return home, you can refer to the broader region as Miami, as it represents a South Florida brand.

7) Don't rent a car just to get around in South Beach. The streets of Miami Beach experience significant congestion, especially during bustling weekends, leading to a situation where you'll invest more time searching for parking (which is costly here) compared to using alternatives like Uber, walking, or cycling. If your stay spans a few days, consider renting a bicycle, which can be as affordable as $25 per day for extended rental periods.

8) Pedestrians and cyclists hold the right of way on Miami Beach roads, a practice deeply ingrained in the local culture. Refrain from honking unnecessarily, you'll just make yourself look like a tourist.

9) Muscle Beach stands as an open-air fitness oasis located at the intersection of 9th Street and Ocean Drive. To avoid sounding like a tourist, refrain from using terms like "park gym" or "outdoors gym" when mentioning it. It serves as Miami Beach's counterpart to LA's Muscle Beach in Venice Beach.

10) Winter is the PEAK SEASON, summer is the (S)LOW SEASON. Things are different here than up north; our subtropical climate makes Miami Beach a monopoly when it comes to endless summer-like climate. During the winter months, South Florida becomes the only choice for those seeking fun in the sun in the continental US.

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