The City of Miami, and Miami Beach as well, has always been enshrined in the American psyche as the “nation’s playground”, for its year-round tropical climate, elegant waterfront homes and condos, lively nightlife, world-famous beaches and its vibrant ethnic diversity.
With its Hispanic essence and live-and-let-live attitude and lifestyle, this area is considered as the most “foreign” city in the US. The area boasts of a psychedelic mixture of architecture and nationalities, fashion and food. On South Beach, at the southern end of Miami Beach, the senior citizens and baby boomers that used to come in droves here have been replaced by the young and trendy; stylish Coral Gables now booms with the posh offices of multinational corporate giants.
Topless sunbathing is also tolerated on certain designated areas of the beach. The TV show Miami Vice helped make the area immensely popular. Miami Beach, particularly Ocean Drive of what is now the Art Deco District, was also featured prominently in the Al Pacino movie Scarface.
South Beach is a major late-night haunt, where revelers eat breakfast at lunchtime, and can choose from a wide array of restaurants and cafes serving continental, European, South American and Asian cuisines. One of the beaches’ best food haunts is 11th Street Diner, which is open 24 hours a day and Nemo, along 100 Collins Avenue, for its eclectic cooking focusing on seafood, and outstanding desserts. Visitors could also go for a relaxing swim in the sea or in a pool at any of the over-the-top hotels on South Beach, like at the Marlin hotel, or in the extravagant Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. Most visitors would say that it’s a public pool that looks like a Hollywood film set.
A major player in the pop-music world, Miami in general, and South Beach in particular, loves to party. The best clubs are on Washington Avenue, South Beach. Clubs like Crobar, The Mansion, Opium Garden and Shadow Lounge, and a lot more, are filled up on weekend nights, while on nearby Ocean Drive, one could hear live bands clutter the outdoors.
Miami, as well as Miami Beach, may not be like Los Angeles or New York, cities where movies are constantly being shot around every corner. However, Miami has certainly has its fair share of filming. The movie Scarface, which is considered a cult classic, is a tale about Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, who comes to Florida as a Cuban refugee. After becoming a gangster, as a result of the 1980s cocaine boom, he rises to the top of Miami’s organized crime world, only to fall back down.
Most of you would still remember the equally zany film, There’s Something About Mary. One of the funniest movies to ever hit the screen, this film starred Cameron Diaz as Mary, a girl whom men were willing to go to great lengths to impress. Among the Hollywood blockbusters shot on location in Miami Beach and its environs are the Al Pacino football thriller Any Given Sunday, as well as the Martin Lawrence and Will Smith action-flick Bad Boyz.