County | Miami
and the Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau
MIAMI 2004 NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC
As the world’s favorite playground on the vanguard of pop culture, global
commerce, fashion and entertainment, Greater Miami and the Beaches offers
the cutting edge of urban chic and international commerce -- combined with
the beauty and splendor of a tropical paradise.
For decades, visitors have been drawn to the area. But in recent years,
that gravitational pull has become a vortex, attracting throngs of international
celebrities and dignitaries, trendsetters, literati and glitterati who
are quickly beguiled by the area's colorful, diverse character and warm-hearted
ways. Convention and business travelers have joined in the
fun, enthralled by the virtually unlimited activities to play after their
work is done.
A mélange of big city sophistication, quaint Caribbean charms and
hot Latin tempos, Greater Miami has a unique sense of place. It’s
blend of tropical and cosmopolitan characteristics set it apart from other
warm-weather destinations. With its world-renowned restaurants, international
commerce, vibrant nightlife, stunning architecture, symphonic orchestras,
avant-garde ballet, romantic getaways, great attractions, year-round recreation
and championship sports, Greater Miami and the Beaches truly has it all.
Sitting inside of Miami-Dade County, Greater Miami and the Beaches is a
sprawling territory with 30 municipalities and a population of more than
two million, nearly half of who speak Spanish as their native language.
A true polyglot community, it is common to hear conversations in Portuguese,
French, Creole, Italian, Patois, Yiddish, Russian, German, Italian, Dutch
CROSSROADS OF THE AMERICAS
As the hemispheric crossroads, access to the area is one of the most simple
and convenient in the Americas. Miami International Airport, among
the top 10 in the world for passengers, is just a 20-minute drive to most
major destinations. By land, Greater Miami is accessible via the
Florida Turnpike, I-95, U.S.1 and Amtrak's rail system, with a comprehensive
and often scenic road network leading efficiently to major neighborhoods
and attractions. The Port of Miami, the world's largest cruise port, is
the nautical link that connects Miami to the Caribbean and Latin America.
Miami-Dade County is the largest government in the southeastern United
States, consisting of a diverse Executive Mayor, Board of County Commissioners
and a County Manager. The Commission, the legislative branch, serves
as the governing body for the 1.1 million people residing in unincorporated
Miami-Dade County. They oversee police and fire protection,
zoning, garbage and trash collection, neighborhood parks and building code
The transition to an executive mayor form of government took place in October
1996 with the election of the current Mayor Alex Penelas. He exercises
authority over a $4.2 billion budget and is responsible for 27,000 employees
who work in 47 departments.
Miami-Dade’s diversified economy includes manufacturing, service, trade,
financial, agriculture, real estate, hospitality and construction companies.
Many companies provide their services to residents and visitors while others
focus on domestic and international markets. There are more than
66,000 firms in the metropolitan area, and the three largest business sectors
are services, trade and manufacturing.
Along with being one of the most vibrant sun-belt metropolises in the United
States, Greater Miami is one of the leading capitals in the Americas, and
a major crossroads for the entire world. Located a few degrees above
the Tropic of Cancer, which slides across to the Sahara Desert, Greater
Miami is an intricate network of barrier islands, coral rock, mangrove
swamps, 100-year-old banyan trees, broad causeways and scenic bridges,
picturesque highways -- and, of course, its world-famous miles and miles
of fine white sand and breathtaking ocean surf.
To the east is the Atlantic Ocean; to the west, Everglades National Park.
A few miles south lies Biscayne National Park, the only living coral reef
in North America.
--Greater Miami Convention & Visitors
Way back in the 1930’s and 40’s, more than 800 Art Deco structures were
built on the southern tip of Miami Beach. Today, the historically designated
Art Deco District represents the largest collection of Art Deco architecture
in the world, and an urban renaissance that just won't quit.
With it’s confetti-like colors, electrifying neon lights, and sleek aerodynamic
lines, the Art Deco District now serves as the backdrop for one of the
world's most eccentric and in-vogue neighborhoods.
Here, first-class hotels share palm-lined streets with hip youth hostels
where back-packers share budget travel tips. Cafe society gathers to discuss
literature, politics and the arts. Long-legged models and muscular men
pose for fashion magazines in the middle of Ocean Drive. Some of
the finest chefs in America today dish out Miami New World, Latin
and Caribbean cuisines at trendy eateries that are a must for visitors.
At Lincoln Road Mall -- once called the Fifth Avenue of the South--the
South Florida Arts Center, New World Symphony and Colony Theater form a
nucleus of cultural activities. Not far away, the 1.1 million-square-foot
Miami Beach Convention Center ranks as one of America's 10 largest and
most desirable convention sites.
While South Beach is the "happening"
new kid on the block, the northern extremities of Miami Beach have a character
and history all their own.
The mellow and unpretentious atmosphere of Surfside is perfect for family-style
vacations. The setting for the 1960s TV show "Surfside 6," it is where
the late Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer took long morning
walks and wrote stories based on the lives of local people.
Surfside's neighbor, Bal Harbour, is known locally as the birthplace of
sophisticated shopping. The Bal Harbour Shops, an airy 15-acre promenade,
has been catering to an elite clientele since 1965. Among its roster of
designer boutiques are Gucci, Fendi, Tiffany's, Bulgari and Cartier.
Another family-oriented community is Sunny Isles, where seagrape-studded
beaches are the main draw. Children play in the surf as their relaxed parents
recline in the sun. Comfortable and casual, Sunny Isles offers watersports
galore and affordable accommodations.
Downtown -- Where The Lights Are Bright
From a distance, downtown Miami at night looks like a neon rainbow. Skyscrapers
twinkle and glow, sending a signal that says the area is booming with growth
and activity. The most recent addition is the $165 million AmericanAirlines
arena (home of the Miami Heat).
Construction in progress includes the new $223 million Performing Arts
Center, the Mandarin Oriental, and J.W. Marriott Hotels, plus several condominium
and office towers.
Already bustling is downtown's Bayside Marketplace, a 16-acre extravaganza
of shops, restaurants and attractions such as the Hard Rock Cafe Miami.
From Bayside, visitors can take a romantic gondola ride while watching
the laser-light shows that beam from the adjacent 28-acre Bayfront Park,
or take an exciting dinner cruise through Biscayne Bay.
Downtown's Gusman Cultural Center, an ornate 1920s theater, is home base
for the Miami Film Festival. And the Wolfson Campus of Miami-Dade Community
College is where millions of literature lovers congregate for the Miami
International Book Fair in the Fall.
Not far from downtown is the Miami Design District. A focal point of the
local interior design industry, its "One Square Mile of Style" features
dozens of art, antiques and furniture shops. Also nearby is Overtown, one
of Miami's oldest African-American neighborhoods, where legendary Jazz
greats played in the 30’s and 40’s.
In The Grove
One of the area's oldest and most diverse neighborhoods, Coconut Grove
has long been a bohemian hangout and the breeding ground for Greater Miami's
Ever since the early 1900s, the Grove has attracted artists, writers and
non-conformists, and remains today an important player in Greater Miami's
cultural renaissance. Under a dense canopy of lush trees, the Grove is
noted for its whimsical homes, busy marinas, year-round festivals and the
many cafes, art galleries, restaurants and shops that line its streets.
It was at the intimate Coconut Grove Playhouse recently that Jimmy Buffett,
a one-time Grove coffeehouse singer, premiered his musical Don’t Stop
Streets of Mayfair, a luxury hotel,
shopping and entertainment complex, has recently been spruced up and energized
with hot spots like The Improv, Iguana Cantina, and The Chili Pepper.
CocoWalk, a Mediterranean-style open-air mall, bustles both day and night.
People young and old gather here for live flamenco music, comedy shows
and superb dining that ranges from hamburger casual to gourmet elegance.
Soon to arrive in the Grove is the new Ritz Carlton hotel.
Another must-see attraction is Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a 70-room
Italian Renaissance mansion surrounded by 10 acres of formal gardens and
furnished with European antiques, site of the 1994 Summit of the Americas.
Just across the street, step into the future and explore the wonders of
the universe at the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium.
Around the Town
Above and beyond the much-celebrated spots, Greater Miami has a rich assortment
of neighborhoods that offer charming nooks and crannies and off-the-beaten-path
Built in the roaring 20’s, Coral Gables is a prosperous and dramatically
beautiful city, marked by Spanish-style mansions, huge ficus trees, coral
rock pools, lush golf courses and a commercial area that's jam-packed with
specialty shops and restaurants.
Like most ethnic enclaves, Little Havana and Little Haiti are brimming
with immigrant optimism. Saturated with Cuban culture, music and food,
Little Havana is one of the few places in North America where artisans
still practice the fine art of hand-rolling cigars. Little Haiti is perhaps
Miami's most Caribbean of neighborhoods. Like the vivid scenes in a Haitian
women wearing colorful dresses gather
at markets where heaping piles of exotic fruits and spices spill from the
The Moorish architecture of Opa-Locka, inspired by the Arabian Nights
stories, is a stunning inner-city collection of minerets, domes and horseshoe
arches. Concertgoers and fans of the Miami Dolphins and the Florida Marlins
revel at Pro Player Stadium to the north.
South Dade offers a more rural ambiance and features must-see spots such
as Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, Miami MetroZoo, Parrot Jungle
and Monkey Jungle, the Homestead Motorsports Complex and more.
The waterfront city of Key Biscayne can only be described as an island
paradise. Attached to the mainland by the Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne
is a peaceful, well-preserved community crowned by the bucolic Bill Baggs
State and Crandon Park, two of the most beautiful beaches in the United
From the neon lights of the sizzling nightlife, to the tranquil stretches
of inviting white sand, Greater Miami and the Beaches is indeed the epitome
of urban chic and tropical magnificence, with a dynamic commercial infrastructure
that lures business travelers from all over the globe. Whether
experiencing it for the very first time -- or taking advantage of the area’s
latest wave of re-invention and renaissance to rediscover its marvels all
over again -- Greater Miami and the Beaches has taken its rightful place
among the world’s leading business and leisure destinations.
April 12, 2002--Bill Talbert,
President & CEO of the GMCVB, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, and Chris
Korge during the presentation of Miami's convention proposal.
Advisory Committee visit, July 15-17, 2002
The choice of Miami would send a strong symbolic message: Democrats will
not flinch from returning to the scene of the post-election battle that
followed the 2000 election. On the other hand, a Florida convention
might lend itself to a re-hashing of that election, something Democrats
may wish to avoid. Either way, Florida's 27 electoral votes are certain
to be closely contested, and a Florida convention could provide a bit of
a boost here as well as in the broader South. Miami Beach hosted
the 1972 Democratic convention as well as the 1968 and 1972 Republican
conventions. Miami was one of nine cities that sought to host the
2000 Democratic convention, so it has the benefit of that experience.
According to the 2000 Census, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale consolidated metropolitan
area has a population of 3.9 million (12th biggest metropolitan area),
and the primary Miami area is home to 2.3 million people. Alex Penelas
(D) was elected Executive Mayor of Miami-Dade County in October 1996 and
re-elected in September 2000.
Copyright © 2002 Eric
M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.