Since the 1980s when event venues in Miami, specifically Miami Beach, underwent a transformation, turning a sedate retirement community into one of the hottest and hippest beach areas on the planet, Miami Beach has evoked an internationally glitzy ambiance that rivals the French Riviera and Waikiki Beach. On a typical Miami Beach day, visitors shop for Gucci and Armani, while sun worshippers languish on the wide sandy beach framed by aquamarine waters and photo shoots of international models.
Miami Beach is situated approximately 14 miles from Miami International Airport and is easily accessible via Highway 112 then Interstate 95. Encompassing 7.1 square miles of land and 10 miles of water, Miami Beach is typically segmented into three sections: South Beach (1st Street to 17th Street), Middle Beach (17th Street to 41st Street) and North Beach (41st Street to 87th Street)
For meeting groups, the unofficial epicenter is the Miami Beach Convention Center, which spans four city blocks, a massive complex with 1,000,000 square feet of flexible space, including over 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, over 100,000 square feet of pre-function space and 70 meeting rooms, making this the largest meeting space in Miami. There are 2,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Planners have an eclectic accommodations menu highlighted by large, historic recently renovated Miami Beach venues such as the 1,504-room Fontainebleau Miami Beach and 631-room Eden Roc Renaissance Beach Resort & Spa, as well as upscale chain hotels and smaller, quaint Art Deco-style properties. Other major meeting-oriented hotels include the 790-room Loews Miami Beach, 375-room Ritz-Carlton South Beach and 251-room Palms Hotel & Spa.
The highest concentrations of restaurants are located on Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and Espanola Way. Dining venues in Miami Beach provide an international culinary experience dominated by European-style bistros (many with alfresco dining), exceptional international restaurants serving everything from sushi and Asian fusion cuisine to Mediterranean fare and Cuban and Spanish delicacies.
When the sun goes down and it's time for attendees to engage in some serious de-stressing downtime, Miami Beach has more than 30 nightclubs featuring exotic bars and dance floors. Many of the most popular clubs are situated on Washington Avenue, Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road.
Some interesting, one-of-a-kind group activities on Miami Beach include a guided walking tour of Art Deco buildings on South Beach; a nighttime bowling event at Lucky Strike Lanes, a high-end bowling lounge with 14-lanes and 100-seat restaurant that is frequented by celebrities; swim with the dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium and watch salsa dancers strut their stuff at Mango's Tropical Cafe.