What is Salsa?

While salsa originated in Cuba, it started as an appropriate “sauce” of musical and dance elements introduced by European immigrants and African slaves to Latin America.

Salsa can be traced to the early 19th Century, though it hit a stride of popularity in 1910 when Cubans started to produce actual records.

How did Salsa get here?

When prohibition in the 1920s sent more and more Americans to Havana for booze, salsa’s popularity exploded in the United States and beyond.

Is there more than one style of Salsa?

With salsa’s grand entrance into Latin immigrant-heavy cities like Miami and New York, different styles of the dance started to emerge. At present, there are up to 7 types of salsa dancing.

  1. New York Style: An infusion of Cuban and Puerto Rican elements, along with Jazz, R&B, and dances like Mambo.
  2. L.A. Style: A recent development of the late 1990s/early 2000s. Influenced by tango, swing, Latin Ballroom dance and contemporary hip hop. More theatrical than most.
  3. Casino Style: A Cuban style of salsa that was developed outside of the country itself.
  4. Miami-style Casino: Classic Cuban style with backward diagonal moves that you can’t find in any other salsa style. Obviously the most important of them all!
  5. Colombian (Cali) Style: Showy, sensual, and still popular today in nightclubs.
  6. Rueda de Casino: Emerged in Havana in the 1950s as a group-like approach to dancing, with participants in a circle following the moves called out by the lead dancer.
  7. Ballroom Salsa: A professional, prepared approach to salsa generally performed by a pair for an audience.
Why should I dance Salsa?

Salsa is a great way to move your body and meet new people. Dance concepts also offer excellent nuggets of wisdom that you can carry into your real-life relationships.

Sign me up!

If you’re interested in dancing, check out Salsa Driven Dance Academy for private or group lessons, as well as a schedule of salsa-inspired events around Miami.

It’s the spookiest time of year (according to the calendar, anyway). With Halloween around the corner and a plethora of things to do, you might be wondering where to don your werewolf ensemble. Here is a short list of things to do in Miami for Halloween.

For everyone:

Lincoln Road Halloween Parade
October 31
South Beach
What is it? A people-watching frenzy of children and adults alike in their craziest costumes. As the night goes on, Lincoln Road turns into a party with DJs and plenty of open-container beverages. Get there early to grab a restaurant seat with a view and get ready for the show.
Cost: FREE!

For families:

Hay Maze Miami
October 21 – November 6
Bayfront Park
What is it? An actual 6,000 sq.ft. maze constructed of bales of hay, plus a beer garden, plenty of food stands and a treat-or-treating opportunity on the big night. There will also be goat yoga on October 29, if that’s on your list of Halloween to-do’s.
Cost: Ranges from $35 to $80.

For runners:

Halloween Half-Marathon
October 22
South Beach
What is it? Relatively self-explanatory. If candy is your weakness, grab your sneakers and hit the pavement for Miami Beach’s Half Marathon. Costumes are welcomed. Spaces fill up fast so secure yours today! Not into that whole half-marathon thing? Opt for the Freaky 4-Miler instead.
Cost: Ranges from $40 – $90

For pets [or the people that like them]:

Howl-O-Ween
Pinecrest Gardens
October 29
What is it? We all know pets are the real stars of the show on Halloween. Head to Pinecrest Gardens to see the latest fashion trends sweeping the dog world. Bring your own, in costume. Tricks, treats, food, drinks are readily available, as is live music.
Cost: Ranges from $10 – $12

For partiers:

Haunted W Miami Rooftop Halloween Party
W Hotel, Brickell
What is it? Two DJs, insane views, party favors, gorgeous people letting out their alter-egos. If partying on a rooftop til the wee hours dressed in a sexy version of your favorite superhero sounds like your kind of Halloween celebration, the W Hotel is where it’s at. Get your ticket quick, this party is as popular as they come.
Cost: Ranges from $32 to $1,695

Day trips from Miami are plentiful, and here is one of the best.

If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in Miami, you’ve surely heard about Stiltsville. A mysterious collection of pastel-colored houses that jut out from Biscayne Bay’s flat waterline, Stiltsville is a living relic of bygone era. During Prohibition, this area of the bay was once a hub for booze smuggling. In 1933, the houses we see today were built by “Crawfish Eddy”, a well-known gambling operator.

Stiltsville quickly became an attraction for the wealthy and elite. A string of famous gentlemen’s clubs and exclusive bars popped up. All sorts of debauchery was permitted here, from nude sunbathing to lobster poaching to illegal alcohol sales. The Florida Beverage Commission finally showed up to shut the party down and a series of hurricanes swooped in to finish the job completely.

There were 27 houses that adorned the bay in the 1960’s. By the early 1990’s, there were just 14. Hurricane Andrew reduced that number to 7 in 1992 and today, those 7 remain. These houses are protected by the National Park Service’s Biscayne National Park and can only be seen by boat.

Why not take a morning to check them out? If you have your own boat or a preferred boat captain, you can arrive on your own. If not, or if you’re interested in hearing more about Stiltsville’s fascinating history, book a tour here.

It’s a great way to acquaint yourself with the background and culture of Miami while still having a great day out on the water. Stiltsville is a place every Miamian should visit at least once in a lifetime and is the perfect day trip!

Miami’s food scene ranges drastically from the super fancy (try getting a table at Sexy Fish at the last minute) and casual (who doesn’t know, and LOVE, La Sandwicherie?). There is, however, an undeniable fusion of Latinesque favorites on most menus.

One of the most popular indulgences is the otherworldly empanada.

But what’s the deal? There are so many styles and fillings of empanadas, how does one decipher it all? To crack the code, we’ve put together a list of the finest empanadas, where they come from and their distinguishing factors.

You’ll be an expert in no time.

  • Cuban: Cuban empanadas have a variety of fillings. Shredded chicken, spinach and cheese, guava and cheese and, of course, the traditional “carne” or beef empanada. The beef comes ground, cooked with bell pepper, onion, garlic and tomato. Expect a sweet undertone of cumin, and a green olive here and there. The outer shell is made of flour or wheat and deep fried to perfection.
    Where to find them: Little Havana
  • Venezuelan: Also deep fried but this time with a white corn shell. Fillings are somewhat similar, though one of the more popular empanadas that you can find in the country itself is generally not available in the US. Empanadas de cazon are stuffed with the meat of a small shark that is found off the coast of Venezuela.
    Where to find them: Doral
  • Colombian: Similar to Venezuelan empanadas but with a yellow corn shell. The fillings most coveted by Colombians tend to have shredded beef or pork and potatoes. The potatoes are cooked in a special tomato sauce that mixes onions, garlic, spices and cilantro.
    Where to find them: Downtown/Brickell
  • Nicaraguan: Usually cheesy and on the sweeter side, a Nicaraguan empanada has an outer shell commonly made of sweet plantains, fried, and served hot. Other stuffings include, as you may have guessed, meat or chicken.
    Where to find them: East Little Havana
  • Argentinian: Empanadas from Argentina, in their most classic style, have a bolder shell of wheat or flour and are baked. The most traditional empanada from Argentina will be filled with beef and slices of hard boiled egg.
    Where to find them: Key Biscayne/North Beach
  • Mexican: While there are several savory Mexican empanadas, the one that steals the show is of course the sweet one. Empanadas from Mexico are a variety of “pan dulce”, a collection of nearly 2,000 sweet pastries that are common for breakfast. Empanadas have a thin, flour shell and can be filled with marmalades, notably of pineapple.
    Where to find them: Homestead/West Little Havana

And there you have it! Now it’s your turn to enjoy an empanada scavenger hunt around all the neighborhoods of Miami!

What started as a wild wedding party between Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen changed the course of beer’s history forever.

It’s the year 1810 and the location is Munich, Germany. The Royal Wedding is set to take place and the citizens are invited. Well, not to the ceremony itself, but to the FIVE DAY afterparty! Locals arrive to the city gates to enjoy nearly a week of food, music, parades and of course, beer. To culminate the party, a horse race around town took place. Even though the horse race was eventually dropped, the beer celebration was not.Today the surprisingly family-friendly party lasts up to 18 days!

Sounds fun, right? But October is so far away, and so is Germany.

If you’re like the rest of us and unable to sit still another two months to partake in this unforgettable, world-famous celebration of beer, no need to fret. We’ve got you covered in the Magic City. Did you expect any less?

The great news is that Miami has its own version of Octoberfest and it takes place in September. For 3 glorious days, Samuel Adams will host its 12th annual block party in Wynwood Marketplace. Aside from the obvious beer hall and pumpkin-themed decor, there will be activities for both humans and dogs alike. Expect games, freebies and a photo booth to prove to the Instagram world that you’ve made the commitment. Live music will abound, as will those beer competitions you thought you left behind in college.

With your Festive Party Pack ticket, should you choose to purchase, comes 1 free beer, a stein, and more Bavarian treats and goodies from Sam Adams.

Sign up here.

Everybody knows the Clevelander. Likely, everyone living in Miami for at least 5 – 10 years has been to the Clevelander. More than likely, not one local can be found there today.

That’s all about to change. Matt Kuscher, owner of Miami-famous Lokal restaurant and Kush Hospitality Group is taking over operations and is determined to bring the locals back to Ocean Drive. How? With a recognizably-Kush menu of local ingredients, fresh produce and homemade sauces served around the iconic pool.

In addition, the rarely-used Games on Sports restaurant will be converted into Kush Clevelander with a food and cocktail menu to match a Miami Beach locals vibe. While the pool will remain the place to party, Kush Clevelander’s sports bar will give locals a place to watch the big game without distraction.

The new look is expected to be unveiled at the end of August. Just in time for the NFL Kickoff on September 8th and the Miami Dolphins’ first regular season matchup against the NE Patriots at 1:00pm on Sunday, September 11.

July 31 is National Avocado Day, making it the perfect time of year to investigate one of Miami’s greatest assets.

Florida avocado season is in full swing. Also known as Alligator Pears, these fruits (and yes, they are fruits!) are a bigger, lighter, smoother and nuttier alternative to the traditional Hass you commonly find in stores or as the base to guacamole.

If you haven’t tried one yet, there is no time like the present. Head to Little Havana or Homestead where locals sell these beauties on the side of the road. Check out Los Pinarenos Fruteria on SW 8th Street & 13th Avenue in downtown Little Havana for freshly picked avos.

In the meantime, here are seven facts about Florida Avocados that just might surprise you.

  1. They are lower in both fat & calories. Florida avocados contain 3-15% oil and no cholesterol. They’re a great source of potassium and vitamin A.
  2. Avocado trees have a long lifespan of 500-600 years.
  3. There are 600 varieties grown in the state of Florida.
  4. In the early 1900’s, Charles Deering had enough avocado trees on his estate that he could make a minimum profit of $6,500 per year in sales – roughly $100,000 today!
  5. Avocados are considered a berry!
  6. Some varieties, like the Choquette, can weigh up to 2.5 pounds.
  7. Ripen avocados quickly by putting them inside a brown paper bag or placing them next to bananas.

Buen Provecho!

If spending a few days in Miami Beach’s fanciest hotel, watching beautiful people strut the most fabulous of swimwear sounds good to you, then you are in luck. Starting July 14, Art Heats Fashion & faena forum will host the official Swim Week 2022. Designers from all over the world showcase their coolest, trendiest swimwear for both men and women. Enjoy parties, runway shows & art exhibits. Miami Swim Week draws a fun & fashionable crowd. Tickets range from $65 – 3,300 on Eventbrite.

There are free options to Spinoffs of the “official” swim week show as well. At 2100 Collins Avenue, Paraiso Miami Beach will host Espacio VOGUE, a pop up of Latin American and Mexican design & beauty products. Expect fashion shows & cocktail parties. La Plage will showcase high-end European swimwear and resort brands in a 4 day Trade Show right next door 2000 Collins Avenue. Chotto Matte on Lincoln Road is partnering with Aguaclara, a Peruvian swimwear brand to display its latest trends.

Whether you’re in the market for a new suit or not, Miami Swim Week events are bright and vibrant alternatives to help you beat the heat!

The reviews aren’t stellar but do we really care? Our beloved Miami once again made it to the big screen. Miami beach, Coral Gables and of course Little Havana are all represented in the latest remake of Father of the Bride, starring Miami’s own Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan.

What other films showcase our palm trees and neon sky in the backdrop?

Movies Filmed in Miami

  • Scarface: While most of the film was shot in California, the iconic Art Deco scenes were shot on Ocean Drive. The Fountainbleu gets a mention too. Sign up for a South Beach Art Deco Walking Tour to find out more.
  • Ace Ventura – Pet Detective: This 1994 comedy with Jim Carrey is about the trials and tribulations of a pet detective trying to uncover the whereabouts of Snowflake, the mascot of the Miami Dolphins. You’ll recognize plenty of the background which includes the old stadium, Coconut Grove and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
  • The Birdcage: A hit on all accounts, you will see many scenes take place on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road. The Carlyle Hotel serves as the drag club that Robin Williams’ character owns.
  • There’s Something About Mary: You will recognize Miami and Miami Beach in quite a few backdrops to this movie, including the well-known Big Pink diner on South Beach, Red Fish in Matheson Hammock Park, and Coral Gables as the neighborhood where Mary lives.
  • Bad Boys 1, 2, 3: All three Bad Boys films with Martin Lawrence & Will Smith were shot in Miami, including a high-speed car chase that took place by the Port of Miami.
  • Moonlight: This Oscar-winning film showcases parts of Miami that visitors don’t usually see. Miami native Tarell Alvin McCraney leads the viewer through the life of a gay black man growing up in the masculine Liberty City. South Beach, Virginia Key and Downtown can be seen as well, but the most real of them all are the scenes that take place in Jimmy’s Eastside Diner, a local staple on Biscayne Boulevard.

That’s not all!

Other movies shot in Miami include:

Markey & Me
Miami Vice
Any Given Sunday
Wild Things
2 Fast 2 Furious

It’s March 13, 1988. Over 1 million party-goers flood Calle Ocho for the country’s biggest Hispanic festival, including Gloria Estefan. Estefan was born in Havana but fled with her family to Miami with Castro’s rise to power. She spent much of her life here, attending University of Miami for a time until Miami Sound Machine, for which she was lead singer, took off. Now, she’s enticing people from all over the world who have gathered inside 23 blocks of Little Havana to…conga?

Gloria’s voice takes over the loudspeaker system. ″Is everybody ready? Let’s conga…!” and tens of thousands of dancers take their place as Miami Sound Machine’s hit begins baring. Thus begins the world’s longest conga line, where a documented 119,986 movers and shakers bounce their way down Miami’s most famous street, calculated by a complex (80’s style) computer system.

What a feat! Need proof? Here is a link to the Guinness Book of World Records, immortalizing an event that will forever go down in history.