South Beach/Miami vs Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood
If you are planning on spending time in South Florida twice, then I would suggest going to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood for the shorter length of time, as it is smaller and one day will be fine for it. South Beach/Miami will be better over a couple days as there is much to see. Although it will be a little more expensive hotel-wise but then again maybe not, just use a hotel search engine like Kayak to find good deals.
Miami has so much to offer so I'd recommend spending more time there. ColorfulPlaces would be a good site to find what to do in South Florida and where. I promise you'll have a better time in Miami then Ft. Lauderdale (even though Fort Laud is my hometown) The nightlife in South Beach with friends is unparalleled to anything else I've ever experienced!
South Beach is generally referred as "America's Riviera" because of its long and wide white sandy beaches, its historic art deco buildings, its multicultural atmosphere and restaurants. You don’t feel like you are visiting, there… you really feel like you’re on holiday.
South Beach is just over the bridge from downtown Miami, but it is a world apart: no tall skyscrapers, no heavy traffic (except on the bridge), no grey concrete. The area is full of beat, and at night it really comes alive with clubs and outdoor bars and restaurants… serving great food and drinks. Don’t miss Ocean Drive for people-watching – especially on a Sunday afternoon, when everyone is there to show off their posh car/motorbike/new outfit. Likewise don’t miss Lincoln Road, a 12-block shopping district lined with outdoor cafés and cocktail bars – do come at night to see it buzzing with activity.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Remember Forrest Gmp? Remember Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.? There's a restaurant in Miami, and precisely in the Bayside marketplace, all "devoted" to it. Outside you can see the benc where Forrest Gump used to sit... and his running shoes, in concrete of course. And his chocolate box and feather.
Inside, though we did not eat there, everything is Forrest Gump: photos, costumes, reproductions and even a Forrest Gump trivia. Obviously you can atste Forrest Gump’s favorite shrimp and seafood recipes.
The AmericanAirlines Arena is located on the Bay front of Miami and is home to the Miami Heat (NBA) and Miami Sol (WNBA).
The arena seats 19600 when fully utilized for basketball, but the upper levels can be closed to create a more intimate atmosphere of 16000 seats. The facility can be configured in five separate ways for concerts and other events, seating minimum 5000 and maximum 19600 patrons.
The AmericanAirlines Arena opened on December 31, 1999, and the first event was a Gloria Estefan concert. Two days later, on January 2, 2000, the Miami Heat played their first game (and won) in the new arena.
Check the webpage for upcoming events and ticket info.
French Chateau Historical Landmark
Built in 1931 as a personal residence, Petit Douy is an outstanding example of Period Revival style architecture and is Miami’s only known example of a French chateau.
Petit Douy is a reflection of the widespread American penchant during the first
third of the twentieth century for the architecture of an earlier period. In Miami,
this trend can be seen most typically in the Spanish and Mediterranean Revival
buildings which reflect the City’s heritage. There are also examples of other styles
which had never been seen in South Florida, such as English Tudor and Dutch
Colonial. Petit Douy, however, is unique in the City’s collection of Period Revival
style residences. Patterned after the fourteenth century Priory, St. Julienne in Douy,
France, Petit Douy is Miami’s only known French chateau.
The outstanding craftsmanship and detailing of Petit Douy are evident throughout
the building. Of particular note are the two octagonal towers with tent roofs,
parapet gable roof and dormers, crenellated garage roof, and trefoil arch
windows with leaded or stained glass.
Petit Douy is also significant for its association with John and Ethel Murrel. John
Murrell, who came to Miami in 1921 served as George Merrick’s attorney and also
represented other pioneer families, including the Brickells. Mr. Murrell founded the
Miami Humane Society and instigated the successful use of teams of black and
white officers in the Miami Police Department.
The architect for Petit Douy was Martin L. Hampton, a noted Miami architect.
Hampton was part of a group of architects collaborating with George Merrick in
the creation of Coral Gables. Hampton also had an extensive practice in Miami
Beach and designed such buildings as the Old Miami Beach City Hall, the Embassy
Hotel, and numerous private residences. The contractor for Petit Douy was J. W. Hunt.The chateau currently houses an oncology clinic.