Visiting Miami, Vice Style

With the craze for all things ’80s in full swing, seeing Miami through the lens of the hit TV show Miami Vice can make for the perfect vacation. Those nostalgic for the days of pastel sport jackets and linen pants need look no further than Miami to relive those glory days, and to see and experience the world Crockett and Tubbs made famous. So slip into your loafers, sock-less of course, and dig out your Ray-Bans- because we’re doing Miami Vice-style.

Thriller Boat Tours at Bayside Marketplace
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Image source: Ron Cogswell

Hoping to catch a glimpse of the city’s rich and famous? Thriller boat tours offers one of the most comprehensive sightseeing experiences in Miami, visiting South Beach, Biscayne Bay, Fisher Island, and the Miami Gold Coast. The boat can reach speeds of 30 mph, giving you a real speedboat experience as you jet around the intercostal islands. Boarding at the Bayside Marketplace, this route also showcases many of the locations Miami Vice actually filmed.

The Brickell Loop of the Metromover
Once back at Bayside Market, walk the two blocks to the free public-transport Metromover for a tour of the Brickell loop. Covering the majority of the downtown settings for the show, this route also crosses the Miami River and showcases some of the city’s finest historic homes. It’s nearly impossible to get lost on the Metromover because it’s a loop, and you can either get off where you started or pick a spot to explore somewhere along the route.

Miami Seaquarium
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Image source: leonardodasilva

To get to the Seaquarium, you must first travel over the Rickenbacker Causeway. You can use this opportunity to do some prime people watching as the beautiful people sun, surf, and swim the day away. The Seaquarium itself is famous for being one of the oldest aquariums in the U.S; pink flamingos, parrots, manatees, and a myriad of saltwater fish make up the bulk of the exhibits. They also offer fun for the whole family with dolphin encounters, a killer whale show, and a sea lion comedy routine.

Jai-alai
A huge part of the Miami gambling scene, Jai-alai (pronounced HI-lye) is similar to racquet ball, except the ball, called a pelota, feels more like it belongs on a pool table than a ball court. It can also travel around 180 mph. Sound dangerous? It is- four people have died in the last eighty years after being hit by apelota. The jai-alai arena is located minutes from downtown, and Friday and Saturday evenings are usually packed with spectators. Since the most expensive seats in the arena are only two dollars, you’ll have plenty of money left over to buy a couple of beers and place a bet on your favourite team.

Gulfstream Park in Hallendale
One of the country’s most respected horse racing tracks, many a triple-crown hopeful has competed at Gulfstream Park. The picturesque course lies between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, and also boasts a world-class casino with 20 poker tables and 850 slot machines. Additionally, the track is home to the 10 Palms- an upscale dining establishment that provides an unparalleled track-side dining experience. Admission and parking are free, and the casino is open 365 days a year.

Miami provides an unbeatable opportunity to see and experience the Vice lifestyle exactly as it was nearly three decades ago. So, start looking for that pastel t-shirt, and don’t forget to roll up the sleeves on your Armani suit jacket- after all, Crockett and Tubbs would expect nothing less. If you are looking for accommodation in Miami for your stay, you should check out HostelBookers.com.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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