Miami International Airport is a hub for the Caribbean, South America and Europe, so picture plenty of clean, functional hotels—Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Regency, Wyndham, Embassy Suites and the like. Immediately around the terminals, eateries range from fast food to some decent mom-and-pop Mexican, Cuban and sushi-Thai joints.
The best Latin American restaurants, however, those with true ethnic histories and not immigrant fantasies made up by chain restaurant executives, and hot Latin nightclubs, such as La Covacha, can be found in Doral. The sprawling region is also known for its tennis, golf and spa resorts, many of which host tournaments, such as the WGC Cadillac Championship at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, played on the challenging "Blue Monster" course. The Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa is also located here, as well Doral Park Country Club. In addition, you can also make like Tiger Woods and book yourself a tee time at the 14-hole Melreese at International Links on Northwest 37th Avenue, where the infamous par-4 last hole, called "Heartbreak Ridge," will reveal your true mettle—or, er, wood.
Doral is just one of the surrounding communities, along with Hialeah, Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and unincorporated Miami, and perhaps the easiest one to understand geographically. Visit Museum of the Americas to get a sense of Miami's many Hispanic communities and how they came to be—or even just check out the many hand-rolled cigar shops that these all these neighborhoods host. But keep in mind that Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens are mostly residential, and as far as Hialeah goes, even longtime locals don't advise trying to explore it, which has so many twists, turns and name changes in the streets you can get lost with a GPS.
That said, Hialeah Park is a race track listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's regarded not only for its horses, which returned to the track in 2010, but for its colony of pink flamingos, which have been living at the track since the early 1930s. (You might remember the flamingos from the opening of Miami Vice.) As for the former Flagler Dog Track, located on Northwest 37th Avenue, it's become Magic City Casino, owned in part by Jon Secada, with Vegas-style gambling and entertainment. Greyhounds still do race, but visitors are also encouraged to pick up information about adopting dogs that have retired from the track.
Got a long layover but don't want to stray too far? Even though you'll need a car, the Dolphin Mall, located in Sweetwater, is your best bet for long-term retail entertainment, with plenty of fashion outlet stores such as Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Coach Factory Store, and high-concept amusements. The city's largest mall features nearly 40 dining options, more than 20 movie showings in two different theaters and live entertainment every weekend.© NileGuide