Share Photos of Your Favorite Miami Beach Spots in Convention Authority Contest

Categories: Architecture, Art

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Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority
There are a lot of misconceptions about Miami -- and Miami Beach in particular. Sure, it's a picturesque tropical paradise, but there's more to the area between South Pointe Park and Indian Creek than Brazilian bikinis and frozen cocktails.

As a local, now's your chance to show the world the area's lesser-known assets, and maybe win sweet prizes while you're at it. The Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA) is hosting a "favorite places" photo contest from now through the end of the month.

See also: Miami Beach Now Has Its Own Official Sunscreen Line

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Avra Jain Preserves Miami's History at Vagabond Hotel (Video)

The long line of Biscayne Boulevard is home to a string of historic hotels in various states of decay and charm. Looking to recapture the seaside glamor of these spots is the Vagabond Hotel on Northeast 73rd Street, the iconic inn whose soft opening last month gave us a glimpse of the carefully reconstructed details and upscale adjustments to come.

See also: Inside the Vagabond Hotel, Biscayne Boulevard's Restored MiMo Gem (Photos)

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Miami Icons: Vizcaya Voted Your Favorite Local Landmark

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Photos by Karli Evans
All month long, Cultist has highlighted Miami's most deserving landmarks, from Ocean Drive's Art Deco beacon the Colony Hotel to downtown's early Cuban-American sanctuary the Freedom Tower. We asked readers to choose their favorite of 15 local haunts last Friday. The competition was steep but the votes are in: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is your most beloved Miami Icon.

See also: Miami Icons: Vizcaya, Birthplace of Magic City Luxury

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Miami Icons: Last Chance to Vote for Your Favorite Local Landmark!

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Flickr cc | Michael Shane
All month long, Cultist's Miami Icons series has spotlighted Miami's most deserving landmarks. There are the obvious choices, like Ocean Drive's Colony Hotel. There are the historical gems, like Vizcaya. There were modern additions, like the Arsht Center. We even threw in a couple weirdo picks -- El Faraon, for example -- just to keep things interesting.

Readers have been vocal, from blasting the historical integrity of monuments to praising powerhouse structures that scream "Miami." Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is and choose: Which Miami Icon deserves to represent the Magic City to the rest of the world?

Today is your last chance to take our poll and make your voice heard. Should it be the opulence of the Versace mansion? The picturesque MacArthur Causeway? The fantastical Opa-locka City Hall?

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Miami Icons: Vote Now For Your Favorite Miami Landmark!

Categories: Architecture

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Marc Averette/Wikimedia Commons
All month long, Cultist's Miami Icons series has spotlighted Miami's most deserving landmarks. There are the obvious choices, like Ocean Drive's Colony Hotel. There are the historical gems, like Vizcaya. There were modern additions, like the Arsht Center. We even threw in a couple weirdo picks -- El Faraon, for example -- just to keep things interesting.

Now, it's time for you to choose. Which Miami Icon deserves to represent the Magic City to the rest of the world?

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Inside the Vagabond Hotel, Biscayne Boulevard's Restored MiMo Gem (Photos)

Categories: Architecture

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Photos by Ciara LaVelle
The Vagabond is back, baby.

It feels like forever since construction crews took over the site of the former motel at NE 73rd Street and Biscayne Boulevard, the one where the original Vagabond, the standout property in a string of motels built in the 1950s, once attracted some of Miami's first car-driven tourists.

But at yesterday's soft opening, billed as a "look-see" for neighbors in surrounding communities like Belle Meade, the hotel was looking as swanky as ever -- at least in the parts completed so far.

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Miami Icons: Espirito Santo Plaza, Brickell's Algebraic Skyscraper

Categories: Architecture

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Photo by Karli Evans
Espirito Santo Plaza: Miami's architectural monolith.
San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, New Times web editor Jose D. Duran argues for Espirito Santo Plaza.

Yo, Miami Tower, I'm really happy for you. Ima let you finish, but Espirito Santo Plaza is one the best Miami skyscrapers of all time.

Clichés aside, is there any argument that this algebraic curve of a building isn't beautiful?

The first time I really noticed the building was in 2006, shortly after moving back to Miami from college. I was driving north on I-95 when the glare from a building caught my eye. The sunlight playfully bounced off the concave arch that defines the monolithic tower.

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Miami Icons: El Faraon, Where Fidel Castro Once Visited (Maybe)

Categories: Architecture

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Karli Evans
San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, New Times art critic Carlos Suarez de Jesus examines the urban legends of El Faraon.

The coral rock house hugging the fringes of Little Havana is one of Miami's oddest structures, and gives the strange impression of being out of place and time.

It sits on the corner of Northwest 22nd Avenue and Seventh Street, posing a stark contrast against a bland office building across the street and a gloomy collection of strip malls nearby. The squat, fortress-like "casa de piedra," as it is known to older Cubans, has become both a thorny symbol of el exilio and the inspiration for one of our city's most enduring urban myths. That's because Fidel Castro allegedly slept there during a visit to Miami in 1955.

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Miami Icons: The MacArthur Causeway Bridge Pairs Striking Skyline Views and Strange History

Categories: Architecture

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Sergio Monsalve/Flickr
San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, arts editor Ciara LaVelle's ode to Miami's prettiest, freakiest bridge.

What better symbol for Miami than a bridge?

Sitting across Biscayne Bay from Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, Miami is a city of bridges: the Julia Tuttle, the Venetian, the Rickenbacker. But none so elegantly sums up the vibe of Miami the way the MacArthur Causeway Bridge does.

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Miami Icons: The Versace Mansion, a High-End Hotel Inspiring Macabre Fascination

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Photos by Zachary Fagenson
San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Lee Zimmerman argues for the Versace Mansion, AKA Casa Casuarina.

It was an indelible image seen around the world. The bloodstained steps of the Versace Mansion in the immediate aftermath of the inexplicable murder of fashion icon Gianni Versace. who, in spite of his wealth and influence, seemed a most unlikely target of an assassin's gun. For all the opulence that this palatial home represents, it's those stairs, where the homeowner was inexplicably ambushed by the crazed killer Andrew Cunanan, that still finds tourists gawking and gazing in amazement.

How strange that that small parcel of cement turf should overshadow the grandeur and spectacle borne by one of Miami Beach's most lavish domains. With ten bedrooms, 11 baths, a magnificent center courtyard, and 23,000 square feet of living space, it's imposing indeed. Versace was a man of impeccable taste, and up until his death in 1997, the furnishings and décor that he surrounded himself with reflected that fact.

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