Welcome to the Magic City!

As Miami’s translation and interpreting community prepares diligently for ATA’s 56th Annual Conference, November 4-7, I felt inspired to share my favorite things to do in the Magic City.

Although I was born in Panama and have lived in several countries, I’ve called Miami home for over 20 years. My family and I have been entertaining an almost constant flow of visitors from different continents ever since then. (Everybody wants to come to Miami is what they tell us!) As savvy travelers ourselves, we know it’s not easy to please different age groups and interests. However, Miami is sure not to disappoint! Whether you’re coming just for the conference and only have a few hours to spare or you plan to extend your trip and make it into a vacation as well, Miami has something for you!

Surf and Sun

“Miami and the Beaches” are the words you see plastered on every billboard as you drive out of the airport. While there is more to Miami than its beaches, if that’s what you love, Miami boasts amazing beaches near the conference hotel! Clearly, the most famous one is South Beach, south of 17th Street in Miami Beach, a beach to see and be seen. Start your day with some surf and sun and then head over to Lincoln Road Mall and get a bite to eat (and people watch), shop, or catch a show. Sip cocktails overlooking a stunning view of the city at Juvia, a local hot spot. If you crave shows and entertainment check out that evening’s program at the small but beautiful Colony Theatre, an art-deco gem. Alternatively, head to a concert at the world-renowned New World Symphony, home to the most promising young musicians in this country! Check out their calendar online and you might even be able to catch one of their (totally free) WallCast Concerts! These concerts are held in the Miami Beach Soundscape, on an enormous projection wall with a sound-surround system. You can even take (or order) your own picnic fare to dine while you listen to glorious music!

If trendy is not your style and you’re just looking for a beautiful beach in a more tranquil setting, head out to Bill Baggs Cape Florida National Park in Key Biscayne. Enjoy lunch at the Lighthouse café and relax!

Everglades National Park

For the nature enthusiast, Florida’s Everglades National Park is a must see! The “River of Grass” (a nod to Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ 1947 nonfiction book about the Florida Everglades) is a unique ecosystem considered to be the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The park itself has several entrances. The closest one to downtown Miami is Shark Valley (about one hour away with no traffic). It consists of a 15-mile loop (you can walk, bike (rentals available), or take a guided tram tour). There are also a couple of short trails. November is just about the time when the weather starts changing in Miami (from super hot to hot but less humid), so you will see abundant wildlife, including birds, turtles, and even alligators! Plan to bring your own picnic lunch, as there are no eating facilities. If you have more time, you might want to explore the Royal Palm or Flamingo entrances, which are a little farther away. Bike tours and boat tours are also available from these entrances.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

One of my favorite parks in South Florida is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first undersea park in the U.S., located about one-and-a-half hours away in famous Key Largo (yes, where the classic Humphrey Bogart movie Key Largo was filmed!). Snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours are available so you can explore the coral formations and gorgeous marine wildlife in this gem of a park! Last but not least, no visit to Key Largo would be complete without a stop at the original Key Lime Pie Factory in Tavernier. Don’t leave Florida without trying Florida’s famous dessert!


Miami is home to many sports franchises, so make sure to catch a game while you’re here! Head out to American Airlines Arena (AAA) and cheer on our three-time NBA Champion Miami Heat! The AAA is minutes away from the conference hotel, and you can enjoy dinner at the arena itself or at the Bayside Marketplace next door. Bayside has several restaurants (including a Hard Rock Café), and you can catch sightseeing tours of Biscayne Bay from here.

Arts and Entertainment

If arts and entertainment are your thing, you have come to the right place! Miami’s different venues boast first class or indie dance, theater, music, and art shows. Get tickets to the hottest shows at the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts and its gorgeous Ziff Opera House and Knight Center. Over the past decade, Miami has also grown into an art and design destination. While Art Basel happens in December, Miami’s art scene is year round! Head out to Wynwood and witness this vibrant visual arts scene. From galleries to street art and graffiti, art is everywhere! You can catch Sunday tours, walking tours, or even self-guided tours. One of my recent favorites is the Perez Art Museum, which opened just a few years ago. Its collections focus, quite uniquely, on international arts from the 20th and 21st centuries from an Americas perspective. Its ocean vistas from different corners of the building, its singular architecture, and the delicious fare at Verde, its onsite restaurant overlooking Biscayne Bay, make it a special place to visit!

Food and Culinary Diversity

Last, but not least, if you enjoy food and culinary diversity Miami has an exciting array of eateries for you! The restaurant choices mentioned below are completely subjective because I am only pointing out places my friends, family, and I have visited and enjoyed. Miami’s famous Joe’s Stone Crab is a compulsory stop during any visit to Miami. For over 100 years, the guest list has included the likes of Al Capone, J. Edgar Hoover, and many past and current celebrities. The Wynwood neighborhood and the adjacent Design District have an eclectic restaurant scene, ranging from food trucks to hip restaurants such as MC Kitchen. Stray a little south to Coconut Grove and try the delicious Indian cuisine at Bombay Darbar or South American Ceviche at Jaguar. Coral Gables also offers some wonderful restaurants, including Talavera for authentic Mexican cuisine, the fascinating fusion cuisine of Ortanique, or the traditional Cuban cuisine of Havana Harry’s.

Experience the Locale

I hope the tidbits of information above will pique your curiosity and entice you to venture beyond the conference hotel. Remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! So work hard at ATA’s 56th Annual Conference, but take the opportunity to get to know a little bit of what makes Miami a Magic City!

Florida Travel Links

Here are links to just some of the places I mentioned. Make sure to check out the excellent resources provided by the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida, ATA’s Florida chapter!

Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida ATA Conference Page

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

American Airlines Arena

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Colony Theatre

Design District

Florida State Parks

Joe’s Stone Crab

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Key Lime Pie Factory

Lincoln Road Mall

National Park Service: Everglades

New World Symphony

Pérez Art Museum Miami

Sports spots in Miami (from Travel Channel)

Itzaris Weyman is a freelance translation editor and consultant specializing in quality assurance for large-volume projects, third-party review, and linguistic analysis. She also serves as a translation production consultant for small- to mid-size translation companies. She is an active member of the American Translators Association and the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF, www.atifonline.org). Contact: itzarisweyman@atlanticbb.net.

1 Responses to "Welcome to the Magic City!"

  1. Edith says:

    What a thorough and picturesque description of our Magic City, Itzaris. After reading this article, no visitor can deny the “pull” of the Magic City! Excellent job!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The ATA Chronicle © 2023 All rights reserved.