Guide to Miami

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While we're putting the finishing touches to our World Cup Ground Guide and sending out thousands of copies of the World Cup Guidebook, your Free Lions team hasn't neglected the fact that England will play two pre-tournament friendles in Miami. 

Don't forget you can still get your hands on a digital copy of the Free Lions Guide to Brazil - all the hard copies have now 'sold out' (if you can sell out something that you're giving away for free, that is), but there will be copies available in Brazil for those travelling fans who didn't manage to get one in time. 

Meanwhile, to find out all you could need to know about England's upcoming matches with Ecuador and Honduras at the Sun Life Arena in Miami, just click on the links below. We will continue to update this page in the run up to the games on 4th and 7th June.

Getting There

By Air

The following airlines go to Miami although the flights may not necessarily be direct:

Air France www.airfrance.com (arrives at South Terminal)

American Airlines www.aa.com (arrives at North Terminal)

British Airways www.ba.com (arrives at North Terminal)

Lufthansa www.lufthansa.com (arrives at South Terminal)

TAP www.flytap.com (arrives at North Terminal)

Virgin Atlantic www.virgin-atlantic.com (arrives at North Terminal)

Miami International Airport is approximately 14km/9 miles northwest of Downtown Miami in the Miami-Dade County. The airport has three terminals - North, Central and South - divided into eight concourses and each terminal has a range of shops and restaurants. Each terminal is connected to a car park and it’s possible to walk from each of the terminals to another.

Terminal facilities and services include ATMs and currency exchanges, banking services, Duty Free and gift shops, restaurants, a pharmacy in each terminal and restrooms. Internet access is available throughout the airport and a post office is available on level 4.

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Getting to/from the Airport

By Bus

Head for the Lower Level Ramp in the airport and get the light rail to Miami International Airport station; on concourse E get bus #150 to Miami Beach. The journey takes about 20 minutes. If you are staying at North Beach, you will need to transfer at Miami Beach. At Miami Beach walk to Sheridan Avenue @ 42nd Street, about a 2 minute walk, and get the #117 bus to North Beach. The total journey time from the airport, including transfer, will take approximately an hour.

Up-to-the-minute details of timetables and fares can be found at www.miamidade.gov/transit/

By Metrorail

To go Downtown head for concourse E at the Miami International Airport station, about a 30 minute walk from the airport or you can take the light rail from the airport to the station. Take the southbound Metrorail towards Dadeland South; Central Station is 7 stops away and should take around 15 minutes.

By Car

If you are picking up a hire car at the airport and want to head to the centre of Miami you need to make your way to FL-836 (Dolphin Expressway) heading eastwards; this is a partial toll road. Continue along this stretch of road to reach the Overtown area. From here follow signage to Downtown.

South Beach is approximately 13 miles from the airport and, depending on traffic, could take between 20-45 minutes. North Beach is roughly 14 miles away and can take between 22 - 35 minutes.

By Taxi

Taxis are available on the arrival (ground) level of the airport, outside the baggage-reclaim areas.

All licensed cabs are metered; any toll road charges are extra to the fare. The city is broken into zones so fares are determined by what zone you are travelling to. All licensed cabs should have a display of zones and tariffs in the vehicle. Only a small number of cabs have the facility to take credit cards so make sure you have enough cash on you before you start your journey.

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Entry Requirements 

Your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay. As a tourist to the US, you will need to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation form (ESTA) online at least 72 hours before you travel. If you don’t have an ESTA you will be refused travel. The ESTA can be completed at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta and there is a fee of $14 per person (roughly £9) which is payable by credit card only. It may be that the price of your ESTA is already included in your ticket, if you are unsure it is best to check before you travel. Remember, if you haven’t got an ESTA you have to apply at least 72 hrs before departure so don’t leave it until the last minute to check whether you have it or not.

If you have any doubts as to whether you are eligible to enter the US (e.g. if you have a criminal record or have been arrested even if it didn’t result in a conviction), contact the US Embassy in London before you travel. http://london.usembassy.gov

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Getting Around - Public Transport

Metrorail- the 25-mile elevated rapid transit system is operational from 05:00am until midnight daily and there are two lines - the Orange Line and the Green Line. The Orange Line provides a connection to and from Miami International Airport (MIA). There are 23 stations, all roughly a mile apart; 10 of the stations are accessible for wheelchairs. The Metrorail also has a PA system that announces the arrival of a train and direction of travel at the station and on the train it will announce where it stops and the next station. A female voice announces the northbound trains and a male voice announces southbound trains.

The Metrorail does not accept cash therefore you need to purchase an EASY Card or EASY Ticket at the vending machines before travelling. www.miamidade.gov/transit

Metromover - is also on an elevated track that loops Downtown, Brickell and Omni districts. The Metromover runs from 05:00am until midnight daily and the service is free. www.miamidade.gov/transit

Metrobus - offers over 60 routes across the Miami-Dade County. The system is clean, safe and reliable. A number of bus routes run 24/7 but most operate between 06:00am through to midnight. The fare is $2.25 and you can pay the fare by cash on the bus or purchase an EASY card or EASY ticket before you travel. Bus stops are green and list the routes and stops. On the bus there are visual displays of the routes and stops. www.miamidade.gov/transit

Tri-rail - is a commuter rail system with 15 stations throughout the city, Broward and Palm Beach areas. The train also connects with three local airports including MIA.  www.tri-rail.com

Trolley Buses  - There are seven trolley bus routes across the city; the service runs from 6:30am Mon to Sat (with the exception of the Overtown route which doesn’t run on Saturdays) until 23:00pm. A small number of routes finish at 19:00pm and only two services run on Sunday’s - the Brickell route and Biscayne route operate from 08:00am to 20:00pm. The trolley buses run every 20 minutes. www.MiamiTrolley.com

Bike - There are a number of bicycle rental programmes in the city. You can rent a bike from over 100 locations and you just return it to any station when you’re done. Decobike is the official city rental scheme www.decobike.com or wheels2go offer electronic bikes which are a little more expensive www.wheels2gomiami.com

Car Rental

MIA Rental Car Centre is just east of the airport and contains 16 car rental companies. It can be reached by moving walkways from each of the airport’s terminals.

Taxis

General taxis

  • IC Yellow Cab - (305)-200-4152
  • Central Cab - (305)-532-5555
  • Super Taxi - (305)-888-7777

Free taxis - Free!!! Yes, they really are free. If you want to get around the Brickell, Downtown, Wynwood, Midtown and Design districts then there is a company offering free taxi rides. The company is called FreeBee and the cars are 100% electric which means they’re eco-friendly. All they ask of you is for a tip at the end of your journey.

Water Taxis - The water taxis connect Downtown with Miami Beach, Coconut Grove and Fisher Island. There are a number of locations across the city where you can embark including Bayside Marketplace and Miami Beach Marina. You can hop on without reservation at these venues but other destinations may require a reservation before pick-up. For fares, routes and special deals check the website www.watertaximiami.com.

STS Travel  - Miami-Dade County offers a Special Transportation Service (STS) which meets the needs of disabled travellers. It is available to citizens of Miami and also to some visitors. You need to provide proof of disability and that you reside elsewhere. To check if you are eligible to use this service email paratransit@miamidade.gov or call 786-469-5000 before you arrive in Miami.

Travel Cards - The EASY Card is similar to an Oyster card in that it is reloadable. Fareboxes are installed on buses and at Metrorail stations. The card is actually a paper ticket and is valid for 60 days. You must have a card or pre-paid ticket before you travel as the Metrorail does not accept cash fares. Metrobus fareboxes do accept cash. www.miamidade.gove/transit/easy_card.asp.

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About the Stadium - The Sun Life Arena

The stadium is home to both the Miami Dolphins American football team and the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. Construction of the 75,540 all-seater stadium started in 1985 and was completed two years later. It was originally named the Joe Robbie Stadium after the founder of the Miami Dolphins. The first game to be played at the new stadium was a friendly with the Dolphins versus the Chicago Bears which ended a 10-3 win for the Bears in front of a 63,451 crowd.

In 1991 the stadium underwent a renovation to accommodate baseball into the stadium’s programme of events. From 1993 the stadium became home to the Miami Marlins baseball team and their first game at the stadium was against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 6-3 victory. 

By 1996, due to a lucrative 10-year sponsorship deal, the stadium changed its name twice, firstly to the Pro Player Park, and a few months later to the Pro Player Stadium. As this sponsorship came to an end the stadium was again renamed, this time as the Dolphin Stadium, and a $250 million transformation of the stadium began.

Since 1996 the stadium has not only had a number of minor upgrades to expand capacity but it also has had a further two name changes, the Land Shark Stadium from 2009-2010, and its current name, the Sun Life Stadium, since 2010.

The stadium has been host to a total of five Super Bowl finals and the 2010 Pro Bowl and has also hosted the annual American college football bowl game, the Orange Bowl, since 1996. It has also been host to a number of large concerts over the years including Guns N’ Roses, Madonna, U2, the Black Eyed Peas and most recently Justin Timberlake and Jay Z.

Although not a multi-sport arena, the stadium has also hosted Wrestlemania XXVIII and a number of ‘soccer’ games including AC Milan v Chelsea in 2012 in which AC Milan won 1-0.

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Matchday information

Information on flags, the location of the Fans' Embassy and the Englandfans representatives are still to be confirmed. Please check back nearer the time for more up to date information.

Things to See and Do

Probably the four largest and most popular attractions are Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando Studios and Walt Disney World. All four are not too far away from Miami and are easily accessible by public transport.

Busch Gardens www.buschgardens.com is open 10:00am through to 18:00pm daily. You can purchase entry tickets on line or pay upon entry (online is slightly cheaper). Visit the website for current prices and to book tickets

SeaWorld, Orlando - www.seaworldparks.com is open from 09:00am until 19:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online.

Universal Studios Florida, ThemePark and Universal’s Islands of Adventure Theme Park - Open daily from 09:00am daily, various closing times. Details of attractions and park information as well as tickets can be booked online www.universalorlando.com

Fishing - several companies offer guided fishing trips with locations including many of the lakes around Florida - Lake Okeechobee, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Toho to name just a few. All equipment is provided and some provide food and transport to the boats. The boats and facilities are disability accessible. You can book from a couple of hours, half a day, a full day or even multi-days. www.bassonline.com is based in Fort Lauderdale.

Funky Buddha Brewery - Based in Oakland Park, the Funky Buddha Brewery is open daily from noon until midnight and offers so much more than beer. There is a gaming room which includes life-size Jenga, football tables, bocce-ball court. Food is also available and if you don’t fancy driving, they also offer a free bus covering the South Florida area. Tours are available at weekends; to book visit www.funkybuddhabrewery.com 

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Accommodation

There is no shortage of lodgings in Miami; however, due to high numbers of visitors, it does mean that accommodation is often pricey in much of southern Florida. The most popular areas include downtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Liberty City, Little Havana and Key Biscayne.

The further away from the beach, you will find that accommodation becomes cheaper, and the fact that Miami is small enough in that wherever you stay, you won’t feel isolated. The largest concentration of hotels is around Miami Beach area which is also an ideal base for the nightlife, obviously the beach, and for touring the city. There is also a decent selection of hostels within the area.

Eating and Drinking

There are literally thousands of restaurants in the area with many offering outdoor dining; they serve every imaginable cuisine from around the world. The range covers snack bars, fast-food chains and coffee shops to high-class restaurants and everything else in between.

Almost all of the restaurants offer some kind of happy-hour (usually between 17:00pm and 20:00) when drinks are cheap and discounts offered on food.

Fast Food

There are plenty of McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway etc as well as small, independent outlets across town.

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Health, Safety and Security

No particular vaccines are needed to enter the USA although it is worth checking if you are up-to-date with your basic immunizations such as Tetanus, MMR etc. Please see notes on entry to country requirements should you have to bring medical syringes with you i.e. diabetes needles.

Insurance

Medical treatment can be expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and possible repatriation.

Should you require emergency medical treatment during your stay, you should contact your insurance company promptly. Keep any receipts for payment of treatment, medication etc as you will need to produce them if asked by your insurance company.

Safety

As in any large city, always maintain an awareness of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas such as transport hubs or large shopping malls and the like. Sensibility applies - wear your bag across your body, don’t flash large amounts of cash, use your hotel safe, avoid travelling alone late at night, stay on well-lit, high populated streets.

There is a general threat of terrorism in Miami. The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions.  

Emergency Numbers

Dial 911 for all emergencies; an operator will connect you to the emergency service you require

Hospital

Jackson Memorial Hospital, 1611 NW 12th Avenue, Miami 33136. Tel: +1 305-585-1111 

Pharmacies

Most pharmacies are open from 09:00am until 18:00pm. Drugstores will usually open until 21:00pm and these have a pharmacy counter for dispensing prescriptions.

Travelling with medication/syringes

If you need to bring medication, syringes or needles with you, please note the following: prescription medications should be in their original containers with the prescription label printed on the container/packaging. It is advised that you travel with no more than personal use quantities i.e. no more than a 90 day supply. If the medication is not in their original containers, you will be asked to supply a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor. A valid prescription and doctor’s note is required on all medication entering the US.

If you are travelling with needles or syringes that could pose a security or safety concern to others, you will also need to have a copy of the prescription for those items and a letter of confirmation from your doctor.

Weather

The climate for Miami has a fairly mild climate and the weather is often extremely sunny and hot; Temperatures for June are highs of 31˚C (88˚F) and lows of 24˚C (75˚)

Timezone

GMT - 5

Electricity

The electrical current is 110 volts AC/50 Hz. Plugs/sockets are usually 3-pinned (two flat pins and one round pin) and therefore you will need and appropriate adaptor.  

Drinking

The legal drinking age is 21. Some nightclubs where food is also served permit entrance to persons under 21.

Smoking

Smoking is prohibited in all restaurants and public buildings and public areas such as transport hubs.

British Consulate-General

1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami FL 33131. Tel: +1 305 400 6400 or +1 407 254 3300

Open 09:00am to 16:00pm Mon to Fri, by appointment only. There is an emergency consular service for British nationals available out of hours.

Tourist Office

Although Miami does not have actual offices devoted to tourism, there are numerous useful outlets throughout the city providing tourist information and advice, maps and information.

  • Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, 701 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2700, Miami FL 33131. Tel: +1 305 539 3000 or 800 933 8448. Open 08:30am to 17:00am
  • Visit Miami Beach Visitors Centre, 1901 Convention Centre Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139. Tel: +1 786 276 2763. Open daily 10:00am to 16:00pm

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Communications

Post office

General Mail Facility, 2200 NW 72nd Avenue

Telephone

The international dialling code for the USA is 1. There are multiple city/area codes in use in Miami.

To phone from the USA, dial the international dialling access code (00), the country code (UK is 44), then the area code (305) minus the first zero of the number. There are a number of area codes in Miami but 305 is the main one.

To call the USA from the UK dial the international access code (00) the country code (1), the city or mobile number (dropping the first zero of the number) then the main number.

Mobile phones

Miami is covered with 3G and high-speed mobile internet; it may be worth investing in a local pre-paid SIM card to avoid paying high roaming charges. They are available phone shops, the post office and large electrical stores. You will likely be required to provide ID when buying local pre-paid SIMs.

Money

Currency

The currency is the United States dollar (US$). The dollar is dived into 100 smaller units known as cents.  Notes come in denominations of $1 (with the portrait of George Washington), $2 (Thomas Jefferson), $5 (Abraham Lincoln), $10 (Alexander Hamilton), $20 (Andrew Jackson) and $50 (Ulysses S. Grant) and $100 (Benjamin Franklin). Coins are in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ and $1.

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in the USA, probably more so than cash. Some of the smaller restaurants may operate a ‘cash only’ policy - so check before you dine. It is also worth noting, especially if you intend to drive, some of the toll roads and bridges take credit or ATM cards, but many don’t.

Don’t be alarmed if, when using your card, you aren’t asked for your pin number as a good majority of places still use the old ‘swipe and sign’ method. You are likely to be charged a fee for using your card abroad, check with your bank/building society before you leave.

Banking hours

Most major banks are open 09:00am to 16:00 Monday to Thursday, and 09:00am through to 18:00pm Friday, 09:00am to 13:00pm Saturday and closed Sundays. Smaller branches may operate different hours. Most banks have 24hr ATMs

Banks

  • Bank of America, 401 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.
  • Bank of America, 7474 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
  • BB&T, 1691 Michigan Avenue Ste 100, Miami Beach. (closed Sat & Sun)
  • Citibank, 1685 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach.
  • Florida Community Bank, 1802 NE Miami Gardens Drive, North Miami Beach
  • HSBC, 301 Arthur Godfrey Road, Miami Beach

Exchanging money

If you do have to change cash you will need to bring original photo identification with you (passport); a copy of your information page won’t do.

ID

It is always advisable to carry some form of ID with you; a photocopy of your passport information page should suffice. 

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