It's never been easier to be in the right place at the right time in Greater Miami and the Beaches! From Memorial Day in May to Labor Day in September, there are more than 60 exciting events going on day and night — including festivals, arts, fashion, cultural and sporting events.

This series of events — the Tropicool Festival Season — kicks off every May and runs through September. The summer continues with dozens of events, such as Soul Beach Music Festival at the American Airlines Arena in June in downtown Miami. Independence Day (July 4) festivities all over the Miami — from America's Birthday Bash in Bayfront Park to the Florida Philharmonic performing on the sand in South Beach, offering visitors many opportunities to get into the American spirit with fireworks, food, and music.

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes Miami Spice: Restaurant Month, serving up incredible meals at the best restaurants at special prices during the whole month of August. Call 1-888-76-MIAMI for a listing of all our events or visit. Here are just a few:

COOL CUISINE AND NIGHTLIFE

6 DEGREES

Boasting a cuisine and design that embodies Miami's sexy and modern spirit, 6 Degrees Restaurant in Miami Beach recently opened its doors in November of 2001 with California continental cuisine.

THE TIDES

In Miami Beach, Executive Chef Roger Ruch has introduced his new menu for 1220 at The Tides. The menu reflects Chef Ruch's 'Progressive American' style, with influences from European, Asian, Caribbean, and South American cuisine.

5061 EATERIE AND DELI

Opened in November 2001, 5061 Eaterie & Deli on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami features a delectable pastiche of global cuisine combining the exotic cultures from the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia with classic American fare creating an American bistro menu with a French twist.

AMMO RESTAURANT

AMMO Restaurant recently opened its doors in Coral Gables, promising diners a creative eclectic menu focusing on seasonal ingredients of the highest quality. AMMO Restaurant also features a cozy "living room" tucked away in a private corner where people can meet for afternoon coffee and dessert or for drinks and light appetizers at any time. The "living room" remains open between lunch and dinner.

AZUL @ MANDARIN ORIENTAL

Azul, the signature restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, was chosen by Esquire magazine as the "Best Restaurant of 2001" in its 20th annual survey of the nation's best new restaurants. Café Sambal, their all-day dining spot, announced a new menu of dishes and delicacies from the East, inspired by the foods and flavors of Asia. Café Sambal is also debuting its Sake Bar, where an extensive menu of premium sake brands by the carafe or bottle is offered from Japan, Seattle, and California.

BAREFOOT BEACH CLUB

Barefoot Beach Club at Nikki Beach on Ocean Drive is featuring a newly expanded beachfront playground.

CAFÉ TU TU TANGO

Café Tu Tu Tango is proud to announce the completion of its new menu for 2002. Corporate Executive Chef Todd Hogan has added some culinary delights to the already numerous Café Tu Tu Tango favorites

HONEY NIGHTCLUB

Opened on December 29, 2001, Honey is one of South Beach's newest nightclubs offering dancers an alternative to techno music with its low-down, funky sounds programmed by resident DJ Roberto Castillano and Luis D.

LEVEL NIGHTCLUB

Level Nightclub in South Beach underwent a complete renovation transforming the club's three rooms into distinct nightclub environments, each with a unique personality.

MANGO'S TROPICAL CAFE

Mango's Tropical Café just opened "The Samba Bar" and the South Upstairs Gallery for private parties. Soon to open is the very sensual VIP room called "The Voodoo Lounge".

OCEAN FIVE BISTRO

The new Ocean Five Bistro at the Ocean Five Hotel features Mediterranean cuisine fired up in its wood-burning oven.

OCEAN STEPS

South Beach's new Ocean Steps retail complex at 1500 Ocean Drive, designed by world-renowned architect Michael Graves, is partially completed. The complex includes recently opened Caviarteria, Samba Room, Beach Place, Breez, and Billboard Live, a $20+ million multimedia entertainment complex that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests and host multiple events simultaneously with its interior space consisting of 8 separable areas all equipped with state-of-the-art communication, audio, visual, and intelligent lighting capabilities. Coming soon is Miami Vogue.

OXYGEN LOUNGE

Oxygen Lounge in Coconut Grove recently debuted with an earthy decor serving sushi and Pan-Asian dishes. At 11 p.m., the lounge-like atmosphere heats up as a DJ spins up dance and electronic music.

SUSHISAMBA DROMO

Opened November 2001, SushiSamba Dromo brings a unique menu of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian flavors to Miami Beach's major promenade mall, Lincoln Road.

WISH @ THE HOTEL

On Brickell Key, Wish at The Hotel undertook a $200,000 project to create an "Inner Garden" dining area. Drawing on the expertise of fashion designer Todd Oldham, Wish transformed the lobby into a new interior garden dining room to complement the famous outdoor garden dining area. www.thehotelofsouthbeach.com

MIAMI ATTRACTION ACTION

FAIRCHILD TROPICAL GARDEN

In November of 2001, Fairchild Tropical Garden announced the opening of its first off-site retail location, The Palm Collection by Fairchild Tropical Garden, inside the newly renovated hotel, The Palms in Miami Beach. Visitors traveling to The Palms can frequent the avant-garde gift store located in the lobby of the hotel. The store will feature a unique collection of items for the home and garden, palm-themed gifts, an extraordinary selection of books on tropical plants and landscaping, and hotel logo souvenirs.

DESIGN PRESRVATION LEAGUE

The Miami Design Preservation League welcomed the 5,000 square foot MDPL Center in October 2001 to South Beach, featuring an Art Deco Museum, Design Interpretive Center, Capitman Archives, and Art Deco Welcome Center. Located in the heart of the Art Deco Historic District, the MDPL Art Deco Welcome Center will serve visitors with a variety of maps, architectural reference materials, walking and bus tours, self-guided audio tours, and unique Art Deco collectibles.

MIAMI METROZOO

Miami Metrozoo in South Miami-Dade, voted one of the top ten zoos in the country for service and curriculum by Travel and Leisure magazine, is undergoing a $3 million renovation to include Dr. Wilde's World (a large indoor exhibit), a Cuban crocodile exhibit, a squirrel monkey exhibit, and additional misters for the Cool Zoo Experience to help keep summer visitors cool. Ongoing projects include the "Wings of Asia" aviary, to be completed in 2002.

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE

Miami Museum of Science announces it received a National Award for Museum and Library Service. The awards are given annually to libraries and museums throughout the nation that make exceptional social, economic, or environmental contributions to their communities. The Miami Museum of Science received the award because of its programs addressing the barriers that prevent females and minorities from entering the science and mathematics fields.

MIAMI SEAQUARIUM

The Miami Seaquarium has unveiled a new exhibit named Tropical Wings. Toucans, macaws, reptiles, and other tropical birds find themselves in a newly renovated exhibit formerly Faces of the Rainforest. The area consists of a new waterfall approximately thirteen feet high, twice the size of the previous one, a collective variety of coconut and queen palm trees, a meandering concrete path walk, and a tin hut home to a multitude of new habitats for reptiles and birds. The area allows visitors more accessibility to the fish pool for feeding opportunities. The exhibit also houses a new pool for the park's flamingos. The new exhibit will provide visitors with a tropical palm grove view unlike any other setting in the park. The cost of the renovation is estimated to have cost $75,000.

PARROT JUNGLE

March 2001 marked the groundbreaking of the new $46 million home of Parrot Jungle and Gardens on Watson Island, located along the MacArthur Causeway, connecting popular downtown Miami and South Beach. The new 18.6-acre park will feature an Everglades exhibit, Serpentarium® (reptile facility), children's area with petting zoo, animal barn, playground and water play areas, baby bird and plant nurseries, picnic pavilions, food court, 500-seat theater, two amphitheaters, jungle trails, Parrot Café, gift shop and aviaries. There will be a soft opening of the park November of 2002 with the grand opening of Parrot Jungle and Gardens on Watson Island planned for January 2003. Until its new location opening, Parrot Jungle will remain open and fully operational in its current location in South Miami.

CHESS HALL OF FAME

The World Chess Hall of Fame & Sidney Samole Chess Museum opened its doors in October 2001. The 10,000 square foot building resembles a chess set complete with a 42-ft. rook guard at the gate. The museum chronicles the evolution of chess and its heroes with fascinating chess artwork, rare photographs, trophies, books, and other memorabilia.

By John Smeltzer, Jetsetters Magazine Florida Corrrespondent.

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