Miami's temptations program will have you discovering sides of Miami you didn't know existed.

By: Christian Portilla I'm Not Your Boring Newspaper columnist

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, also known as the GMCVB, has a Citi Miami Temptations Program which entices locals and visitors to explore South Florida with monthly themes. The program has been a staple in the city offering 12 different themes with offers to some of Miami's most coveted experiences without patrons paying the full price of general admission.

If you've ever enjoyed a three-course meal during Miami Spice or relaxed with hot stones during Miami Spa Month, then you've definately partaken in the temptations program. Activations include Miami Museum Month, and in June they featured Miami Film Month, where the program presented films at the local independent cinemas with $8 movie tickets.

The GMCVB also wants to inject culture and art into the program. They recently hosted an opening reception for the Venice in the Gables public arts initiative, in celebration of International Museum Day and the GMCVB’s Miami Museum Month. Attendees were invited to check out hand-painted posts that are now placed throughout different areas of The City of Coral Gables and had a chance to meet the local artists who painted them.

The community art project is a temporary exhibit, and guests can visit the Coral Gables Museum and pick up a map before going on a self-guided tour of each of the 33 posts. The activity is meant to feel like a scavenger hunt with each post representing a different artist and their work.

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has programming all year round with different specials available for all tastes.

July will be a combination of Miami Hotel Month taking place June through September with Miami Spa Month running July through August. They'll also feature the popular Miami Spice Month in August and September that offer's $39 three-course meals at participating five-star restaurants.

In October, they feature Miami Attractions Month where participants can enjoy two-for-one admission to different activities in Miami. Miami Live Arts Month in November will celebrate the live entertainment scene, and December highlights Miami Heritage Month where folks can discover rich history in neighborhoods like Little Havana and Little Haiti.

Madeleine Paredes is the VP of the Temptations program and says as time has passed the program has developed through the desires and wants of the community. She says feedback from participating venues and patrons is what helps them develop ideas for future events.

"We started attractions month because the attractions came to us to have something for them and the same thing with the museums. The programs are based on critical mass and obviously locals, with 80 percent of programs enjoyed by locals," Paredes said. "They've become so popular that now we have a relationship with the Southern Florida Concierge Association, so they talk about our program, they distribute postcards with our events. Its quasi-local, culture is very important in Miami and one of the allures we have as a destination. We also added Miami Heritage Month five years ago, and that program took off in its first year. We had tours of the different heritage neighborhoods in Little Havana, Historical Overtown, and Little Haiti and the west part of Coconut Grove and it's growing. They grow because culture is a big attraction."

Recently Paredes and her team returned from a marketing and planning retreat but said they're always open to suggestions from the community and their partners so they can continue to expand their reach. The program is supported by the City of Miami Beach, Miami Dade County, Bal Harbour and revenue from the Hotel Tax. Paredes said they also get feedback from politicians, mayors, and commissioners who are very involved with the community not just locally she noted but internationally too.

She said that despite some of the challenges in the hospitality business such as the Zika advisory they were able to present a strong marketing campaign that enabled businesses to continue thriving despite the lack of a strong tourist season. Paredes said Miami Dade County's response was fast in the face of the epidemic stating it was "nipped at the butt" rather quickly with the response from her team and the community. Hurricanes and the rainy season also forces Paredes to think outside of the box. She says they have agencies that work with them and they're very receptive to the changes in the community. Tourism is the number one industry, and they consistently have to change their ideas in the face of climate, or latest trends.

She said being at the head of the Temptations Program she's had a firsthand experience of what Miami can offer and participated in events that may not have necessarily been a part of her routine.

She also says the feedback from the community has been positive.

"The program has afforded people the opportunity to go to museums at a reduced rate some of them are even buy-one-get-one on admission. People can also go to the spas like Lapis at Fontainebleau or The Biltmore spa. I mean where else can you enjoy a spa with more than 35 participants and get a treatment for $109? It has definitely afforded and opened up the opportunity for our residents to enjoy things they may not have in the past."

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