Coyotes, a rabbit entree and showgirls: Welcome to South Florida, Nuggets and Knights fans

Hello, Denver. How ya doin’, Vegas? You’ve come all the way to our place for the playoffs this week, and we hardly know each other. Let’s fix that.

The cynics in the media, of course, see only conflict: The Denver Nuggets taking on the Miami Heat at Kaseya Center in the NBA Finals on Wednesday and Friday, while the Las Vegas Golden Knights battle the Florida Panthers for the NHL championship at FLA Live Arena on Thursday and Saturday.

But we don’t think of it as Denver and Las Vegas vs. South Florida. We have a lot more in common than people think.

For instance, most of America has formed opinions about all three of us based on our looks. Which is just so unfair. Not that we are above showing a little skin to our advantage, am I right, Vegas? And Denver, you’re stacked and beautiful, but isn’t there more to you than those eye-catching mountains?

We all may be bound by history soon — the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals have never been won by two teams from the same place at the same time. So we’d like to welcome you and offer a few tips on how to feel at home in South Florida. Before, you know, we hate each other.

Welcome, Denverites!

To be honest, we did not know that people who live in Denver are called Denverites. (Thanks, Google.) OK, full disclosure, we barely knew there was a city between Denver International Airport and the resort. I mean, the kids get to yammering about seeing snow and making s’mores, and before you know it, bam! You’re in Breck! No offense. Probably a nice place.

Drink up:We noticed during Sunday night’s Heat win that you have the large numerals 5280 on the court at the Nuggets’ home, Ball Arena. Of course, it’s meant to illustrate the elevation in the Mile High City, but also to intimidate the opposition with a reminder of the debilitating effect of the thin air up there. Our number is 25.7616798. That’s the latitude of Miami. Which is the tropics, where the air is thick, heavy and moist. We have a saying here: It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity. Wait, no, it’s the humidity. Remember to hydrate.

Drink local:At the 2023 World Beer Cup Awards last month, medals went to Nelson Hazy IPA at Prison Pals Brewing Co., with taprooms in Oakland Park and Doral, and La Original ale from Cerveceria La Tropical in Miami. (OK, we know, more than a dozen Denver-area breweries won medals. But you’re here, not there.) Elsewhere, these local breweries were winners at the 2023 Best of Florida Beer Championship: Mathews Brewing Co. in Lake Worth Beach, NOBO Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach, Yeasty Brews Artisanal Beers in Lauderhill, Tarpon River Brewing in Fort Lauderdale and Prison Pals Brewing.

Getting high:We’d love to make you feel at home with a tour of our mountains, but … We do have Mount Trashmore near Coconut Creek. It’s at least 225 feet high, which is nearly twice as tall as the Ball Arena. Unless you’re driving a garbage truck, there are no tours of the mountain, formally known as Monarch Hill Renewable Energy Park, but you can do a drive-by on Florida’s Turnpike.

Not getting high:When friends come back from Colorado, they inevitably have a story about edibles. While support is high in Florida for legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use (70 percent according to a recent poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab), we’re not there yet.

Wild wildlife:Depending on the location of your VRBO, you may witness South Florida’s newest wildlife phenomenon: coyotes. If you were to assume we brought them in for your Old West enjoyment, we won’t say otherwise. Truthfully, we have no idea where they came from or what to do with them. We’re open to ideas. But, enjoy!

Wild eating: How often do you get over here? Might as well splurge on dinner. We are aware that Denver is a sophisticated eating city, with four Michelin-starred restaurants. Miami has 12, which include Boia De, at 5205 NE Second Ave., north of the Miami Design District, and known for “modern American cooking with a strong Italian influence.” Our recommendation is based on its understated, hidden-gem sincerity (which feels like you, Denver) and its Pappardelle alla Lepre, a showcase of Florida rabbit ($27). Look for the neon pink exclamation point next to the laundromat.

Welcome, Sin Citizens!

We feel a special kinship to you … Las Vegans, is it? We, too, live for neon and air conditioning, and love New York-New York as a concept, a simulation. You set the standard for family-unfriendly vacation destinations, though no one is more anti-Disney than we are. Like us, you also get accused of being a cultural backwater — clearly these folks have not seen “The Hangover” or the stunning Cirque-style entrance of your hockey team. Sports needs more holographic dragons and glitter on uniforms.

Neon and lasers:Part of a $1.5 billion expansion of the casino some years ago, the 450-foot, 36-story, neon-clad Guitar Hotel at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is garish, glorious, incongruous and symbolic of some kind of odd edifice complex. At first sight, your reaction is likely to be both, “Wow!” and “Why?” Plus, it has lasers that shoot light 4 miles into the sky, the poolside dayclub-nightclub DAER (think TAO Beach at the Venetian), where our own Rick Ross performs Friday night ($35+), and the 7,000-seat Hard Rock Live, hosting comedian Trevor Noah on Friday ($55+).

Train to the future: If you are curious about the Brightline West rail project being talked about between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, check out the company’s high-speed trains currently running between Miami and West Palm Beach. Brightline’s elegant stations can be found in downtown Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. By the end of the summer, the line is expected to extend to Orlando.

Frank was here: Las Vegas legend Frank Sinatra also had a long and prolific association with the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, performing in the resort’s La Ronde Supper Club when he wasn’t shooting films including “Tony Rome,” “Lady in Cement” and “A Hole in the Head” — an era that’s remembered in photography displays in the hotel. The 22-acre, waterfront property remains an iconic example of influential architect Morris Lapidus’ curvaceous Miami Modern style.

Robuchon is here: The august Michelin Guide does not give star ratings to restaurants in Las Vegas anymore (perhaps a snag in the guide’s opaque financial relationship with local tourism agencies). But the namesake restaurant of the late Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand, which received three stars in 2009, has a two-star sister spot in L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami Design District. It is one of the few places in South Florida that serves A5 Japanese Wagyu.

Over the top, anyone? If you are looking for opulent, Vegas-style showmanship, there is Sexy Fish in downtown Miami’s Brickell District (sister restaurant to the buzzy London original), which comes with art pieces by Damien Hirst, bespoke fish lamps by Frank Gehry, a destination bar with towering indoor waterfalls, late-night DJs and showgirls, and a bold and inventive cocktail menu. It’s Vegas-worthy.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at Follow on Instagram @BenCrandell and Twitter @BenCrandell.