An enthralling weekend getaway, Miami is the spot to pause reality and indulge in some fun. Combining world-class beaches, exotic nightlife, and a mouthwatering food scene, Miami won’t disappoint.
But there is more to Miami than what meets the eye. This should excite new and returning travelers who have the chance to explore the Miami Design District, historic architecture, and communities like Little Havana highlighting the traditional Cuban culture.
Top Things to do in Miami Florida
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Ready to make the trip to South Florida? Find what you’re looking for with our guide to the best things to do in Miami.
Do you want to know more about the world around Miami? Read our guide to the best places to visit in Florida.
When your mind drifts to Miami, it’s often flooded with images of sun-filled days and cocktail hours. For the quintessential Miami experience, you must spend some time in South Beach.
The famous stretch of white sand, with the soft swell of the Atlantic Ocean caressing the edge, is the place to be right until the sun goes down. South Beach packs out with beachgoers, fitness fanatics using the public gym, and colorful rollerbladers gliding along the footpath.
Bathe under the Florida sun, admiring the classic lifeguard towers and when it gets too hot, taking a dip in the crystal clear waters. After golden hour, freshen up and return to South Beach for some of the best nightlife in town.
Want to know more about the Florida coastline? Check out our guide to the best beaches in Florida.
The Best Way to Save Money on Your Trip to Miami
Save up to 55% on Miami’s Top Tours with the GoCity Miami Pass. You can choose 1, 2 3, or 5-day passes depending on how long you are staying and what you want to do. All non-activated passes are eligible for a refund within 90 days from your purchase date.
Art Deco District
Miami isn’t all sun, booze, and dancing. Its fascinating history is on full display thanks to the Art Deco architecture that has been well-preserved through the decades.
Housing some of the best examples of Miami art and culture, the neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Futuristic and vintage all at the same time, the Art Deco buildings are a vibrant glimpse into the early days of Miami. To get the full picture of Miami’s Art Deco history, explore the Art Deco Museum.
See Millionaire’s Row
In a city of extravagance, Millionaire’s Row showcases the height of glamor in Miami. Along the glorious Biscayne Bay, which separates the mainland from Miami Beach, is a series of smaller islands. Many such as Star, Hibiscus, and Fisher Island are only accessible via boat.
Dotted with mansions and often hidden from the world, the islands are a holiday destination for the stars. Over the years, many big names have bought vacation homes here, from Shaq to Frank Sinatra.
There’s a popular cruise that takes you by the estates, with great return views of the Miami skyline.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Thanks to its unique design, comprising four buildings on manicured grounds, the Museum of Science is an easy one to spot. The museum explores a variety of topics that are sure to keep your attention for hours on end.
Begin at the large spherical building, where you’ll find the planetarium. The circular structure features a 250-seat viewing area with expansive views.
Other highlights include the multi-level aquarium with a focus on the Atlantic Ocean, along with a section dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. Great for kids and parents, the museum is one of the best things to do in Miami on a rainy day.
Featuring counter-served croquetas and a strong cafecito, Little Havana is Miami’s cultural hub for the Cuban community. Walking through the district will bring delightful aromas and an atmosphere different from any other in the city.
Here you can embark on a culinary experience, enjoying authentic eats at places like El Pub. After getting your fix, explore Calle Ocho where Cuban coffee is served to cigar-wielding patrons. Later wander down to Domino Park to watch the locals gather and play dominoes.
Complete your experience in Little Havana by visiting El Titan de Bronze to see how Cuban cigars are made from start to finish.
However you choose to do it, venturing down Ocean Drive is a great way to experience a lot of Miami in one go. Whether it’s on a walking tour, a bike, or on a slow cruise with the roof down, enjoy the palm-line street packed with restaurants and bars waiting to explode after dark.
On the other side of the drive is, of course, the sandy beach. Watch volleyballs going up and down and joggers run by before taking a break in the many oceanside parks. Sit back and admire the scenery, surrounded by blue skies and Art Deco Buildings with Latin music floating through the air.
Everglades National Park
Just 30 miles west of Miami, the Everglades National park is a wetland oasis primed for an eco-adventure. One of the best things to do in Miami is to explore the immense 1.5 million acres on a private airboat tour.
The Everglades National Park is teeming with wildlife. The subtropical wetland is unique to America, with alligators hovering beneath the surface. Your expert guide will take you through the park, showing off the best flora and fauna on offer. Before ending with the hair-raising experience of seeing the alligators up close. The park is also home to an exhibit-filled visitor center, hiking trails, and bike paths. You may also like: Best National Parks – USA Edition
Road Trip to Key West
A rite of passage for many travelers making their way to South Florida, the trip to Key West, is one of the top fun things to do in Miami. Taking roughly 4 hours, the drive goes from pretty to downright spectacular as soon as you cross Manatee Bay for Key Largo.
From there, the drive is a series of long flat bridges over turquoise water that connect the chain of tropical islands. With the rooftop down (convertibles are a must!), enjoy the breeze as the flurry of colors rushes by.
Continue on to reach Key West by sunset, to see the sun fall below the horizon at the most southern point in the contiguous USA.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The first underwater state park in the United States, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, offers over 70 nautical miles of stunning coral reef.
Just south of Miami, on Key Largo, the park provides a variety of tours to experience the underwater world. Try snorkeling or scuba diving alongside the vibrant reef teeming with sea life or explore the crystal clear waters on a glass-bottom boat.
After a day on the water, enjoy the calm and scenic Cannon Beach, complete with 17th-century cannons.
Watch Live Sports
If you’re a sports fanatic like me, then a live game always ends up on the itinerary. Thankfully, Miami is home to several pro sports teams, including the Miami Marlins (baseball) the Heat (basketball) and the Miami Dolphins (NFL).
Placed throughout the city, you can watch the Miami Heat shoot threes in downtown Miami or catch a fly ball at Marlins Park near Little Havana. While the Dolphins play out of Hard Rock Stadium in North Miami.
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
With 30 historic (and restored) locomotives on-site, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is one of the great niche attractions in Miami. The museum opened in the 50s and is dedicated to telling the story of rail transport in Florida.
Some of the popular locomotives that you can explore include the Ferdinand Magellan Presidential Railcar. A train built specifically for President Roosevelt. The train is made with nickel-steel armor and windows resistant to gunfire.
Just for the young ones, you can explore the wooden toy train sets with replicas of prominent locomotives through the eras.
Wynwood Art District
Once a collection of abandoned factory buildings, Wynwood has flourished into one of the top spots to experience Miami’s art scene.
After grabbing a tasty treat from the Salty Donut, explore the colorful cafes, art galleries, small boutiques and thrift stores with ample local talent on display. However, the highlight of the Wynwood Art District is the Wynwood Walls.
The heart of the district is a selection of large “street art” style work in a spacious outdoor area. Close to Little Havana, you can combine the two for a memorable afternoon.
The Venetian Pool
In Coral Gables, you can swim in the biggest freshwater pool in the United States. As famous as it is gorgeous, the pool was built in 1924 from an abandoned rock quarry.
Using inspiration from old Venetian grottos with Mediterranean influence, the Venetian Pool can hold over 800,000 gallons of underground spring water. The pool is emptied and refilled each day through spring and summer but features a natural filtration system that helps keep its electric blue/green color fresh.
The popularity of the swimming pool means you should arrive early as there are limits to the number of daily visitors.
South Pointe Park
At the southern end of South Beach, soak in the expansive views of the Atlantic, the glamorous Fisher Island and the Meloy Channel. Splitting high-rises and the sparkling water, South Pointe Park is the perfect spot for a picnic.
Find a comfy spot in the 17-acre park and let the ocean breeze float by as you enjoy the local atmosphere. The park is popular for outdoor recreation and anglers who can make use of the 450ft fishing pier.
You’ll also find some of Miami’s patented white sand and a dog park for your furry friend. As the neon lights of South Beach begin to flash, don’t leave South Pointe Park before experiencing one of the best sunset spots in Miami.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Covering just under 85 acres, come to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for the perfect escape from the bright lights of South Beach. Meticulously designed, the gardens feature a wide range of tropical plants and trees.
As one of the most beautiful sites in Miami, you’ll also find a selection of exotic and rare plants, including the petticoat palm. Many of the flora found here cannot survive outside of southern Florida.
While you’ll have a great time getting around on foot, you can join a narrated tram tour exploring both the nature and history of the botanic garden.
Deep Sea Fishing
Speaking of fishing, if you failed to land a catch on South Pointe Pier, why not venture out off the coast? With a great location and easy access to the Atlantic, Miami is a prime departure point for deep-sea fishing.
Jump on a charter boat (or take out your own), and watch the Miami skyline become smaller and smaller. Once it’s a dot on the horizon, cast your reel. This is a great way to experience the ocean.
Miami Children’s Museum
One of the best things to do in Miami with kids is to visit the Miami Children’s Museum. The expansive museum is as interesting as it is fun, and a brilliant spot to take restless kids on a rainy day.
The Miami Children’s Museum comprises 14 different halls along with four exhibits outside. The young ones can embark on an adventurous educational experience covering topics from world culture, arts and communication. Jump from the “Kidscape Village” and “Sea and Me” for a busy but fun afternoon.
The museum also comes with a variety of temporary exhibits, exciting events and daily programming to make every visit unique.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Originally covering 180 acres in Coconut Grove, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is one of the most cherished estates in South Florida. The home, built by the renowned James Deering, was complete in 1916 and features 34 rooms.
In a bold attempt to add a slice of the Renaissance to his massive villa, Deering brought over 1000 craftsmen from Europe. Today, you can explore the enormous estate, with the home filled with period furniture and the stunning courtyard on full display. Speaking of fascinating places, peruse our guide to fun facts about Florida.
Lincoln Road Mall
Along Collins Avenue, you’ll discover high-end designer boutiques in droves. Another block inland, on Washington Avenue, you can shop for vintage ware. But to really scratch your shopping itch, head to the Lincoln Road Mall.
Just a few blocks from the beach, the vibrant shopping complex comprises over 100 shops and eateries, placing everything you need in the palm of your hand. As you jump between high-end brands and local boutiques, stop by the cocktail bars or check out the food trucks parked along the walkway.
On the edge of Biscayne Bay near Millionaire’s Row, the Bayside Marketplace is a rousing waterfront complex for shopping, dining and entertainment. If the Lincoln Road Mall wasn’t your speed, bask in the warm Miami sun as you stroll from stall to stall on the hunt for eclectic ware and cherished mementos.
With picturesque views around every corner, stop by one of the many elevated dining spots to enjoy lunch or dinner by the water.
If you’re searching for a restaurant to add to your Miami itinerary, then be sure to write down Versailles Restaurant. The famous Cuban restaurant began life back in the 1970s as a humble cafe slinging sandwiches and coffee.
But thanks to their menu of authentic Cuban cuisine, the restaurant now has worldwide acclaim. If you’re not sure what to try, you can’t go wrong with the traditional vaca frita (shredded flank steak) and the Cuban sandwich. However, their most famous dish is the Lechon Asado (roast pork).
Among the concrete jungle of central Miami, Bayfront Park is an urban escape complete with a calming waterfall. Improvements and expansions have occurred over the previous decades to give the park a more prominent role in local life.
Now state-of-the-art, Bayfront Park is the place to go for some light reading under shady trees or to do some yoga on the lush lawns. Events are common in the park, from live music to movie nights and performances in the amphitheater.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Known simple as MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art houses a variety of halls displaying sculptures, portraits, photography, and even video games. The museum, although small, offers a fantastic collection of new and famous artists, including Nam June Paik and Louise Bourgeois.
If you’re in Miami at the end of the month, then come along to the museum for a free outdoor jazz concert held at 8pm.
Once a plantation for coconuts, Crandon Park became a public space after being donated to the powers that be in Miami-Dade County. With a spacious, sugar-sand beach, room for picnics and plenty of shade, visiting the park is one of the top things to do in Miami.
The local water generally features little swell, making it both a relaxing hangout spot and perfect for families with lifeguards on patrol. But the beach has more to it than sunbathing and swimming. There’s an adjacent golf course, a marina for the boat buffs among us, and a large tennis center featuring over 20 courts.
How to get to Downtown Miami
Congrats on your pending adventure to Miami. If you’re flying into Miami International Airport, then you’ll have several ways to get into town.
The cheapest way to get to Miami is on the Metrorail Orange Line, which costs $2.25 per person. After arriving in the city, you can then link to a variety of public transport.
Other options include a private shuttle which ranges between $15 and $30 dollars depending on your destination. You can also hail a taxi for a flat rate of $22. Uber and Lyft are also available.
Best Time to Visit
Miami has great year-round weather spanning from mild winters to hot summers. For this reason, if you’re willing to put up with stifling heat or colder beach weather, there’s no terrible time to visit.
Our favorite time of year to experience Miami is the spring, as long as you avoid Spring Break. Enjoy milder temperatures (between 75f and 85f) compared to summer, with endless blue skies and balmy evenings.
Where to Stay in Miami Beach
The best area to stay in Miami is Miami Beach. With prime access to the beaches, Ocean Drive, nightlife and the Art Deco District, you’ll have it all on your doorstep. Here are three options to suit all budgets.
- Budget – Miami isn’t a haven for budget travelers, but Hotel Shelley comes with cozy rooms with Art Deco charm. Enjoy modern amenities, free WiFi, close to all the action.
- Mid-Range – Right on the beach and along Ocean Drive, Marriot Stanton is a superb choice for traveling families. Make the most of two on-site pools, spas, saunas, and a gym with the beach and restaurants all within walking distance.
- Luxury – Occupying an entire city block, 1 Hotel South Beach is the epitome of Miami luxury. Soak in the expansive floor-to-ceiling ocean views, with exquisite decor and the largest rooftop pool in town.