Things To Do In Miami
There’s no shortage of sun and sand in Miami. But there’s much more to the Magic City than just the beach.
There’s also a rich cultural heritage, a cutting edge art scene, vibrant nightlife and plenty of natural beauty. To help you decide what to do on your trip, here’s our list of the 15 best things to do in Miami.
1. Miami Beach
You can’t go to Miami and not go to Miami Beach. For many people, that’s the very reason they visit Miami. Located on a barrier island, Miami Beach is a lively mix of unique neighborhoods, beaches, parks and entertainment areas. Look for more family-friendly beaches in North Miami Beach. A top draw for many is glitzy and decadent South Beach.
Don’t miss the Art Deco Historic District. Guided tours make it easy to explore. Walk, bike or drive along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, the two main roads in the area. Other highlights include the Lincoln Road Mall, South Pointe Pier and Lummus Park.
There are also plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife options here. But be prepared to spend a bundle as things are not cheap here.
2. South Beach
Located at the southern end of Miami Beach, South Beach is one of the best things to do in Miami. This vibrant and glamorous neighborhood is home to 10 miles of beaches, and plenty of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops that overlook the ocean.
It’s a place to see and be seen, where the rich and famous hang out and party. Stroll along the boardwalk and people watch. Soak up the sun and atmosphere at the public South Beach, the most popular beach in Miami. Frolic in the water.
Take a guided tour of the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world. Numerous other tours are available, including food tours, bike tours and Segway tours. Afterwards, enjoy a drink or meal poolside or overlooking the ocean. Then party until you drop at some of the hottest nightclubs in Miami.
3. Little Havana
Immerse yourself in Cuban culture at Little Havana. Calle Ocho (Southwest 8th Street) is the main street and heart of the area. And it’s lined with restaurants, galleries, shops, bodegas, cigar shops and more. Sample some authentic Cuban dishes. Then wash it all down with some strong Cuban coffee. Get both at Versaille, one of the most famous Cuba restaurants in the world.
Watch locals play dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park (Domino Park). Learn about Cuban art and culture at the Cubaocho Museum and Gallery. Listen to lively Latin music all around. Walk along the Walk of Fame honoring Latin American celebrities. And keep an eye out for murals and street art honoring important Cuban figures.
If you’re visiting in March, be sure to attend the Calle Ocho festival. Guided food and culture tours will show you the best of this vibrant area.
Formerly a run-down industrial area, Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood has been transformed into one of its top areas for art, especially graffiti and street art. And it’s one of the best things to do in Miami. Today it’s home to more than 70 art galleries, along with an assortment of hip and trendy boutiques, cafes, restaurants and bars.
A top highlight is the Wynwood Walls, which features more than 40 murals by top American and international artists that cover more than 80,000 square feet of space.
The popular Wynwood Art Walk takes place the second Saturday of the month. But you don’t have to wait until then to explore this vibrant area. You can walk around on your own or join a guided tour by golf cart.
5. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Considered one of the treasures of the city, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is one of the best things to do in Miami. A National Historical Landmark, the spectacular Italian Renaissance-style villa is set on 28 beautifully landscaped acres.
Built-in 1916, the mansion contains 34 rooms around a central courtyard. It was the work of more than 1,000 workers, many of them brought over from Europe for authenticity. Inside, there’s an impressive collection of more than 2,500 pieces of antiques, artwork and furnishings from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
The grounds and gardens contain beautiful fountains, pools and sculptures. Their events calendar is full of free events. Vizcaya is also a popular venue for weddings, galas and other events.
6. Get Out on the Water
With the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay nearby, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the water. And getting out on the water is one of the best things to do in Miami.
Embark on a sightseeing tour of Star Island and Millionaire Row. For the best value, opt for a combo boat tour that includes city sightseeing. Or sail around on a catamaran, luxury yacht or party it up on a party boat. For a more thrilling experience, opt for a speedboat tour. If you’d rather explore on your own, you can charter a boat or jetski.
For a more relaxed experience, rent a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard and explore the many waterways around Miami. Guided tours are available for an easy experience. Or head out to sea on a fishing charter.
7. Everglades National Park
Located just a short distance away, the Everglades National Park is one of the best things to do while in Miami. The massive and unique park consists of 1.5 million acres of swamp, marshes and sub-tropical jungle. It’s home to alligators, crocodiles, snakes, turtles, panthers, manatees and a large variety of birds.
Start at the informative Visitors Center. There are walking trails and boardwalks for wildlife viewing. You can also explore on a bicycle or in a canoe.
But one of the best ways to experience the Everglades National Park is to take an airboat tour. The high-speed boats take visitors deep into the park and is an exhilarating experience.
8. Bayside Marketplace
Located on the Biscayne Bay waterfront, Bayside Marketplace is a wonderful shopping, dining and entertainment destination. In fact, it’s the most visited attraction in Miami.
The stylish, 2-story outdoor mall features more than 150 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. You’ll find big names like Guess and Victoria’s Secret here, along with unique boutiques, and tourist and souvenir shops.
Food options range from fast food to fine dining. Come here to shop, people watch or soak up the waterfront views and atmosphere. The market also offers free live music every afternoon and evening. You can also hop on a water taxi, boat tour, or fishing charter from here.
9. Miami Seaquarium
The Miami Seaquarium is one of the best things to do in Miami for families and animal lovers. The world-class entertainment park is home to a wide variety of marine creatures, such as whales, dolphins, turtles, penguins, seals, manatees and more.
Explore more than a dozen interactive and educational exhibits, such as Discovery Bay, Crocodile Flats and Shark Channel. Daily live shows feature trained killer whales, dolphins and seals and are visitor favorites.
And if you can, definitely try one of their special animal encounters. You can swim with dolphins, swim with seals, walk underwater with a special helmet, or be a trainer for a day for an unforgettable experience.
10. Key Biscayne
Head to Key Biscayne to enjoy pretty beaches, great parks and plentiful nature. Located just south of Miami Beach, this idyllic tropical paradise is a must visit.
There are two great parks to choose from. Crandon Park, to the north, offers a beautiful beach, protective reef and an underwater archaeological trail. In addition to all sorts of water sports, other activities include golf, tennis, tram tours and guided nature and wildlife tours. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, to the south, offers laid-back beaches and one of the oldest lighthouses in the country.
Don’t miss the views from the top of the lighthouse. Before leaving Key Biscayne, grab a drink or meal at one of several excellent restaurants, such as Rusty Pelican or Whiskey Joe’s.
11. Venetian Pool
Located in Coral Gables, the Venetian Pool is one of the most beautiful public pools in America, and well worth a visit. A Venetian-style lagoon carved from coral rock, the pool features caves, waterfalls, stone bridges and towers. With a capacity of 820,000 gallons of water, it’s also the largest freshwater pool in the country. And the only one listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The water is spring fed from an underground aquifer so it’s always fresh and cool. In the busy spring and summer, the pool gets drained and refilled on a daily basis. A convenient snack bar serves pizza, hot dogs and other light snacks.
Arrive early as they stop selling tickets once the capacity is reached for the day. Kids must be at least 3 to use the pool.
12. Coral Castle
One of the most unique attractions in Miami, Coral Castle is the work of eccentric artist, Edward Leedskalnin, who was somehow able to construct a stone castle and sculpture garden out of 1,100 tons of coral rock.
Leedskalnin built everything by himself, over 28 years, without the help of any modern equipment. No one knows how he did it, though he claims to have used the secret behind the Egyptian pyramids. You’ll be amazed at the 3 ton gate that moves with the touch of a finger.
Other highlights include rocking chairs made of stone, a Polaris telescope and a sundial carved out of coral rock. Explore on your own with an audio guide or join a guided tour for more insights.
13. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Head to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables to explore a tropical paradise of flowers, plants, trees and more. At 83 acres, and more than 3,400 species, it’s one of the largest such gardens in the country.
Start with the free 45-minute guided tram tour. Afterwards, explore at your leisure or join a guided walking tour. Highlights include the Sunken Garden, Butterfly Garden, Rainforest, and the Rare Plant Conservatory.
Keep an eye out for sculptures and art installations throughout, including works by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The garden also offers two cafes and a nice gift shop.
14. Bayfront Park
Enjoy the outdoors, spectacular views and a variety of events at Bayfront Park. Located in Downtown Miami, the 32-acre park offers great views of Biscayne Bay and Miami Port. The park also offers a sandy beach area, open green spaces, lovely walkways, a tropical rock garden, waterfalls, fountains and more. There’s a nice playground for kids.
Several memorials and large scale sculptures are here, including the Challenger Memorial. There is also an amphitheater and pavilion where many free and paid live events are held, such as free yoga, movie nights, dance classes, concerts and a trapeze school.
Check their events calendar to see what’s on during your visit.
15. Ancient Spanish Monastery
Believe it or not, you can visit an authentic 12th century Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami. Located in North Miami Beach, the monastery was originally built in Segovia Spain.
It was purchased in the 20th century by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and transported to the United States. It was reassembled years later in Miami, first as a tourist attraction and later as a church. It’s still an active congregation but visitors are welcome to tour its historic surroundings.
Explore on a self-guided tour. The grounds are beautiful and serene, and filled with stone walkways, columns and arches, stained-glass windows, fountains and statues. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Medieval Europe.