Miami, the cultural hub of South Florida, is a vibrant and culturally-diverse city which especially comes to life after sundown, with nightclubs, bars, and cultural festivals offering something for everyone, including people partying on Spring Break. Miami Beach is an island resort city connected to Miami by bridges. You’ve probably seen celebrities on TV casually sipping drinks and looking chic at a club in South Beach, Miami Beach's most popular area known for its nightlife, Art Deco architecture, and world-class hotels.
It’s easy to explore, as South Beach—referred to as the American Riviera—isn’t that big, and can be traversed using a taxi or rideshare app, or on bike or foot. Miami Beach visitors flock to Ocean Drive, the always-packed catwalk that hugs the Atlantic Ocean and is the place to see and be seen. There is no shortage of great bars, clubs, and restaurants on this roughly 1.3 miles (2 kilometers) long stretch. Running parallel to Ocean Drive (and just two blocks away) is Washington Avenue, another nightlife hotspot, with bars and dance clubs opening and closing frequently. Visitors and locals can enjoy observing all the pretty folks, taking salsa dancing classes, frequenting enticing nightclubs with tropical drinks, and much more.
From dive bars with jukeboxes and pool tables to hotels with Art Deco-influenced poolside bars, Miami Beach has a diversity of places to grab a drink.
- Clevelander: This landmark hotel and bar is one of the most well-known spots on Ocean Drive, famous for having a pool in the middle of the front patio. Guests commonly sip on cocktails and dangle their feet in the pool at this haute hangout. It’s also a perfect example of Art Deco architecture, in case you care enough to rip your eyes away from the beautiful people lounging around. Events include weekend rooftop parties, football-watching nights, and more.
- Broken Shaker Bar: A casual bar at the Freehand Miami hotel, the Broken Shaker offers an outdoor patio and pool area so you can relax while sipping on some handcrafted cocktails—the environment has been described as like being at a backyard party. The bar sometimes features special events.
- Palace Restaurant and Bar: Visitors will find everything from drag shows and bottomless mimosas to rooftop parties and live entertainment with DJs at this lively LGBTQ bar on Ocean Drive which regularly contributes to charitable causes.
- Wet Willie's: This bar and restaurant with many locations around the U.S. is known for its frozen daiquiris and numerous drink options. Enjoy the nice location overlooking Ocean Drive and Miami Beach, which is perfect for people watching and is in the center of the Art Deco scene.
- Ted's Hideaway: Those seeking an unpretentious dive bar with reasonably-priced beers and happy hour specials will like Ted's Hideaway, which also features a jukebox, a pool table, and many flat screen TVs for sports lovers.
Miami Beach and its nightclubs are full of life. Visitors and locals can enjoy venues offering everything from Latin music and tropical drinks to gay clubs with drag shows to celebrity sightings and burlesque shows.
- Rockwell Miami: This might be the nightclub for you if you're looking to party hardy. Buying bottles and a VIP table could cost thousands, but it's a guaranteed good time. The event schedule includes hip hop and house DJs, theme nights, and variety galore.
- Mango’s Tropical Café: A fun Ocean Drive hot spot, this is a U.S. version of Havana clubs of days past: Visitors enjoy salsa bands, Cuban Conga, Brazilian Samba, hip hop, and belly dancing, along with sexy dancers in tight leopard-print hot pants in a boisterous, lively atmosphere. A menu with frothy tropical drinks, pizza, wings, and additional tasty choices is available.
- CAMEO: Another fun club, this 18,000-foot space has two levels, six bars, and over 40 VIP sections with bottle service. Celebrities, models, athletes, and influencers are often partying here and dancing to hip hop, Latin, and a variety of music. What was once a theater built in 1936 has decades of history, including when it was a punk and hardcore music venue in the 1980s.
- Twist: For a truly wild Miami experience, head to Twist, a gay club that never charges a cover fee. With various bars, three dance floors, multiple DJs, and drag queens, this nightclub is the best place to keep things lively until early morning.
- LIV at Fountainbleu: Set inside the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel on Collins Avenue, this 18,000-square foot venue with a vaulted dome ceiling, dance floors, balconies, and lounges is a celebrity hangout. LIV plays a variety of music by world-renowned DJs and music by hit artists on Wednesdays through Sundays. Learn about the dress code before heading out.
- STORY: This 27,000-square foot venue with a circus-like setting, dance floor, and lounge space is owned by the same company and right down the street from LIV, so you can expect a similar crowd and cutting edge experience at both spots. A dress code is enforced at this Thursday through Saturday spot.
- Nikki Beach Miami: Situated directly on Nikki Beach, this nightclub is the place for the club-goers who truly want to see and be seen. The club serves up seafood, pizza, and more—as well as craft cocktails—to the rich and famous. People especially party on Saturdays and Sundays: DJ’s play international house and dance music and live performers entertain the masses. The dress code entails casual and beach chic attire.
- Pearl Champagne Lounge: Those looking for something slightly more subdued may want to head upstairs from Nikki Beach Miami to this upscale lounge, best known for serving champagne along with snacks and small plates in a bright, calming setting. Pearl Sundays are fun nights for dancing to music spun by DJs, and enjoying champagne and burlesque shows.
Anyone out on the town in Miami Beach looking for something to eat will find plenty of globally-inspired options. Greek restaurant Santorini By Georgios inside The Hilton Bentley South Beach Hotel is open daily for Mediterranean cuisine fans; try their seafood and vegetarian-friendly fare. La Ventana, Authentic Colombian Restaurant, is also open every day and offers something for everyone, from steak to vegan and gluten-friendly options, all with a South American twist. If you'd like some Japanese food for dinner, try Katsuya, whether you crave sushi or salad. Blocks Pizza Deli, a good late-night spot, is known for its high-protein flour and healthy crust which is fermented for three days in a longstanding tradition out of Sardinia.
Festivals and Events
October brings South Beach Seafood Week: South Florida’s leading chefs and culinary experts show off their talents at pop-up cafes, open bars, and cooking demonstrations into the night, plus there's live music and drinks to be enjoyed. In December, the SCOPE Miami Beach art show takes place on Ocean Drive, with the contemporary art of almost 150 exhibitors from around the world, and art lovers head to PULSE Art Fair—a four-day gathering at Indian Beach Park in Miami Beach. Both art events start in the daytime and end in the early evening.
If salsa dancing is on your must-do list when in Miami Beach, a fun way to learn all the right moves is through Sip, Savor & Salsa, where you will also learn some bachata (a Latin American musical style that started in the Dominican Republic). Enjoy mojitos and flatbread pizza (purchasing dinner in addition is optional) during this event held at the lively Mango's Tropical Cafe. Welcoming dancers of all levels, the instructors are upbeat and the atmosphere is more like a party than a dance rehearsal.
Tips for Going Out in Miami Beach
- If walking or driving doesn’t appeal to you and you're planning to avoid drinking and driving, consider using Citi Bike—a solar-powered bike available 24 hours a day from stations around the city—or one of the many private limo services, a taxi, or a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft.
- Pace yourself, as most clubs remain open until 5 a.m. You may want to take a shot of some strong Cuban café con leche (coffee with milk) before venturing out.
- Avoid looking like a tourist by dressing in chic clothes and mapping out your night's destinations ahead of time.
- To get past the club bouncer, don't be nervous or keep staring, and avoid raising your voice or touching him or her. Having one or more women along helps.
- Always carry at least one credit card and ample cash. While most places accept both, there are some cash-only spots and some bars that are paperless.
- You must be 21 years old to drink alcohol, and it is against the law to drink in public, such as on the beach or on the streets.