Miami is one of the hottest destinations to visit in the U.S.—sometimes literally—and offers a neverending list of things to stay busy. Whether you'd like to party all night at the South Beach bars, explore the natural wonders of Everglades National Park, or simply veg out on the beach with your friends, Miami has plenty of recreational opportunities available for all tastes and budgets. Find out the 25 best things to do during your trip to this cultural paradise.
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In the heart of the Little Havana neighborhood is the vibrant and colorful Eighth Street—better known to locals and visitors as Calle Ocho. If you want a full Cuban experience without actually visiting Cuba, Calle Ocho is just about as close as you can get. Sip on Cuban coffees that cost a quarter, play a game of dominos with the seniors in the park, buy tropical Caribbean fruits from the street stands, and even purchase some hand-rolled Cuban cigars.
Grab a Snack at Florida's Best Fruit Stand
Driving 45 minutes outside of Miami to visit a fruit stand may sound like a joke, but the Robert Is Here fruit stand in Homestead has been a South Florida staple for years. Most of the tropical and exotic fruits they sell are grown on their own local farm, in addition to a wide-ranging menu of homemade salsas, jams, dressings, and more. There's even a petting zoo on-site, and you can feed the animals with something you purchase from the stall. It's on the way to Everglades National Park, so you can easily stop by for one of their famous smoothies before visiting the alligators.
Get Your Contemporary Art Fix
Museum Park in downtown Miami is home to several award-winning museums, but art lovers can't miss the Pérez Art Museum. The museum is home to some of the most important contemporary art exhibitions in the South, highlighting artists from the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Those interested in pieces by Latin American artists will be especially delighted by the collection including works by Mexican artist Diego Rivera, Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam, and Colombian artist Beatriz Gonzalez.
Crandon Park is one of the parks operated by Miami-Dade County, but this isn't your average city public park. It's located on Key Biscayne, one of the islands off the coast of downtown Miami that's surrounded by turquoise water. It's easy to reach via the Rickenbacker Causeway, taking just 10 minutes by car from the Brickell neighborhood. Apart from normal park activities like skate parks, picnic areas, and tennis courts, the biggest draw is the gorgeous beach area. And since it's part of a protected park, you can get away from the hyper-developed beaches around Miami Beach.
Shop Around at Bayside Marketplace
According to the Miami Visitor's Bureau, Bayside Marketplace is the most visited tourist attraction in all of Miami-Dade County. While you could technically describe it as an outdoor mall, that would be a huge understatement. It's a meeting place for the entire Miami community who come to shop at the local stores, eat out at the numerous restaurants, or enjoy the view of the waterfront. It's also home to packed calendar of events, such as cultural festivals and free concerts, so chances are good that something will be going on during your visit.
Take a Trip to a Different Kind of Museum
There are plenty of outstanding museum options to choose from in Miami, but none of them quite compare to the uniqueness of the Cubaocho Museum. Located in Little Havana, the Cubaocho Museum celebrates all things Cuban from visual arts, music, and performance to cigars and rum. Stroll around admiring the work of Cuban artists while sipping on a house-made mojito from the museum bar. If you want to experience a live descarga, which is the Cuban version of an informal jam session, you can not only listen but dance along.
Educate Yourself on Miami's History
Long before beach tourists and spring breakers arrived in Miami, the city was home to many other cultures and peoples. The HistoryMiami Museum tells the story of South Florida's long history, stretching back over to over 10,000 years ago when the first Indigenous tribes arrived at the area. The HistoryMiami Museum details all of that through the Spanish exploration and up to Miami's modern-day position as the Gateway to the Americas.
The MetroMover is a convenient way to get around the city for free, but the Miami Beach Trolley is convenient, free, and also so endearing. This bus is designed like a cute old-town cable car and is easy to recognize by the sky blue paint. There's a South Beach loop, Mid-Beach loop, and North Beach loop, depending on what part of Miami Beach you're traveling around. For those muggy summer days when it's too unbearable to walk around outside, the air-conditioned trolley will be your saving grace for moving around Miami Beach
Step Back in Time at Ball & Chain
Ball & Chain was an iconic nightclub dating back to the 1930s in what is now the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. In the 1950s it shut down and changed businesses several times over the decades until the 1990s, when it was renovated to once again be one of the city's premier night clubs and retook its original name, Ball & Chain. Today, the vintage-style bar reflects the neighborhood with live Cuban music, salsa dancing, and an expansive rum bar. On Saturday nights, the weekly La Pachanga dance party is the most happening place to be in Little Havana.
Miami's famed Wynwood neighborhood is a formerly industrial neighborhood that rose to fame very quickly as a hot spot for graffiti and street art. Today, it's home to trendy boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and bars. The real estate mogul and visionary Tony Goldman was the mastermind behind the neighborhood's redevelopment, including the Wynwood Walls, made up of 40 murals from some of the world's best street artists. You can see other renowned art institutions right in the neighborhood, like the Rubell Museum and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse.
No visit to Miami can be considered complete without a stop at South Beach, the quintessential Miami hot spot. From shopping to partying, this area of Miami Beach is well-known for being a trendy locale. Depending on your personal tastes, you might enjoy spending a full weekend touring South Beach. Stay at one of the best hotels in South Beach, take a South Beach walking tour, explore the Art Deco architecture of the area, or party all night with the Miami Beach nightlife.
With 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies, and sub-tropical jungles, Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the United States. Located on the southern tip of Florida, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and the West Indian manatee. A significant portion of the park is primitive, explored only by adventurists and researchers, but visitors have ample opportunity to walk, camp, and canoe (with the option of booking a guided tour, so you don't have to rough it on your own).
Zoo Miami is fast becoming one of the best zoos in the nation, and it probably stands out from other zoos you've been to—the exhibits here are entirely cage-free, making it one of the first free-range zoos in the country. Miami's climate allows it to keep a wide variety of animals from Asia, Australia, and Africa like no other zoo, where they're allowed to roam in free-range exhibits and interact as they would in the wild. Animals are grouped according to their geographic territory, with natural barriers like moats separating species that wouldn't live together peacefully.
Experience an Outdoor Aquarium
The Miami Seaquarium is located right off of the coast of downtown Miami on Virginia Key and makes for an easy half-day trip to keep the little ones entertained. The park specializes in all types of interactive exhibitions, such as swimming with dolphins, tide pool touch tanks, shark and stingray encounters, and more. The Seaquarium also specializes in the conservation of local wildlife, so you'll find endangered species—like rescued manatees and sea turtles—being nursed back to health so they can be released back into their natural environments.
Brickell is Miami's financial center, but it's also become the main hub of glittering high-rise condos, chic boutique hotels, and shopping that puts Bal Harbour to shame. The Brickell City Centre, home to the ultra-trendy boutique hotel EAST Miami, is the place to see and be seen. This pedestrian-friendly area is easy to walk around, but for those particularly rainy or muggy days, hop aboard the MetroMover. The Brickell Loop line conveniently shuttles passengers around the neighborhood and to other parts of downtown Miami—best of all, it's completely free to use.
Miami’s beaches offer a great opportunity to get some exercise or just enjoy some time in the sun—and believe it or not, there's more to Miami than South Beach! If you're looking for something calmer, Mid-Beach tends to be quieter and has great views of the city's modernist architecture, and the small beach town vibe at Surfside makes it a favorite of the local community. Families with young kids often head to Crandon Beach Park on Key Biscayne for shallow waters and accessible amenities, while surfers flock to the waves at Hobie Beach.
Miami's science museum got an incredible upgrade in 2017 when it relocated to a brand-new $300-million facility and renamed itself the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Today, the museum houses a three-level aquarium, a 250-seat planetarium, and open bird aviaries. The science exhibitions are informative and interactive, providing hours of educational fun for visitors of all ages.
Let Kids' Minds Run Wild
If you are visiting Miami with kids (or just like to act like them!), the Miami Children's Museum is a must-see destination. Its motto of "Play, Learn, Imagine, Create" shines through in the wide variety of interactive exhibits that allow children to explore and immerse themselves in all types of activities, from a trip to the supermarket to running a television studio. Not only will it keep your little ones entertained, but they'll also pick up valuable lessons along the way.
Head Into the "Jungle"
Monkey Jungle in southern Miami-Dade County is a truly unique park. While humans traverse carefully constructed wire pathways, many species of primates scamper overhead, swinging through trees and interacting with each other in ways difficult to observe in captivity. Keep your eyes open; you never know who's hanging around!
Explore a One-of-a-Kind Garden
The quirky Coral Castle Museum is truly a monument to the uniqueness of Miami. This attraction was built by a Latvian-born Miami resident named Ed Leedskalnin—supposedly as a monument to his lover—and, after 28 years of effort, he introduced his 1,100-ton coral creation to the world. How he single-handedly created these massive sculptures is still a mystery and one of the biggest draws of the park. It's about 30 minutes south of downtown Miami by car, but well worth the time if you're interested in unique wonders.
Visit a European-Style Mansion at Vizcaya
No visit to Miami is complete without a stop at the historical 50-acre Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This European-style mansion offers a glimpse at life in turn-of-the-century South Florida, with sprawling, perfectly manicured gardens and a house full of world-class European antiques. As one of the most historical attractions in Miami, it's also a trendy venue for galas, weddings, and other entertainment events.
Hang Out at Bayfront Park
Miami's Bayfront Park is a popular venue for concerts and holiday celebrations, especially during the cooler months of winter when there are events planned out practically for every weekend. But even when nothing special is going on, it's a great place to just relax by the water. The palm tree-studded park is also home to several various tributes and monuments, including a white metal tower that commemorates the crew on the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and a memorial to the unknown Cuban refugees lost at sea.
Eat at Versailles
No, not the French palace. Miami's Versailles is perhaps more famous than its French counterpart—at least to Floridians. In this case, Versailles is a massive Cuban restaurant, and in a city that is known for its Cuban food, Versailles distinguishes itself as the best of the best. Stop by a cup of Cuban coffee or a toasted Cuban sandwich with ham, pork, and cheese. You can also try more traditional items such as the national dish ropa vieja, which literally translates to "old clothes" but in reality is much more appetizing: shredded beef that's been stewed with vegetables and spices.
Shop on Trendy Lincoln Road
One of Miami's most famous architects, Morris Lapidus, designed this complex in the 1950s and it retains much of its popularity today. Now, Lincoln Road is lined with shops, restaurants, and venues for art and culture. Even if you're just window-shopping, the Lincoln Road Mall has enough to keep you entertained for hours.
Explore Miami Design District
Miami's Design District was once just a hot spot for decorators and designers to shop, but no longer. Now, some top designers have decamped from pricy Bal Harbour, turning the former Decorators' Row into a hub for trendy fashion, art, and architecture. The neighborhood has slowly been crossing into Wynwood, which means even if you don't have the budget to shop, there are plenty of great free galleries and museums, like the Institute of Contemporary Art.