Miami, the iconic beach town that has made a name for itself due to its fabulous beach location, its multicultural communities, the history and art that help to found it and the curiosity brought by celebrities and the rich and famous. You will be amazed at all the best things to do in Miami! From magnificent white sand beaches with pristine water to a vibrant nightlife where you can hang out at known spots where the celebs frequent – there are plenty of Miami attractions to keep you going day and night. Don’t ask what to do in Miami just come for a visit and see for yourself. For over 100 years people have been flocking to Miami to experience all it has to offer. Isn’t it time you checked out Miami?
The Miami region overflows with historical neighborhoods that will bring you back in time to relive periods of history that are now only a memory; Mediterranean Revival, The Gilded Age, and Art Deco period. It is also a natural paradise from the beaches to the Everglades National Park. Other Miami attractions include classic cars, pop culture in the film and music themes. A visit to Miami Beach Florida is an exciting adventure with something for everyone; from the family, single traveler, and Baby Boomer, Miami is for YOU!
The famous Miami Beach and South Beach take center stage when it comes to beaches in Miami. South Beach itself is an active community that goes beyond the beach. It has made a name for itself of being home to the rich and famous. Of the many best things to do in Miami, a visit to South Beach is well worth it.
Miami is also recognized as a center for pop culture. Many television hits and films are set in the Miami region. Music festivals feature all types of music from symphonies to pop rock to Latino – every style is represented in Miami. Whether it is film production or the music that interests you, there are many things to do in Miami.
Step out Miami’s back door and you will find the world renowned Everglades National Park that is filled with adventures such as air boat rides in search of alligators, exotic vegetation and wildlife, and the stunning botanical gardens. It is a great day trip that will be enjoyed by the whole family. You’ll be glad you made this choice of best things to do in Miami.
In this guide we are going to explore Miami from a variety of perspectives to give you sort of a “behind the scenes” look at things to do in Miami and the exciting Miami attractions. In the end, you won’t be asking what to do in Miami. And not just behind the scenes, we’ll take you for a unique tour of Miami from above by Plane! And further afield to the Bahamas on an epic Miami to Bahamas Day Trip adventure!
What could be more impressive than an aerial flightseeing tour of Miami by Plane! Our passions here at Flying and Travel, being exactly that! The layout of Miami with a lengthy east cost that runs north south to the Atlantic Ocean affords the perfect aerial sight seeing tours for pilots and air touring companies. In fact the entire stretch of beach from Fort Lauderdale south to Key Biscayne takes a whole 20 minutes to fly along, with some of the best views of Miami and South Beach.
Read on for more enticing details about the best things to do in Miami. *Now updated for 2020*
Top Things to do in Miami: Ultimate Travel Guide
1. Miami Beach: Check Out the SoBe Life
The rich and famous; glitz and glam; prestige and power – this is South Beach Miami, top on the list of Miami attractions. Known for its active nightlife, Art Deco influences, ocean-side dining, and of course the beach, South Beach Miami is a trendy urban locale that should be on your list of places to see while in Miami. There are loads of things to do in Miami; a visit to South Beach is one of them. Your dilemma will be how to choose what to do in Miami!
The South Beach Art Deco architecture is prominent in the district called SoFi (South of Fifth). The skyline is drawn by luxurious high-rise condominiums. And the street level is lined with historic Art Deco restaurants, clubs, and hotels. The South Beach Art Deco nightlife in SoFi is a great experience and one of many the best things to do in Miami. Colorful neon lights bedazzle the streets. Friendly crowds are outside enjoying the night air. This part of the city comes alive. The large marinas are home to mammoth-sized yachts from all around the world.
One of the best things to do in Miami is join a walking tour. Put your walking shoes on and enjoy a walking tour of the historic architectural district. The tour is 90 minutes and takes you through some of the most iconic hotels, restaurants and shops in the Art Deco District. You will see many Miami attractions on this tour. The tours are offered several times throughout the day and begin at the Art Deco Welcome Center. If you prefer a self-guided tour, start at the welcome center. There are many tour companies and some have walking tours with a special focus, such as a cocktail or cultural tour. With over 900 colorful buildings, it is the largest concentration of historic beach resort architecture in the nation.
When looking for what to do in Miami, Espanola Way is a district that will take you back in time to another culture. This is one of the vivid Miami attractions that allow you to experience the rich Mediterranean architecture, the colorful stucco buildings with red roof tiles, outdoor cafés, and beautiful floral plantings, quiet atmosphere just steps away from the hustle and bustle of busy Art Deco and beach districts. Experience many of the best things to do in Miami such as a quiet afternoon coffee or cocktail. Espanola Way was developed in 1925 with the purpose of bringing the rich heritage of European countries such as Spain, Italy and France to America.
If you are looking for outdoor water activities, search no further! Great Miami attractions are found in South Beach and Miami Beach Florida. There are bountiful opportunities for boating of every kind, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, kite surfing – just a lot of fun in the sun! If water sports are not for you, try your hand at golf or tennis. As you are beginning to realize, there are plenty of things to do in Miami.
The beaches of Miami Beach Florida are amazing. What to do in Miami – go to the beach! There are beaches for every taste – quiet, secluded spots; crowded, busy beaches where people flaunt their beach bodies and even European-styled beaches that are “clothing-optional”. There are white sand beaches, particularly near South Pointe Park. Lummus Park, located between Fifth and Fifteenth Streets, attracts locals and tourists staying in the boutique hotels and bed & breakfasts that line the park. The park is walking distance to shops, restaurants and other Miami attractions. There are plenty of cabanas to rent and stake out your spot on the beach. The beaches are dotted with lifeguard towers that are fanciful huts of varied colors and themes. There is a walking/biking path along the ocean side of the park. Picture the iconic Florida beach scene. This is just a snippet of what to do in Miami.
About four blocks from Lummus Park sits the Old City Hall. Built in 1927, this building is now on the National Historic Register. One of the great Miami attractions, it was built to symbolize the comeback of Miami from the hurricane of 1926. The Old City Hall was home to the fire department at one time. When the City Hall offices moved in 1975 the building sat idle for some time but is now the home of the Miami Beach Police and court system. The architecture is stunning and well worth a visit.
South Beach Miami is an art district loaded with art from around the globe. The city is dotted with galleries, symphonies, orchestras, museums, festivals and concerts. You can find indoor and outdoor events. There are all sorts of art-related best things to do in Miami. The annual South Beach | Miami Art Basel is an international art gala where the whole city and artists from places far and wide display their best. This art extravaganza also presents discussions, salons, special presentations, films, and performances. To learn more about the Art Basel visit the website here. Gathering information will help you decide on what to do in Miami.
As far as what to do in Miami, car enthusiasts will be mesmerized by the South Beach Classic Cars that you will see on the streets around town. Sleek, stylish and polished to the nines, these cars are some that most people only dream of. From Haulover Park north of Miami Beach Florida down to South Pointe Pier in South Beach Miami, you will find South Beach Classic Cars strutting their stuff.
One of the top ten best things to do in Miami is a tour down the famous Ocean Drive. This may be your opportunity to rent a convertible and cruise just like the locals do. At just 1.3 miles long, it would be easy to walk this route as well. Lined by shops, restaurants, boutiques, and hotels, this section of road is one of the icons of South Beach. This stretch of road has been the center stage of several television and movie productions such as Dexter and Scarface. If you travel to South Beach, most likely you will be traveling Ocean Drive.
Visit our in depth travel guide featuring the exciting South Beach Miami as well as a myriad of the best things to do in Miami. South Beach is at (1) on our Map of the top things to do in Miami.
2. Miami to Bahamas Day Trip
Dream of flying away to a tropical island paradise?
Now you can fly to the Bahamas on the ultimate Bahamas Day trip from Miami! Leave the Miami hustle behind and take a unique Bahamas Day Trip to the untouched and unspoilt paradise that is the Bahamas Out Islands. With a number of different island destinations to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice; Picture perfect White Sand Beaches? History and Heritage in the quaint colonial villages? Nature lovers snorkelling with turtles and sharks or swimming with the famous swimming pigs?
The stunning Exuma Cays are a collection of 365 unspoilt tropical islands in the Bahamas. With Bahamas Air Tours their aircraft has extra large windows, where each seat is a window seat, giving panoramic views over the beautiful Bahamas Islands. Perhaps the most unique adventure from Florida and one of the best things to do in Miami, you’ll need your passport to land in the Bahamas.
These exclusive Bahamas Day Tours include private boat excursions around the fabulous Bahamas Island. Snorkel with Turtles and Sharks. Swim with the famous Swimming Pigs. Snorkel in the hidden James Bond Thunderball Grotto. Visit the magical Bahamas Rock Iguanas at Bitter Guana Cay. Explore the small lanes of Dunmore Town by golf cart and spend time relaxing on the famous Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island.
There are so many amazing places to discover in the Bahamas that a Bahamas Day Trip won’t be long enough. Fortunately Bahamas Air Tours offers long multi-day and week long Island Hopping Tours of the Bahamas. With an aircraft which is perfect for air touring, every day you get the opportunity to explore a new island and discover the island’s unique personality through boat excursions and overland tours.
Read more about my experience on the Miami to Bahamas Day Trip here. Or Book this Bahamas Day Tour now with Bahamas Air Tours.
3. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
There are many mansions in Miami; luxury living at its finest. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is one such mansion. Of the great Miami attractions, this mansion was built in 1910 by James Deering and is now a National Historic Landmark. Deering derived the name for his exotic dramatic estate from his love of early explorers, particularly Vizcaino, and Biscayne Bay. He wanted to portray a historic, mystic and opulent property. His efforts put Vizcaya Miami on the map of historic sites and brought a connection to early explorers through sculptures and statues. The mansion is designed with European influences, particularly from Italy. I wonder if Deering realized his mansion would be one of the best things to do in Miami.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is divided into several small gardens, fountains, pools, mazes, hedgerows and statues providing opportunities for many of the best things to do in Miami. The lawns and gardens are manicured to perfection. In designing the gardens, Deering was determined to preserve the natural habitat. The Vizcaya gardens are placed among mangroves and native forests. You may encounter exotic wildlife including reptiles, bobcats and others. There is a special Orchidarium at the Vizcaya Gardens where numerous beautiful, exotic orchids are on display. If you are a botanist who studies orchids, this is one of the Miami attractions that may be the most interesting to you.
On one end of the Vizcaya Miami property is the Vizcaya Village. The village was built in 1916 and is a collection of small buildings that served as living quarters for the staff and includes barns, workshops and greenhouses. Today a restoration program is underway to transform the village into a campus of architecture, history, art and native plants. Programs will be offered to the public in areas of agriculture and horticulture, art history, and other interests. There will be a large courtyard capable of hosting concerts and other events. At Vizcaya alone there are so many opportunities of amazing things to do in Miami.
Over the decades, hurricanes damaged Vizcaya. But there was a great love for Vizcaya Miami in the Deering family that brought about a restoration each time. Part of the estate was given to Mercy Hospital. The remaining portion, about 50 acres, was given to Miami-Dade County in 1954 to be opened as a public museum. The family’s restoration goals have landed it a spot on the list of things to do in Miami. Not only is Vizcaya a museum and garden, it is also available to rent for destination weddings, galas, receptions, and film and television sets.
Like many mansions in Miami, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was eventually transformed from a personal dwelling into a public museum-styled landmark. The prestigious home and surrounding gardens stand out as Biscayne Bay’s most noteworthy, well known property. The terraces and boat landing are extensive and give a beautiful perspective of the mansion and the bay. A visit to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens will give you a glimpse into the “Gilded Age” of the early 1900s. The beauty and peaceful surroundings are ideal. If you are wondering what to do in Miami, choose Vizcaya, it is remarkable. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is at (3) on our Map of the top things to do in Miami.
4. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
What to do in Miami? Take a step away from the city life of Miami and visit one of the many Miami gardens, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. This is just one of the Florida botanical gardens that are all about the tropics. You will find a great variety of exotic and even bizarre plants. These Miami gardens are divided by the types of plantings in two separate regions: The Uplands and The Lowlands. These gardens are an idyllic example of the best things to do in Miami, especially for garden lovers.
The Uplands of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens have stunning exhibits where each highlights something unique. For instance, there are exhibits of the forests of Madagascar, rain forests, a butterfly garden, palm and cycad exhibit, tropical fruit pavilion, an edible garden, tropical flowers, Victoria water lily pool, and the Baily Palm Glade. The Uplands are just 14 feet above sea level and is one of the best Florida botanical gardens in the Miami area, and a definite choice of the best things to do in Miami. The Gate House Museum is also situated in this part of the gardens and is the architectural standard of the other buildings in the gardens. It is also the oldest of the buildings on the property.
The Lowlands sit just 4 feet above sea level. For this reason, the plants are rooted in raised berms to protect it from high waters of summer rains and intrusion of salt water from nearby Biscayne Bay. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens Lowlands exhibits include plant life of the Caribbean, coastal habitat from the Keys, and the endangered Pine Rockland habitat. This portion of the gardens is also home to a large amphitheater ideal for outdoor productions and events.
Much of what to do in Miami surrounds water. This is a feature that is also found throughout this Miami garden. There are 11 lakes and 8 water features. Each area is unique in its aquatic habitat and theme. In addition, these Miami gardens have a large research and scientific presence as botanists from around the globe study rare plants and find ways to increase their habitat and preserve them for future generations. The American Orchid Society is headquartered here and supports the Million Orchid Project, a 5-year project hoping to propagate a million native orchids in Florida botanic gardens once again.
Free Tram Tours of the garden are great for two reasons. One, the tour will give you a great overview that will allow you to decide which areas you want to explore more on your own. Two, if you are short on time but want to see one of the best Florida botanical gardens, the tram tour will allow you to see the gardens in about one hour’s time. Free tram rides are a perfect example of what to do in Miami.
There are also walking tours. You can choose from self-guided tours, guided tours, and private tours. In addition, there are specialty tours held every day that focus on a particular area of the gardens such as the butterflies, tropical flowers, and much more. There is so much to see and do at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. Put on your walking shoes and enjoy the day exploring Fairchild and many of the best things to do in Miami.
To be sure, the Florida botanical gardens are some of the best and most unique gardens in the world and definitely one of the highlighted Miami attractions. A trip to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is near the top of the list of best things to do in Miami. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens are at (4) on our Map of the top things to do in Miami.
5. Coral Gables: The Biltmore Hotel & Venetian Pool
From the beginning, Coral Gables was destined to be a great Miami attraction, the City Beautiful and a Garden City. Its design was to have broad tree-lined avenues, upscale homes, lavish gardens, ornate plazas, a Venetian pool, and an International flair. Celebrating over 90 years in existence, it was and is the City Beautiful. It is also one of the oldest cities in Florida. The architecture is Mediterranean Revival, with designs influenced by the Spanish style and grace.
Located southwest of Miami, one of the most well-known icons is the Biltmore Hotel Miami. It was the crowning building of Coral Gables developer George Merrick. He built it to attract business men in hopes of garnering investments to continue on with his Coral Gables building project. Nothing was spared in the building that was constructed with the finest materials and designed in the grand Mediterranean style. The Biltmore Hotel Miami became a resort like no other, catering to the wealthy and celebrities from around the world. It was THE place to stay back in the day and is still part of what to do in Miami today.
It is bordered on one side by a lavish golf course. On the east side of the property is a large tennis center. A sizeable pool is situated between patios and terraces of the main buildings. It is a place for destination weddings, receptions, corporate events, and parties of any kind. The resort is home to several exquisite restaurants serving French, Italian, and American cuisine. You can eat poolside or in one of the fine dining rooms. A champagne brunch is served on Sundays. Coral Gables and the surrounding neighborhoods will provide you plenty of the best things to do in Miami. The Biltmore Hotel is at (5) on our Map of the top things to do in Miami.
The stunning Venetian Pool is an aquatic feature set for the whole city and visitors to enjoy. It was built in 1923 over a coral rock quarry. Its capacity is 820,000 gallons. It is spring fed pool that is drained and filled on a remarkable daily basis. There are porticoes, grottoes, waterfalls, towers, and a signature bridge. Back in the day, the Venetian Pool was a destination for celebrities and a venue for concerts. The Venetian Pool is open daily; children under 3 years of age are not permitted.
Here’s what to do in Miami: Coral Gables offers the best of the best. Art galleries, museums, theaters, historic sites, gardens, shopping, fine dining and historic hotels such as the Biltmore Hotel Miami are at the top the list of the best things to do in Miami. The Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue are undergoing renovations and will be one of the top streetscapes in the country including dining, shopping, arts, music, and other entertainments. The history of the area will be preserved for generations to come. Venetian Pool is at (5) on our Map of the top things to do in Miami.
6. Everglades National Park: Airboat Adventures
Established in 1947, the Miami Everglades National Park was low land real estate set aside to preserve a unique ecosystem that includes exotic plants and wildlife, especially reptiles and birds. This fabulous Miami attraction was once home to the Calusa and Tequesta First Nation peoples. The Miami Everglades cover most of the southern portion of Florida and encompass about 11,000 square miles. Within this space are nine distinct habitats. From pinelands, mangroves, sloughs, and cypress, a day trip by airboat can be very exciting and enlightening. A visit to the Everglades is just one of the best things to do in Miami.
When determining what to do in Miami, make sure Airboat Rides Everglades is on your list. The rides offer a thrilling experience as you skim over the water at high speeds. The huge fan on the rear of the air boat propels the boat forward much like the action of a helicopter, but you are traveling horizontal rather than vertical. Your guide will take you twisting and turning down narrow canals in search of wildlife and unique habitats. These air boat tours are a highlight of your visit to the Everglades and one of the best ways to see the Miami Everglades up close and personal. There are so many things to choose from it is hard to decide what to do in Miami Everglades.
One of the easiest reptiles to find is the alligator. For animal lovers, an alligator “hunt” is just one of the adventurous things to do in Miami. As the official Florida state reptile, the alligator is a large animal that enjoys sunning. They are a fierce animal and not to be toyed with. They are interesting to watch from a safe distance. If there are certain animals and plants you hope to see on your Miami Everglades airboat tour, it is best to know about the seasons and what the animals prefer. Some enjoy the sun, especially in the cooler months to keep them warm. Others like to be in areas that are more protected by trees. The alligator mating and nesting season is in the warmer months, followed by hatching.
There are many species of birds in the Miami Everglades. In fact, there are over 350 species represented at the Everglades. Some of the birds you will see on your Everglades air boat tour include herons, egrets, storks and bald eagles. Start a list and see how many unique birds you can find – it’s one of the things to do in Miami Everglades.
7. Shark Valley: Everglades National Park
Another fantastic way to see the Miami Everglades is by walking, biking or riding a tram. The Shark Valley Trails have just the thing for you. There are shorter walking paths, longer bike trails and tramways. The bike trail is a 15-mile loop that takes you from the visitor center to the lookout tower and back. The observation tower permits a 360-degree view of the Everglades, one of many stunning Miami attractions. As the water level rises and falls, so the landscape of the Everglades changes permitting fantastic views of this great National Park. The Shark Valley Trails extend 100 miles from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. For bikers, this is one of the best things to do in Miami.
The Miami Everglades National Park offers many activities for the outdoor enthusiast. Back-country camping, canoeing, kayaking, biking, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and ranger programs are some of the adventures you can take. Step out of the urban setting of Miami and enjoy some of the iconic nature habitats in the world – the Miami Everglades National Park. Shark Valley is at (7) on our Miami Map of the best things to do in Miami.
8. Ancient Spanish Monastery: Dramatic Cloisters
The Ancient Spanish Monastery Miami has a long and varied history. You would find it hard to believe the construction of this building took place in 1133. It took about eight years to complete the building and was occupied by Cistercian Monks for over 700 years. Sometime during the 1830’s, the ancient Spanish monastery and its out buildings were seized during a revolution. The property was sold and converted into a granary and stable. From its initial high calling, the ancient Spanish monastery fell to the likes of a cattle stall.
Nearly 100 years later William Randall Hearst purchased the monastery, cloisters and the out buildings. Each structure was disassembled, labeled and carefully packed in over 11,000 wooden crates. They were shipped to the United States, where Hearst had fallen upon financial struggles. Then, the jumbled up ancient Spanish monastery sat packed away in a warehouse for 26 years.
In 1953, two entrepreneurs purchased the stones and reassembled the monastery as a tourist attraction. Finally, in 1964, the buildings were purchased by Colonel Robert Pentland, Jr. who presented the ancient Spanish monastery to the Episcopal Church, particularly the Bishop of Florida. Today, the Ancient Spanish Monastery has risen like a phoenix back to its original calling and serves as an active church with services on Sundays and throughout the week. Tours are available most days starting at 10:00 a.m. One of the most stunning and picturesque features of the monastery are the cloisters, or arched walkways that surround the inner courtyard. This is one of the Miami attractions that cannot be missed.
In addition, if you are looking for a wedding venue, the Ancient Spanish Monastery Miami may just be your locale. It is available for both indoor chapel weddings and outdoor garden weddings. There are three chapels and five outdoor spaces from which to choose. The outdoor gardens take up over 20 acres of land and are meticulously manicured. Trees, flowers, palms and more adorn the grounds. The onsite wedding staff is available to help you plan the wedding of your dreams.
The monastery has been used in a variety of films and television shows. In fact, a filming of a soap opera wedding was taking place the day I visited. So, there is always a chance to see a celebrity on the grounds – always one of the best things to do in Miami. A host of special events are held at the monastery throughout the year. It is best to call ahead to make sure it is open to the public on the day you hope to visit.
What started in Spain centuries ago is now part of what to do in Miami. For over 60 years the monastery, cloisters and grounds have been a museum that strives to preserve antiquities from the Middle Ages and educate the public on the history and significance of the Ancient Spanish Monastery Miami. The Ancient Spanish Monastery is at (8) on our Map of the best things to do in Miami.
9. Wynwood Walls: Extraordinary Art District
Wynwood Arts District is a fantastical place filled with many works of art. What were once large warehouses has been transformed into huge canvases. It was the brainchild of Tony Goldman to reinvent Wynwood into something fabulous that would set this neighborhood apart from the rest. He was a visionary who saw the warehouse walls as canvas and hoped to develop the largest street art gallery ever seen. His project of outdoor murals started in 2009 and became known as Wynwood Walls. This outdoor gallery will absolutely knock your socks off. It is a fantastic choice of the best things to do in Miami. It showcases some of the best street art and graffiti you will ever see. Large, colorful outdoor murals cover over 80,000 square feet of space; created by over 50 artists from North America and 16 other countries. As far a Miami attractions go, this one is impressive. There is no other place like this anywhere in the world. Don’t ask what to do in Miami; go to Wynwood Walls!
In 2010, Wynwood Doors opened just next to Wynwood Walls. Wynwood Doors was to portray a desolate, forgotten neighborhood. Next came Outside the Walls, where the art spilled to places outside of Wynwood Walls. Finally in 2015, Wynwood Walls Garden was conceived and various international artists have contributed to the art in the garden including container art. Every corner you turn or building you walk around will present to you another piece of art. It is simply amazing the talent of these artists and a extraordinary example of what to do in Miami.
The Wynwood Arts District has come alive and is now more than graffiti, but it is a community that is home to over 70 galleries and museums, numerous restaurants and bars, and entertainment. The paintings have been combined with ballet and music. The neighborhood also has a farmer’s market. This large market has space for about 80 vendors. They present food demonstrations, entertainment and of course, homemade and home grown goods. Street performers such as jugglers, musicians, and artists are always on hand. As you can see, there is no lack of the best things to do in Miami.
The Wynwood Arts District, a complex of street art, is another one of the best things to do in Miami. Wynwood Art Walk takes place on the second Saturday of every month. On this day each month, the vendors, restaurants, artists, clubs and more bring out their best to showcase the arts of Wynwood Walls. This is a great example of what to do in Miami – get a taste of the culture and neighborhood. The Wynwood Art Walk has formal tours or you can venture out on your own to see the sights. You can also rent golf carts by the hour to tour Wynwood Walls and adjacent Wynwood galleries. Private tours are also available.
When in Miami, a Wynwood Art Walk will expand your horizons and open your eyes to an art form that for so many years was looked upon with disdain. Because of Wynwood Walls, street art is growing all around the world. The Wynwood Walls and Wynwoord Arts District is at (9) on our Map of the best things to do in Miami.
Miami Design District
A similar travel destination in Miami to the Wynwood Walls is the nearby Miami Design District – a creative neighborhood that supports innovative businesses and creative arts.
The Miami Design District is more than just a center for creative arts, the neighborhood is very much the trendy, high end shopping district with luxury retails and art boutiques. There are also many culinary delights from a boutique foodhall to cultural pop-ups and street foods that line the pedestrian walkways.
In every corner of the Miami Design District, there are colorful art murals that cover huge swathes of the outdoor social spaces. From paintings to sculptures, there are many artworks that the public can interact with here.
Along with the Wynwood Walls, the Miami Design district is a sure go to place for all those important Instagram shots that make a memorable visit to Miami. With accessible parking and a really easy place to find, the Miami Design district is therefore one of our best things to do in Miami. In fact, it’s one of the closes districts to MIA International Airport, so you can make it one of your first stops on your Miami Travel itienrary.
10. Downtown Miami: The Urban Cityscape
We have introduced some of the hottest Miami attractions and there are still more of the best things to do in Miami. So many great things to do, you will have a hard time choosing what to do in Miami. The downtown is a mix of high rises and skyscrapers alongside historical buildings that speak to the heritage of Miami. Rooftop restaurants and bars offer stunning skyline views of Miami.
The Freedom Tower, modeled after Giralda Tower in Spain, got its name during the Cuban Missile Crisis days when it became a processing center for Cuban Immigrants and processed the first exiles from Cuba. It holds a definite place in American history. The building is not open to the public, but there are local art exhibits held in Freedom Tower which are open to the public.
Bayfront Park is probably the top park in the Miami downtown area. It is strategically placed between the museum district and downtown. Its boundaries go right to the water’s edge. It has breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and the majestic skyscrapers of the city. Two outdoor performance venues provide plenty space for concerts. One is the Klipsch Amphitheater which faces Biscayne Bay. The other is the Tina Hills Pavilion which hosts many springtime concerts. The Metromover Monorail is one of the best ways to move around the city; and, it is free!
Riverside walking and boat tours, Metromover rides above the city, excellent shopping opportunities, and a riverside lunch await you. There are more things to do in Miami than there are hours in a day. Miami has things to do that will meet anyone’s interests. From arts, culture, history and nature you can take your pick of things to see and do in Miami. Downtown Miami is at (10) on our Map of the best things to do in Miami.
11. Miami Auto Museum: The James Bond Car Collection & More
If cars and James Bond happen to be in your stack of interests, then the Miami Auto Museum James Bond Car Collection is a great place to visit. The amount of cars, memorabilia and other modes of transportation will stun you. It is absolutely the best collection of James Bond items in the world! This little known museum is a hidden treasure right in Miami.
Talk about great Miami attractions! The James Bond Exhibit & Lounge is filled with motorcycles, helicopters, cars, boats and even a Russian tank! Throw in some of Bond’s tricked out items such as watches and pens and you will soon realize this private collection is beyond words. They have at least one vehicle from each of the first 23 movies. For Bond fans, this is what to do in Miami! The venue is available for rent to hold Bond-style cocktail parties and fine dinners. With Miami being just a short flight away from the Bahamas, you could enjoy a day trip to Nassau to see the 007 on location site of Daniel Craig’s reknown Casino Royale. Or head to Staniel Cay to visit the James Bond Thunderball Grotto where Sean Connery played Bond. The Spy Who Loved Me and Never Say Never Again also had scenes shot in the Bahamas.
Other cars in the Hollywood Exhibit include the Batman Exhibit & Lounge stocked with vehicles and memorabilia from all eras of Batman. There are plenty of Batmobiles, Batboats, and Batcycles upon which to gaze.
Other cars represented in the Hollywood Exhibit include cars from a wide variety of movies. Herbie the Love Bug, Dukes of Hazard, Fast & Furious, Flintstones, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Knight Rider’s KITT, A-Team, and many more are represented in the museum.
The Super Car Room is home to some of the most exotic cars you will ever see. Custom and celebrity cars are also on the docket. Sleek and sexy, these cars are pieces of technological art.
Aside from the Hollywood Exhibit there is also a Classic Car Exhibit which showcases American, European, and Military cars alongside bicycles and motorcycles. For a splash of color, a whole lot of chrome, and some exotic designs, this is the place to see.
Located in North Miami and close to the Ancient Spanish Monastery, the Miami Auto Museum is easy to find. It is open daily except for major holidays. The Miami Auto Museum will be fun for the whole family! The Miami Auto Museum Deezer Collection is at (11) on our Miami Map of the best things to do in Miami.
12. Little Havana Miami: A Slice of Cuba & Latino Influence
Havana, Cuba is just over 225 miles south of Miami. Its close proximity has allowed strong Cuban influences to spill into Miami and establish a foothold as seen in Little Havana Miami. This neighborhood is like a small slice of Cuba relocated to Miami. Take in the cultural influences in the architecture, cuisine, hand rolled cigar shops, open air markets, pro sports (Miami Marlins) and Salsa music.
The Miami River borders Little Havana Miami on the north. To the east lies Downtown Miami, to the west is Coral Gables, and to the south sits Coral Way. Little Havana is in the middle of famed neighborhoods and has many things to do and see in Miami’s Cuban neighborhood. In fact, Little Havana is a top Miami attraction.
The hub of social, cultural and political influences, Little Havana Miami has a lot of activity including festivals, parades and other events. It is home to several famous landmarks such as the Walk of Fame and Calle Ocho. This neighborhood is home to Cuban exiles and many other Latin American immigrants.
First, the Walk of Fame is a stretch of walkway with inlaid stars honoring 30 Latin American celebrities whose contributions to the Latin American culture and community are outstanding. Names like Gloria Estefan, Enrique Iglesias, and Celia Cruz have found a permanent spot in Little Havana Miami.
Second, the famed Calle Ocho, or 8th Street, is the center of Cuban and Latino culture. Lined with shops, restaurants, art galleries, bodegas, Maximo Gomez Park (Domino Park), cigar shops, venues with live bands, food vendors and booths selling Cuban and Latin pride souvenirs. The buildings have the characteristic red tile roofs, arched doorways and pastel painted stucco. Calle Ocho is the heart of Little Havana Miami.
Domino Park is just as it sounds – a place where locals gather to play dominoes. It is a must-see of the many Miami attractions. For decades the locals have been meeting here and challenging one another to a game of dominoes. It is a combination of friendly competition and camaraderie along an exchange of cultural differences.
For Cuban cigars visit the Little Havana Cigar Factory. Loaded with charm, the inviting place presents itself as the quintessential cigar shop: sweet smell of tobacco, leather chairs, and a lot of dark wood trim. Witness how cigars are made, and then choose one or two for your enjoyment.
Visit Little Havana Miami for an in depth experience of the Cuban and Latino culture, cuisine, art, music, and history. Little Havana Miami is at (12) on our Map of the best things to do in Miami.
13. Bayfront Park and Museum District
Miami is a stunning, beautiful city placed on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Each of its districts are unique and inviting in their own ways with a variety of Miami attractions from which to choose. Therefore, whether you enjoy the beach, art, music, history or museums, you can find it in Miami. The museum district is situated adjacent to Bayfront Park. Bay front park is at (13) on the best things to do in Miami map.
14. The Frost Science Museum
The Frost Science Museum has exhibits that cover from the depths of the ocean to the heights of outer space and everything in between. The aquarium and planetarium are just two of the exhibits. There are six floors to explore with each floor enticing you with interesting scientific facts and advances in technology. The MELab is all about the human body. There is also an Out of Gravity exhibit where you will learn what it is like for astronauts to live in space. The River of Grass highlights Miami’s very own Everglades. The Solar & Lunar Rooftop Terraces give you a bird’s eye view of the city and the surrounding neighborhoods.
15. Perez Art Museum Miami
Next up is the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) which highlights modern and contemporary art with an international flair. The exhibits are always revolving and updating. At this writing you can find art about dominoes, hanging life-sized multicolored boats, film, sculpture gardens and much more. PAMM has an onsite a waterfront restaurant and bar, Verde, which is open for service afternoons and Thursdays until 9:00 p.m. The gift shop has a fabulous collection of books, furnishings and handcrafts. There are a host of educational programs and opportunities as well as special events throughout the calendar year. The museum is a stunning venue for weddings, receptions, galas, and corporate events.
There are still many more Miami attractions and best things to do in Miami! Read on for more details!
16. Monkeying Around: Jungle Island
Established in 1936, Jungle Island Miami is a zoological park and one of the older Miami attractions. For over 80 years, Jungle Island Miami has been entertaining families through engaging animal shows, personal animal encounters, and up close views of animal habitat. This jungle venue showcases extraordinary, exotic animals from places all around the world. In addition to animals, the park highlights lavish plants, flowers and trees. Reptiles, birds, water features make this a true jungle attraction. Jungle Island is the only monkey jungle in Miami showcasing squirrel monkeys and several other primates. If you have kids, this Miami attraction should be at the top of your list of the best things to do in Miami.
17. Miami Zoo: Exceptional Global Zoo
Still wondering about what to do in Miami? Try out the Miami Zoo! You will get a glimpse of ecosystems from around the world such as Asia, Africa, Australia and The Amazon. Rent a Safari Cycle and see the zoo in style. Large cycles can accommodate 6 adults and 2 children. For even more fun, try out one of the pedal boats and tour around Amazon & Beyond Lake. Each of the exhibits brings to life traditional and exotic animals in their habitat. The zoo also features water play areas, playgrounds, several dining options, giraffe and camel feeding. This Miami attraction has everything a family with young kids would enjoy. Kids at heart will find it very entertaining as well.
18. Miami Seaquarium; Sea Lions, Dolphins & Whales
Located on the tip of Virginia Key, the Miami Seaquarium is one of the Miami attractions you must see. There are thrilling shows around every turn such as the Killer Whale Show, Flipper Show, Crocodile Flats, Shark Channel, Manatee Exhibit, and Sea Lion Show. The Miami Seaquarium features dining options, playgrounds, and picnic grounds. Because it is situated on Biscayne Bay, there isn’t a better location for a sea-themed aquarium.
19. Miami Children’s Museum: A Combination of Fun & Education
The Miami Children’s Museum has a four-pronged theme: play, learn, imagine, and create. Therefore, the museum serves as a learning playground that teaches some basic job related skills such as banking, construction, health and wellness, art, and music. There is outdoor play area as well. The gift shop specializes in educational toys and games.
20. History Miami Museum: Celebrating the Crossroads of the Americas
A Smithsonian Affiliate, History Miami Museum showcases the historical events and cultures of Miami. There are rotating exhibits as well as the permanent display: Tropical Dreams: A People’s History of South Florida. You can explore the museum on your own, or you can make reservations for one of many themed tours. The Whitman Gallery showcases over 100 years of pioneers that laid the foundations for Miami. The Folklife Gallery highlights the cultural influences as seen through handicrafts, music, clothing, food, diversity and traditions. The Century of Flight Exhibit details the Miami aviation industry. The museum experience is rounded out with educational programs, events and special occasions.
21. Jewish Museum of Florida: A Flourishing Culture
We haven’t yet touched on the Jewish culture and influence. A visit to the Jewish Museum of Florida will give you another perspective and additional choices of what to do in Miami. Sponsored by the Florida International University, the Jewish Museum of Florida portrays Jewish cultural life in the heart of Miami. It finds its home in two restored Art Deco synagogues that are connected with an open air bistro. Artifacts date back as far as the mid 1700’s. MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida: 1763 to Present is the foundation exhibit with other exhibits rotating on a regular basis. One of many unique Miami attractions, the museum presents a Food Walking Tour that takes you through various Jewish-owned restaurants in the area where samples are enjoyed by the tour group. Reservations are necessary. Don’t miss out on this unique cultural experience. By the way, admission is free on Saturdays!
22. Gold Coast Railroad Museum
One of many best things to do in Miami includes a visit to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. This permanent exhibit showcases one of the presidential train cars utilized by Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Reagan. There is a great model train display. Who could forget Thomas the Tank Engine? Thomas has interactive play areas for children. No train museum is complete without train rides; Gold Coast Railroad Museum is no different. This is a neat Miami attraction for train enthusiasts.
23. Wings Over Miami Air Museum
Located at the Miami Executive Airport, the Wings Over Miami Air Museum showcases aircraft from World War II through present day. It honors veteran and civilian pioneers in the aircraft industry. It has a mission to be an active flying museum and most of its aircraft are in good flying condition. During the week the hangars are abuzz with restoration activities and on weekends you can see some of the military and civil aircraft take flight. Of all the best things to do in Miami, this may be one of the coolest because you can observe these aircraft soar.
24. Key West: Just a Day Trip Away
This time our list of Miami attractions will take us out of town, but it is worth the trip! It’s time to rent that convertible or Jeep and head south on Hwy. 1 to the end of the road in Key West, Florida, the southernmost town in the U.S. This is an unforgettable experience as you drive from land onto an expansive 7-mile bridge surrounded by aqua-colored Ocean. The drive will take 4 hours if you drive straight through, but there are so many things to see and do it will surely take longer.
On the way you will find restaurants such as Robbie’s Restaurant where you can get a delicious meal and hand feed the giant tarpons – an ocean fish that can get as big as 8 feet long and weigh 200 pounds! Marathon Key has a delightful resort – Faro Blanco Resort – a picturesque place to stay. Before you cross over the 7-Mile Bridge, you can park and take the walking/biking trail over to Pigeon Key on an unused expanse of the bridge.
Especially relevant are all the things to do once you arrive in Key West. The wide sprawling beaches are ideal for many water sports. Snorkeling at Fort Zachery Taylor State Park offers an underwater perspective of the shallow reef and sea life. Learn to sail with Sunset Sail Key West. Visit the Ernest Hemingway House, enjoy a slice of key lime pie and visit the restaurants and bars along Duval Street. At the end of the day, find facing the west where you can watch the setting sun paint the sky in beautiful hues of pink, orange and purple. A memorable journey to an iconic town with a distinctive beach life.
25. Miami Coconut Grove
Situated south of downtown, Miami Coconut Grove borders a large section of Dinner Key Channel on the east. A picturesque landmark is the Dinner Key Marina showcasing beautiful sail boats and yachts from around the world. Its nearby parks make this an ideal spot to spend time on the shore. The Barnacle Historic State Park, Peacock Park and the Coconut Grove Sailing Club are just south of the marina. East of the marina you will find Dinner Key Picnic Islands Park and West Islands Park. One of the best things to do in Miami is rent kayaks or boats from Miami Watersports to access these island parks.
An idyllic accommodation can be found at Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami. This property is close enough to all the Miami attractions the area provides, yet far enough from the hustle and bustle that it can truly be called a retreat. The rooftop pool and terrace offer panoramic views from sunrise to sunset. It is a perfect setting for pondering what to do in Miami tomorrow. Sonesta is a full-service hotel with a fitness center, business center and valet parking. The Panorama Restaurant and Sky Lounge are very inviting and serve unique international dishes and signature cocktails. The stylish, generous rooms offer spectacular views of Biscayne Bay or the Miami skyline. Ranging from deluxe rooms to 2-bedroom suites you are sure to find accommodations that meet your needs.
Other noteworthy things to do in Miami Coconut Grove include a free yoga class at Peacock Park followed by lunch at the Peacock Garden Bistro. Enjoy Happy Hour at Monty’s on the marina. Visit the CocoWalk shopping plaza and stop by for an afternoon daiquiri at Fat Tuesday.
Coconut Grove is the oldest neighborhood in Miami. Its developed landscapes and tall trees provide a lush canopy and make walking through the neighborhood both comfortable in the shade and overtaken by its beauty.
Magnificent Miami: A Portal to History, Art, Culture & Beach Life
We have covered a lot of territory in and around Miami. We discovered hundreds of things to do in Miami from outdoor water sports to museums; from lush gardens to art galleries; from state and national parks to mansions and much more. In fact, the list of Miami attractions is almost endless. We have experienced a taste of the Gilded Age, the Art Deco scene, and the playground for the rich and famous. We have learned about Latino, Jewish and Pop cultures. We have visited historic landmarks and visual and performance art venues. We have tasted all that is Miami.
Consequently, the journey doesn’t have to end in Miami. It is a great jumping off point to see places in the Caribbean region. For example, it is just a short flights to Bahamas from here, especially the Abacos Out Islands. Pristine waters, tropical cuisine, laid back life style and a rich culture await you. For more information see the Bahamas Travel Guide.
Best things to do in Miami Map
I also enjoyed these alluring things during my last journey and came back with smiley faces.
That’s great to hear, glad you enjoyed them! Mark
Great article! Design District is must see!