Known for its vibrant, robust, and rhythmic culture, Miami is more than just the gateway to the Florida Keys. Everything from wildlife to wild nights awaits in this beautiful city, sparkling like a jewel on the tip of South Florida.
Following are 11 things to see and do the next time you find yourself in this multicultural Mecca (in no specific order of course).
Here’s a handy map for reference:
Tour Little Havana
Elderly men playing dominoes can be found in the Latin community set right in the heart of Miami. The main street of Little Havana features stunning art galleries, exquisite Cuban food, and local fruit stands that dot the Avenue all along the way. Of course, there are several cigar shops to get your fix on the walkway of the stars. A feast for the senses and a totally immersive experience, Little Havana is a must see.
For more photos of our day spent in Little Havana see our article: An Introduction to Little Havana
Stroll through Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
What do you do when you are a businessman and travel across Europe collecting art, antiques, and furniture to fill up your 180-acre estate? Well, if you’re James Deering you create a replica of Italy during its Renaissance period. There is simply no way to adequately describe this breathtaking collection of architecture and art other than to say you simply need to see it. It’s just like you have stepped over into Italy, without the expensive plane ticket and hours of travel. Be sure to check out the formal garden, and the East Terrace, which has a fantastic view of the bay.
For more photos and a video check out our article: Villa Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – Everything Italianate, Local to North America
Admire the South Beach Architecture
One of the best things to do in Miami is simply walk up and down South Beach. The homes colourful in their Art Deco style are unique and exude the character that has defined the area both during the day and at night. The day will have you captivated by colourful cottages and homes that lined the Avenue while the evening will have you mesmerised with the rhythmic sounds that are heard from the clubs and bars along the way. A unique experience, South Beach is something you don’t want to miss.
Do a bit of Shopping
When the sun gets a bit heated in Miami, there is nothing like a little shopping to break up the day. The Lincoln Road Mall is the perfect place to do just that. Located between Washington Avenue and West Avenue, this mall is a mix of old architecture, three Fabin and updated Art Deco style. All of your favourite stores are there, and it is a great place to people watch and while away a lazy afternoon.
For more about Lincoln Road Mall check out our article: Mojitos, Architecture and Art at the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami
Worship the sun on Miami Beach
When in Miami you must visit Miami Beach. There is no other beach in the world like this one where you can people watch all day long while you work on your tan. We like to watch the cruise ships sail in and out of the Port of Miami and wave at the people as they sail away…
Enjoy some Good Eats
Miami is one of the best cities to embark on a culinary tour. You will be paired with a guide, and then spend the day tasting some fantastic cuisine. Everything from Cuban food, famous wine, Spanish beer and of course my favourite empanadas are all on the menu. You will leave with a pallet that is satisfied and wanting more of the great food that Miami has to offer.
Check out our review of the tour we took with Miami Culinary Tours through South Beach
Learn something at the Wolsonian Museum
Located in the thriving Art Deco district of Miami, the Wolfsonian Museum explores how art and design helps shape and reflect our experience as human beings. They constantly have exhibitions on rotation, and some of the best-known artists in the world including Andy Warhol have been featured here at one time or another. Be sure to take in this experience while you are there.
Take a road trip to the Florida Keys
Key West is always within reach anytime you’re in Miami. It is just a drive along (a very cool) bridge until you hit the beach. On the way, you will stop along other keys, such as Key Largo, for breaks and to take in a bit of what those islands have to offer. Once you are in Key West, be sure to visit the southern most point and have your picture taken there. There is also a Hemingway Museum, which is a great visit if you like books and cats, and the locals are sure to keep you entertained with food and drinks for as long as your wallet and attention span will allow.
Get up close and personal at Monkey Jungle
Thirty minutes from downtown Miami, Monkey Jungle has a slogan that says ‘where humans are caged and monkeys run wild’. This bio park was established in 1933 as a research facility, conservation area, educational place, and a breeding ground. Here you will see several different types of monkeys such as the mandrill, orangutan, and the great ape. As you walk through the “jungle” fenced cage like tunnels, you can feed the monkeys — It’s a great way to spend a day and be a kid at heart.
Check out our article where we Monkeying Around at Monkey Jungle, Miami Florida
Take a break at Bayside Marketplace
Any time you are in the heart of downtown Miami, you have to stop at Bayside. One of the few places where you can experience multiple cultures, and open-air street performers, it is a marketplace like no other. Find some local handcrafted jewellery, or get an amazing meal before you take in a spectacular entertainment event.
Visit Everglades National Park
Located about 1 hour from Miami, Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States according to wikipedia. We’ve spent many a day here walking the trails and visiting with the alligators watching the birds and just getting away from it all.
Miami certainly is a city that moves to its own vibe and has a unique atmosphere that is all its own. The activities listed above are just a few that give a vast cross-section to the diversity that the city has to offer. Enjoy these during your time there, and you are certain to find several more that will find their way on your itinerary as well. There is no place on the planet like Miami!