Miami, Florida, is known for its vibrant, robust, and rhythmic culture, but it is more than just the gateway to the Florida Keys. Everything from wildlife to wild nights awaits in this beautiful city, a sparkling jewel on the tip of South Florida.
Keep reading for some suggestions for the next time you find yourself in this multicultural Mecca.
11 things in Miami (and the greater Miami area) to see and do
(in no specific order of course)
Table of Contents
- 1. Tour Little Havana
- 2. Stroll through Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- 3. Admire the South Beach Architecture
- 4. Do a bit of Shopping
- 5. Worship the Sun on Miami Beach
- 6. Enjoy some Good Eats
- 7. Learn something at the Wolfsonian Museum
- 8. Take a road trip to the Florida Keys
- 9. Get up close and personal at Monkey Jungle
- 10. Take a break at Bayside Marketplace
- 11. Visit Everglades National Park
1. Tour Little Havana
This Latin community is set in the heart of Miami, and it’s full of great conversation, delicious food and men playing dominoes. 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 also several cigar shops if you need to get your fix along the walkway of the stars. A feast for the senses and an entirely immersive experience, Little Havana is a must-see in Miami.
For more photos of our day spent in Little Havana, read our article: An Introduction to Little Havana
2. 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—the Vizcaya Museum. There is 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, but 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.
If you are a Marvel Studios fan: Villa Vizcaya was featured prominently in the movie Iron Man 3 as the home of the Mandarin!
For more photos and a video of this Miami tourist attraction, check out our article: Villa Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – Everything Italianate, Local to North America
3. Admire the South Beach Architecture
One of the best things to do in Miami? Walk up and down South Beach. The colourful, Art Deco-style buildings are unlike anything I’ve ever seen and exude the character that has defined the area for so long, both during the day and night. The day will have you captivated by colourful cottages and homes that line the Avenue, while the evening will have you mesmerized with the rhythmic sounds of the music heard from the clubs and bars along the way. There are also self-guided walking tours, taking you to famous sights and spots—especially along Ocean Drive. A unique experience, South Beach is something you don’t want to miss.
4. Do a bit of Shopping
When the beaches get too hot in Miami, there is nothing like a bit of shopping to break up the day. The Lincoln Road Mall is the most popular place to do just that. Located between Washington Avenue and West Avenue, this mall mixes old architecture and the updated Art Deco style you saw along South Beach. All of your favourite stores are there, and it is an excellent 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
5. Worship the Sun on Miami Beach
What is Miami best known for? Where better can you people watch all day long and work on your tan? Well, Miami Beach, of course; it’s a definite must-do and the best free attraction in Miami. There is no other beach in the world like this one. Featured prominently throughout pop-culture history, with shows like Miami Vice and movies like Scarface, the beach is world renown. We like to watch the cruise ships sail in and out of the Port of Miami and wave at the friendly people as they sail away.
6. 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 satisfied palate but still and want more of the great food that Miami offers.
If you want my advice on where to visit, check out our review of the tour we took with Miami Culinary Tours through South Beach
7. Learn something at the Wolfsonian Museum
If you’re looking for an art museum, Miami has plenty, and the Wolfsonian is something special. Located in the thriving Art Deco district of Miami, the Wolfsonian Museum explores how art and design help to shape and reflect our experience as human beings. The museum constantly has 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 here, especially if you’re a fan of visual art.
8. 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 southernmost point (of the continental US!) and have your picture taken there. There is also a Hemingway Museum, which is a great visit if you like books and cats (who doesn’t?). The locals are sure to keep you entertained with food and drinks for as long as your wallet and attention span will allow.
9. 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 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 a fun thing to do in Miami with kids.
Check out our article where we Monkeying Around at Monkey Jungle, Miami Florida
10. Take a break at Bayside Marketplace
Anytime you are in the heart of downtown Miami, you have to stop at Bayside. Located on Biscayne Bay, it’s one of the few places where you can experience multiple cultures, and open-air street performers; it’s a marketplace like no other. Spend the day browsing small shops and finding little treasures, like some locally handcrafted jewellery. Then get a fantastic meal from one of several delicious restaurants before taking in a spectacular entertainment event.
11. 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, visiting with the alligators, watching the birds, and just getting away from it all. If you like hiking to escape and enjoy nature, then this is the place for you.
Miami certainly is a city that moves to its own vibe with a unique atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else. The activities and must-see attractions 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 sure to find several more that will find their way onto your itinerary as well—the Frost Museum, perhaps? Just know, there is no place on the planet like Miami!
Do you have any suggestions for things to do in Miami Florida?