Best things to do in Miami
Planning on spending some time under the Florida sun? Yeah! Here is a list of the best things to do in Miami, based on my very own experience 🙂 Enjoy!
Go to the beach, relax and get your tan on
I mean, DUH, what else did you come for? 😉
The beach starts on 1st street, where you will see fancy buildings and the fancy people to go with it! Starting at 3rd street, this is usually where the locals and tourists hang out. On 12th street, you will run into the rainbow flag, meaning this beach is boys only! Past 20th, you will find more fancy buildings with people hiding from the sun under their umbrellas, lounging on their long chairs. And, if you are looking for a more quiet place to get your tan on, the beach gets less and less busy the further north you go.
Mingle and play volleyball
If you feel playful and want to have a good time on the beach while meeting new people, you will find volleyball courts around the 8th Street beach. If you see people playing, just ask if you (and your friends) can play, too. It’s a good way to mingle and meet new people. It’s totally common.
Rent a jet ski or a paddle board
Whether you prefer activities with more speed and intensity or activities more calm and relaxing, you have options. Try jet skiing or paddle boarding (which is more affordable, if you are on a budget), fun guaranteed!
Find a festival to attend
There is often a festival or events going on in Miami, whether it’s music, art, film, food, fashion, or something else. So see if there is one scheduled during your stay in the city.
Go to a pool party
Put together your cutest pool outfit, obviously showcasing your most adorable bikini, and go sip a cocktail at a kick ass pool party! Google the best pool parties in Miami and you’ll find plenty of options!
Enjoy the sunset at South Pointe Park
South Pointe, located on 1st Street and Washington Avenue, is a local park as well as a beach. It has walking paths, nice grassy areas and a beautiful view of the ocean. Lovers, families, friends, and everyone in-between like to go there to enjoy and cool off. The place is popular for film crews and photoshoots, so you might find a spectacle on site. Finish your day off nicely by taking a walk around the grounds, and enjoy the sunset, you’ll see it’s exquisite 🙂
Go to the club
Well, Miami is well-known for its crazy party nightlife. Among the most popular clubs in South Beach are Liv, Mokaï, Mansion, Cameo, Set, Nikki Beach, and Wall. To enter in some of those places you might need a certain dose of patience -unless you know someone who can help you get in faster!-. You are basically selected to enter little by little into the club, and, usually, the more girls in your group, the better…sorry, boys! Also, some nights are going to be « better » for some given clubs. Check out this recent article on Thrills, for the 15 best club nights in Miami.
On the street, you might be approached by « promoters » (people who are charged to find people and advertise for given clubs) who will give you passes to get in for free, have free drinks, or get in more easily. Just be aware that, in most cases, the nights they offer are not as exciting for those given clubs.
Some promoters are completely legit and it could be totally worth going out on days they offer. It is much harder to find them! Ask around. Ask people you meet how they get into the clubs and see if they can put you in contact with one of those promoters.
Go to Nikki beach
Nikki beach is a luxury beach club, where you can eat, get a drink, and party. They often have events going on over there, so check out their website to see if something interests you. Also, it’s mainly known as a « beach club, » a pretty cool place where you can club like crazy, but also go outside and distance yourself from the loud music to have a nice little talk with your friends on the sand.
Go to Mango’s Tropical Cafe
Mango’s is a cool restaurant/club located on Ocean Drive. They put on different shows featuring Latin dancers moving to all sorts of music, from salsa to bachata and from reggae to pop; dancing alone, in groups, or in pairs. They also have different dancing floor ambiances: downstairs, with mostly latin music, and two rooms upstairs with mostly hip hop and r&b music.
This is a pretty touristy place, you will rarely run into locals, but I always had the best time there. I love how laid back you can dress, which is a contrast with the rest of the South Beach nightlife spots! Their tropical mojitos are deliciously sweet, give it a try! :p
Get a huge drink on Ocean Drive
Try to get your drinks at Happy Hour (usually starting in the afternoon around 4-5pm to the evening 7-8pm, it depends on the place), where you will have good deals on drinks, and even sometimes on food, usually appetizers.
Another popular place to grab a drink is the Clevelander, featuring its famous pool, also on Ocean Drive.
Sit outside and people-watch
This is one of my favorite activities wherever I go, it’s free, and it can be pretty amusing, especially in Miami, where you can see pretty weird things sometimes! Just sit outside on Lincoln road or on Ocean Drive, as those are the places where there is the most foot traffic. Washington Avenue has its share of good outdoor seating, too, but the street kinda stinks (oops, I said it!), so I usually avoid it, or find a place inside, at the window!
Go to Five Guys to get your burger on
Five Guys is a fast food chain to help you with your burger craving. It’s pretty popular in the US. You can add any topping you want to your burger. The one on the Beach (1500 Washington Avenue) is open from 11 to 4am, so now you know where to go if you feel like filling your belly up with some guilt-inducing food after a hard night of clubbing!
Go eat at Tap Tap
Miami has a strong Haitian population. You will even find a neighborhood called Little Haiti. I, unfortunately, don’t know this place well enough to put it on my list. I can, however, put Tap Tap on it! It’s a little restaurant, located on 5th street, specialized in Haitian cuisine. It is delicious. Try it if you are interested in some Caribbean flavors.
See an open-air movie in Miami Beach
Go enjoy free movies at the Miami Beach SoundScape, located at the corner of 17th Street and Washington Avenue. Movies are screened on a giant 7,000-square-foot projection wall. All movies are family friendly and free to the public. They are usually at 8pm on Wednesdays, but sometimes get shown on Thursdays, too. Bring a blanket and have an evening picnic while enjoying the movie with friends and family.
Have a city tour with the Duck
View Miami by land and by sea. Start with a tour of historical Miami neighborhoods, then prepare yourself for a splashdown! You will head to Star Island where you can spy on the celebrities who have their homes there 🙂 It’s a tour of 4 hours in total, for $39. You have to try it! Check out the tour on their website here.
Rent a bike and go around
Touring a new city on bike is an excellent way to explore. Just cycle around. You can admire the Art Deco in Miami Beach, mostly located on Ocean Drive, where you can also enjoy the ride along the beach. You can easily head to downtown from the beach (or the reverse, from downtown to the beach) through the Venetian Causeway, where you will be crossing Biscayne Bay, it’s a nice ride. You will find lots of shops where you can rent a bike, mostly located on Washington Avenue. Caution: keep an eye on your bikes if you decide to make a stop because there are some bike thieves out there! And, opt for the bike lanes where you can because Miami’s drivers are totally loco!
Go to Bayside Market
Bayside is an outdoor shopping mall, with a nice view of the bay. You can shop there, eat, drink and hang out. My favorite time is probably going at the end of the afternoon, grabbing a drink, eating at Hooters (where you can find sexy-dressed waitresses, not ideal for jealous girlfriends! :p ) and welcoming the evening where sometimes there are little concerts, or dance classes. Cool ambiance.
Attend an NBA basketball game at American Airlines Arena
If you are visiting Miami during the NBA season (late October to late spring), make sure to get some tickets to attend one of the games. You can find inexpensive tickets, depending on the seats you choose and the importance of the game. But the experience is worth living. You will get a feel for the heat (yes, I made that joke!) happening during a game, where everybody gets excited!
Visit Miami Downtown with the Metromover
Downtown Miami is not the most interesting place to visit. There are not a lot of things going on there, but an aerial ride can make it much more pleasing. The Metromover is a monorail that goes throughout the city, for free, no ticket needed. Just hop on the 21st century carousel ride for kids of all ages.
It’s a series of 3 one-way loops with cars (supposedly!) coming every 5-10 minutes. If you want to know more about it and have a map of the system go on Miami-Dade transit website.
Stations you should get off:
– Government Center (any loop), where you can access the Perez Art Museum Miami, HistoryMiami, the Miami-Dade Public Library, the Federal Courthouse Square…
-Adrienne Arsht Center (Omni loop), for its performing arts center, which is the second largest in in the US. Appreciate the contemporary architecture, as well.
-Bayfront park (any loop), stroll along the bay and appreciate the view.
-Tenth Street/Brickell station (Brickell loop), appreciate the nice and clean financial district, making sure to head to Mary Brickell Village.
Go to Mary Brickell Village
Mary Brickell Village is a popular eat and play destination in downtown. You can find a few shops, eateries, and bars. It’s a very cool place to hang out. If you want to get a drink, you can go a popular hotspot called Blue Martini. It showcases live entertainment on some nights, and offers nice happy hour options.
Go to Wynwood
Wynwood is a trendy Miami arts hub, displaying street art everywhere. This neighborhood is the muse and the canvas for lots of artists. This place is becoming more and more popular. It attracts lots of people during Art Basel for its pop up parties, galleries and artistic collaborations.
To do: tour galleries, appreciate the street art around you, visit the Wynwood Walls (place that has become a major art display where some of the world’s greatest artists working in graffiti and street art genre were brought), and, take a break from the bling-bling fancy Miami lifestyle, and enjoy their cool and chillax atmosphere bars or restaurants.
Go to Little Havana
Miami is well-known for its Latin and, specifically, Cuban influences. Have a taste of Cuba in this neighborhood. Here, you will find Cuban-style shops and restaurants, Mediterranean-style houses with rocking chairs on porches, tobacco scents coming from stores hand rolling cigars just like how they do it back home, and proud Miami Cubans playing dominos, all with Latin music in the background. Walk on Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), visit the neighborhood, get some Cuban food, watch a cigar get hand-rolled in one of the shops, and try one of those little Cuban coffees, called a « cortadito. » (be careful, it can pack a punch for the those who are not used to it!)
Get a Cuban breakfast
Cubans have a traditional breakfast that’s absolutely delicious. Try their pastries, empanadas, and of course, their sweet little Cuban coffee.
You can have a cheap breakfast (and/or meal) at Las Olas Cafe (6th Street & Euclide).
Get a Cuban coffee
Click here if you want to know more about the different Cuban coffee options.
Go to Sawgrass Mills
If you plan on shopping a lot, Sawgrass is the place to go. It’s one of the largest malls in the US. Sawgrass is famous for shoppers looking for the best deals. You can even plan on spending an entire day there. It’s pretty far away from Miami Beach, taking approximately 45 min. – 1 hour to get there, in light traffic. The best way to get there would be by car. Attempting to get there via public transportation would absolutely be a pain in the ass and it would take forever (over 3 hours, one way!). You should then rent a car or get a shuttle bus, which would cost you $25-$30 round trip (check with tourist kiosks, or look up Sawgrass Mills Mall Shuttle Bus on the internet). There are a few large discount department stores within the mall (all in the same location), like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Burlington Coat Factory, where the prices are often reduced up to 90%. Start off by checking those stores out to find your favorite brands heavily discounted. You can eat over there, as you’ll find multiple food courts with diverse options, at affordable prices.
Go to the Everglades
Everglades National Park is one of South Florida’s natural treasures, with its 1.5 million acres of swamps, sawgrass prairies and sub-tropical jungles. The park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther, and the West Indian Manatee. Visitors can enjoy a multitude of activities from hiking, canoeing, and biking, to camping, ranger led programs, tram tours, and boat tours. Plan your trip and check out the things to do in the Everglades with the National Park Service who can help you with your questions.
Go to Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove is the oldest neighborhood in Miami. This little bohemian neighborhood, with a relaxing atmosphere, is really charming. It’s a pedestrian-friendly village where you’ll find lots of little cafes, boutiques, galleries, and many open-air bay front parks. Take advantage of being in the neighborhood to go visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a beautiful Mansion built in the Italian Renaissance style. Learn more and check out the hours and price of admission on their website.
Your best friend should be Groupon. Before anything you do, like going to a restaurant, going on a tour, renting a jet ski, going paddle boarding, etc., check on Groupon to see if you can find a good deal for the activity you want to do. It can even inspire you to do things and go places you would not have thought about in the first place. And, whether you are on a budget or not, why pay full price when you can pay half price?
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