We really don’t know how to start telling you about all the amazing things to do in Miami so, while we have a think about it, have a quick read about its background. Miami is the cultural center of South Florida and the second largest city in the southern state. Key West, at the most southern point in Florida (and the continental US), is just 90 miles from Havana, Cuba. The proximity means that there are many Cubans and Cuban-Americans in the state. So many, in fact, that Miami has earned the nickname the Capital of Latin America. The mixture of cultures in Miami make it a diverse city, and it’s long been renowned for being a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and people. Miami has a population of around 463,000 people, with millions more visiting for its sun, party lifestyle, and upscale shopping.
So, let’s take you on a quick journey and explore all the great things to do in Miami on your visit.
The Seaquarium is located in Biscayne Bay in Miami and spans an area of 38 acres. In the 1960s, the TV show ‘Flipper’ was filmed at the location and the dolphin was played by five different animals over the years. Presumably, this is because when one got too famous, it made lots of demands and started refusing to perform unless its tank was filled with the petals from white roses. Anyway, these days, the most famous being in the park is Lolita the Killer Whale. Lolita is the world’s oldest captive Orca, and she’s been at the Seaquarium since 1970. One of the best things to do in Miami at the Seaquarium is to see the manatees. If you’re not from Florida, or haven’t seen one before, you’re in for such a treat. They might just be the cutest, squishiest beings on the planet.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
It’s difficult to describe just how beautiful Villa Vizcaya is to someone who hasn’t seen it but, trust us, it’s stunning. The mansion is the former home of James Deering, who made his fortune after joining his father’s agricultural machinery company. It’s by far the coolest house we’ve ever seen that was built on the back of combine harvester sales. And don’t even get us started on the pool. The house has been featured in a ton of movies over the years, including Ace Ventura and Iron Man 3. It was even used by President Reagan to host a meeting with Pope John Paul 11. Today, visitors can take a tour of the first floor of the mansion, as well as walk around the beautiful grounds. It’s a peaceful thing to do in Miami and the perfect escape from busy South Beach.
Tickets required, available from the entrance, $10-$22
Little Havana is a Cuban-centric neighborhood in Miami, named after the Cuban capital and the fact that a large percentage of the population is from the country. The National Trust for the United States has named Little Havana a national treasure because of its culture, its businesses, food, atmosphere and, generally, because its people are warm and friendly. A visit to Little Havana is one of the best things to do in Miami for visitors as it’s a fantastic experience. The area is home to the Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, which take place on the last Friday of each month. This has a festival atmosphere and celebrates art, music, and culture with free shows, live music, food tasting, and a whole range of other unique activities. It is THE place to be in Miami.
South Beach Miami
South Beach is where the cool, hip people of Miami can often be found. It has beautiful white sand beaches, high rise apartments, and stunning Art Deco hotels and bars lined up along Ocean Drive. Sitting enjoying a cocktail at one of the open air bars along South Beach is one of the best things to do in Miami with your SO. Walking along Ocean Drive will show you the beauty of the buildings, with many painted in pastel shades to showcase their stunning architecture. When night falls, South Beach transforms into party central, with nightclubs and bars dotted around the area. It’s a hugely popular area for visitors and has a unique and chilled out atmosphere.
Bayside Market Place
Bayside is an open air marketplace located in downtown and is a great thing to do in Miami if you’re looking for a fun place to hang out and grab some food. This is one of the most visited areas in the city and is two levels of shopping, dining, and fun. The market has a constant stream of live acts performing throughout the week and the upbeat, often Latino, music provides a wonderful backdrop to views of the marina and ocean, while you sip drinks and eat Bubba Gump shrimp.
Crandon Park is 800 acres of beautiful park in Key Biscayne. It’s easily accessible over the causeway that connects it to the city proper and is a beach hangout. There is 2 miles of white, sandy beach on the Atlantic side, and the park also includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center at its northern end. The park is probably most famous for being the location of the Miami Open tennis tournament, which is held at Crandon Park stadium.
Miami Children’s Museum
This massive children’s museum is one of the best things to do in Miami with kids. There are 14 galleries, a 200-seat theater, gift shops, classrooms and one of Miami’s best pre-schools. The museum is very much a community hub and has a great outreach program to help children and their parents and guardians in the area. There’s a fantastic sensory room, a magic castle, a construction zone, a music studio, and a health and wellness center. The museum also has a brilliant program of events throughout the year.
Tickets required, available online or at the entrance, $22
The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden
The Kampong was originally set up as a laboratory for tropical plants. It is now a 9-acre tropical botanical garden, and is one of five in the US. The other four are based in Hawaii. The Kampong is the former residence of Dr David Fairchild, who spent much of his life exploring south Asia, collecting tropical plants. They actually have such a thing as Peanut Butter Fruit, but it doesn’t taste like peanuts. Or butter. Confusing, we know. Anyway, you can take a self-guided tour, or a guided tour with an experienced guide, and it’s a lovely thing to do in Miami for anyone who has an interest in plants or beautiful gardens.
Tickets required, available at the entrance (booking advisable), $5-$20
Off-beat things to do in Miami
Rock up to Coral Gables and check out the Venetian Pool. We promise you won’t be disappointed. This fresh-water pool is the largest one of its kind in the United States and is built in an abandoned coral rock quarry. In the summer, it’s drained and refilled daily to keep the water clean. That sounds like a whole lot of work to us but, then again, we’re pretty lazy. Anyway, the Venetian Pool is the only swimming pool to ever make it on to the National Register of Historic Places. Looks like all that refilling has been worth the effort, after all.
FAQs About Miami
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the city and things to do in Miami. These will help your research, planning, and general education about all this fashionable South Florida city has to offer.
What can I do in Miami for free?
Head over to Wynwood Walls and check out the incredible street art and murals. The popularity of the area has attracted some of the best graffiti artists in the world, and everyone has left their mark. It’s a fantastic thing to do in Miami for free.
What is there to do in Miami at night other than clubs?
Go on the Big Bus Tour Night Tour of downtown Miami and see all the lights of the city after dark. It’s a really fun thing to do in Miami that doesn’t involve loud music and drunken people. Alternatively, take in a concert or show at Bayfront Park or Knight Concert Hall.
What Miami is famous for?
Hot weather? Spring break? Songs by Will Smith? Seriously, though, as well as all that, Miami is for the incredible Art Deco architecture of South Beach, and the fact that the city has more than 50 miles of white sand beaches.
Is Miami Beach safe for tourists?
Most areas of Miami Beach are generally safe for visitors, but pickpocketing in crowded areas is an issue. As with every major city, some areas are safe and others you would want to avoid. As a visitor, you should always keep your wits about you, regardless of where you travel to. Keep your valuables safely hidden at all times, take a cab or Uber if you’re out late at night and, generally, take a sensible approach to anything you do in Miami on your vacation.
What is the cheapest month to fly to Miami?
September is generally thought to be the cheapest time to fly to Miami. This is because the summer rush has ended, everyone’s back at work, and there’s far less demand to get there. Plus, with the city less busy, you can avoid the crowds while still soaking up the South Florida sun. Score!
Miami is a haven for visitors who love the beach, the ocean, and late night activities. It’s also a playground for the rich and famous. However, you shouldn’t let the thought of meeting a Kardashian or two on the beach stop you from exploring all this amazing city has to offer. Although Miami has some of the most expensive real estates in the United States, it still has a great range of affordable accommodation for visitors – even those on tight budgets. Food and drinks can be relatively cheap (depending on where you purchase them), and there are plenty of free things to do while you’re there. Miami International Airport serves the city and Miami is a major hub for cruise ships. We hope we’ve convinced you to head south and marvel at all the fun things to do in Miami on your vacation.