Let’s be honest, Miami is overwhelmingly eclectic: the bright lights, the lively nightlife, the stunning beaches, the hidden nature, the unique history, and the cultural identity. But in a way, that’s what makes the city so remarkable – you never run out of fun things to do in Miami no matter how much time you spend here!
And believe me, although I live in nearby Fort Lauderdale, my wife grew up in Miami and we’ve still yet to scratch the surface on all there is to do in the Magic City.
But I must say, we have done quite a bit. And that’s why I’ve compiled this handy list of things to do in Miami so you don’t feel so overwhelmed when you visit! Bienvenidos a Miami!
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Best Things to Do in Miami
Stroll the Art Deco District in South Beach
Vibrant nightlife and a beautiful beach aside, Miami’s most famous neighborhood, South Beach, often gets overlooked for its most distinct feature: the Art Deco District. The colorful and retro architecture is a perfect encapsulation of the 1920s when Miami boomed into the cultural capital it is today. Visit the Art Deco Museum for self-guided tours along Ocean Drive and the Art Deco District.
Dance Salsa at the Ball & Chain
Nothing speaks to the Latin influence in Miami quite like a nostalgic salsa club. The Ball & Chain, seemingly plucked directly from the streets of Havana, is an iconic dance club serving food and drink late into the evening. Live salsa, bachata, and merengue are most commonly played, but be on the lookout for swing and jazz music, as well.
💃 Want to learn salsa? Taking dance lessons in Miami Beach is a great way to get comfortable before stepping onto the dancefloor at a Miami Salsa Club.
Walk Along the Wynwood Walls
Once a downtrodden corner of town, the ongoing revitalization of Wynwood has produced the most lively neighborhood in Miami (and one of the top things to do in the state of Florida). Colorful street art sticks to the concrete walls of craft breweries, vibrant nightclubs, edgy art galleries, and fancy restaurants. The most picturesque is the Wynwood Walls – a labyrinth of creativity winding through alleyways and side streets.
Climb a Lighthouse in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne
Standing tall amongst the thick tropical hammock of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a scenic lighthouse overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Constructed in 1825, the lighthouse guided vessels into the calm waters of Biscayne Bay for centuries. Today, the spiral staircase winds to one of the most stunning views in all of Miami.
📚 Related Reading: It’s easy to spend an entire day on Key Biscayne, but here are other day trips from Miami you should take while you’re here.
Admire the Architecture at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Opulence is on full display as you wander through the halls of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Overlooking Biscayne National Park, the estate’s original owner, James Deering, was an avid conservationist. As such, the grounds surrounding the Mediterranean-inspired villa reflect a natural beauty found sparingly in Miami.
Drink a Colada at Versailles Restaurant
In the heart of Little Havana is the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant: Versailles. Ex-presidents, celebrities, visitors, and locals alike all flock here for the scrumptious Cuban-style cuisine. However, if you’re just passing by, head to the cafe section for a Cuban-style espresso known as a Colada.
Get Scientific at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami is one of the most awe-inspiring institutions in the United States. Featuring a jaw-dropping aquarium and a dazzling planetarium, the state-of-the-art facility is a testament to the power of science. The entire family will enjoy an afternoon exploring the various exhibits the museum has to offer.
Explore Everglades National Park
Topping every list of things to do in South Florida is a trip to Everglades National Park. The unique ecosystem is home to millions of alligators and rare tropical birds. Activities in the park are diverse including walking trails, tram rides, cycling routes, dolphin cruises, or an airboat tour. The park is massive – spanning the entirety of Southern Florida – so finding an Everglades tour near where you’re staying is crucial.
Live the High Life at a Rooftop Bar
Part of the Miami experience is living a life of luxury. And what better way to get a taste of the high-life than enjoying a meal, or just a few drinks, from a rooftop bar? South Beach and Brickell neighborhoods have plenty of rooftop options like Sugar, Area 31, and MILA, all offering stunning views of downtown Miami.
Play Dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park in Little Havana
For a heavy dose of traditional Cuban culture, head to Domino Park in Little Havana. No matter the time of day, you’ll find regulars bantering with one another over extremely competitive games of dominoes. Audiences are more than welcome during the immersive Latin experience.
Museums, Art & Culture
Inspire Minds at the Miami Children’s Museum
📍 Map It: 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132 | Phone: 305-373-5437 | Website | Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM daily (2 hour timed play sessions, book in advance) | Entrance: $22 non-residents, $15 Florida residents
The entire family will find entertainment at the Miami Children’s Museum on Watson Island. With 14 bilingual exhibits, daily programming, and ever-developing classes, young minds get brighter with each visit to the museum.
Smell the Aroma at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Featuring thousands of rare tropical plants, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden provides a tranquil reprieve from the busyness of the city. While roaming the 83-acre property, you’ll notice aquatic exhibits, cycads, rare palms, and plants hailing from distant Caribbean islands and not-so-distant Keys.
Chug Along at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Railways built this country, and particularly, helped build Miami. This fact isn’t lost at the Miami Railroad Historical Society and their commemoration of this forgotten history. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is locally funded achieving great feats in its preservation, exhibition, and operation of the historical equipment found throughout the museum.
Witness Art Come to Life at Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience in the Olympia Theater
In conjunction with the historic Olympia Theater, Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience brings an interactive element to the famous artist’s most profound pieces of work. Thanks to developments in virtual reality, you’ll witness iconic artworks come to life before your eyes in an unimaginable way.
Housing the experience is the Olympia Theater – a glimmering performing arts center listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The scenic hall is an excellent venue to catch a concert, dance, or play.
Wander the Art Galleries at Perez Art Museum
📍 Map It: 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132 | Phone: 305-375-3000 | Website | Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM Thursdays, 11 AM – 6 PM Friday – Sunday, Closed Monday – Wednesday | Entrance: $16 adults, $12 kids 7 – 18, free under 6
Officially the Jorge M. Perez Art Museum, this gallery features 20th and 21st century works from artists of Caribbean, Latin American, and African descent. The halls consist of 1800 permanent pieces with rotating exhibits throughout the year.
🖼️ Love Contemporary Art? Along with the Perez Art Museum, the city has two other world-renowned galleries: the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Jam Out at the New World Center
An iconic venue in Miami Beach, the New World Center opened in 2011 as home to the New World Symphony – a training ensemble for classical musicians. The modern enhancements make for a soothing evening of live music.
And, if you’re looking for one of the best free things to do in Miami, check out their WALLCAST® concerts – where you can bring a blanket, a picnic, and enjoy listening to a live concert projected onto a 700 square foot wall!
Miami Sites & Attractions
Visit the Tropics at Jungle Island
Jungle Island combines Miami’s tropical setting with an array of exotic animals including flamingos, tigers, and parrots. Exhibits are spread throughout the grounds providing an entertaining afternoon for the entire family.
Marvel at the Coral Castle in Homestead
📍 Map It: 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL 33033 | Phone: 305-248-6345 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 7 pm Thursday – Sunday, Closed Monday – Wednesday | Entrance: $18 adults, $8 children 7 – 12, free under 6
The Coral Castle in Homestead tells the tragic tale of one broken-hearted man, Edward Leedskalnin. Recently rejected by the love of his life, Edward spent the next 28 years of his life carving a monument from ancient coral rock. He completed his work in 1936 before moving the sculptures to their current location in Homestead.
Get Splashed at Miami Sea Aquarium
Facing Biscayne National Park on Virginia Key is the Miami Sea Aquarium. One of the largest oceanariums in the country, the Miami Sea Aquarium features exhibits including marine mammals, reef fish, sharks, sea turtles, and tropical birds.
Sip a Milkshake at Robert is Here in Homestead
Robert is Here is a family-owned and operated fruit stand specializing in exotic fruits. Most of the produce is grown right on their farm with much of it being used to make tropical jams, spreads, and the most delectable milkshakes in Florida.
Float Away in the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables
If you’re sick of sandy feet, turn in your beach days for a relaxing afternoon at the Venetian Pool. Carved from the limestone bedrock underneath the city of Coral Gables, the public oasis is filled and drained daily from the naturally flowing water of the underlying aquifer.
Shop at the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach
In the heart of South Beach is the Lincoln Road Mall – South Florida’s premier outdoor shopping center. You’ll find familiar stores like Apple, Nike, and Macy’s alongside local taquerias and neighborhood bodegas. This is Miami, after all, so luxury design stores are plentiful as well. Another option for high-end shopping is the Miami Design District.
Swing With the Locals at Monkey Jungle
📍 Map It: 14805 SW 216th St, Miami, FL 33170 | Phone: 305-235-1611 | Website | Hours: Currently open for hour-long, guided tours 3 times a day (as of Nov. 2021) | Entrance: Call ahead for reservations
Established in 1933, Monkey Jungle is home to over 300 primates roaming freely in a 30-acre subtropical forest. Upon entry, you’ll meet over 90 Java monkeys, the main attraction in the park, as they boast their diving skills collecting shellfish in the nearby mangrove habitats.
Meet the Animals at Zoo Miami
📍 Map It: 12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177 | Phone: 305-251-0400 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | 👉 Purchase Tickets Ahead of Time due to Daily Capacity
As the only tropical zoo in the United States, Zoo Miami boasts exhibits, animals, and gardens found nowhere else in the country. With more than 3,000 animals living on a span of 750 acres, it’s easy to spend an entire day at Zoo Miami. Just be sure to purchase tickets in advance as they currently limit daily capacity.
Party All Night Long at a Nightclub
It’s no secret that things tend to heat up after dark in Miami. The city features many world-renowned bars and lounges like Blackbird, Blue Martini, El Patio, and more. Most are concentrated in Wynwood, Downtown and Brickell – each offering their own unique brand and experience.
After you’re done with your bar crawl, keep the party going at “the world’s only Ultraclub,” E11EVEN Miami! Rub shoulders with a-list celebrities, witness incredible theatric performances, sip on cocktails and enjoy live performances and DJ sets by the likes of Drake, Post Malone, Cardi B, Nicky Jam, Diplo, and many more. Open 24/7, it’s definitely the marquee nightlife spot in a city known for them!
Sports & Events
Accelerate at the Homestead-Miami Speedway
📍 Map It: One Ralph Sanchez, Speedway Blvd, Homestead, FL 33035 | Phone: 305-230-5000 | Website
For a race day experience, few other speedways compare to Miami’s. NASCAR regularly hosts events for an atmosphere similar to that of Daytona and Talladega. When the renowned race groups are out of town, it’s possible to visit the Speedway to test drive exotic vehicles like Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini.
Catch a Ball Game at Marlins Park
Home of the Miami Marlins, the city’s Major League Baseball team, Marlins Park is a state-of-the-art facility with an incredible skyline view of downtown Miami. Tickets are usually cheap and the park is rarely busy, making it a fun, and affordable outing for the entire family.
Enjoy Champagne at the International Polo Club in Wellington
An hour north in Palm Beach County is Wellington, home to the International Polo Club – one of the country’s premier venues to witness a Polo Match. Tickets are surprisingly affordable, including quality seats and multiple glasses of champagne during the famed halftime toast. It’s a fun way to experience a sport found in few other places in the world.
Attend an Event at Hard Rock Stadium
Hard Rock Stadium is home to the Miami Dolphins, the city’s NFL team, and also plays host to a litany of major events. I’ve been to a professional soccer game, a drive-in movie, Cirque Du Soleil, and a mega-country concert all within the same venue. The building is an incredible architectural feat, so visiting for something, whatever it may be, is worth the trip.
Throw it Down at FTX Arena (American Airlines Arena)
The Miami Heat are the city’s most popular professional team and it’s not even close. So naturally, the best thing to do at FTX Arena (formerly American Airlines Arena) is to witness a Miami Heat basketball game. Similar to Hard Rock Stadium, FTX Arena hosts all sorts of other events, particularly concerts headlined by prominent Latin American artists.
Submerge Knee Deep at Haulover Sandbar
You may not think of partying at a sandbar as a cultural experience, but trust me, Haulover Sandbar is something to behold – it’s as Miami as Miami gets. This place is wild, with some of the nicest boats, full of the craziest people, making frequent appearances. If partying isn’t your scene, don’t worry; the sandbar is nestled in a beautiful setting with lush mangrove islands, a sandy beach nearby, and glistening turquoise waters surrounding its entirety.
Island Hop to Boca Chita Key
Everyone knows about Everglades National Park, but few people realize the city of Miami borders another US National Park: Biscayne Bay. The park is home to a series of keys, most notably Boca Chita Key – a hotspot for boaters as they picnic, camp, and explore the history of the National Park. Tours to the island depart from the National Park visitor center in Homestead but is also accessible from marinas in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables.
Dive Down to Neptune Memorial Reef
Developed by a marine biologist, Neptune Memorial Reef is the world’s largest columbarium, mixing ashes into concrete to form attachment sites for a thriving marine habitat. Local dive charters bring visitors to the artificial reef as they explore the underwater statues featuring plaques commemorating those who have decided to give their remains back to the ocean.
Cycle the South Beach Boardwalk
Parallel to Ocean Drive in Miami Beach is the South Beach Boardwalk. If you’re staying nearby, the boardwalk is a great place to rent a bike and cycle for miles or simply go for a short walk. The lush tropical hammock provides ample shade and a cool environment to beat the South Florida heat while you get some exercise.
SUP or Kayak Island to Island from Virginia Key
📍 Map It: 3801 Rickenbacker Causeway On, Arthur Lamb Jr Rd, Miami, FL 33149 | Phone: 786-224-4777 | Website | Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM | 🚣 Book a Guided Tour on Virginia Key
Secluded shores await explorers who choose to embark on a SUP adventure originating on Virginia Key. Seas are usually calm as you paddle along mangrove forests while skimming over seagrass beds stocked full of marine life: manatees, dolphins, turtles, and stingrays are commonly spotted. At low tide, sandy beaches are unveiled as the water recedes into the Atlantic.
Paddle Mangrove Forests in Oletta River State Park
At one point, the coast of Southeastern Florida was primarily mangrove-lined waterways – an important ecosystem where the Everglades met the ocean. Today, Oletta River State Park preserves this natural habitat with miles of navigable waterways within its boundaries. SUP and kayak rentals are readily available at the park’s main visitor center.
Beaches & Parks
Visit Bayfront Park and Bayside Marketplace
Overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay is the oldest public gathering space in Miami: Bayfront Park. The 32-acre space is a refreshing hint of green amidst the concrete jungle. Local joggers, cyclers, and skaters typically gather in the morning for exercise.
Right next door is Bayfront Marketplace, a massive outdoor shopping complex. Shops are geared towards tourists with many selling Miami-branded souvenirs for your loved ones back home. The connected marina offers daily boat tours of the Miami waterways.
Wander Brickell Neighborhood Starting at Miami Circle National Historic Landmark
📍 Map It: Miami, FL 33131
Brickell is a high-end neighborhood in downtown Miami with scenic views, luxury shopping opportunities, bars, restaurants, and rooftop nightclubs. Everything is immensely pricey, but a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood is a fun way to take it all in without breaking your bank. The best place to start is at the Miami Circle, an archeological site featuring remnants of Miami’s original inhabitants.
Sling a Hammock at Crandon Park
Crandon Park is a postcard image of a tropical paradise; it’s where you envision your dream vacation to be. And compared to other beaches in Miami, it stays relatively quiet, as well. But my favorite part is the perfect spacing of its palm trees – it’s an excellent spot for beach bums to sling up a hammock, read a book, and fall asleep to a soft ocean breeze.
🌴 Need a beach hammock? While traveling to renowned beach destinations, I always bring an ENO hammock. It comes in handy when stumbling upon incredible settings like Crandon Park.
Ascend the Crest of the Rickenbacker Causeway
📍 Map It: Miami, FL 33149
The scenic bridge between Virginia Key and downtown Miami is a local’s favorite for exercise and stunning views of the city. Ascending to the top is no easy feat, whether you’re walking, running, or cycling, but the epic view you’re treated with will be well worth all the huffing and puffing.
Escape the Crowds at South Pointe Park
During peak season, South Beach can get incredibly crowded and the party atmosphere can be overwhelming. If you’d like to enjoy the beautiful shores without the crowds, head over to South Pointe Park in Miami Beach. It’s a local’s secret, so keep it on the down-low.
Greater Miami Area and Beyond
Snorkeling in Key Largo
When you’ve exhausted all things to do in Miami, look no further than just beyond the city. For those seeking a snorkeling adventure, head an hour south to the Florida Keys, home to the only natural coral reef in the continental United States. Key Largo, specifically, features the most pristine marine habitats and many top-notch snorkeling charters.
Deep-Sea Fishing in Islamorada
Known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, Islamorada is a must-visit for those looking to reel in a monster catch. I lived and worked at a restaurant in town for a year, and let me tell you, fishermen bringing in their fresh catch of the day was endless. Mahi, Wahoo, Kingfish, and the occasional swordfish often made appearances on the grill.
Boating in Fort Lauderdale
30 miles north of Miami is Fort Lauderdale: a city known for its 300+ miles of navigable waterways and glistening coasts. Boating is the activity of choice in the city with tour options including snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, paddling, and even a Water Taxi bringing passengers to attractions all over Fort Lauderdale.
Relaxing in Key West
The southernmost city is possible as a day trip from Miami, but we recommend staying for a few days instead. Key West is among the top destinations in Florida and should be enjoyed as such. After all, how else are you going to sail to Dry Tortugas National Park, live it up on Duvall Street, visit the Hemingway House, and soak up the sun at Fort Zachary Taylor Beach?
Beaching in Bimini, The Bahamas
Believe it or not, it’s possible to visit the Bahamas on a day trip from Miami. The ferry departs daily from Fort Lauderdale, where two hours later you’ll step foot onto the sugary white sands of Bimini, the westernmost island of the archipelago nation. Your ticket includes access to the Hilton Resort and some of the most pristine beaches in the Atlantic.
Exploring the Town of Jupiter, FL
An outdoor enthusiasts’ dream, the Town of Jupiter is the northernmost city in greater Miami and one of our favorite places in South Florida. Jupiter is filled with fun things to do with many hiking trails, historical buildings, paddling routes, dive sites, and beautiful beaches unlike any other throughout the region.
What are some other things to do in Miami that we may have missed? The list could easily go on so we’d love to hear from you in a comment below!