There’s an old saying, “the best part about Miami is that it’s so close to the United States”. And I couldn’t agree more – the city is a cultural destination unlike any other within the US. It truly feels like a different country.
Latin culture is dominant – evident from the cuisine, the music, the art, and the Spanish-speaking majority. Visiting the city is an invigorating cultural experience and one that shouldn’t be overlooked when selecting domestic travel destinations.
Now, that does mean that deciding on where to stay in Miami can be overwhelming. The city is eclectic, to say the least, with many subcultures, tourist spots, and neighborhoods to choose from.
Luckily for you, after extensively exploring the best stuff to do in the city with my Miami-raised wife, I’ve laid out my best bets for you to find a place to stay in the Magic City.
Table of Contents
- Best Places to Stay in Miami
- 11 Best Neighborhoods and Areas to Stay in Miami
- Tips for Staying in Miami
- Answers to FAQs About Miami
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Best Places to Stay in Miami
Need a quick answer on where to stay in Miami? Here are my top picks for the best hotels:
- 🌟 Best Overall Hotel – Four Seasons Hotel Miami
- 🍸 Best Luxury Hotel – Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne
- 🏖️ Best Beachfront – Loews Miami Hotel
- 💻 Best for Business – Novotel Miami Brickell
- 🏨 Best Boutique – M Boutique Hotel
- 🏛️ Most Historic – Biltmore Hotel
But let’s be honest, finding where to stay in Miami goes beyond a few hotels:
11 Best Neighborhoods and Areas to Stay in Miami
Often referred to as one entity, Miami and Miami Beach are actually two different cities physically separated by Biscayne Bay. Within Miami are distinct urban neighborhoods with their own subcultures. Within Miami Beach are three uniquely different beachfront communities. And as always, the city center is surrounded by visit-worthy suburban towns.
Without a doubt, the postcard image of Miami is South Beach: the art deco buildings, neon lights, vibrant nightclubs, glamorous cocktail bars, and swanky restaurants. Oh, and the miles of stunning sandy beaches, of course.
Ocean Drive, the neighborhood’s main strip, runs parallel to the beachfront and is the epicenter of activity. Partying aside, the strip boasts the best art deco architecture in the city including the Art Deco Museum nestled in Lummus Park.
Off the beachfront are Washington and Collins Avenue, lined with boutique hotels, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Other attractions include the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, South Point Park, and the Lincoln Road Mall.
Pros of Staying in South Beach:
- Endless amounts of activity all within walking distance
- World-class nightlife at your doorstep offering happy hour cocktails followed by all night parties
- One of most beautiful and lively beaches in the world
Con of Staying in South Beach:
- Priciest place to stay and play in Miami
📚 South Beach Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nightlife
- ✨ Best Hotels – Loews Miami Beach Hotel • Lennox Miami Beach • The Setai
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Yardbird Table & Bar ($$$), Stiltsville Fish Bar ($$$), Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – South Pointe Tavern, Mango’s Tropical Cafe, The Clevelander
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Historical Art Deco Style District, Stunning sandy beach
What was once strictly a financial district is now the top destination for young professionals flocking to Miami in droves. Brickell is booming.
Any semblance of Old-style Miami has all but been erased, replaced by shiny new skyscrapers and hotels, many of which are topped by vibrant nightclubs and rooftop cocktail bars. The combo makes for nightlife in Brickell next to none, and as such, an evening out will certainly cost you top dollar.
Visitors staying in the area will find luxury accommodation often featuring a rooftop pool, a wellness center, world-class dining, and private rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city skyline. But make no mistake, Brickell is still the top place to stay in Miami for business travelers with quick access to banks and corporate headquarters dotted throughout the district.
Pros of Staying in Brickell:
- Amazing bars and restaurants seemingly on every corner
- Safe and walkable neighborhood for business travel
- Access to a high-end shopping mall, luxurious rooftop bars, and 5-star dining options
Con of Staying in Brickell:
- No major attractions directly in the neighborhood
- Among the most expensive places to stay and play in Miami
📚 Brickell Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Business & Luxury
- ✨ Best Hotels – Novotel (Atton) Brickell Miami • Four Seasons Hotel Miami • Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Miami
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood and Crab ($$$), The River Oyster Bar ($$), Batch Gastropub Miami ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Blue Martini Brickell, Blackbird Ordinary
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Miami Circle National Historic Landmark, Brickell City Centre
In direct contrast to Miami’s lively nature is the quaint neighborhood of Coconut Grove. This peaceful area on the south edge of the city is known for its charming market called the CocoWalk where streetside cafes, old-time bookstores, and upbeat gastropubs intermix.
Along the waterfront are private marinas harboring a weathered sailboat community alongside modern megayachts. The surrounding parks offer water sport rentals including SUPs, kayaks, jet skis, and small sailboats. A leafy canopy covers walking trails as they wind through upscale residential areas and along the scenic boardwalk.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, one of our top things to do in Florida, is nestled in the corner of Coconut Grove. The villa is the former estate of James Deering, a local businessman and avid conservationist. His villa is a testament to the preservation of South Florida’s natural beauty, its mangrove coastline, tropical forests, and pristine waters.
Pros of Staying in Coconut Grove:
- Quiet and laid back neighborhood directly on Biscayne Bay
- Many top South Florida attractions in the immediate vicinity
- Excellent location for water sports like sailing and kayaking
Con of Staying in Coconut Grove:
- Far away from Miami hotspots like Wynwood and South Beach
📚 Coconut Grove Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for a Quiet Neighborhood
Miami Beach’s northernmost neighborhood is home to miles of beautiful coastline overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The area is the best place to stay in Miami for those looking for a relaxing, beachside vacation away from the spring break crowds that often flock to South Beach.
Small resorts line the sandy shores while side streets feature residential apartments, condos, and a few boutique hotels. Authentic restaurants from Latin America are peppered throughout the neighborhood with many walk-up windows serving freshly baked pastries and brewed espresso.
The neighborhood stays quiet with few, if any, bars and nightclubs. So if you’re craving a lively area, South Beach is a stone’s throw away down Collins Avenue.
Pros of Staying in North Beach:
- Less traffic than other parts of the city
- Quiet and beautiful beaches along the coast
- Cheaper accommodation than other parts of Miami Beach
Con of Staying in North Beach:
- The main attractions of Miami are a car or taxi ride away
📚 North Beach Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Beach-goers
One of the oldest cities in Southern Florida is scenic Coral Gables. Developed by real estate mogul George Merrick in the 1920s, the city has maintained Merrick’s original Mediterranean-style design throughout its streets.
Residential neighborhoods covered in a thick tropical canopy are lined with Spanish-influenced mansions guarded by formal gates. The scenic Biltmore Hotel, resembling the Spanish cathedral of Seville, has stood tall since 1926. A few blocks away is the Venetian Pool, an aquatic facility carved from the coral bedrock below. Amazingly, the outdoor pool is filled with naturally flowing water from an underlying aquifer.
Other attractions include the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, an 83-acre tropical oasis featuring thousands of rare species, and the Miracle Mile, an outdoor shopping complex and epicenter of activity in Coral Gables.
Pros of Staying in Coral Gables:
- Close to main attractions in Miami, including a few on our list of the best things to do in Florida
- Access to Biscayne Bay at Matheson Hammock Park
- Close to Miami International Airport
Con of Staying in Coral Gables:
- Although gorgeous, the top hotels in the area tend to be pricey due to their historical significance
📚 Coral Gables Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Beautiful Scenery
- ✨ Best Hotels – Biltmore Hotel • Hotel St. Michel • Hyatt Regency Coral Gables
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Havana Harry’s ($$), Talavera Cocina Mexicana ($$), Seasons 52 ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Pub 52 Gastropub South Miami, Galiano Cigar Room
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Venetian Pool, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miracle Mile
Key Biscayne is a local’s favorite for a step into nature amidst the urban landscape. The ritzy island is situated just south of downtown and includes a stunning State Park, a climbable 19th century lighthouse, historic city parks, and picturesque Caribbean-style beaches.
The island is excellent for families with attractions like the Miami Seaquarium, SUP rentals at Crandon Park, and kayaking trails featuring manatees on Virginia Key. Snorkeling tours depart daily at Crandon Marina with Diver’s Paradise while Miami Watersports rents small sailing catamarans suitable for a boating adventure.
Accommodation is certainly upscale, and the restaurant scene isn’t much different. However, for a quiet, relaxing vacation for the entire family, it might be the perfect spot.
Pros of Staying in Key Biscayne:
- Quiet atmosphere and private beaches at most hotels
- Best location in Miami for a family vacation
- Beautiful state park with a climbable lighthouse and one of the best beaches in South Florida
Con of Staying in Key Biscayne:
- You’ll need to go to downtown Miami or South Beach for any sort of nightlife
- Great restaurants but few bars
📚 Key Biscayne Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
35 miles southwest of Miami is the city of Homestead, Miami-Dade’s southernmost municipality before entering the Florida Keys. The town is conveniently situated squarely between two US National Parks: Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.
Compared to the city lights of Miami, Homestead is wildly different. Farmlands growing sugar, oranges, and coconuts go on for miles before dropping into the marsh of the Everglades out west and the waters of Biscayne Bay to the east. Head south along the 20-mile stretch before entering the tropical paradise of the Florida Keys.
With the two National Parks, along with quick access to Key Largo and the Florida Keys, Homestead is the best launching point (and the cheapest) to visit the natural environments indigenous to Southern Florida. However, if you’re still wanting to stay directly in Miami, a visit to Homestead or one of the two National Parks are excellent options as a day trip from downtown.
Pros of Staying in Homestead:
- Easy access to two US National Parks – the Everglades and Biscayne Bay
- Much less busy than Miami’s city center
- Affordable launching point to visit the Florida Keys
Con of Staying in Homestead:
- You’ll need a rental car to get anywhere
- Miami’s beaches are almost an hour drive away
📚 Homestead Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nature
- ✨ Best Hotels – Hilton Garden Inn • Courtyard by Marriott • TownPlace Suites by Marriott
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Fonda Familiar Mexican Restaurant ($$), Chefs on the Run Assorted Cuisine ($$), Royal Palm Grill ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Alabama Jacks, Last Chance Saloon
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Everglades National Park (Shark Valley, Royal Palm, and Flamingo Visitor Centers), Biscayne National Park Visitor Center, The Florida Keys, Coral Castle
North Miami Beach
👉 Best Area on a Budget | ✨ Search for Vacation Rentals in North Miami Beach
A trip to Miami isn’t necessarily synonymous with ‘budget-friendly’. But that’s not to say you can’t get more for your money when visiting. The city of North Miami Beach, a separate municipality from Miami proper, boasts cheap accommodation a mere 12 miles north of the big city.
Ironically, the city isn’t even on a beach but has easy access to the waters via Oletta River State Park, Haulover Sandbar, and Haulover Beach. Other attractions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Bal Harbour, Aventura Mall, and the Gulfstream Park and Casino.
Another option for budget-friendly accommodation is to stay in nearby Fort Lauderdale. The popular tourist destination is a short drive from Miami while boasting many of its own attractions, including an immense amount of boating options.
Pros of Staying in North Miami Beach:
- Budget-friendly and less crowded
- Excellent launching point to spend a day in Fort Lauderdale
- Access to outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking within Oletta River State Park
Con of Staying in North Miami Beach:
- You’ll need to drive to public beaches like Haulover Beach or Bal Harbour
📚 North Miami Beach Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay on a Budget
- ✨ Best Hotels – Often private residences, condos, and apartments
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Sea Grill Restaurant ($$$), Kabobji ($$), Houston’s ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Duffy’s Sports Grill, Lique Miami Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Oletta River State Park, Haulover Sandbar, Museum of Contemporary Art
Wynwood & the Miami Design District
Just a hop north of downtown is Wynwood & the Miami Design District. The stark contrast between these two side-by-side neighborhoods makes it one of the more appealing locations to stay within the Miami area.
Wynwood, a once downtrodden corner of town, is now a revitalized subdistrict replete with all sorts of activity. Art lovers will appreciate the Wynwood Walls, a labyrinth of street art splashed along the concrete alleyways between abandoned warehouses turned breweries, coffee shops, and nightclubs.
A few blocks away is the modern and upscale Miami Design District. Contemporary art galleries, designer clothing stores, and celebrity chef restaurants are the mainstays of the neighborhood. The modern architecture and public art deliver visitors an appealing backdrop as they indulge in Miami’s high-end retail therapy.
Pros of Staying in Wynwood & the Design District:
- The most active neighborhood in downtown Miami
- Endless selection of bars and restaurants all within walking distance
- Vibrant nightlife attracting visitors and locals alike
Con of Staying in Wynwood & the Design District:
- Accommodation is limited to private apartments and condos – often for a steep price
📚 Wynwood Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Art & Design
The 1950s were a defining moment in Miami’s history when thousands of Cuban immigrants found refuge during Castro’s ruthless Cuban Revolution. Little Havana was the first Cuban enclave in the US and soon after became a landing spot for freedom-seeking immigrants from all over Latin America.
Naturally, traditional Cuban culture was woven into the fabric of every building, street corner, and public space in Little Havana. Restaurants like Versailles serve authentic Cuban cuisine. Streetside cafes stir up freshly brewed Cuban espresso. Calle Ocho, Latin America’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, pays homage to Cuban and Latin cultural figures.
Across the street is Maximo Gomez Park, a modest public space most famous for the old-time locals who play dominoes here. The Ball & Chain, one of Miami’s oldest nightclubs, is a 1930s salsa dance venue playing live music and serving Cuban-style food and drink late into the night.
Pros of Staying in Little Havana:
- Experience an immersive cultural experience into Cuban lifestyle
- Authentic Cuban bars and restaurants on every corner
- A short drive or taxi ride to other attractions in downtown Miami and South Beach
Con of Staying in Little Havana:
- Most accommodation options are privately owned so finding a place to stay may be difficult
📚 Little Havana Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Cultural Experience
For endless amounts of things to do, consider staying downtown. You’ll have a plethora of options here with many top attractions in Miami within walking distance.
Start your morning with a walk at Bayfront Park, the city’s oldest public gathering space. Spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the Frost Museum of Science, Perez Art Museum, and the iconic Freedom Tower.
Afterward, catch a concert or a Miami Heat basketball game at FTX Arena (formerly American Airlines Arena) before dinner and drinks at one the many restaurants within Bayside Marketplace.
Pros of Staying in Downtown Miami:
- Many of the top attractions in Miami all within walking distance
- World-renowned restaurants, bars, and nightclubs sprinkled throughout the district
- Litany of hotel options replete with a rooftop pool, hot tub, fitness center, and stunning views of the Bay
Con of Staying in Downtown Miami:
- Often the busiest district in Miami with the most traffic
📚 Downtown Miami Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Activity
- ✨ Best Hotels – Eurostars Langford • Fortune House Hotel Suites • EAST Miami
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – CVI.CHE 105 ($$), Cafe Bastille ($$), Pollos & Jarras ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Lost Boy, Mama Tried, Area 31
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – FTX Arena (American Airlines Arena), Frost Museum of Science, Bayside Marketplace
Tips for Staying in Miami
Tip 1: Traveling Around Miami Takes Time
It may look close on the map, but as with any big city, it takes time (and if taking a taxi, money) getting from neighborhood to neighborhood. Keep this in mind when deciding where to stay in Miami, taking careful consideration of what exactly you want to do while you’re here.
Tip 2: Saving Money While Staying in Miami
A night out on the town in Miami is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. You can save cash by taking advantage of Happy Hour specials – many bars and restaurants along Ocean Drive in South Beach have stellar deals before the sun goes down. Better yet, stay in a hotel with complimentary drinks and a complimentary breakfast in the morning.
Tip 3: Touch Up on Your Spanish Before Staying in Miami
With the largest Latin American population in the United States, just about everyone in Miami speaks Spanish, particularly outside the tourist hubs. If visiting, it’s not a bad idea to touch up on Spanish greetings, pleasantries, and ordering food, at the very least. Although, never assume someone doesn’t speak English as it may be deemed offensive.
Answers to FAQs About Miami
Is Miami Beach or South Beach better?
A common misconception is differentiating between Miami Beach and South Beach. South Beach is a neighborhood WITHIN the city of Miami Beach. Miami Beach features three distinct sections: South Beach, Mid-Beach, and North Beach.
South Beach is famous for its art deco architecture and caters to the tourist crowd. Mid-beach features Miami Modern hotels with a flair of luxury. North Beach is primarily residential with a few beachfront hotels sprinkled along the coast.
What is the safest area to stay in Miami?
The safest area to stay in Miami is anywhere catering to tourists: beachfront neighborhoods, entertainment districts, etc. Avoid neighborhoods just outside of Wynwood and in the immediate vicinity of downtown. Additionally, petty crime is always a thing no matter where you go so take your typical precautions to protect wallets and purses.
Is downtown Miami or South Beach better?
South Beach is better than downtown Miami if you’re looking to enjoy more time in the sand. Downtown Miami is better than South Beach if you’re seeking cultural experiences, museums, and events.
👉 Read Next: The Best and Most Fun Things to Do in Miami
I hope you’ve decided on where to stay in Miami for your upcoming trip!
Didn’t convince you? Well, maybe Miami isn’t for you. No worries!
Try searching for another beach destination in our article, the best beaches in Florida, for something more your style. Good luck!