When you travel to Miami, you’ll enjoy great beaches, amazing shopping, tastes of Cuban culture, and more outdoor activities than you can do in a single trip. This is a city that takes advantage of its amazing weather to get outside at every opportunity, which is why there are some of the world’s best outdoor places to visit in Miami.
However, like any other city, Miami has its danger areas and crime. This might make you reluctant to visit this city, particularly if you’re traveling with your family. But as long as you’re careful and stay out of certain areas, you’re sure to have an amazing visit to this city. And you’ll probably come back fitter than you were when you arrived, which is unusual for a holiday! To help you have a safe and fun visit when you travel to Miami, we’ve created this guide to all the best things to see and do while you’re in the city.
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Miami:
Downtown Miami is the commercial and financial centre of the city. It is a generally busy area that is jam-packed with skyscrapers and businesses, shops and boutiques, and entertainment venues.
- See some of the best examples of modern and contemporary art at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
- Visit the Freedom Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in the city.
- Wander throughout the Downtown Historic District and see unique structures from the early-20th-century.
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Miami!
With so many adventures waiting to happen with your newfound knowledge of how wonderful Miami is, you’ll want to check out where to stay in Miami. That way, you’ll have a base from where to start and end your days of excruciatingly sunny fun!
#1 – Miami Beach – Cool place to see in Miami with friends!
Why it’s so awesome: You can’t travel to Miami without visiting the beach and this is a great place to start. This is the perfect beach for sunbathing, and it’s surrounded by countless restaurants and shops if you ever get bored with the water and the sun.
What to do there: Miami is an active town, so you should follow suit and enjoy an energetic holiday. Go swimming, enjoy the perfect weather and the sun, or wander around the surrounding district. And when the sun goes down, stake out a table at one of the nearby restaurants and enjoy the warm evenings with some great food.
If you want to stay for a bit longer, consider booking one of the awesome Airbnbs in Miami Beach – there are some really unique homes that will make your stay truly special. There are also a ton of awesome boat rentals in Florida where you can spend a day exploring the sub-tropical Floridian waters, which would definitely be worth checking out if you have time to spare.
#2 – Ball and Chain – A great place to visit in Miami at night
Why it’s so awesome: This bar was first established in the 1930s and attracted some of the world’s greatest musical legends including Chet Baker, Count Basie, and Billie Holiday. It’s been renovated since those days, but still retains its historic charm, and is one of the most popular places to visit in Miami for people who are looking for a great night out. In fact,There’s a danger of having a little bit too much fun here which is why we recommend electrolytes be on your Florida packing list (hangovers in the hot sun are no fun!)
What to do there: Make sure you check out what musical acts are showing while you’re in the city because you don’t want to miss out on any of your old favorites. Apart from that, this bar features a variety of activities. You can listen to live jazz on weekdays events, take free salsa dancing lessons on Tuesdays, and the rest of the time, just enjoy the tasty drinks and jovial atmosphere. If there are women in your group, make sure you turn up on Wednesday nights, when ladies drink free and the karaoke machine is at full blast!
#3 – The Art Deco Historic District
Why it’s so awesome: Even if you don’t usually like architecture, you’ll enjoy this part of town. The Art Deco architecture is unique, pastel-colored, and happy looking as befitting the mood of the whole city. It was rebuilt after a hurricane in 1926, and the colors and shapes give this part of the city a unique character and feel.
What to do there: This is one of the best places in the city to just wander and take everything in. Many of the art deco buildings are restaurants and shops, so wander in and out and look for souvenirs or grab a coffee and a snack. You can also stay in one of these historic buildings if you have the cash.
#4 – South Beach – One of the most incredible free places to go to in Miami
Why it’s so awesome: South Beach is a wonderful stretch of clean sand that’s wide enough to accommodate all the sunbathers and swimmers who crowd it in summer. When you travel to Miami, this is the place to see and be seen. The waters are also shallow and warm, which makes it perfect for tourists and locals who aren’t strong swimmers.
What to do there: The shallow waters are perfect for a quiet dip, but not so good for water sports so you’ll have to try a different beach for these types of activities. It’s also the perfect place to people watch, as the beach is too crowded for much else, so stake out your patch of sand and take in the scene!
#5 – The Versailles Restaurant – A must-see for foodies!
Why it’s so awesome: This is the self-proclaimed ‘most famous Cuban restaurant’ in the world. That’s actually debatable, but there’s no denying that this restaurant serves amazing Cuban food. Cuban food and culture is a huge part of Miami, which makes this a Miami must do while you’re visiting this part of the world.
What to do there: The restaurant serves a variety of tasty drinks, meals and snacks. Try the Cuban coffee, pastelitos, toasted Cuban sandwiches or the arroz con pollo for a really authentic Cuban food. There’s also an adjacent bakery where you can get some delicious pies and flans.
#6 – Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Why it’s so awesome: You probably wouldn’t expect to see an Italian Renaissance-style villa in the middle of Miami, but that’s exactly what this building is. Built in 1916, over a thousand workers and craftsmen were brought over from Europe to create this masterpiece, which is filled with European furniture and artworks ranging from the 15th to 19th centuries.
What to do there: Take your camera when you visit this location and then just wander around and enjoy the craftsmanship and the sheer imagination that was put into this Miami home. The gardens are spectacular and contain fountains, sculptures and pools that create the perfect oasis in the middle of Miami’s modern landscape.
#7 – Deering Estate
Why it’s so awesome: If you want a nice place to get away from the city and take a nature walk or see some birds, then this is the place to do it. This estate is a huge oasis of calm in the middle of the city, and it also houses a fossil pit filled with 50,000-year-old animal bones and Paleo-Indian human remains.
What to do there: This garden is a great place to take a break in this garden during the day. You can wander around, take a guided tour, and try to spot as many bird species as possible. The estate also holds monthly moonrise viewings that are hosted by the Southern Cross Astronomical Society. So, if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the stars, show up and they’ll supply you with a telescope and lots of fascinating information.
#8 – Sugar – Great place to visit in Miami for couples!
Why it’s so awesome: Sugar is a rooftop bar that has become one of the most popular Miami hotspots over the years, mostly because of its amazing views. The bar is on top of the hotel East and offers 360 views of the city. This makes it the tallest bar in Miami and the secluded, garden setting just adds to the ambiance, as do the Asian themed cocktails.
What to do there: Take someone you love to the bar with you and enjoy a peaceful, romantic start to the night. This is the kind of place where you need to dress up to get in, so go all out and have a luxury night on the town as only Miami can offer! Also, check out the Tea Room which is located just behind the deck and opens sporadically for slightly quirky meals and drinks. The best time to go are Thursday to Sunday nights when they have a late-night brunch.
#9 – Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science – A fascinating educational place to visit in Miami
Why it’s so awesome: This museum spreads across 250,000 feet and occupies four buildings. It’s one of the most complete and innovative museums in the world and each building focuses on a different subject and has incredible interactive displays that will delight children and adults alike. That’s what makes it a Miami must see and one of the best things that you’ll do while you’re in the city.
What to do there: There’s a lot to see at this museum, so make sure you put aside some time to explore. One of the venue’s highlights includes the Gulf Stream aquarium, where you’ll see a wide variety of strange and interesting sea creatures. The museum also holds seasonal sleepovers called Overnight Adventures, where you can eat all your meals and stay overnight to explore the museum in more depth.
#10 – Azucar Ice Cream Company
Why it’s so awesome: Cuban food and culture is a huge influence on Miami, and it even influences ice cream flavors! There are several venues in Miami that have tried to capture popular Cuban tastes in their ice cream, but this is the indisputed kind. The owner, Suzy Batlle, serves up flavors inspired by her most treasured memories of eating ice cream as a child, and they’re surprisingly delicious!
What to do there: There are so many amazing and slightly strange flavors to try that you’ll want to come back again and again just to make sure you’ve found the one you like the most! Try the guava and cream cheese or the café con leche, but also check out the old favorites too. The offerings like Abuela Maria with ice cream are legendary for a reason, so make sure you find out why for yourself! They also sell a range of cakes in the same flavors, so if you love one in particular, take it home with you to eat later.
#11 – The Wynwood Brewing Company
Why it’s so awesome: This was the first craft brewery in the city and prompted the opening of a lot more, but it’s still the best place to visit in Miami for craft beer. The warehouse is fairly modest, and usually has a food truck in the parking lot but tasting Miami’s finest brews from the source can’t be beaten.
What to do there: Try the blonde ale La Rubia, which is crisp and refreshing and is the Wynwood Brewery’s signature beer. You can get it almost anywhere in Miami, but it tastes best at its birthplace. Also, Wynwood holds a daily growler hour from noon to 1pm. If you turn up during that hour, you’ll get a drink for half the usual price.
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#12 – Wynwood Walls
Why it’s so awesome: During Art Basel, a few murals were painted to beautify this area and over time those murals have been joined by others to create the only outdoor street art park in Miami. There are now more than 40 murals in this part created by world-renowned artists. Each of the pieces are one of a kind and change periodically.
What to do there: You can wander around on your own and explore the murals but it’s even better if you hire a tour guide. They can give you a deeper understanding of what you’re looking at and even tell you about the history of each piece. They’ll also share stories about the artists themselves and their intentions for each art piece. If you want a deeper and richer understanding of this Miami must see, this is definitely the way to go.
Spend your time wisely and use our suggested itinerary for Miami before you visit!
#13 – Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Why it’s so awesome: This garden is named after world-renowned botanist David Fairchild and is dedicated to the majesty and lush beauty of tropical plants and flowers. It’s basically a giant rainforest with amazing views, pergolas climbing with vines, surprising water features and sunken gardens.
What to do there: Getting out of Miami’s sun and into the humid, dappled environment of a rainforest is always a treat. But there are also some features that you shouldn’t miss in this garden, which is why it’s one of the best places in Miami for lovers of beauty. Make sure you see the rare plant conservatory and take a tram ride, where you’ll be able to listen to a narrated history of the park that includes lots of information about the plants around you. If you’re in Miami in January or July during the chocolate and mango festivals, your admission cost will also include tastings and lectures about these delicious foods.
#14 – Lincoln Road – A great place in Miami if you love to shop!
Why it’s so awesome: This street was designed by Morris Lapidus in the 1950s and contains malls, shops and buildings that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. But even if you aren’t interested in architecture, you’ll still find lots to do along this street. It’s crowded with shops, restaurants, cafes and cultural venues, enough of them to fill an entire weekend.
What to do there: Lincoln Road stretches from Washington Avenue to Alton Road and there are restaurants, cafes, and shops all the way along. So, just go for a walk and head into any place that looks interesting. When you get hungry, you can duck into one of the many cafes or restaurants for a great meal or head up to Juvia’s rooftop bar for a drink with an amazing view of the city.
#15 – Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Miami
Why it’s so awesome: This is the perfect place to enjoy nature and do some fun exercise to work off all the rich food you’ve been eating. Every member of your family will enjoy the wide range of activities and sights and it’s close enough to the city that it makes the perfect day getaway.
What to do there: Take a whole day and really explore this park. The park is home to the only lighthouse in South Florida and there’s a great lookout there where you’ll be able to take some amazing photos. When you get hungry, make sure you head down to Boater’s Grill. It’s located in a waterfront area at the corner of the park and serves reasonably priced and tasty meals.
#16 – Miami Children’s Museum – Awesome place to visit in Miami with kids!
Why it’s so awesome: This museum is housed in a futuristic building that was designed by a firm called Arquitectonica, and they’ve done a great job at making a building that’s both practical and interesting to look at. But the displays inside are the real draw and they’ll fascinate children and adults alike. The displays are interactive, fun, and educational, and you’ll probably spend more time than expected trying them all.
What to do there: Make sure you check out the Castle of Dreams, where you can steer a cruise ship, as well as the Bank of America where the kids can design their own currency and pretend to be big shot bankers. There are also specific times and activities for very young children, so if you’re traveling with your family make sure you check out the best time for you to go there.
#17 – The Miami Design District – A very cool place in Miami to go for a day
Why it’s so awesome: This was once Miami’s Decorator Row and over the years it’s expanded into one of the most famous places in Miami for art, architecture and fashion. There are several multi-level shopping centers where you can buy all the designer labels you could ever want. There are also some of Miami’s best museums and art galleries in the area if the shops are too rich for your blood.
What to do there: This is one of the best places to visit in Miami for shopping, but it can get expensive. You’ll find most of the biggest labels in the world at this location including Pucci and Armani. If you don’t have a limitless bank account, then there are also a lot of galleries and free museums in the area so you can get a little culture without breaking the bank. There are also some great restaurants and bars in the area, so you can always grab a table and watch the crowds go by.
#18 – LIV
Why it’s so awesome: Everyone from Kanye West to Drake has talked about this nightclub and for good reason. It’s a megaclub that’s setting the standards for amazing nightlife. Located in the lobby of the historic Fontainebleau hotel, the club is huge, opulent, and crazy every night of the week! It also plays host to some of the best DJs in the business as well as rap stars.
What to do there: It can be difficult to get into this club, so expect to stand in line for a while. But if you’re looking for the most frenzied nightclub scene and the chance to dance near a Kardashian or Lil Wayne, then the wait is worth it. Stay in a hostel nearby so you won’t have far to stumble home after dancing the night away.
#19 – Perez Art Museum Miami
Why it’s so awesome: This is one of the hotspots in Miami for contemporary art and contains works by James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg and other popular contemporary artists. It’s also family friendly, with programs on the weekends that feature hands-on activities inspired by the artwork.
What to do there: Check out the art that’s on display whenever you go but try to be there on the third Thursday of the month for a night of music and entertainment. There’s also a restaurant on the waterfront terrace where you can eat your meal with an amazing view over the bay.
#20 – The Venetian Pool
Why it’s so awesome: The Venetian Pool is on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes waterfalls, a cave, Italian architecture, tropical plants and stone bridges and is one of the busiest points of interest in Miami. It’s so popular that it gets impossibly crowded on hot days, so get there early to beat the rush.
What to do there: This pool is the perfect chance to get away from the heat and explore a pool that’s more architectural wonder than a practical response to the heat. Have a look at the vintage photos of the pool near the entrance as well. They show the previous lifeguards and fashionistas who have used the pool in the last century and are fascinating for a look at the outfits alone!
#21 – World Erotic Art Museum – Quite the quirky place in Miami!
Why it’s so awesome: This museum opened in 2006 and has been stunning and intriguing people visiting Miami ever since. It started out as a private collection of ‘conversation pieces’ and ranges from Roman erotic art to more modern pieces. Originally the collection was displayed in the collector’s home, but eventually became too large and had to be moved to a separate building.
What to do there: This museum is strangely located on the second floor above a Starbucks and you must be 18 years old and over to be admitted. There are 20 rooms filled with erotic art, so make sure you see the large male appendage that was used as a prop in A Clockwork Orange and the one-ton Karam Sutra bed with appropriate (or inappropriate) decorations.
#22 – The Wolfsonian – FIU
Why it’s so awesome: This museum is dedicated to a scholarly exploration of the power of art and design and its role in determining the modern-day. This might sound a little dry and academic, but the result is a museum that holds a wide variety of objects that were pivotal in creating life as it is today. The range is amazingly wide and includes artworks in ceramic, glass and metal as well as paintings, textiles and periodicals.
What to do there: This exhibit explores the world as a whole and how it reached the modern-day. It has displays collected from Japan, England, Italy, Germany and the US, and each display is unique. The most popular are the British Arts and Crafts displays, objects from the World Wars, and a range of architectural publications and drawings. The museum also supports art exhibitions and development and designs programs that highlight the importance of design today.
#23 – Neptune Memorial Reef
Why it’s so awesome: This memorial to the dead was created by artist Kim Brandell and opened in 2007. It was designed as an artificial reef, to give marine creatures a place to live close to the shore, but when you first see it you might actually think that it’s part of an abandoned, drowned city.
What to do there: You can visit the site for free, but you will need diving equipment and a license to dive. A number of diving companies run tours out to the site, so book a boat and head out to have a look. Just remember to be careful with the fish and other animals that live there. The site is also used a memorial site, so be careful not to upset the memorials or cremation ashes.
#24 – The Cloisters of the Ancient Spanish Monastery – One of the most religious places to see in Miami
Why it’s so awesome: These Spanish cloisters were built in Spain in 1133-1141 AD and brought to the US in 1819. They were once part of the Saint Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church, one of the oldest buildings in the Western Hemisphere. The cloisters were taken apart and shipped to the US in around 1925. Unfortunately, the stones of the cloister were contaminated with hay that contained Food and Mouth Disease and were quarantined. More disasters followed and the cloisters were forgotten until the original buyer died. They were later purchased and reconstructed as a tourist attraction in Miami.
What to do there: You can gain entry to the site for an admission fee and photography is allowed throughout. This site is a strange testament to the power of money and to the durability of humanity’s creations, and it’s also quite a beautiful and serene site in which to spend some time.
#25 – ValuJet Flight 592 Memorial
Why it’s so awesome: When you travel to Miami, it’s easy to let the sun, luxury, and amazing sites blind you to the harsher realities of life. But this memorial is a sobering reminder. On May 11, 1996 ValuJet Flight 592 crashed into the Everglades and killed everyone on board. The memorial was built in 1999 for the victims of the crash.
What to do there: This is a quiet place where people come to remember the lives that were lost, so be respectful if you visit this memorial. It can be hard to find as the signage isn’t great, but it’s located around 10 miles pas the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida Casino. You’ll also need to cross a canal to get to the memorial.
#26 – Miami City Cemetery
Why it’s so awesome: Some of the giants of Miami’s history, including Julie Tuttle as well as the city’s African-American pioneers, are buried in this cemetery. It’s a small area between downtown and the Wynwood district and most of the markers are in disrepair or falling because of the limestone soil. Some of the graves have also been broken into but this doesn’t detract from the historical weight of this cemetery.
What to do there: Some of the biggest figures in Miami’s history are buried at this location which is why certain parts of it have gathered a lot of attention recently. So, make sure you spend some time in the African-American section to gain a deeper understanding of this long-ignored part of the city’s history. There is also a Jewish section and plots for soldiers from several different wars. One mystery in the cemetery is the room-sized sculpture belonging to Carrie Miller. According to the inscription, the woman’s body was encased in the concrete monolith and remains there to this day.
#27 – Robert is Here
Why it’s so awesome: In a world of supermarkets and big chains, it’s always encouraging when the little guy thrives and that’s exactly the appeal of this shop. It’s an exotic fruit stand on the southern edge of the Miami metro area but tourists and locals alike trek out there to sample and buy the fruit the stand offers.
What to do there: While you’re in Miami, you need to try as much tropical fruit as possible and you can do just that at this popular fruit stand. There’s a real community feel to this fruit stand as the owner himself is there most of the time. He’ll cut your fruit breakfast for you or turn it into a tasty milkshake. It’s this community feel that keeps people coming back, and when you have your fruit you can wander into the backyard to eat surrounded by a petting zoo of friendly animals.
#28 – Ocean Drive – One of the nicer places in Miami to sightsee!
Why it’s so awesome: This is probably the most popular tourist activity in the city but it’s still worth doing at least once. It’s been featured in a number of movies set in Miami and is basically one long street that follows the curve of the beach. The road also passes through some of the best neighborhoods in the city, so it’s the perfect chance for some people watching.
What to do there: Hire a car or grab some friends who have a car and make the drive on a sunny day. You can stop off along the way at the best attractions in Miami and there are countless restaurants and cafes along the street for when you get hungry. Ocean Drive also takes you along the best beaches in Miami, so make sure you have your camera ready to take pictures.
#29 – Everglades National Park – One of the most amazing places in Miami!
Why it’s so awesome: The Everglades National Park is just a short drive from Miami and is a huge swampland that’s home to a vast variety of animals, plants, and insects. Crocodiles, snakes, birds, fish and alligators are just some of the residents of this area, which is basically a shallow river that heads out to the ocean. It can be a little dangerous for tourists, so make sure you stay safe and explore the area with the help of a qualified guide.
What to do there: This area may not be for the squeamish, but it’s incredibly important of the local climate and deserves protection and respect. When you arrive there, visit the Visitors Center first to get information on the tours and activities that are available. There are numerous walking trails through the area, and you can also experience the Everglades through an airboat tour.
There are numerous operators in the area and it’s the perfect way to feel safe despite the population of animals that could eat you in this park. If you want to walk, then try the Anhinga Trail which leaves from the Visitor Center and is both non-strenuous and will take you along trails where you’re likely to see some wildlife.
#30 – Little Havana
Why it’s so awesome: Cuban culture is vibrant and colorful and yet not well known around the US and the rest of the world. But you can learn more about it in this district, where you’ll find restaurants, cafes, murals, and shops dedicated to the food, music and culture of this often-forgotten Miami influence. The main street in Little Havana is Calle Ocho, but there are small streets leading off it where you’ll find some amazing shops to explore as well.
What to do there: This is the place to wander and explore. Some of the best and most exotic places to eat in Miami are in this district, so follow your nose or watch the locals and see what they eat before choosing a restaurant or café. If you’re there in March when the Calle Ocho Festival is held, make sure you experience this street festival which celebrates the Latin American Cultures. It’s a great entry point to a greater understanding of a very different culture and way of living.
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Final Thoughts on the Coolest Places to Visit in Miami
When you’re looking for a holiday where you can enjoy great weather and amazing outdoor activities, then Miami should be on your list. Tourists and locals in this city love to get outdoors, which is why most of the best places to visit in Miami are out in the sun. This city has a lot to offer for every vacation taste, which is why we’ve created this guide to the best activities and landmarks in the city. So, with our help, you’ll be able to choose the Miami landmarks and activities that you’ll enjoy and get the most from your stay in the city.
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