Miami is a lively and colorful city full of excitement, sun, fun and world-class art as well as food on every corner. While visiting, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do and see while in the area! From the sugar-sand beaches to the historical and cultural landmarks, there’s always something waiting for you to discover. Check out 7 of the best things to experience in South Florida’s Magic City!
Top 7 Things to Do in Miami:
1. Iconic South Beach
South Beach Miami is a glittering, nearly no-holds barred stretch of beach with many things to do in addition to catching some rays on the sand. A classic location for architecture, food, and nightlife it has something for everyone… well, mostly adults! Start out on Ocean Drive and walk among the bikini-clad locals and tourists alike, the roller-bladers, and maybe even a few models and reality stars.
All the colorful beach-side restaurants and lounges are great places to visit, such as the world-famous Mango’s, a 25-year tradition in Miami that provides lunch, dinner, and amazing entertainment. From live bands to live shows it’s sure not to disappoint. Or, for an upscale dining experience, try Prime 112, a classic Miami restaurant with a great selection of dishes and inviting decor. Just make sure to make a reservation before you go! Time for a drink? Check out Mac’s Club Deuce just down on 14th Street, a Miami staple and epically perfect dive bar that’s a world-wide favorite. With low lighting and 1960’s interior, it’s a great place to unwind with a cold beer and friendly conversation.
2. The Art Deco that Miami Vice Revived
All along the famous Ocean Drive are those unique and striking pastel-painted art-deco style buildings made so famous by the 1980’s Miami Vice series. Originally these structures were minimalistic on the exterior, largely painted white with only highlights of color. Now a highlight of the city, you can find your way to the Art Deco Welcome Center, where you can walk along a self-guided audio tour with interesting facts and history about the buildings and the area itself. The district, with more than 800 buildings constructed as far back as the 1920’s, it’s truly a sight to behold!
3. Little Havana – Big on Cuban Culture!
Miami culture is heavily influenced by the flair and flavor of Cuba, and Little Havana does it best. In the post-Castro Cuba, hundreds of thousands fled to Miami and other areas of the Sunshine State, where their influence can be seen today. Traditional restaurants, shops, and cigar stores line the festive SW 8th St, known as Calle Ocho. From fresh fruit markets and delicious traditional Cuban fare, this culturally rich area is a great way to spend time away from the beach crowds. For a traditional bite to eat, and a great cup of Cuban coffee, head over to The Versailles Restaurant, a favorite since 1971, as well as a favorite of politicians and media alike, where they hope to gather informative and relevant information regarding the Cuban community.
For a truly unique Cuban experience, and a drink or two, take some time to visit Cuba Ocho, an art museum and performing arts center, full of priceless and amazing works curated by the center’s president Roberto Ramos. Another traditional Little Havana joint recently renovated and reopened is the fun and festive Ball & Chain, famous for its tradition of amazing live performances throughout the decades!
4. Go Low Key in Key Biscayne
While the bright lights of Miami are alluring and full of energy, Key Biscayne (or, locally, “the Key”), offers a slower and more serene view of the area. While on this pristine stretch of island you can visit one of the top ten beaches in the continental U.S. via the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Over a mile of sugar-sand beaches stretch along the blue waters where you can relax and swim. All along the island you can find areas to bring a picnic basket or a bike and get away from the hustle and bustle for a bit, while still within view of the beautiful downtown scene!
5. The Amazing Wynwood Walls
One thing that Miami certainly does not lack is an art culture. From endless galleries to kitschy coffee houses, it’s on every corner. The Wynwood Walls are by far the most famous of these examples! The world-famous Art Basel event that occurs every year in the city brings in new and reoccurring artists to paint the walls with their unique and (to put it lightly) astounding quality artwork. Each year the overall theme changes, but always sticks to a refreshing and inspiring theme. Walking along the walls and among the studio spaces is truly a transcendental experience, even for the art novice. Make sure to take pictures of your favorite pieces – they may not be there long!
6. Dance from Sunset to Sunrise
In addition to the Miami art scene, you’ll find the music and dance scene just as engaging (in a much different way!). After a relaxing day walking along Ocean Drive, hit up some of the city’s best clubs for what can only be described as a feast for all the senses. Cameo on Washington Avenue is one such venue, an art-deco movie theater transformed into a world-class Miami hot spot that attracts some of the best DJ’s from across the music scene.
For a bit of a unique experience, make your way to Basement, a lounge found within EDITION Miami Beach, where you can split your time between dancing and bowling! For more of a velvet-rope feel, hit up LIV, the trendiest club around, located at the famous Fontainebleu. With over 18,000 square feet of opulence you can party with the best of them!
7. Miami Movie Locations
Since the early days of cinema, Miami has been a hot-spot (figuratively and literally!) for movie makers of all genres. From the famous James Bond flick “Goldfinger” from the 60’s, to the fast paced flick “2 Fast 2 Furious”, and the ridiculously funny “Ace Ventura” as well as “The Birdcage”, based at the beautiful Carlyle Hotel, Miami is a chameleon when it comes to movie sets. Tours are offered via Miami Movie Tours for groups of all sizes. Take a few hours and check out all the famous sites!
Miami is more than just sand and suntans; it’s a multi-faceted mecca that moves all day and all night. With so many vibrant and unique things to see in this sunny city, take time to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Miami and vibe with all it has to offer!
Headed to Miami? You can receive a discount on your hotel accommodations by booking online through Booking.com’s refer-a-friend discounted site here.
Want more? Check out these related posts: 3 Reasons to Visit Miami (When You’re Over the Party Scene); Fort Lauderdale, You’ve Won Me Over; and You Should Go to Key West…Like, Now.
What else would you add to this list?
This guest post was penned by Justin and Tracy Uselton, the writers of A Couple for the Road, a couples travel blog that focuses on food, drink and culture written from a personal and artistic perspective for the avid traveler. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This post contains an affiliate/referral link to Booking.com. This means that if you choose to book your accommodations through this link (at no added cost to you) we both receive a discount and/or cash reward through their refer-a-friend program. CC photo credit (header image) from Flickr: Miami Skyline Tight by Matthew Paulson.