10 Most Important Things To Do In Miami, Florida
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I have been a couple of times in Miami and I quickly fell in love with this awesome city. Hanging out on the beach in Miami Beach, looking at the wide-open ocean in front of me, feeling the sun all over my skin, I felt like I wanted to stay there forever. This is why I had to go back and enjoy all the good things this city has to offer.
The Hispanic influence, the tropical trees, and the unique Art-deco style of Ocean Dr. make Miami so exotic and inviting. Miami combines the perfect vacation spot of Beaches and parties, with historical sites, monuments, and stories. It doesn’t matter if you stay on the beach or downtown there’s a lot to see and to do in both areas.
Here are the best things to do in Miami:
Visit South Beach
The main reason people come to Miami is to relax and have a fun time on the beach. After spending my first hours here, I realized why it is considered one of top best vacation spots in the US. It’s the combination of the perfect hot weather with a chilling breeze, the quiet around you (even though it’s full of people), and the endless ocean that makes you adore nature.
Miami Beach is divided into 3 areas: North Beach, Mid Beach, and South Beach. The latter is where you want to be if you want to get the true Miami vibes – the Art Deco district. Ocean drive is the main road of South Beach with the beautiful and iconic Art-deco buildings. In these buildings, you will find restaurants, lounges, bars, and clubs. The beaches along Ocean dr. are the more popular ones, and some hotels give you free beach access with chairs and parasol. The hotels might be more expensive in this area, but it’s worth it.
Tip: I stayed at San Juan Hotel Miami Beach. It is a smaller hotel, not on the first line of the water, but with convenient rooms and free access to the beach on 17th street, only a 5-minute walk.
Go to a pool party
Many of the big hotels in Miami beach host pool parties. With the best music, best crowd, it is one of the most fun things to do in Miami. Some of the parties are part of weekly lines and others are bigger events with world-famous DJs. Depends on your style and preferences, find your best spot, and spend a few hours at a party. Don’t forget to check if they have bottomless mimosas.
Hyde Beach at the SLS hotel (1701 Collins Ave) is considered to have one of the best parties in Miami. Parties start early and last until the night. Just come with your best swimwear and your wallet. It’s not going to be cheap, but it’s going to be a blast.
Shop at Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road is an open street mall in Miami beach, going from East to West. It is located between 16th st. and 17th st., along 10 blocks from Washington Ave to Alton Rd. During the day Lincoln mall has a laidback atmosphere and you can stroll between cafes, restaurants, and shopping. Lots of shopping. This is why I love spending my first few hours in the city here, just to get into the Miami state-of-mind, and before heading to the beach. When day turns into night, the music from the restaurants gets louder, and Happy Hour specials make the people much happier. For more information on the stores and restaurants, check out the Lincoln Rd. official site.
Tip: Don’t miss Miami’s Time Out Market for a great culinary experience, on 1601 Drexel Ave, just one block from Lincoln Rd.
Enjoy the art at Wynwood walls
Wynwood Walls is my favorite place in Miami. This is a huge outdoor street-art park, with more than 40 murals, covering over 80,000 sq ft (7500 sqm) of walls. Artists from all around the world come here to create their art, and the crazy thing about it – every piece is only temporary. Each mural is presented for a few months and then another artist gets the wall for their new work. It makes every visit here different and surprising.
Take a walk also in the streets of the neighborhood around Wynwood Walls, where the walls are painted with unofficial graffiti and street-art. The restaurants are known for their creativity, and the stores cover the full range from thrift shops to designers’ boutiques.
Eat at Española way
As you walk into Española way you feel like you jump back in time. This pedestrian street, starting on Washington Ave in Miami Beach, is full of Spanish restaurants, with a Cigar shop and a wine shop, all in peach-colored Spanish-style buildings. This is my favorite place for a casual, easygoing, and delicious dinner, before going out to one of the bars in Ocean dr.
Visit Little Havana
Little Havana is the Cuban heart of Miami and Calle Ocho (8th street) is the heart of the neighborhood. This is the place that accepted the thousands of Cubans who escaped Cuba after Castro took over in 1959. Today this is the social, cultural, and political center of American-Cubans.
Calle Ocho is the place for Cuban restaurants with live music and delicious food. Even though I don’t eat meat, the Cuban fried rice and sweet plantains were a great experience, not just dinner. This street is also decorated with stars on the floor – a tribute to Cuban and Hispanic artists like Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan. Check out Domino park to see the local seniors play Domino and hang out. Other points of interest are the Bay of Pigs museum and monument, Tower Theater, Plaza de la Cubanidad, and more. Guided walking tours with lunch included are available from Get Your Guide.
Shop at Baysaide Marketplace
This two-floors open shopping center is the perfect touristic experience for visitors in Miami. Located on Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami, you get a beautiful view of the marina on one side and the city skyscrapers on the other. There are 120 stores here, from big brands like Gap and Disney to small Kiosks that sell souvenirs. This is where I got my Miami sleeveless shirt that I still wear. For lunch, I stopped at one of the restaurants, that has outside seating with a view of the yachts in the marina. The Hard Rock Café here is huge and has amazing views, which is worth checking out even if you are not planning to eat there. You can also take a cruise in the bay, ride a speedboat, or go on a party boat from here.
Remember at the Holocaust Memorial
Miami Beach is not exactly the place you would expect to see a holocaust memorial. However, it is one of the most powerful Holocaust memorials I have been to. The memorial was built in the late 1980s by the Holocaust Memorial Committee, a non-profit that was established by local Holocaust survivors. The memorial is a big hand going up high to the sky with figures of men and women trying to climb on it. It is surrounded by the memorial wall, with names of the family members of the local community who were perished in the holocaust. There is light music that accompanies you as you walk in, which empowers the emotional experience. The memorial doesn’t necessarily fit with the Miami vibes, but I think it’s a must-visit site.
Tip: If you are interested in the history of the Jewish community of Florida, check out the Jewish Museum of Florida. It is located at 301 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, in two buildings that formerly were synagogues.
Swim at the Venetian pool
Located in Coral Gables, only 15 minutes drive from Downtown Miami, the Venetian pool is one of the popular attractions of Miami. It was built in the 1920s as a swimming pool for the rich and famous, with gondolas in the water. Nowadays it’s open to the public and it’s a charming place. Even though the gondolas are not here anymore, the Italian-style central building and the trees all around, create a calm environment, even when it’s full. The water in the pool is coming from an underground aquifer and in the spring and summer seasons, it is replenished daily. The entrance fee is $10-$20 depends on age and season. For more information check out the Venetian Pool website.
Visit Wilzig Erotic-Art Museum
Located in Miami Beach, this museum is an interesting surprise. While it presents more than 4000 pieces of sex-related objects (let your imagination go wild), it is not only a museum. It is a one-of-its-kind library and research center dedicated to the history of erotic art. The collections include paintings, images, and sculptors from all around the world, and some made by world-famous artists, like Rembrandt, Picasso, Dali, and others.
Tip: Not the place to bring your kids to.
It’s better to visit Miami between November and May. When it’s winter in most of the northern hemisphere, Miami still has a perfect hot climate. From June to November it is Hurricane season, with lots of rain. Plan your trip accordingly.
If you are looking for a great shopping experience, head to Dolphin Mall outlet. it is on the west side of the city, about 20 minutes cab ride. You can find over 250 stores and restaurants and it’s easy to spend the whole day there.
If you are looking for more adventures in the area, take road 1 south and drive down to Key West. The scenic Miami to Key West drive takes about 3.5 hours and you can do it in one day and come back. However, you can make a two-three days’ road trip and enjoy the other keys and the amazing views along the way.
Another great option for a day trip is to visit Everglades National Park. It is less than one hour drive from Miami, and you can enjoy the outdoors of South Florida. Except for the great views, the main attraction here is kayaking in the rivers and seeing manatees swimming around you. Ain’t that incredible?
Miami is a dream city and it has it all. 4-5 days in this incredible city, including a weekend, will allow you to make the most out if. This way you can enjoy the sites, the beaches, the shopping, and the parties. Take it easy, relax, and have the perfect vacation.