The 12 Best Things to Do in Miami (Updated 2024)


The downtown skyline of Miami at sunset, with skyscrapers in the background and a palm-tree-lined waterfront boulevard in the foreground
Posted: 2/20/24 | February 20th, 2024

Miami is vibrant city known for its beach culture, party scene, Cuban influence. It’s definitely considered one of the more high energy, fun cities in America. Miami attracts millions of visitors per year.

Personally, Miami isn’t my favorite city in the States (though I do love the beaches), but there’s absolutely no denying that there’s a lot of fun to be had here. From beaches to partying to Cuban culture to the nearby Everglades, you can do a lot. (And if you’re looking to splash out, there are tons of luxurious hotels, upscale shopping districts, and high-end dining to be found here.)

Here are some of my top things to see and do in Miami:

 

1. Explore the Everglades

The swampy waterways of the Florida Everglades near Miami, USAThe swampy waterways of the Florida Everglades near Miami, USA
Everglades National Park has 1.5 million acres of swamps, prairies, and sub-tropical jungles. It is one of the most unique and largest public parks in the United States. Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage site, it is home to 14 rare and endangered species including the Florida Panther, American Crocodile, and West Indian Manatee, among others. Over 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles live in this unique environment.

There are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore the park using your own two feet, but to traverse the waterways, you’ll need to hop in an airboat. The park is only an hour from the city.

Airboat tours cost around $37 USD. If you want a more active boating experience, kayak tours are also popular (expect to pay around $100 for a kayak tour that includes a kayak rental).

2. Visit Little Havana

Little Havana, Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, was born almost overnight. In the mid-1960s, an estimated 300,000 refugees fled Cuba, with most landing and settling in Miami. Today, over 1.2 million Cuban Americans live in Miami, with Little Havana centering around “Calle Ocho” (SW 8th Street). This is one of my favorite parts of the city and the food here is incredible. Eat in one of the little restaurants and bakeries, walk the vibrant streets, enjoy a Cuba Libre (rum and coke) or Café Cubano (espresso shot sweetened with brown sugar), or get in on some salsa dancing. It’s an arty, quirky neighborhood worth exploring.

Food tours around Little Havana cost around $69 USD and are the best way to learn about the area from an expert local guide.

3. Admire the Art Deco of South Beach

A colorful old 1960s car on the street in front of the Art Deco buildings of South Beach in Miami, FloridaA colorful old 1960s car on the street in front of the Art Deco buildings of South Beach in Miami, Florida
Located in South Beach, the Art Deco Historic District is an area of Miami Beach noted for its concentration of over 800 Art Deco buildings all within one square mile. Art Deco was a popular architectural style from France, common between 1910-1939, characterized by its bold geometric shapes, lavish ornamentation, and embracing of modern materials and technology.

You can also take an Art Deco bike tour of the area to gain even more insights into the architecture and history.

4. See the Art in Wynwood

Wynwood is a former industrial neighborhood that has evolved into a cultural hub/trendy hotspot for graffiti and street art, as well as hip shops, cool restaurants, chill cafes and coffee roasteries, artisan breweries, and art galleries. The most popular attraction here is the Wynwood Walls, a collection of 40 murals from some of the world’s best street artists. The impressive 35,000 square feet of outdoor space, built around existing warehouses, features artists from 21 countries.

The murals are constantly changing, so you never know what you’ll get to see, but many murals address social and political issues, offering commentary on topics such as environmental conservation, immigration, racial justice, and human rights. The Museum of Graffiti, the first museum in the world dedicated to this art form, is also located in the Wynwood neighborhood.

Wynwood Walls: 2520 NW 2nd Ave, (305) 531-4411, thewynwoodwalls.com. Open Mon-Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, and Sun 10am-7pm. Admission is $12 USD, while a guided tour is $20 USD (includes admission).

Museum of Graffiti: 276 NW 26th St, (786) 580-4678, museumofgraffiti.com. Open Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-7pm. Admission is $16 USD.

 

5. Take a Sightseeing Cruise

A boat cruises down a large canal lined with apartment buildings and palm trees in Miami, FloridaA boat cruises down a large canal lined with apartment buildings and palm trees in Miami, Florida
Seeing the city by boat allows you to get a different perspective of Miami and its coastal sights that are otherwise inaccessible by land. You’ll see sights such as the scenic Brickell Key, departing cruise ships from the Port of Miami, and the striking Miami Skyline. You’ll also see the opulent residences along the exclusive Millionaire’s Row (a section of Miami Beach nicknamed such for its luxurious waterfront mansions) and Fisher Island (an affluent barrier island known for its upscale residential community).

There are a lot of cruises to choose from but some of the most popular tours are Millionaire’s Row Cruises or Speedboat Tours. Sightseeing cruises are generally around $30-45 USD.

6. Learn to Salsa

Renowned for its sizzling nightlife and rich Latin culture, Miami’s salsa scene is something that must be experienced. From the iconic Calle Ocho in Little Havana to trendy South Beach, salsa aficionados can find a variety of venues catering to different styles and skill levels.

In Little Havana, Ball & Chain has free salsa classes every Thursday starting at 9pm. If you’re looking for more of a nightclub experience, Mango’s Tropical Café is the best place to go. They offer a Sip, Savor, & Salsa experience every day from 7:30pm–10pm. Tickets are $89 USD and include beginner salsa and bachata lessons, a mojito, food, and entrance to go dancing in Mango’s Nightclub afterward (it opens at 10pm).

7. Immerse Yourself in Art

An artsy, avant-garde city, Miami offers many different quirky immersive art experiences, with interactive installations, cutting-edge technology, and multi-sensory environments. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Superblue Miami – Superblue is a huge (50,000 square feet) experiential art space that showcases large-scale, immersive artworks created by contemporary artists. The exhibits often involve interactive elements and cutting-edge technology. Tickets are $38.50 USD.
  • ARTECHOUSE Immersive Art Experience – Artechouse is a space in South Beach that combines art, science, and technology to create immersive digital art installations. The exhibits often use projections, lights, and sound to create visually stunning and interactive environments. Admission is $30 USD.
  • Museum of Illusions – Situated in Miami Beach, this museum offers mind-bending optical illusions and immersive exhibits that challenge perception. It’s a fun and interactive experience for visitors of all ages. Tickets are $30 USD.
  • Paradox Museum – Fittingly situated in Wynwood, the Paradox Museum is a quirky and interactive museum of optical illusions. It’s also a fun activity to do with kids. Tickets are $30 USD.

8. Visit the Museums

While museums aren’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Miami, there are actually quite a few museums in the city worth checking out. Most museums here are art-focused (Miami is a big art city if you haven’t picked that up yet), though there are also a few science and history museums. Some of the museums worth checking out include:

  • The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science – Located in Downtown Miami, this museum offers interactive exhibits on science and technology, a planetarium, and an aquarium. It’s a great destination for families and science enthusiasts. Tickets are $29.95 USD.
  • Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) – PAMM is a contemporary art museum located in downtown Miami, featuring a stunning waterfront setting and an outdoor hanging sculpture garden. It showcases international modern and contemporary art, with a focus on artists from the Americas. Admission is $18 USD.
  • HistoryMiami Museum – Offering a comprehensive look at the history of Miami and South Florida, this museum features exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs that explore the region’s cultural heritage. Admission is $15 USD.
  • Bass Museum of Art – Located in Miami Beach, the Bass Museum of Art focuses on contemporary art and features a diverse range of exhibitions, including works by emerging and established artists. Admission is $15 USD.

9. Do Some Water Sports

Whether it’s the adrenaline-pumping excitement of jet skiing, the rhythmic experience of paddleboarding, the exhilaration of windsurfing, the quiet calm of kayaking, there are tons of options to choose from. You can find pretty much every water sport here, including things like flyboarding, which involves riding a water-propelled device called a flyboard and combines elements of wakeboarding, snowboarding, and acrobatics.

Jet ski tutorials are $139 USD (per group of two), parasailing is $130 USD, and flyboarding is $175 USD. If you’re on a budget or simply want to just go out on your own, kayak or paddle board rentals are $19 USD per hour.

10. Visit the Vizcaya Estate

The Vizcaya Estate with a terracotta roof and large arched doorways under blue sky in Miami, Florida.The Vizcaya Estate with a terracotta roof and large arched doorways under blue sky in Miami, Florida.
No visit to Miami is complete without a stop at this historic 50-acre estate. This European-style mansion offers a glimpse at life in turn-of-the-century South Florida. It was built by industrialist James Deering as a way to show off his wealth to all his friends and is filled to the brim with Renaissance furniture, artwork, and tapestries. The 10-acre Formal Gardens were built to resemble France’s Versailles but with palm trees, rare orchids, and Cuban limestone. It is one of my favorite things to in the city. Don’t miss it!

3251 South Miami Avenue, (305) 250-9133, vizcaya.org. Open Wed-Mon 9:30am-4:30pm. Admission is $25 USD (advance tickets required).

11. See Coral Castle

Coral Castle was created by Latvian-born Miami resident Ed Leedskalnin as a monument to his lover who cancelled their wedding the day before they were meant to get married. Ed channeled his heartbreak into hand-carving 1,1100 tons of coral rock, creating various monuments and sculptures over the span of 28 years. He originally started building in Florida City, yet when a subdivision was planned nearby, he bought land further away, single-handedly moving the heavy coral carvings to Homestead (where Coral Castle is now). It’s a bit of a trip from downtown, but well worth the time.

28655 South Dixie Highway, (305) 248-6345, coralcastle.com. Open Thurs-Sun 9am-6pm. Admission is $18 USD.

12. Visit the Ancient Spanish Monastery

The inner cloister of the ancient Spanish monastery in Miami, FloridaThe inner cloister of the ancient Spanish monastery in Miami, Florida
Built in Segovia, Spain in 1141, this monastery was intended to be a part of businessman and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst’s property in California (Hearst saw it in Europe in 1925 and decided he wanted it for himself for his personal “castle”). However, after shipping the building to the US, there was an outbreak of disease. The US government was worried shipments from abroad would spread it so he was not allowed to unload his cargo. Then the Great Depression hit and Hearst had to sell the property. It remained in New York until 1954 when businessmen bought it and finally assembled it in Miami.

16711 West Dixie Highway, (305) 945-1461, spanishmonastery.com. Open Wed-Thu 10am-4pm, Fri-Sat 10am-2pm, and Sun 2pm-5pm. Admission is $10 USD and guided tours are available on weekends.

***

Miami is the ultimate escape for fun in the sun. People come here to let loose, visit nightclubs, lounge on the beach, and drink the nights away. And while that can certainly all be a fun time, there’s a lot more to Miami than just beaches and clubs. The city offers a dynamic fusion of art, music, and great food, and I encourage you to get out there and explore it!

 

Book Your Trip to Miami: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Looking for More Information on Visiting Miami?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Miami with more tips on what to see and do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!

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