You can’t really go wrong when picking a spot for your next vacation in Florida. The sunshine, warmth, and fun will find you no matter where you choose. But we’re here to tell you that when you visit the sunshine state, Miami should be the number one city on your list. But no need to take our word for it, try out our recommendations of what to do and see in Miami and you’ll be booking a flight back the second it’s time to leave.
No trip to Miami is complete without at least one beach day. Located where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet, you won’t find more picturesque beaches than along Miami’s over 20 miles of coastline. The city boasts over a dozen stunning beaches, leaving you spoiled for choice over which ones to visit.
The great thing about the diversity of Miami’s beaches is that there is undoubtedly a perfect beach for everyone. The best way to choose which is right for you is to consider what kind of afternoon you have in mind. For some, a perfect beach day means finding a peaceful spot to unwind, read a book, and soak up the sun in seclusion. In this case, some of the quieter, less commercial beaches like North Shore Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles Beach, or Hobie Island Beach Park will be the perfect getaway. In these spots, you’ll be able to benefit from the white sands and turquoise waters without the hustle and bustle of some of the more hectic beaches.
But on the other hand, the vibrance and excitement of Miami’s busier beaches are precisely what attracts many visitors to the city. Perhaps none more famous than the legendary South Beach, which crowned as the “party beach”, is filled with music and nightlife, and often frequented by A-listers. Similarly popular but perhaps slightly less crowded, at Miami Beach, you’ll find plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants to check out. And if you’re feeling extra daring, you might want to make a stop at Florida’s oldest official nude beach, Haulover Beach. In any case, one thing is certain, whatever your ideal beach may be, Miami has got it!
And along with gorgeous beaches comes an abundance of watersport activities. For those who want a little more adrenaline, jet-skiing, parasailing, surfing, windsurfing or fly-boarding are among just a few of the high-thrill watersports that Miami has to offer. Or for some equally enjoyable lower-intensity fun kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or paddle boarding are great family-friendly options.
The art and culture
When planning your trip itinerary, it’s easy to assume that the sun and sea are all Miami has to offer, but don’t be fooled – Miami’s attractions extend well beyond the beach. Miami is home to a thriving art and culture scene. Fans of modern art will love to visit Art Basel’s show in Miami Beach, which features galleries from five continents and leading works of modern and contemporary art. Or try the famous Wynwood Walls, an outdoor exhibition displaying huge, colorful graffiti murals created by artists from across the world, which will bewilder those with an interest in urban street art.
Miami is also a city of architectural wonder, renowned for its Art Deco Historic District which has the highest concentration of Art Deco style buildings in the world. With over 800 such buildings within one square mile, visitors will be awed by this style of vibrant floral and ocean-themed design and its historic facades. Other acclaimed art and history museums that you can easily get lost in on the off rainy day include the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the Wolfsonian, the Perez Art Museum Miami, and the Bass.
The nature and outdoors
When it comes to nature and wildlife, Miami offers a whole host of activities. For some fun for kids of all ages, the Miami Zoo is one of the largest in the US, and unlike any other zoo in the country, is the only subtropical zoo in the continental US, housing a broad mix of animals from different continents. The Miami Seaquarium is another family hit, where you can meet dolphins, seals, rays, and more while learning about marine rescue and care efforts.
For getting active outside, Miami has no shortage of parks, each offering a unique adventure. The Bill Sadowski Park is a bird-watching paradise, with bird-watching tours, nature walks, and stargazing. The Biscayne National Park south of Miami is a watery wonderland with a lively coral reef, and a popular destination for fishing, boating, and diving. And of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the famous Everglades National Park, which encompasses vast wetlands across over 1.5 million acres. Just watch out for alligators!
It’s impossible to talk about Miami without mentioning the characteristic nightlife that has made the city famous. When the sun sets and the neon lights come on, that’s when Miami really comes to life. The abundance of bars, clubs, and lounges in the city cater to every possible kind of night out. If you’re ready to dance your life away, you’ll find Latin flavor in Little Havana, Wynwood or Allapattah, where Caribbean and South American tunes will be sizzling away all night. For those ready to rave to some EDM or head-bang to some hip hop tunes, Club Space, E11even, Story, or Brickwell will be the place to let loose and party until dawn.
But while many well-known clubs and bars can be on the pricier side, a great night out doesn’t have to leave your wallet hungover too. For more affordable and no less lively locations, check out local hangouts and lowkey dive bars like Mac’s Club Deuce, Las Rosas, or Seven Seas, where the drinks come strong and come cheap. And for those who can’t go hard every night, there are plenty of lively but laid-back rooftop bars and terrasses to enjoy a few drinks and catch up with your besties.
The exuberance and diversity that characterizes the city of Miami extend to its ever-growing food scene. One undeniable hallmark of this is the Caribbean and Latin flair brought to the city by immigrants from across the region. This has led to a blossoming of gastronomic variation in Miami, and diversified the local palate with an injection of bold spices and fresh flavors. It also means that you never have to go far to enjoy a completely new and authentic food experience. Some neighborhoods are clustered with restaurants offering a glimpse into a specific culture, like Little Havana for Cuban delicacies or the Doral area for Venezuelan specialties. But in reality, the international options are endless all across the city – Mexican, Argentinian, Nicaraguan, Italian. You name it, you can have it.
And of course, there are also plenty of native-Miamian food spots you need to check out too. Certainly, there’s no excuse for visiting Miami without sampling the succulent seafood. Popular local options range from fragrant fish tacos and sandwiches to famous Floridian stone crab dishes, to freshly caught shrimp, oyster, lobster and everything in between! And if you can’t go with just one, opt for an indulgent seafood boil, and sample all the best catches that the local waters have to offer.
Events and festivals
Another unbeatable aspect of Miami’s social scene is the numerous events and festivals that are staged in the city every year. Whatever time of year you’re traveling, you can bet that something exciting is on. Music festival goers will rejoice at the diversity of shows from Rolling Loud which brings in the biggest names in hip hop to the Florida festival scene, to the Ultra Music Festival which attracts the most elite DJs and EDM stars. The city is equally a paradise for Jazz fans, with the South Beach Jazz Festival, which kicks off each new year with smooth tunes and sweet vibes. Beyond music, a number of world-famous sporting events also occur in Miami every year. The Miami Open is a highlight of the tennis calendar, bringing the top-ranked players to battle for glory on the court. Miami Sailing Week, the Miami Beach Polo World Cup, and the Formula One Miami Grand Prix are also high-intensity events that draw in huge crowds to celebrate. And let’s not forget about Miami Fashion Week, where the city truly comes alive to show off its glitz and glamor during a week of runway shows, parties, and presentations. Whatever your kind of festival, Miami is bound to have it. So when planning your visit, make sure to check out what’s on that week.
So what are you waiting for? Armed with our tips, it’s time to pack your bags and your schedule and head on over for a taste of the sweet Miami lifestyle. Just don’t blame us when you “miss” your flight home.