Ideally located halfway between the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Airports, North Miami is a natural stop on a visit to either city. Not to be outdone by either of these other classic Florida destinations, North Miami combines all of the best things Florida has to offer – a rich history and cultural scene, modern amenities and exciting restaurants, and plenty of outdoor excursions. We break down some of the must-see spots for seeking all sorts of different experiences.
For the sun
It wouldn’t be right to suggest places to go in North Miami without mentioning at least one beach spot to take in the sun, sand, and sea. And nowhere more fitting than Sunny Isles Beach, affectionately known as Florida’s Riviera. Grab a drink, put on your sunscreen, sink your toes in these white sands and unwind for hours. Or grab your fishing pole and set up at the Newport Fishing Pier, the only public fishing pier in Miami. Nearby you’ll also find lavish resorts and restaurants in case you want to lounge by the pool under a cabana or go for a delicious meal after a long day in the sun.
For the history buffs
When the hustle and bustle of the city gets too much, the ancient Spanish Monastery tucked away in North Miami is the perfect getaway. This Florida Heritage site is an enclave of European architecture and brings a little piece of Spanish history all the way to Florida. The site was originally built in Sacramenia in northern Spain, with construction beginning in 1133 AD. Fast-forward to 1927 and the monastery was purchased and moved piece-by-piece to the United States and reassembled as Miami’s modern-day monastery. Today, this historic attraction offers visitors the chance to take a relaxing walk around the monastery and its pristine gardens, and take in the medieval stone walls and architectural wonders. For those who want to experience the spirituality further, head there on a Wednesday evening to witness a “Ruah” service – a traditional Anglican liturgy service. The mystic evening includes a walking meditation, evocative music, art, and much more to reground your senses.
For the artists
Art-lovers heading to the North Miami area cannot miss the Museum of Contemporary Art, better known as the MOCA. Known to be provocative and innovative, the MOCA displays 8 to 10 installations each year and permanently houses almost 500 works of contemporary art from all across the world.
The MOCA is also a popular event location, offering a variety of attractions throughout the week. If you’re around on the last Friday of the month make sure to attend “The Jazz at MOCA”, a free outdoor concert series which features performances from local jazz favorites.
Or on a Wednesday evening check out “MOCA by Moonlight”, which offers a range of programs designed to enrich visitors’ understanding and exposure to the many aspects of the artworks featured in the museum. These include lectures, artists’ forums, in-depth tours, and hands-on art classes that allow you to take your insight and experience to the next level.
For the outdoorsy
For nature-lovers, North Miami is home to several parks where you can take in the fresh air and explore. Oleta River State Park is a natural oasis of over a thousand acres and the ultimate destination for all kinds of outdoor fun. For hikers, and off-road and mountain bikers, the park offers 15 miles of trails for all skill levels. For families, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards can be rented at the Outdoor Center. For those who want to chill out with a cold beer and fishing pole, take advantage of the fishing pier and miles of shoreline.
Other great amenities that the park offers are the quaint series of quaint little cabins which can be rented for peaceful overnight stays, as well as the covered picnic pavilions that can be rented for gathering large or small. Whatever your preferred pastime, whether you’re chasing a thrill or thrilled to relax, this gorgeous park is a prime spot, and a mere thirty minutes from downtown Miami.
Another great park option in North Miami, particularly for the avid golfer, is Greynolds Park. This nine-hole, par-36 course covering 3,100 yards of green is challenging enough for players of all skill levels and is accessible to the public at reasonable rates. What better way to spend an afternoon than teeing up with the sun on your skin and a gentle breeze to keep you cool. But besides the golf course, you can also benefit from the fishing dock and kayak and canoeing facilities, or bring along your pup to run around in the large or small dog areas.
For lunch and a shopping spree
If you’re looking for a mega luxurious spot to shop in North Miami, you have to head to the Bal Harbour Shops. This bougie outdoor mall is a collection of the fanciest designer boutiques in an airy, tropical setting. With its legendary selection of brand names, whatever you’re looking to find, they’ll have. This is also a great location for a post-shopping spree weekend lunch. For an upscale option, the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour offers delectable dishes with stunning ocean views. Or check Carpaccio, a local favorite Italian eatery. Celebrities and stars of all kinds come to enjoy their fresh and succulent beef, tuna, and salmon carpaccio or indulge in their hot and crispy pizza selection.
If you want to do some more affordable shopping and grab a bite, look no further than Aventura Mall. With several department stores and a gigantic Zara, you’re bound to find a good bargain here. And if you feel like treating yourself, the mall still has all the high-end usuals – Hermes, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and much more. When you’re done shopping, fuel up at the massive food hall, with over fifty restaurants and which feature an array of international options. One of our favorites is PANI, a mix of an Argentinian restaurant, bar, deli, and café all in one. Not only is the food delicious, but the innovative architecture creates a unique atmosphere that ensures that a lunch at PANI is more than a meal, it’s an experience.
For a coffee
There are plenty of spots to grab a really good cup of coffee in Miami. At Alaska Coffee Roasting Company you can sample the drinks made from home-roasted beans. And it may sound weird, but this coffeeshop comes with a wood-fired pizza oven, so if you’re still feeling peckish, go for a delicious cheesy pizza hot and fresh out of the oven. There’s a reason this place has been around since the 90’s.
Another favorite in North Miami is Macondo Coffee Roasters, where authenticity is key. The shop works directly with the Colombian farmers who grow the coffee plants and ensures that each bean is perfectly blended and brewed to bring you the perfect cappuccino. For a sweet tooth, they also have a fresh and fruity selection of cakes to go with your cup.
For a drive
If you’re in the mood to roll down the windows, blast some tunes, and go for a drive, then cruise through Biscayne Boulevard. This section of US Highway 1 runs through the heart of Miami, from Downtown all the way through to the Upper East Side, then towards the airport. The road runs through the various neighborhoods of Miami, the perfect way to get a taste of the diversity that characterizes the city. You’ll pass through the MiMo historic district full of retro-style motels turned Insta hotspots, the artsy neighborhood of Wynwood, the Mediterranean-style homes at Morningside, and the modern Bayside marketplace shopping complex and marina. Other landmarks on Biscayne Boulevard include the Freedom Tower, a sight not only of architectural wonder but also of historical significance for its role as a center for Cuban refugees in the 60’s. Another somewhat stranger hallmark is the Coppertone Girl sign, a huge 32-foot high advert for sunscreen that moved across different locations in Miami, but now lives in the MiMo Historic District.
Families with kids, take note – the Miami Shores Aquatic Center is a great place for little ones to splash about away from the sand. The outdoor complex is complete with water slides and fun zones for kids, and a professional 8-lane pool for those who mean business.
Another great family-friendly option is Dezerland Park, Florida’s largest indoor attraction. The 250,000 square foot play zone features multiple attractions including indoor go-karting, bumper cars, rock climbing, mini ninja and ropes courses, and much more. This means hours of fun for the kids, but we’re pretty certain most adults would enjoy it too!