Top 12 Things to Do in Miami, Florida

Miami is one of Florida’s top vacation destinations, offering beautiful beaches, a vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and unique attractions. With its Cuban influences and Art Deco architecture, Miami has a flavor all its own. From laidback beach days to exciting nightclubs and entertainment, there are endless things to see and experience in Miami.

South BeachIconic beach and nightlife hotspot.
Vizcaya MuseumHistoric estate with gardens and art.
Wynwood WallsOutdoor museum showcasing street art.
Little HavanaCuban culture and cuisine.
Bayside MarketplaceShopping and entertainment complex.
Miami SeaquariumMarine life shows and exhibits.
Everglades National ParkWildlife viewing and airboat tours.
Art Deco Historic DistrictArchitectural walking tours.
Pérez Art MuseumContemporary art museum.
Miami Design DistrictLuxury shopping and dining.
Key BiscayneBeaches and nature preserves.
Coral CastleHand-carved stone structure mystery.

This article covers 12 of the top things to do in Miami that should not be missed when visiting this energetic city. From iconic attractions like South Beach to more off-the-beaten-path activities like Little Havana, there are recommendations here to appeal to all types of travelers. Keep reading for an overview of the very best ways to spend your time enjoying sunny Miami.

Explore the Magic of South Beach

Name and Location: South Beach, a quintessential Miami neighborhood, known for its vibrant nightlife, Art Deco architecture, and beautiful beaches.

History and Significance: South Beach rose to prominence in the early 20th century, with its Art Deco Historic District now recognized for its stunningly preserved 1930s architecture.

What to Expect: A lively atmosphere with colorful buildings, trendy shops, and cafes. The beach itself is a major draw, offering pristine sands and crystal-clear waters.

Visitor Information: Accessible year-round, the area is particularly busy during the winter months. Walking tours of the Art Deco District are available.

No trip to Miami is complete without visiting the vibrant South Beach neighborhood. Famous for its pastel-colored Art Deco hotels and restaurants directly on the beach, South Beach is where much of the action happens in Miami. Take a stroll down Ocean Drive to admire the architectural gems and see the beautiful people. Go for a swim at scenic South Beach Park or Lummus Park Beach, perfect places to relax and soak up the sunshine. At night, check out hot spots like Mango’s Tropical Cafe for dinner and dancing. With its glamorous vibe and beautiful stretches of sand and surf, South Beach itself offers endless things to see and do.

Tour the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Name and Location: The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, located in the Coconut Grove area of Miami, is a National Historic Landmark featuring a European-inspired estate.

History and Significance: Built in the 1910s for industrialist James Deering, Vizcaya is an example of early 20th-century luxury and subtropical landscape design.

What to Expect: An Italian Renaissance-style villa surrounded by expansive, beautifully maintained gardens. The museum houses an impressive collection of European furnishings and art.

Visitor Information: Tickets are required for entry. The estate is open to the public most days, except Tuesdays and certain holidays.

For a glimpse of Miami’s Gilded Age, visit the historic Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This elaborate 1916 mansion features an Italian Renaissance-style villa filled with European antiques and artwork. The home was built as the private residence of businessman James Deering to be his winter getaway from the cold. The surrounding gardens on Biscayne Bay are beautifully landscaped with fountains, pools, grottos, orchards, and more. Wander the home and grounds to admire a bygone era of luxury and be transported back in time.

Shop and Dine on Lincoln Road

Name and Location: Lincoln Road Mall, a pedestrian-only promenade in the heart of South Beach, Miami, known for its shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

History and Significance: Designed in the 1950s by architect Morris Lapidus, it’s an iconic example of Miami’s mid-century architectural innovation.

What to Expect: A vibrant street scene with a mix of high-end boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and bars. Outdoor seating is plentiful, allowing visitors to enjoy the Miami weather.

Visitor Information: Accessible throughout the year, Lincoln Road is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Miami’s dynamic urban culture.

At the heart of South Beach’s shopping and dining district sits Lincoln Road, a pedestrian-only street bustling with some of Miami’s best retail therapy opportunities and restaurants. Spend an afternoon browsing the eclectic shops selling everything from designer fashions to unique local wares. When you work up an appetite, there are endless eateries to choose from, whether you’re craving a perfect cafe con leche or the freshest seafood. Street performers and people watching add to the energetic ambiance of this iconic Miami street.

Take in Latino Flavor in Little Havana

Name and Location: Little Havana, a neighborhood west of downtown Miami, is the cultural heart of Miami’s Cuban diaspora.

History and Significance: This vibrant community has been shaped by Cuban immigrants since the 1960s, preserving their cultural heritage and traditions.

What to Expect: Cuban coffee shops, cigar factories, music venues, and street art, all of which reflect the area’s rich cultural tapestry. Calle Ocho is the main thoroughfare, bustling with activity.

Visitor Information: Guided tours are available, offering insights into the neighborhood’s history and culture. The area’s festivals, particularly the Calle Ocho Music Festival, are highlights.

Experience Miami’s Latin influence with a visit to Little Havana, the epicenter of the city’s Cuban culture. Take a walk down Calle Ocho to see old men playing dominoes like they would in Havana. Pop into a local market to pick up some Cuban coffee or guava pastries. For insight into the neighborhood’s immigrant history, check out spots like the Bay of Pigs Museum or the Cuban Memorial. And don’t miss watching the hand rollers hard at work at a traditional cigar factory. Soak in the sights, sounds, and smells of one of the country’s largest Cuban enclaves.

Spend a Day on Miami Beach

Name and Location: Miami Beach, an island city connected to mainland Miami, is famous for its stunning beaches, luxury accommodations, and vibrant culture.

History and Significance: Established in the early 20th century, Miami Beach has evolved into a world-renowned resort destination, attracting millions of visitors annually.

What to Expect: White sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a plethora of activities ranging from water sports to relaxation. The beachfront is lined with historic Art Deco buildings.

Visitor Information: The beaches are public and accessible throughout the year. Beach amenities, such as chair rentals and lifeguard stations, are widely available.

Of course, one of the top things to do in Miami is enjoy fun in the sun on its iconic beaches. Visitors flock to Miami Beach to soak in the sun, go for a swim, play beach sports, or simply relax oceanside. Popular beaches include South Beach with its vibrant, high-energy scene as well as Haulover Beach Park, famed for its clothing-optional policy. Or check out mid-beach areas like Lummus Park Beach for a bit more tranquility. Rent a lounge chair, bring a picnic lunch, and make a day of living the beach life Miami is known for.

Admire Street Art in Wynwood Walls

Name and Location: Wynwood Walls, located in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, is an outdoor museum showcasing large-scale works by some of the world’s best street artists.

History and Significance: Established in 2009, Wynwood Walls has played a crucial role in transforming the area into a hub for art, creativity, and innovation.

What to Expect: Vibrant murals and graffiti art cover the walls of this district, turning it into a colorful urban canvas that attracts artists and visitors from around the globe.

Visitor Information: Open to the public and free of charge, it’s best explored on foot. Guided tours are available for those interested in learning more about the artworks and artists.

For an alternative side of Miami, head to the Wynwood neighborhood to discover its many colorful murals and street art. Wynwood Walls specifically commissions artists to use the buildings as their canvas to transform the streets into an outdoor exhibition space overflowing with visual expression. Beyond the walls, creative spirits will also spot pop art, graffiti, and impromptu installations across this cutting-edge corner of the city. Wandering Wynwood offers insight into Miami’s burgeoning arts scene.

Savor Miami Spice

Name and Location: Miami Spice is an annual event that takes place in Miami, offering discounted three-course meals at some of the city’s top restaurants.

History and Significance: Launched to promote Miami’s diverse culinary scene, it offers locals and visitors alike the chance to experience fine dining at a reduced price.

What to Expect: A wide range of culinary offerings, from traditional Cuban fare to contemporary international cuisine, at fixed prices.

Visitor Information: The event typically runs from August to September. Reservations are highly recommended, as participating restaurants can get booked quickly.

Foodies traveling to Miami would be remiss not to take part in Miami Spice. This annual program occurring in August and September offers fixed price multi-course meals at some of Miami’s top restaurants, making fine dining easily affordable. Score reservations at Michelin star restaurants or sample cutting-edge cuisine from up-and-coming chefs. With hundreds of eateries participating across a trendy dining scene, Miami Spice makes enjoying the Magic City’s eclectic food scene simple and savory.

Party on Ocean Drive

Name and Location: Ocean Drive is a famous street in South Beach known for its neon-lit Art Deco hotels, bustling bars, and lively beach scene.

History and Significance: A symbol of Miami’s glamorous lifestyle, Ocean Drive has been the backdrop for numerous movies and TV shows, embodying the city’s party spirit.

What to Expect: An energetic nightlife scene with clubs, bars, and restaurants offering everything from live music and DJs to cocktails and dance floors.

Visitor Information: The area is most vibrant at night but can be enjoyed at any time. Be prepared for higher prices and crowds, especially on weekends.

As the sun goes down in South Beach, Ocean Drive transforms into the hottest center of Miami’s legendary nightlife. Get your fill of people watching before joining the party yourself at clubs and bars pulsing with music and fun-loving crowds spilling into the streets. For even more entertainment beyond drinking and dancing, check the colorful Art Deco hotels lining the strip. Many feature lively drag queen shows or cabaret performances ideal for kicking off an evening out.

Attend a Miami Heat Basketball Game

Name and Location: Miami Heat games are held at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami, a major venue for sports and entertainment.

History and Significance: The Miami Heat, an NBA team established in 1988, has become a source of local pride, with multiple championships to its name.

What to Expect: An exciting atmosphere filled with passionate fans, fast-paced basketball action, and halftime entertainment.

Visitor Information: Tickets can be purchased in advance through the team’s website or ticketing platforms. Prices vary based on the game and seating.

Sports lovers and basketball fans can catch some excitement Miami-style with the hometown heroes, the Miami Heat. Watch LeBron James and the star-studded squad battle for an NBA championship title in the high-tech FTX Arena. Feel the electricity in the crowds, admire athletic talents, and maybe even spot a celebrity fan or two courtside. Catching a Heat game allows visitors to experience Miami’s passion for basketball.

Tour Miami by Boat

Name and Location: Boat tours in Miami offer a unique perspective of the city, from the luxurious homes of Star Island to the scenic downtown skyline.

History and Significance: Miami’s location on Biscayne Bay and its extensive canal system have made it an ideal place for boat tours, highlighting the city’s connection to the water.

What to Expect: A variety of tour options, including sightseeing cruises, speedboat adventures, and luxury yacht charters. Commentary on Miami’s history and celebrity homes is common.

Visitor Information: Reservations may be required, especially for private charters. Check in advance for departure times and locations.

One of the best ways to take in sprawling Miami is from the water. Board a sightseeing boat to appreciate the beauty of coastal Miami, its beaches, downtown skyline, celebrity mansions, and the glittering ports filled with yachts. Many boat tours even get up close with celebrity-owned islands like Star Island. Or for an adventure beyond the city, speedboat rides can have you on the water flying past Miami’s islands in just minutes for thrills and salt-kissed hair. A boat tour shows Miami and its surrounding marine playground from unique vantage points.

Escape to Key Biscayne

Name and Location: Key Biscayne is an island located south of Miami Beach, known for its tranquil beaches, nature preserves, and recreational activities.

History and Significance: Once a coconut plantation, Key Biscayne is now a popular escape from the city, offering a more laid-back beach experience and outdoor adventures.

What to Expect: Pristine beaches, biking and hiking trails, the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, and Crandon Park. It’s a perfect destination for water sports and relaxation.

Visitor Information: Accessible by car via the Rickenbacker Causeway. Entrance fees to parks may apply. It’s advisable to bring essentials, as amenities vary across locations.

Just a 15-minute drive from South Beach sits the tropical barrier island of Key Biscayne, offering a world away from the bustling city. The golden beaches here feel secluded and serene, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing with a book under the palm trees. The area also features family-friendly attractions like the interactive Miami Seaquarium and world-class golf courses. Visit the Cape Florida Lighthouse for insight into Miami’s early days. With its laidback ambiance and natural beauty, Key Biscayne makes an easy day trip escape from urban Miami.


With its gleaming beaches, vibrant cultural blend, delicious cuisine, and nonstop energy, Miami offers incredible diversity when it comes to things to do for travelers. From basking on the beach to exploring neighborhoods like Little Havana to dazzling nights out, Miami has options for seekers of both relaxation and liveliness. Foodies, art aficionados, water sports enthusiasts, and clubbers alike will all find plenty to fill their itinerary when visiting this sultry South Florida hot spot. Whether you seek A-list glamour or small-town charm, Miami happily delivers. Use this Miami guide to help shape an unforgettable trip in one of America’s most colorful cities.

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