Miami marches to the beat of its own bongos. With a population of nearly half a million people, Miami is a dazzling mix of beaches and glittering high-rises, avant-garde graffiti and one of the most prestigious art festivals in the world. With such a wealth of things to do in Miami, the Magic City, you’ll never want to leave!
There’s no other neighbourhood more synonymous with Miami than South Beach. With paradise beaches (think turquoise clear water, white sand and candy-coloured lifeguard stands), neon nightlife and shopping galore, the word “boredom” doesn’t exist here.
No time spent in South Beach would be complete without visiting the Art Deco District. Comprised of pastel-hued historic architecture mainly built in the 1930s and 40s, a stroll along Ocean Drive is a must! Stop by the Art Deco Welcome Center where you can pick up some free information or go on their walking tour.
When the beach starts to beckon, you can go one of two ways: spread out your towel and prepare for ultimate relaxation under the Florida sun, or get your adrenaline pumping with a jet ski rental or even try your hand at parasailing! There are rental shops all along the shore so you can try out more adventurous options or go for laidback choices like kayaking or paddleboarding.
And finally, we can’t talk about South Beach without mentioning its legendary nightlife. Velvet ropes, rooftop bars and some of the best gay clubs in the country – you just have to step out at night when you’re in Miami! If you’re worried about the cover charges, just make sure to show up on the early side or hit up some of the lounge bars during happy hour.
Little Havana & Calle Ocho
Stepping into Miami’s Little Havana neighbourhood is literally like entering another country. You’ll see the neighbourhood grandpas playing dominos in Máximo Gómez Park, hear the sound of salsa drifting out of the windows and smell savoury ropa vieja simmering in the restaurants mingled with the spiced scent of cigars. Calle Ocho (8th Street) crosses the whole neighbourhood and is a real feast for the senses. Nosh on Cuban sandwiches (filled with roast pork, ham, melty Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and pickles) at Café Versailles, go for mojitos and dancing at The Ball & Chain, try a tropical fruit juice at Los Pinarenos Fruteria and sip strong Cuban coffee at El Pub Restaurant. To visit Little Havana is to fall in love!
The centre of Miami is a concrete jungle on the bay, packed with museums, shops and cultural attractions. Stop by the sunny yellow Freedom Tower, dedicated to Cuban refugees, and which houses the Cuban Diaspora Museum and the Museum of Art and Design (undergoing renovation but set to reopen in February 2018).
Catch a concert or just relax in the Bayfront Park and Amphitheatre, and wander up the Baywalk Path to Museum Park, which is bordered by the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the space-age looking Frost Museum of Science.
Finally, don’t miss the Miami Riverwalk Trail, lined with skyscrapers and public art sculptures – it’s a great place for a stroll!
Hipster, arty and pretty much the place to be, Wynwood is Miami’s most colourful neighbourhood. Start exploring by visiting the Wynwood Walls. This outdoor museum is an explosion of colour – its walls are full of rotating murals by the artists of the moment, set amidst green gardens. Visit the restaurant, The Wynwood Kitchen, where you can sip cocktails (like the Wynwood Inferno with tequila, passion fruit and jalapeño) and sample some creative Florida cuisine.
The other thing you have to do while you’re in Wynwood is stop by some of the neighbourhood’s craft beer bars. Concrete Beach Brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company and J Wakefield Brewing are all good options. And finally, make sure you pay a visit to Panther Coffee for a caffeinated pick-me-up.
In the lush neighbourhood of Coconut Grove to the south of downtown Miami, you’ll find what’s arguably the city’s number one tourist attraction, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. There’s a reason why this is such a visited site – the early 20th-century villa mimics the style of a Mediterranean mansion with a lavish courtyard, columns and swimming pool. It’s truly one of the most breathtaking spots in Miami!
They may not technically be a part of the city, but no trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the Everglades. These Florida tropical wetlands are famous for their alligator population, which you can check out on an airboat tour from one of the local tour operators like Gator Park or Everglades Safari Park. There’s no place like it in the rest of the states!