Miami is a vibrant coastal metropolis where international commerce, business, art, and culture come together to create one of the most dynamic must-see cities in the world.
Whether it’s the iconic Art Deco architecture, renowned cuisine, ambitious shopping or the stunning vistas of South Beach, there is truly something for everyone when it comes to the Magic City.
I’ve compiled a list of the 40 best things to see and do in Miami, from museums and heritage sites to popular neighborhoods and national parks. Keep reading.
40 Best Things To Do In Miami
1. Drop In At Time Out Market
Time Out Market (TOMM) is the perfect spot to get your bearings and a taste of local life on your first day in Miami. This impossible-to-miss industrial complex is designed for serious feasting, with a refreshingly casual and communal feel that immediately puts the diner at ease.
The 17 on-site vendors certainly don’t disappoint, with everything from tacos and tapas to pho and pizza on the menu, as well as coffee, wine, and cocktails aplenty. T
he market is always buzzing, with an on-going roster of special pop-ups, parties, and evening events available to the public.
2. Make Some Waves At South Beach
No trip to The Magic City would be complete without an afternoon at South Beach, and a jaunt to this iconic public beach is easily one of the best things to do in Miami.
Free and conveniently accessible by foot, South Beach has been a mainstay of Miami culture for over a century, having been featured in everything from popular movies and television shows to fashion spreads and picture-perfect postcards.
First time visitors are encouraged to enter through scenic Lummus Park, situated between 5th and 15th streets along Ocean Drive. Kiosks are readily available for umbrella and lounge chair rentals, with plenty of nearby snack and drink options as well.
3. Discover South Pointe Park
Located at the southernmost point of South Beach, this pretty city park has been a best-kept local secret for some time.
Boasting 17 acres of picnic-worthy greenery, a children’s playground, fishing pier, and breezy beach access, South Pointe is the perfect place to hit the pause button and take some time out from your busy itinerary.
Parking is readily available and reasonably priced, with plenty of nearby dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
4. Take A Promenade Through The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Named after Miami’s own resident botanist David Fairchild, this 83-acre garden is one of South Florida’s most celebrated gems.
Featuring a paradisiacal rainforest complete with a running stream, a sunken garden, awe-inspiring vine pergola, and a museum dedicated to the luscious world of tropical flora & fauna, the botanic garden is a lovely one-stop destination for all ages and interests.
The Fairchild Garden additionally hosts monthly events, children’s activities, and even fun to-dos for pets, so be sure to check the website before going.
5. Excite Your Senses At Superblue Miami
This gargantuan art space of nearly 50,000 square feet is dedicated to all forms of experimental art and boasts a dizzying rotation of immersive new exhibits from some of today’s most exciting artists.
From enormous floating clouds to digitally transformed environments and with plenty of Insta worthy installations to step into, Superblue Miami is truly a playground for the senses and an unforgettable experience for guests of all ages and sensibilities.
Book online: ‘Superblue Miami’ Immersive Art Experience Ticket
6. Visit The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
This contemporary art museum is one of the more unique spaces to see in Miami, starting with its eye-catching facade comprised of multiple hanging gardens.
The complex spans 120,000 square feet and houses over 3,000 pieces of art from around the world, with an eclectic mix of styles and subjects explored through thoughtful and engaging exhibitions.
Tickets are timed to avoid uncomfortable crowding and guests are encouraged to conclude their visit in the sculpture garden overlooking Biscayne Bay, where ingenious swinging hammocks await.
7. Take A Little Havana Food & Cultural Tour
Miami is a mecca for foodies, with a gold star reputation that’s kept it on the culinary map for decades.
Today visitors can learn about the city’s Latin roots and taste the best of its fare with walking tours like the Little Havana Food & Cultural Tour, which welcome newcomers and locals alike into the heart of Miami’s heritage and cuisine in one of its most famous neighborhoods.
Recommended Tour: Little Havana Walking Food Tour with Lunch
8. Take A Walk On The Wild Side At Zoo Miami
Miami’s leading wildlife center is the largest zoo in Florida and fifth largest in the United States, covering 750 acres of land and home to over 3,000 animals (many of them endangered) from around the globe.
Founded in 1948, the zoo has astonished visitors with its menagerie of mammals, birds, reptiles, aquatic species and exotic flora & fauna for 75 years and continues to be a leading champion of wildlife education and conservation.
With year-round activities, events, regular zookeeper Q&As and an interactive Animal Fun Factory, Zoo Miami is hands-down one of the best things to do in Miami.
Buy online your entry ticket here.
9. Ocean Drive
Arguably the Broadway of Miami, Ocean Drive is the main thoroughfare and iconic epicenter of South Beach culture.
Stretching between 1st and 15th Streets, Ocean Drive is punctuated by gorgeous Art Deco architecture, sparkling beaches, and a humming nightlife.
Film buffs will no doubt recognize many of Ocean Drive’s sights from films and television shows like Scarface and Miami Vice, while art enthusiasts won’t want to miss a trip to the Art Deco Museum & Welcome Center, dedicated to Miami’s world-famous collection of Art Deco buildings.
Foodies will find no shortage of casual to Michelin starred restaurants, pop-ups, and food trucks galore to indulge in so be sure to bring your appetite!
Early risers will want to catch the breathtaking sunrise at Lummus Park, followed by a jaunt along the urban park’s nature paths or morning nap in one of the comfy beach chairs available to rent.
The quiet and affluently located Marjory Stoneman Douglas Beach Park is perfect for families and couples looking to escape the bustle of popular Lummus Park and enjoy a peaceful picnic and swim.
Ocean Drive hosts many popular events such as Art Basel Miami Beach, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and Art Deco Weekend, so check your calendar to see if your trip falls during one of these famed to-dos.
10. Shop Till You Drop On Lincoln Road
Frequently dubbed the Fifth Avenue of the South, Lincoln Road (alternately referred to simply as “Lincoln” these days) is a shopaholic’s dream.
Designed by “Miami Modern” architect Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, Lincoln is an oasis of high-end boutiques and designer emporiums, pop-up shops, and the best in dining and entertainment.
Even if you don’t plan on making any extravagant purchases it’s worth taking a stroll down Lincoln, grabbing a coffee, and doing some people watching.
11. Explore The Miami Design District
Formerly known as the Decorator’s Row, Miami’s Design District has since grown into a world-renowned neighborhood where fashion, art, food, and architecture are at the forefront.
One could easily pass an afternoon at the many galleries, high-end shops, public events and free museums like the ICA, to say nothing of the mouthwatering Michelin-starred restaurants located within and a short walking distance from the district.
12. Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)
Conveniently located in the aforementioned Miami Design District, the Institute of Contemporary Art (or ICA) is a worthy excursion if you find yourself in the area.
Cited as one of the pillars of Miami’s art scene, this bold metallic building designed by
María José Aranguren and José González Gallegos houses a permanent collection of works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Yves Klein, and others, as well as a rotation of exhibits from emerging Miami-based artists.
13. Discover Española Way
A promenade along Española Way is one of the most charming things to do in Miami, and you won’t believe this Old European-style pedestrian strip can be found in none other than the heart of South Beach.
While it typically takes a backseat to Lincoln Road, Española Way holds its own with a treasure trove of shops, boutique hotels, and some of the best eateries in Miami serving everything from classic French dishes to Vietnamese-style fried chicken.
The tree-lined avenue additionally hosts live music and events on the regular, making it the perfect low stress outing for families, couples, and solo travelers.
14. Visit Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Frequently cited as one of the city’s top attractions, Vizcaya is arguably one of the most stunning sights to see in Miami.
This resplendent villa, built in the style of the Italian Renaissance, is located in the Coconut Grove neighborhood and covers 43 acres of gorgeously landscaped gardens, which include a hedgerow labyrinth.
The villa has been featured in dozens of popular films and shows including Ace Ventura, Any Given Sunday, Iron Man 3 and Days of Our Lives, with an impressive calendar of events and activities that are open to the public year-round.
15. Slow Down At Upper Buena Vista
If you’re in the mood for a more peaceful shopping experience then look no further than the 120 year-old Buddhist inspired Bodhi “wish tree” that serves as Upper Buena Vista’s centerpiece.
This idyllic neighborhood features connecting gardens and walkways, cozy shops and craft studios, and quiet cafes in which to pause and take a breather from Miami’s admittedly frenzied pace.
16. Visit Deering Estate
Built in 1900, the Deering Estate was the designated winter home of American tycoon Charles Deering until his death in 1927. The estate was acquired by the state of Florida in 1985 and has since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Deering Estate is now open to the public and the significant property houses several buildings, gardens, a mangrove boardwalk, and a fossil pit comprised of ancient human and animal remains.
There are also guided nature and birding trails, as well as seasonal events like the Historic Holiday Evening Stroll.
17. Take In Some Tapas & Contemporary Art At Rubell Museum
This converted warehouse is now a sizable exhibition space, with 53,000 square feet dedicated to over 7,200 works rendered by nearly 1,000 contemporary greats such as Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The space is equally dedicated to community outreach, and offers ongoing educational partnerships and training programs for aspiring curators.
There is an onsite Basque restaurant serving delicious tapas, gazpacho, meat & seafood delicacies, and Spanish wines, making it the perfect date spot.
18. Tour The Spanish Monastery
A visit to the former Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels is a particularly rewarding excursion to do in Miami thanks to its beguiling backstory and inspiring beauty.
Originally constructed in 12th century Northern Spain, the monastery would eventually be disassembled stone for stone and transported by the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearts to New York, where it sat for a quarter of a century in a Brooklyn warehouse before finding its forever home in North Miami.
Today guests can take a guided tour of the building, stroll the grounds, and experience a rare and remarkable piece of history.
19. Experience History At Miami Circle
More than just a perfect circle of grass and limestone, the Miami Circle is a special place and especially poignant sight to see in Miami.
This archaeological site and surrounding park pays homage to the area’s early inhabitants of almost 2,000 years ago, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as a declared National Historic Landmark.
Visitors are encouraged to look closely at the limestone bedrock and count the 24 holes drilled by the Tequesta Natives as part of a presumed settlement structure.
The park additionally offers wonderful waterfront views, pet-friendly picnicking areas and an overall serene setting in which to relax without missing out.
20. Raise A Glass To Versace At Onyx Bar
Whether you’re a fashion devotee or fan of the macabre, arranging a visit to the home of late designer Gianni Versace is sure to prove one of the more unforgettable things to do in Miami.
The grandiose Mediterranean Revival manse is a beloved South Beach memorial, and guests wishing to sample a luxurious wine list in Versace’s very own kitchen should reserve their seats well in advance.
21. Gawk At The Graffiti Art Of Wynwood Walls
The beating heart of the vibrant Wynwood Arts District, Wynwood Walls is more than a museum but a generous 50-mural celebration of graffiti art.
Renowned artists include Kelsey Montague, Shepard Fairey, and Kenny Scharf, with an expansive array of larger-than-life works by emerging and legendary street artists alike.
Recommended tour: Wynwood Art District 1-Hour Street Art Tour by Golf Buggy
22. Immerse Yourself In Miami’s Art Deco History
Miami’s Art Deco influence can be found just about everywhere, and whether you’re a Great Gatsby era enthusiast or Art Deco design aficionado you won’t want to miss paying a visit to the Art Deco Museum.
You can even join one of the walking tours offered by the partnering Miami Design Preservation League. Guests can learn about the city’s most colorful and iconic buildings as well as their fascinating backstories, and experience Miami in true Jazz Age style.
23. Play At The Phillip And Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Guests of all ages won’t want to miss one of the most fun activities to do in Miami, and the Frost Museum of Science doesn’t disappoint with its gigantic new complex comprised of four separate buildings that include an aquarium and planetarium.
The North and West wings showcase interactive exhibits and hands-on displays, while a 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream aquarium containing sharks, sting rays, fish varieties, and coral specimens looms large.
Be sure to check out the planetarium’s monthly laser show line-up, set to unforgettable tunes by legends like Davide Bowie and the Beatles.
24. Explore Key Biscayne
Just a short drive over the Rickenbacker Causeway from downtown, Key Biscayne is a not-to-be-missed getaway and one of the best things to do in Miami.
This paradisiacal barrier island features postcard-perfect beaches, luscious parks and nature preserves, historic sites and mouth watering eats.
Key Biscayne is sandwiched between Crandon Park, an 800-acre former coconut plantation, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, the latter declared one of the best beaches in the nation by Conde Nast Traveler.
Key Biscayne additionally boasts a coastal barrier reef and the only federally recognized underwater archaeological trail in the US.
Visitors can enjoy an array of water sports and boat tours or simply bliss out to the stunning views, with plenty of in-town dining and relaxing to enjoy after.
25. Soak Up The Ambiance Of The Faena Theater
Inspired by the decadent cabaret houses of Europe, the Faena Theater should certainly count among the top things to do in Miami for lovers of music & theater, history, architecture, sultry aesthetics and all things Moulin Rouge.
Adults can take in a landmark evening cabaret show with live jazz and glamorous burlesque or catch a special appearance by one of today’s most iconic musical performers.
26. Fall In Love With the Music Of New World Center
Located on the beautiful South Beach campus of the resident New World Symphony and its orchestral academy, the New World Center is open to all instrumental music enthusiasts, with a diverse performance program and spacious grounds that host an equal variety of festivals, screenings, and public concerts.
Perfect for visitors of all ages, New World offers an impressive rotation of experiences set against Miami’s stunning South Beach backdrop.
27. Treat Yourself At Robert Is Here Fruit Stand
This family-owned market first opened for business in 1959 and has been faithfully serving the South Florida community ever since. Located in Homestead, a 40 minute drive from downtown Miami, Robert Is Here is well worth the trip.
Step back in time to the fruit stands of the bygone Sunshine State and browse the eye-popping stalls bursting with every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable, as well as local products like honey, jam, pickles, and homemade baked goods.
You can even have your produce selections blended into a fresh smoothie or milkshake on-site, and there’s a wonderful petting zoo to complete the perfect outing.
28. Spend A Day At Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Families and outdoor enthusiasts looking for something to do in Miami will definitely want to head to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Located at the tip of Key Biscayne just minutes from downtown Miami, this picturesque state park has it all: picnic spots, hiking trails, bike paths, convenient beach access with watersport equipment rentals, and comfortable waterfront grill restaurants.
The park is home to the gleaming white Cape Florida Lighthouse, built in 1825, which is open to the public for tours.
29. Shop And Grab A Bite In Funky Allapattah
This up-and-coming barrio is as hip as it is culturally diverse, with some of the best shopping, dining, and gallery hopping to do in Miami.
Here is where you’ll find the above-mentioned Rubell Museum and Superblue as well as more intimate studio spaces, along with an enticing assemblage of thrift shops, music stores, trendy bars, and restaurants specializing in multi-regional Latin fare.
With so much on offer in the neighborhood, Allapattah is definitely worth its own recommendation.
30. Take A Boat Tour Of Everglades National Park
Florida is famed for its wetlands, and what better way to explore these sacred habitats than via an exciting airboat tour?
The park is a short drive from downtown Miami and offers visitors a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view Florida’s national wildlife up close and personal on an expanse of 1.5 million wetland acres.
Manatees, alligators, waterfowl, and panthers are regularly sighted, with the option to explore by boat, foot, or bicycle.
Recommended Tour: Everglades National Park: Airboat Tour and Wildlife Show
31. Visit Key West
Key West holds an almost mythical status thanks to some notable residents and unparalleled beauty, and is one of the top voted places to see in Miami.
Blissful beaches, charming bed & breakfasts, historic homes and the best seafood and aquatic activities one could ask for are just the beginning of all that Key West has to offer.
History and literary lovers alike will want to take a promenade through the Old Town as well as pay a visit to the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (be sure to pet one of the home’s six-toed cats, descendants of the author’s own polydactyl pets) and Harry S. Truman’s Little White House.
For the more military-minded there is the Dry Tortugas National Park, located 70 miles from Key West, upon which the 19th Century Fort Jefferson stands.
Additionally there is the awe-inspiring Vandenberg, a sunken US Navy Ship located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which now serves as an artificial coral reef.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, a vast marine sanctuary dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of plant and animal life native to the Florida Keys.
The center features a 2,500 gallon reef tank and multitude of interactive exhibits, with the neighboring Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy rounding off the ideal nature excursion.
It goes without saying that nothing beats the beach and water sporting activities in Key West, with everything from scuba diving to chartered boat rentals on offer.
Fishing, sailing, snorkeling, and wildlife watching are all popular pastimes, with the evening’s spectacular sunset completing the perfect trip to paradise.
32. Calle Ocho Walk of Fame
Miami’s own Walk of Fame, Calle Ocho pays homage to some of the most legendary Latino stars ever to perform in South Florida. Famed Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz received the first star of honor in 1987, and today over 30 stars grace the Walk of Fame.
Located between 12th and 17th Avenue and on the way to Maximo Gomez Park, the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame is one of the more unique things to do in Miami.
33. South Beach Nightlife
South Beach and nightlife are all but synonymous, and a night out on the town is non negotiable during one’s stay in Miami.
Whether you prefer dive bars or dance clubs, cocktail lounges or live entertainment venues, you’ll be sure to find your groove under the moon in South Beach.
If popular celebrity-studded clubs like Liv and Story Nightclub are a bit too exclusive for your taste, there is the iconic Cameo at the Cameo Theater which hosts live concerts, as well as the San Tropez-style Nikki Beach Club.
For a more mellow vibe there are the ultra-chic Hyde and Mynt lounges, and fine dining enthusiasts will find an array of fusion and nouvelle cuisine options prepared by some of the world’s hottest chefs.
34. The Venetian Pool
Often cited as the most decadent municipal swimming pool in the world and most certainly the United States, the Venetian Pool was designed by Phineas Paist and Denman Fink and completed in 1924 as part of Coral Gables’ Venetian Casino.
Today the swimming pool is a celebrated landmark of Art Deco design and old world glamour, with the Mediterranean-style setting featuring a waterfall, grotto, and trendy cafe making for a truly one-of-a-kind Miami experience.
35. Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel
The Sky Views Miami Observation Wheel towers over Bayside Marketplace at 176 feet tall and is one of the city’s most popular new attractions.
Featuring 42 enclosed and climate-controlled Gondolas, Skyviews Miami offers truly unmatched views of Downtown and Metropolitan Miami and Biscayne Bay.
36. Haitian Heritage Museum
With no other museum like it in the United States, the award-winning Haitian Heritage Museum is one of the Design District’s best gems.
Since 2004 the museum has hosted art & historic exhibitions, cultural events, and educational programs that celebrate Haiti’s contributions both locally and internationally.
Visitors are invited to view Haitian artifacts, view Haitian films, and listen to traditional as well as modern Haitian music, with an on-site library dedicated to Haitian authors and literary works.
37. Speedboat Sightseeing Tour of Miami
If you really want to get your Miami Vice on and see the city and all its splendor from the water it may be worth your while to check out one of the many speedboat sightseeing tours available.
Packages range from hourly tours to expansive day trips and even party charters, with popular sights including Miami’s cinematic skyline and natural sandbar as well as Star, Palm, Hibiscus, and Fisher islands.
Your guide will no doubt point out some of the most opulent homes of Miami’s rich and famous, as well as wildlife like dolphins and manatees, so have your camera ready!
Recommended tour: Sightseeing Speedboat Tour
38. Versailles Restaurant
Declared the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world, Versailles is a beloved mainstay of Little Havana and unofficial meetup spot for the neighboring community since it first opened its doors in 1971.
Sip a Cuban coffee, chow down on a traditional Cuban sandwich indoors or at one of the many outdoor tables, and don’t forget to stop in at the Versailles bakery for a mini flan, slice of key lime pie, or bowl of handmade ice cream.
39. Snap Pic-Worthy Art At The Bass
This Art Deco style building houses what began as a modest private collection in 1964. Today The Bass is a globally recognized name in the world of contemporary art thanks to its impressive pieces and active impact on the Miami community.
Browse the extensive permanent collection and step into the traveling exhibition wing where phones are most welcome, if not encouraged.
Guests are invited to relax on the lawn in the company of the museum’s public art pieces that include Ugo Rondinone’s Miami Mountain and Jim Drain’s chess table.
40. Day trip to Bahamas (Bimini)
Located about 51 miles or 44 nautical miles from Miami, a high-speed ferry ride to the Bimini Islands takes just under 2 hours and is one excursion you won’t want to pass on during your stay in Miami.
These Bahamian islands are renowned for their white sand beaches, clear blue water, and idyllic pace of life, offering a once-in-a-lifetime tropical escape just a short trip from the city.
Guests wishing to stay the night will find resort and hotel amenities, as well as day passes offering convenient on-site access to bathing and dining facilities.
Available tour: Bimini Express Ferry with Hotel Pickup
Traveler’s Tip: Know Before You Go
If you plan on staying in the immediate Miami area and don’t have a car at your disposal you’re in luck, as the city has a number of available transportation options, including a Metrobus, elevated Metrorail and Metromover, and trolley systems.
The newest Metrorail line even serves Miami International Airport and runs 7 days a week. Visitors with jam-packed itineraries are encouraged to purchase a Transit Pass ahead of time online or at one of the many stations for optimal time and money saving.