Looking for a bustling neighborhood on your South Florida trip? Add Downtown Miami to your travel bucket list. With plenty of amazing bars, restaurants, and tourist attractions to uncover, this is an area of the city that you can’t afford to miss.
Home to the American Airlines Arena, where the mighty Miami Heat NBA team plays, Downtown Miami is a hub of fun activities. Watch a game, catch a show at one of the many theatres, or take in a new exhibition at one of the world-class museums.
Excited about exploring Downtown Miami? Dive in with this guide to the best things to do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in Downtown Miami.
Things to do in Downtown Miami
Perez Art Museum Miami
If you’re into contemporary or modern art, you’re in the right neighborhood. Downtown Miami is home to the outstanding Perez Art Museum Miami. Located on the waterfront, complete with expansive, panoramic views, this art museum is beautiful both inside and out.
Predominantly focusing on artwork from the 20th and 21st centuries, the Perez Art Museum Miami is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Wander the exhibits and find a new favorite piece or artist, or take a moment to sit outside and appreciate the view.
Finish off your visit by stopping off for a bite to eat in the Perez Art Museum Miami restaurant. Using local, fresh ingredients, this restaurant offers much more than your average museum cafe!
Want to learn something new on your travels? With more than 37,000 artifacts and exhibits, you’re guaranteed to pick up some new and interesting facts at HistoryMiami Museum. As the largest history museum in Florida, HistoryMiami Museum is a must-visit for any inquisitive mind.
Formerly the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, the HistoryMiami Museum invites visitors to expand their horizons and learn more about not just Florida and Miami but everything from Afro-Cuban folk art to prehistoric exhibitions and artifacts. Specific Southern Florida exhibits unlock the history and culture of this US melting pot.
Open from 12 pm to 4 pm, Wednesday to Sunday, HistoryMiami Museum offers reduced or free entry for many groups of people, including veterans, serving military, teachers, and Miami-Dade County employees.
Want to get away from the skyscrapers of Downtown Miami and grab some fresh air? Spanning 32 acres along the water, Bayfront Park is one of the most popular green spaces in Miami. With dedicated areas for rollerskating, running, and just chilling out, this park is a hit with both locals and tourists.
As Bayfront Park features an outdoor amphitheater, it’s not uncommon to catch performances and events here, especially those run by local community groups. Get in a morning run, take in a performance, or sit and watch the world go by next to the giant fountain. It’s an ideal spot to relax and soak up some of those beautiful Miami rays.
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Bayside Park is open 24 hours a day every day, except Mondays when the park operates from 7 am to 7 pm. With its opening hours, it doesn’t matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl: Bayside Park is ready for you!
If you’re wanting to get your fill of retail therapy with a Downtown Miami twist, bring your wallet over to Bayside Marketplace. This beautiful and vibrant open-air shopping center brings together local vendors, street food stalls, and well-known retail chains.
Shop until you drop at Bayside Marketplace before ordering a plate of freshly caught shrimp. Wash it all down with a delicious margarita as live Latin music plays and the boats zip up and down the Biscayne Bay. Sounds pretty idyllic, right?
As Bayside Marketplace is now recognized as Miami’s most-visited attraction, a trip to Miami would not be complete without an afternoon here. You might even pick up a few souvenirs before sitting down for lunch!
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Keep the kiddos entertained while they still learn a ton of new things at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Combining an aquarium, planetarium, and science museum, this museum is the perfect indoor tourist attraction when you’re in Downtown Miami.
Get stuck in with the plethora of interactive experiences and exhibitions throughout the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Inspire the next generation through exciting and entertaining live shows. Make new friends in the aquarium section of the museum complex.
With so much to see & do at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, you’ll need to carve out at least a full day to explore and take advantage of this amazing tourist attraction fully. The science museum is particularly enjoyable if you’re traveling to Miami as a family or you need indoor activities to explore if the weather turns.
Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel
If you’re not afraid of heights, this next Downtown Miami activity will be right up your alley. Offering panoramic views across Biscayne Bay, the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel is a popular excursion. Get those iconic photos that’ll make all your Instagram followers jealous!
Soaring up to 200 feet above the ground, the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel is not for the faint-hearted. Jump in one of the 42 glass gondolas and enjoy the 360-degree views as you slowly rotate to the top of the wheel. Get up close to the glass if you’re feeling brave and feel like you’re floating through the beautiful Miami scenery.
Pro tip: try and time your visit with sunset. The Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel is open until either 10 pm or 10.30 pm every night, depending on the day. It’s the perfect way to welcome a Miami evening!
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As the observation wheel is on the waterfront, there are plenty of great bars and restaurants to visit after you’ve taken in the view.
If you’re into iconic and striking architecture, you’ve probably noticed the Freedom Tower from miles around. Displaying a combination of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and Mediterranean Revival architecture, the Freedom Tower stands out among Downtown Miami’s sparkling modern skyscrapers.
Formerly a newspaper office and immigration office, this stunning 1920s building is now home to the Cuban Legacy Gallery, the Kislak Center, and the Museum of Art and Design.
Specializing in Cuban artists, the Cuban Legacy Gallery side of the Freedom Tower is a poignant look through Miami’s history over the last century. Wander through the Kislak Center, an expansive exhibition space that always has rotating exhibitions coming through its doors. Every visit seems to be a different adventure!
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With such a striking design, it’s no wonder that this landmark of the Downtown Miami skyline hosts the Museum of Art and Design. If you’re looking for three great value art museums in one, it’s time to visit the Freedom Tower.
Miami Circle National Historic Landmark
Looking for a peaceful spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while learning about the original people of the land? Located on the waterfront in Brickell, the Miami Circle National Historic Landmark is an archeological site with remnants of a prehistoric Native American structure.
Surrounding the archeological site itself, you’ll find plenty of delightful paths, benches to ruminate on, and a ton of space to stretch out and relax. Bringing your furry friend with you to Miami? The Miami Circle National Historic Landmark is dog friendly and even has a dog-drinking fountain.
Remember, Miami Circle is a historical landmark and a much-beloved archeological site, so when you visit, be respectful. Don’t forget to explore and read the many informational plaques around the site and learn as much as possible about this historic and impressive Miami landmark.
Where to eat & drink
If there are three words in the English language that are sure to bring unbridled joy, it’s all-day breakfast. Get the best omelets, crepes, and eggs in Downtown Miami at Café Bastille Downtown. Informal French in style, this cafe has plenty of brunch and breakfast options and gorgeous decor. Whether you’ve woken up late, had a big night, or are just hankering for some eggs at a later hour, Café Bastille Downtown is always a good idea.
Looking for something a little different? With so much fresh seafood in Miami and a huge Latin population, it’s no wonder that there’s an amazing Peruvian ceviche restaurant in this neighborhood. CVI.CHE 105 serves up traditional Peruvian fare, perfect for the Floridian sunshine. Marry the lime flavors in the ceviche with a traditional Miami margarita to wash it all down!
If you prefer your Peruvian eats cooked in a more traditional sense, carve out time to visit Pollos & Jarras. Decorated with brightly colored neon lights and spanning two floors, Pollos & Jarras is an amazing rotisserie chicken spot. As soon as you step through the doors, you’ll be welcomed with the most glorious aromas, inviting you to sit down and order way too much food. Enjoy!
Just a couple of blocks back from Bayfront Park is the cozy and comforting Ristorante Fratelli Milano. Specializing in authentic Italian food with a stylish vibe, this family-owned restaurant offers some of the best seafood and handmade pasta in town. With the fresh fish and seafood from the coast, definitely order some kind of seasonal seafood pasta with a big glass of wine. It’s what vacations are made for, after all!
Couldn’t get tickets for the Heat but still want to watch the big game? Get yourself over to Black Market Miami, one of the best sports bars in the area. With tons of big screens, a classic American menu, and plenty of beers on tap, you’ll be set for the night. If basketball isn’t your sport, there are plenty of other games and matches being played all around Black Market Miami.
If you’re seeking out somewhere sleeker and trendier, you’ll want to visit The Corner. With its distinct jazz bar kind of vibe, you can spend the night sipping cocktails, nibbling on small plates and sandwiches, and taking in the live music sets. Make sure to try one of their specialist cocktails for something a little bit different!
Whether you love to read, want to try some new cocktails, or just love a 1970s atmosphere, Mama Tried will tick your boxes. This themed bar is complete with a small library, giving introverts a place to relax and unwind. More outgoing folks will also find pool tables to sink a few games.
Where to stay
If you want a bright and airy place to stay in Downtown Miami, check yourself into the citizenM Miami Brickell. With floor-to-ceiling windows, colorful outdoor murals, and an eclectic design feel, this stay puts the fun into functional. It’s definitely one of the most entertaining hotels in the Downtown Miami area!
Looking for accommodation where you can spread out on your trip to Miami? Offering a range of sleek, contemporary studios and apartments, the Mint House Miami Downtown is a modern and roomy place to call your temporary home. Complete with a rooftop pool, there’s a lot to love about this hotel, so much so that you might not want to leave!
Lux by name, lux by nature. If you want somewhere a little more upscale for your Miami visit, get yourself a reservation at the SLS LUX Brickell. With an opulent entrance and lobby area, you immediately feel like a VIP as soon as you arrive. From the sleek rooms to the gorgeous pool area, complete with Miami palms, it’s paradise.
With the Mandarin Oriental Miami, it’s all about location, location, location. Any closer to the water, and you’d actually be swimming in Biscayne Bay. This five-star hotel knows how to make your stay memorable for all the right reasons, from poolside service to bathrooms bigger than most apartments. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself—you deserve it!