No Florida road trip is complete without spending at least one day in Miami. Located in South Florida, Miami is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Sunshine State and the United States.
Miami is famous among travelers for its Latin American influences and the beautiful white-sand beaches and buzzing nightlife in the Miami Beach area. Even with limited time for a Miami itinerary, you can experience many of the city’s most fascinating charms and neighborhoods.
In your first 24 hours in Miami, you’ll stroll among Art Deco architecture on Ocean Drive in South Beach. Browse street art in Wynwood and go shopping in the boutiques of the Miami Design District. Feel the pulse of Cuba and Latin America in Little Havana before chilling out with a cocktail in hand to Atlantic Ocean sea breezes as the sun sets behind you.
Ready to squeeze the most out of your trip? Plan the perfect day with this complete 1-day Miami travel itinerary!
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Where to go in Miami in one day: A complete 24-hour itinerary
Watch the sunrise at South Beach
Only got one day in Miami? Start your day with a walk around South Beach, one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods.
If you’re an early riser on vacation, you’re in luck: Miami Beach unleashes some incredible sunrises. The early morning hours, before the crowds of tourists ascend, are among the best times to roam about the South Beach area.
For beach bums, South Beach is the ultimate hangout spot. South Beach isn’t just one of the most popular beaches in Miami; it’s often listed as one of the best beaches in the USA. It’s not often that you’ll find such an amazing seaside experience within a major urban center!
Even if you don’t want to spend much time swimming and frolicking in the water, South Beach is a fantastic place for a stroll. Enjoy the sea views, play a game of beach volleyball, grab some shade in the palm-shaded Lummus Park to escape the Miami heat with the area’s colorful Art Deco buildings in the background.
Alternatively, if your accommodations are in the South of Fifth (SoFi) area, take a morning walk on the promenade at South Pointe Park. Located at the southeastern tip of the barrier island, the park’s fishing pier is one of the most famous spots in the city to catch a sunrise.
Need to fuel up for the morning? Grab a coffee and a quick breakfast at one of the many superb cafes lining the strip. Choices along the strip include the Front Porch Cafe, the FL Cafe, and the vintage, all-day breakfast joint, the 11th Street Dinner
Wander around the Art Deco District
Besides its sunrises and white sands, Miami Beach is most renowned for its Art Deco District. Centered around Ocean Drive, the Art Deco Historic District contains over 800 historic buildings.
Miami’s Art Deco Historic District offers the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the USA. It’s even one of the largest collections of Art Deco buildings in the entire world! Famed as the backdrop for iconic Hollywood movies and TV shows like Scarface and Miami Vice, the buildings also show off Mediterranean Revival and MiMo (Miami Modern) architectural styles.
To learn more about Miami Beach’s Art Deco style history, pop into the Art Deco Museum or Art Deco Welcome Center. to check out the exhibits. Both museums are located in Lummus Park between Ocean Drive and the seafront.
For a counterweight to the Art Deco style, keep on the lookout for the Versace Mansion on your walking tour. Now housing a boutique hotel and restaurant, the former estate of Gianni Versace shows off a dramatic Mediterranean Revival architectural style modeled after a grand European palace.
Stroll along Española Way
From Ocean Drive, it’s a short walking distance to Española Way. Dating back to the 1920s, the area was one of the first commercial developments in Miami Beach. The street was designed to look like a historic Mediterranean Spanish village. Even with 24 hours in Miami, visiting to soak up its unique atmosphere is a must.
With its recent revitalization project, Española Way is once again one of the coolest places to hang out in Miami Beach. Inside its pastel-colored buildings, you’ll find art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops.
Feeling peckish? Grab a quick lunch at one of its shaded outdoor patio restaurants. For a taste of Miami’s famous Cuban cuisine, including the must-try Cubano sandwich, try out the popular Havana 1957. The restaurant’s 1950s old Havana throwback style is bound to turn your head as you savor a bite to eat.
Other options along Española Way include delicious Neopolitan pizza and Italian dishes at La Leggenda Pizzeria, traditional Mexican food at Oh! Mexico, or drinks with a side of cigars at Espanola Cigar Bar & Lounge.
Hunt down street art in Wynwood
Hop into a taxi or an Uber for a trip across Biscayne Bay to the mainland to visit Wynwood. The Wynwood neighborhood is one of the coolest places to visit in Miami for locals & travelers alike.
Wynwood is most famed for its collection of interesting street art. In the center of the district, art lovers will find its main attraction, the Wynwood Walls. This open-air outdoor art museum showcases wall murals and graffiti on over 80,000 square feet of walls. The artwork at Wynwood Walls was created by over 50 street artists from 16 different countries.
Aside from street art, Wynwood is known for its culinary scene. Many of the area’s abandoned warehouses and factories now house craft breweries, bistros, restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightclubs.
If you’ve got extra time (and appetite) while visiting Miami in 24 hours, try to grab a meal and drink at one of Wynwood’s hip eateries and bars. Dining options here include enjoying global food and trendy cocktails in the industrial-chic Beaker & Grey or plugging into local dishes with a craft beer in hand at KUSH.
Browse boutiques in the Miami Design District
From Wynwood, it’s a 20-minute walk northeast to the Miami Design District. The Design District is the most upscale neighborhood in Midtown Miami. The area teems with art galleries, fashion boutiques, and restaurants run by celebrity chefs.
If you’re looking for an excuse to unload some cash on your getaway, you’ll find it here. In the Miami Design District, you can drop a small fortune on luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Christian Louboutin.
Not interested in fashion? Instead, spend your time admiring the district’s unique modern architecture. If you can spare some time, pop into the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA). Showcasing emerging local artists, it’s the premier art venue in the Design District neighborhood and one of the most popular art museums in the city.
Feel the Latin American pulse of Little Havana
Hail a taxi and embark on the 20-minute ride to Little Havana. The neighborhood, directly west of Downtown Miami, is one of the city’s most famous. It’s the focal point of the South Florida city’s thriving Cuban community.
Much of the action in Little Havana rings around Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street). Calle Ocho and its surrounding blocks are jam-packed with souvenir shops, boutique stores, restaurants, and cafes. The streets here are loaded with Cuban influences and Latin American flair.
Wander around Little Havana to soak up its history & culture. If you’ve built up an appetite, it’s as good of a place as any to grab a snack—or a refreshing mojito! Otherwise, rest your legs with a street-side coffee or a drink to experience the buzz of the area.
Enjoy downtime in Miami Beach
From Little Havana, it’s about 20 minutes by car back to Miami Beach. By now, you’ll have earned a meal fit for royalty. And there’s no better place to savor dinner and drinks than back in South Beach. As dramatic as the sunrises are, there’s no telling what adventures await after sundown.
For a wide selection of everything Miami’s culinary scene is famous for, check out the Time Out Market. Located near Lincoln Road, the market offers over 20 stalls with everything from Asian cuisine to wine & cocktails. Enjoy upscale seafood dishes with retro Art Deco ambiance at A Fish Called Avalon. Or, for a more upbeat choice, wash down Colombian fusion food with happy hour cocktails and new friends at Bolivar Restaurant Bar.
If you don’t want to end your night there, put on your dancing shoes and experience the area’s famed nightlife at one of its clubs. Popular nightclubs in the area include LIV, STORY, and Do Not Sit On The Furniture.
Where to stay with 24 hours in Miami
As with any big American city, choosing where to stay in Miami isn’t always easy. Although there are great places to stay in & around Downtown Miami and Brickell, narrow your accommodation search to South Beach. It’s the most convenient area for getting the most out of your 1-day Miami trip itinerary.
Amused by Miami Beach’s architecture? Extend your admiration with a stay at The Marlin Hotel. Set in a historic Art Deco building, this boutique hotel charms like none other. And without breaking the bank!
One of the finest mid-range hotels in the area, the Lennox offers spacious rooms with a cool modern style. The private beach access, outdoor pool, and sun terrace are wonderful perks for your Miami travel plan.
For the ultimate in South Florida luxury, grab a room at the historic oceanfront 1 Hotel. You love the luxurious amenities, especially the rooftop pool with wild sea views.
More Miami itinerary ideas
Everglades National Park
Got a spare day? Spend it spotting local wildlife and plants in nature on a day trip to the Everglades National Park. One of the most famous national parks in the USA, the Everglades is a highlight on any Florida road trip itinerary.
Everglades National Park stretches out over 1.5 million acres of wetlands, making it the largest subtropical wilderness area in the USA. Within its boundaries roam several rare & endangered species, including the Florida panther.
The easiest way to discover the beauty Everglades National Park is via Shark Valley. The Shark Valley Visitor Center lies along the Tamiami Trail (SR 90), less than an hour from the city.
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In the middle of its 15-mile loop road, be sure to climb the 65-foot-high observation tower. From the top, you’ll enjoy an excellent bird’s-eye panorama over the Everglades.
Even more exciting is to book yourself on an airboat tour, getting an up-close glance at the park’s famous residents—including its alligators.
Want to move past Miami’s urban charms? Hit the sea at Biscayne Bay. The bay stretches all the way from the city to the northern tip of the Florida Keys near Biscayne National Park.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, book yourself onto a Biscayne Bay Parasailing Experience. From your parasail, you’ll marvel at fantastic views over the city as you float above the water. Otherwise, enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise or one of its boat tours to take in the sights from sea level.
If you want to explore the Florida outdoors without inching too far out of the heart of the city, add Key Biscayne to your sightseeing adventure. Just 20 minutes from downtown by car, the barrier island is home to several attractions and beautiful parks with plenty of outdoor activities for everyone.
Arrange a hike or bike tour through Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, keeping on the lookout for the park’s historic lighthouse. Or hit the hiking trails, golf links, or beaches of Crandon Park for a little fun in the sun with the whole family.
If you’re visiting Key Biscayne with children, stop at Virginia Key en route to check out the Miami Seaquarium. The aquarium is home to a wide array of interesting sea creatures, including dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees.
While too tight for an indie day trip, Key West is the perfect bookend for an epic Florida journey. The westernmost island in the Florida Keys, Key West is a scenic 4-hour drive from Miami.
Key West is known for its colorful Caribbean-style buildings and white-sand beaches. Spend at least a day in Key West to soak up all its laid-back seaside charms.
When to visit Miami
The best time to visit Miami is between mid-February and May. During the spring months, you’ll enjoy warm temperatures and mostly dry conditions. Visiting in spring avoids the high-season crowds of January and early February. The only exceptions are the spring break weeks. If you plan to visit that this time you’ll need to book ahead—and have plenty of patience for obnoxiousness.
Most often, you’ll want to avoid traveling to Miami in summer and fall. Summer is the wettest time of year in Miami. In summer, rain falls nearly every day and the weather conditions are often hot & humid.
Hurricane season on the Atlantic Coast also falls between June and November. If you must travel at this time, be sure to keep an eye on weather reports.
How to get to Miami
Miami is served by Miami International Airport (MIA). The airport lies 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Downtown Miami. Several major airlines fly into MIA from international & US cities, including:
- American Airlines
- American Eagle
- Frontier Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
Miami is well-connected by road to other cities in Florida. Popular routes and estimated driving times include: