Planning a Florida trip itinerary? Get acquainted with the Sunshine State by digging into all the best things to do in Miami. After spending time exploring Miami, you’ll see why travelers return to the Magic City time and time again.
Miami is one of the most popular destinations in the USA for celebrities and international travelers. Digging into the city’s top tourist attractions, you’ll relax on beaches or swim and snorkel in the tropical waters. Looking to beat the South Florida heat? Spend time browsing art galleries, shopping, and snacking in Downtown Miami. In the evening, save energy to experience the vibrant nightlife of South Beach.
Ready to learn more about what to do on your journey? Get a taste of South Florida with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Miami!
Best places to visit in Miami, FL
Only visiting Miami in one day? You’ll probably spend plenty of time exploring South Beach. Located at the southern tip of Miami Beach, South Beach is Miami’s most legendary district.
South Beach is known for celebrity sightings, Michelin-star restaurants, shopping, and trendy nightclubs. And, of course, its warm, sandy beach always beckons. With panoramic views of the sparkling ocean coastline and dazzling city lights, South Beach offers the classic Miami vacation experience.
For any art lover, South Beach’s Art Deco buildings and museums will inspire in unexpected ways. This Miami neighborhood is ideal for anyone who enjoys exploring a vibrant cityscape.
Besides its Art Deco architecture, South Beach is famed for its white-sand beaches and warm sparkling waters. South Beach sees tropical-like weather all year long. Whatever time of year you visit, you can enjoy fun in the sun. Deep-sea fishing, sailing, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach are a way of life here.
If you’re looking to indulge in some delicious local cuisine and drinks, grab a midday lunch and drinks at Nikki Beach Miami Beach. The laid-back restaurant & beach bar is one of the swankiest places to eat along the beachfront.
Need a break from the sun and surf? Head north to check out the cafes, stores, and shops along Lincoln Road Mall. Or investigate museums like the World Erotic Art Museum, Wolfsonian – FIU, and The Bass.
Art Deco Historic District
The Art Deco Historic District was designated in 1979 and popularized by legendary designer Gianni Versace. Nearly 1,000 designated Art Deco buildings adorn the historic neighborhood.
One of the top points of interest in Miami Beach, the Art Deco Historic District is the largest collection of the Art Deco architectural style in the world. Most of the buildings were designed in the early 20th century with “optimism” in mind after the Great Depression.
The Art Deco District centers around Ocean Drive. Housing the famed Versace Mansion—built in a stunning Italian Renaissance architecture style rather than Art Deco—the street has turned into a major pedestrian thoroughfare in Miami Beach.
Today, Ocean Drive is loaded with outdoor cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels. It’s even formed the backdrop to some iconic 20th-century films and TV shows, including Scarface and Miami Vice.
South Pointe Park
Located on the southern tip of the island, South Pointe Park is one of the best places to visit in Miami Beach. Whether you’re with friends, family, or solo, South Pointe Park has options for everyone.
South Pointe Park offers easy access to the beach. Hit the shoreline to soak up the sun, swim, or go shell hunting. You’ll also find walking trails, an off-leash dog park, BBQ & picnic areas, and a small water playground.
Poking out from the park, South Pointe Pier is also one of the most vibrant places to see in Miami in both color and energy. At the pier, take in panoramic views of fishermen and surfers plying the coast. South Pointe Pier is especially magical at sunrise and sunset.
A separate city from Miami proper, Miami Beach is what most first-time visitors imagine for their South Florida vacation. From its thriving nightlife to endless restaurants to tantalize your tastebuds, Miami Beach is one of the best places to go in Miami.
While Miami Beach is most famed for its South Beach area, there’s plenty more to see & do on this Atlantic Ocean barrier island.
Nature lovers should set aside time to visit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Perched on the Collins Canal, the 4-acre park teems with native Floridan and tropical plants and flowers and is one of the city’s top spots for relaxing.
Miami Beach is also known for its mouth-watering food, especially Cuban sandwiches. Time Out Market Miami is the perfect mix of the city’s best dishes, all under one roof. The marketplace gathers the area’s finest chefs, mixologists, and artists. Time Out Market is Miami’s top destination for everything food & drink.
Lincoln Road Mall
Located on the northern fringes of South Beach, Lincoln Road Mall is a shoppers’ haven. A pedestrian-only street, Lincoln Road is lined with fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars, cafes, and bistros.
Shopaholics will want to start their visit with a shopping excursion, ducking into fashion boutiques and art galleries. Wherever you find yourself along Lincoln Road, you’re never far from a great meal or happy hour cocktail, eother. Many of its restaurants & bars offer outdoor seating for the perfect patio experience.
For delicious Spanish cuisine, pull up a chair at Tapelia Spanish Cuisine. The restaurant is one of the most popular places to eat & drink along Lincoln Road. Wash down their signature paella with sangria for the full Andalusian-inspired experience.
Or, to drive your taste buds south of the border, pull into Huahua’s Taqueria. Tuck into tasty Mexican lunch and dinner specialties, from gourmet tacos and enchiladas to happy hour drinks.
While exploring Lincoln Road, be sure to saunter over to nearby Soundscape Park. With its modern landscaping and high-tech A/V equipment, the park is an interesting venue for outdoor screenings, performances, and concerts. The beautiful New World Center, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, is also worth a look.
Dating back to the 1920s, Espanola Way was one of Miami Beach’s first commercial districts. The street was designed to look like a Mediterranean village. A century later, Espanola Way still sits near the top of lists of what to see in Miami.
Today, the former artist colony is one of the city’s top culinary destinations. Along the route, you can choose from a dozen or so cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants offering alfresco-style dining.
For a taste of Cuba, check out Havana 1957. Grab a seat on the shaded outdoor patio, enjoying its tasty Cuban dishes and the flawless Miami weather with a cool drink in hand.
Oleta River State Park
Located on Biscayne Bay in North Miami, Oleta River State Park is one of the city’s finest retreats for nature lovers. The state park sprawls over 1,043 acres around its namesake river. And at only a 30-minute ride from downtown, it’s easily accessible, too!
Oleta River State Park offers some of the best outdoor activities in Miami for travelers and locals alike. Adventurers can pedal over 15 miles of cycling trails or paddle through its mangrove forests on a kayak.
If you’re looking to cool down, pack a swimsuit. Perch yourself on the sandy beach and take a dip in the calm, kid-friendly saltwater lagoon. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
For more outdoor adventure in North Miami, save time to explore Arch Creek Park. Although it’s only 8 acres, the popular city park hosts an interesting museum full of Native American artifacts. The adjacent Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park is also worth a stroll.
Miami Children’s Museum
If you’re visiting Miami with kids, check out the Miami Children’s Museum. Located on Watson Island offshore from downtown, it’s one of the largest children’s museums in the United States and a must-visit for families.
At the Miami Children’s Museum, kids will explore 14 interactive, hands-on exhibits. The exhibitions cover subjects ranging from art & music to science & technology.
The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Check out the museum’s official website for tickets and admission prices.
The heart & soul of Miami’s Cuban culture lies within Little Havana. Famed for its vibrant street art, murals, and live music, Little Havana never disappoints. For sightseeing in Miami, it’s one of the city’s best destinations.
Start your Little Havana itinerary on Calle Ocho, the district’s most famous street. Large, painted rooster statues dot the street along with a Walk of Fame honoring legendary Cubans.
Traditional Cuban bakeries and restaurants are perched around every corner. For classic Cuban dishes in a vintage setting, tuck into a meal at the iconic Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine. Or sneak in a taste of a gourmet Cuban sandwich at the ever-popular Sanguich.
Every Friday, Calle Ocho hosts a large street festival. If you catch it, you’ll rub elbows with live performers, music, and artists. (And, of course, chow down on lots of delicious Latin American food!)
Also, be sure to check out Maximo Gomez Park, known affectionately as Domino Park. True to its name, the well-loved park is a favorite hangout spot for locals playing games like dominos and chess. Domino Park hits its peak on Sunday mornings as dozens gather to socialize.
Perched upon Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park is one of the city’s favorite green spaces. The bay’s shimmering turquoise waters form a backdrop to several memorials, sculptures, outdoor music venues, and playgrounds.
Bayfront Park has 30 acres of greenery wedged between Biscayne Boulevard and the bay in Downtown Miami. The park offers free yoga classes to the public on Monday and Wednesday nights as well as Saturday mornings.
Located on Biscayne Boulevard, Bayside Marketplace is a massive, two-story, open-air shopping mall. The shopping center & market sits on the beautiful shores of Biscayne Bay and is one of the most visited Miami attractions.
Bayside Marketplace has dozens of brand-name shops, restaurants, and bars. You’ll also spot several tour companies if you’re looking to add to your South Florida adventure. (A day trip to Fort Lauderdale or Key West, perhaps?)
One of the most unique Miami points of interest is Wynwood Walls. The giant outdoor art gallery & museum showcases street art from some of the world’s greatest artists.
Located north of Downtown Miami in the Wynwood neighborhood, Wynwood Walls is a graffiti and street art museum featuring over 20 artists from around the world. There’s an eclectic gift shop on-site as well as a cafe.
After sparking your creativity and enlightening your senses, explore the rest of the Wynwood Art District. Besides its street art scene, the vibrant business district is home to several boutiques, antique shops, and retail stores. In the area’s repurposed warehouses, among the public art space, you’ll also find excellent restaurants, cafes, and brewpubs.
Located north of Wynwood, the Design District is one of the city’s most creative neighborhoods. The district teems with edgy & trendy design, fashion, and architecture. On its streets lie some of Miami’s best shopping and culinary experiences.
Acclimatize yourself to the Design District at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA). The popular art museum showcases trendy works from emerging local artists.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Built in the early 1900s, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was laid out to protect the local mangroves, swamps, and forests. The estate was a private home until the death of its owner, the 20th-century industrialist James Deering. Eventually, it was turned into a public museum and garden.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is beautifully preserved. The museum, or “main house,” is home to artifacts going all the way back to the time of Pompeii. There’s also a library, music room, and everyone’s favorite gem, the courtyard.
The gardens are some of the most well-kept in the United States. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens show off a perfect mix of well-manicured lawns and gardens. They’re reminiscent of Italy and France and blend seamlessly with the natural beauty of the forests and groves.
A different vibe from other beach escapes near Miami, Key Biscayne offers a relaxing getaway from the city. The island’s namesake town is sheltered by two parks, Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Many of the best beaches in Key Biscayne are slightly removed from town, giving them quieter, more relaxed energy. Many of the beaches are lined with mangroves and swamps. Within them, you’re likely to see wildlife such as turtles, butterflies, dolphins, and manatees.
Key Biscayne is known for the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Sitting at the southeastern tip of the island, the lighthouse dates back to 1825. Climb its 109-step tower for fantastic views over the Atlantic Ocean.
While roaming around Key Biscayne, squeeze in a visit to Crandon Park. Located on Biscayne Bay, just 15 minutes from Brickell, the park is a popular escape for outdoor enthusiasts to soak up the city’s waterfront vibes.
Crandon Park comprises fossilized mangrove reefs and protected wetlands. It’s a great spot for walking, hiking, snorkeling, and swimming. On its waters, you can also go paddle boarding, sailing, and even kiteboarding.
Immerse yourself in nature and see exotic birds & marine life. Keep your eyes peeled for herons, ospreys, hawks, turtles, rays, fish, manatees, and more.
Need an idea for where to go in Miami with kids? Throw the Miami Seaquarium into your travel plans. Resting on the tip of Victoria Key, the aquarium is one of the top family-friendly Miami tourist attractions.
In its exhibits, the Miami Seaquarium shows off a wide array of diverse sea life. Kids will delight at the aquarium’s performing dolphins and sea lions.
The aquarium is also well-known for its marine life conservation efforts. Their programs seek to educate the public on wildlife rescue and marine animal care.
Known for its laid-back, beachy chic feel, Coconut Grove is one of Miami’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Located on Biscayne Bay, “the Grove,” as locals call it, is filled with shops, cafes, eateries, boutiques, and museums.
While exploring Coconut Grove, drop some Benjamins at the CocoWalk. The upscale mall is the area’s top destination for serious retail therapy.
Barnacle Historic State Park
Although small, Barnacle Historic State Park is one of the most interesting historical sites in the city. Located in Coconut Grove, the 5-acre estate gives visitors a glimpse of Florida in the late 19th century.
Barnacle Historic State Park centers around a stunning Victorian house. It was once the home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove’s most influential pioneers.
While you’ll uncover a few treasures in the home, the real treat is the grounds. Roam Barnacle Historic State Park’s old forests and mangroves. Get a breath of fresh air before hitting the city streets again.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Located in Coral Gables, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is one of the area’s loveliest outdoor escapes. The 83-acre garden paradise features an expansive horticultural collection, spanning everything from tropical fruit trees to native palms.
Most curious is that the botanical garden is home to the only tropical rainforest in the continental United States. In its two-acre rainforest, you’ll whisper past waterfalls and Amazonian plants.
Be sure to also save time to check out the garden’s Wings of the Tropics section. In the exhibit, you’ll stroll through a tropical landscape as dozens of species of exotic butterflies flutter above your head.
To make the most of your visit to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, hop onto one of its walking tours or tram tours for expert commentary and a history lesson about a garden.
Everglades National Park
Located an hour west of the city, Everglades National Park is one of Miami’s best and biggest attractions. The national park covers 1.5 million acres of wetlands, marshes, and mangroves.
The Everglades teems with wildlife. On your trip, you can spot snakes, alligators, frogs, toads, and turtles. You may even catch a glimpse of deer, foxes, or even a rare Florida panther!
One of the best Miami day trips, Everglades National Park is perfect for anyone looking for a wild experience while visiting Miami, Florida.
The easiest way to start your trip to Everglades National Park from Miami is via Shark Valley. The Shark Valley Visitor Center lies along the Tamiami Trail (SR 90). It’s less than a one-hour drive from the city.
RELATED: Top-Rated Fort Lauderdale Day Trips
There are several ways to explore Everglades National Park. You can go hiking or biking, fishing, and kayaking. Opt for a guided tour on an airboat if you want to get the full scoop on its flora and fauna.
Biscayne National Park
Dedicated to preserving South Florida’s beautiful natural habitat, Biscayne National Park can’t be missed. The national park showcases some of Florida’s loveliest coral reefs and islands, as well as mangroves.
Compared to other parks in the area, Biscayne National Park is unique as its islands and reefs are only accessible by boat.
For water activities, Biscayne National Park is one of the area’s best destinations. You can swim, snorkel, and scuba to explore the underwater world. Or you can stay (mostly) dry and drift along the waters. Options here include kayaking, paddle boarding, or sailing.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Located in Maurice A. Ferré Park, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is one of Miami’s most interesting museums. The popular science museum sprawls across 250,000 square feet, perched upon four acres with views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami city skyline.
In its permanent exhibitions, visitors will walk through everything from South Florida’s diverse habitats to the human body to aviation. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is also one of the only facilities in the world decked out with both a planetarium and aquarium.
Kids and adults alike will be dazzled by the diverse marine life at the 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream Aquarium. The aquarium spreads out over three levels, each corresponding to different ocean depths. As you wander alongside the open water tank, you’ll watch sharks, tropical fish, and stingrays swirl around reefs within the diverse marine ecosystems.
After marveling at the aquarium, save time for a show at the Frost Planetarium. Featuring 8K visuals and 3D projectors, the 250-seat auditorium immerses visitors within fantastical 360-degree worlds, from the galaxies above to the depths of the ocean.
Check out the official Frost Science website for a list of current exhibitions.
Visiting Miami with kids? Squeeze in a visit to Jungle Island. Opened in 1936 on Watson Island, the zoological park is one of the city’s most recognizable tourist attractions. Jungle Island hosts thousands of animal and plant species and is the perfect spot to visit for a dose of family fun.
Strolling through a lush tropical landscape peppered by streams and waterfalls, visitors will brush alongside some of the world’s most exotic animals. You can add to the experience by participating in hands-on animal demonstrations or booking yourself a VIP tour.
Besides the animal exhibits, Jungle Island is also home to a 13,000-sq-foot event space and a private beach.
Built in 1925, Freedom Tower is one of the most famous architectural landmarks in the Miami skyline. Most famously, the building served as an administrative center in the 1960s and 1970s for Cuban refugees fleeing communism in Cuba.
Today, Freedom Tower hosts the Museum of Art and Design Miami Dade College along with the MDC Special Collections. The art museum’s exhibits focus heavily on the richness of the Cuban experience in Miami and include artwork from some of the city’s most celebrated Cuban artists.
RELATED: Best Time to Go to Miami
If you’re visiting Miami during basketball season, try to pop into FTX Arena next door for a Miami Heat game. (Or just buy some souvenir swag at the arena’s official Heat sportswear shop!)
Need an excuse to escape the city? Venture 40 minutes south to explore the historic Deering Estate. Set on 444 acres of Biscayne Bay frontage, the 1920s-era estate was once the home of industrialist Charles Deering. Today, the house and the property are among the coolest places to see in Miami, catering to nearly every travel style.
While the architecture at the Deering Estate is remarkable and worth a glance, it’s the outdoor activities that’ll charm most travelers. Book yourself onto a Deering Estate Nature Preserve Tour to check out the Cutler Burial Mound. Sitting directly on the estate grounds, the ancient Tequesta burial mound is one of the area’s most significant historic archeological sites.
The preserve tour also includes a one-hour hike through the private trails dotted with beautiful native plants and wildlife.
The Perez Art Museum
Located in Museum Park on Biscayne Bay, The Perez Art Museum is one of the city’s most important cultural destinations. Walking up to the museum’s exterior, you’ll be dazzled by the eye-catching modern façade. But it’s the unique artistic treasures inside that make the art museum a must-see for art lovers.
Spanning 120,000 square feet, the permanent collection at The Perez Art Museum focuses on 20th- and 21st-century international art. The contemporary artwork displayed explores disparate themes from post-colonialism to the Latin American and African diaspora experience in America.
After admiring the works, one of the best things to do in Miami is to set aside time to explore the grounds, including its Asian-inspired gardens. Chill out with a cold beverage at the museum’s cafe to soak up its impressive views over Biscayne Bay.
Best places to stay in Miami for sightseeing
For travelers, the best places to stay in Miami include South Beach and Downtown. These two central areas are home to many of the city’s best hotels and top activities for visitors. Here are a few ideas to start your search.
Set in a historic Art Deco building, The Marlin Hotel offers guests sophisticated modern rooms without breaking the bank. The central location, a few blocks from Lummus Park, gets high praise.
For a mid-range stay, snag a room at the Lennox. The modern hotel offers spacious rooms with plenty of style. You’ll enjoy private beach access, an outdoor pool, and a sun terrace for your relaxation.
Add luxury to your trip with a night at this historic oceanfront hotel. Curl up at the luxurious rooftop pool to wild views over the Atlantic Ocean.