14 must-see places that make Miami sizzle year-round
When you think Miami you think beaches (and believe us, beaches are on this list), but the city also offers a diverse array of attractions for families, singles and even a a friends weekend getaway. Whether you’re escaping the cold or embracing the heat, Miami offers fun in the sun and a culture like nowhere else in the U.S. From diverse neighborhoods like Little Havana to the nightlife and architecture of South Beach, it’s time to plan that vacation.
What better way to start your journey into warmer temperatures than by hitting the water right from the beginning? Do just that by hopping on a speedboat tour of Miami aboard the famous Thriller Miami. Zip through Biscayne Bay and visit the islands of celebrities before making haste to the open water off South Beach for unforgettable views of the Miami and South Beach skylines.
Home to some of the world’s rarest and most exotic animals, Jungle Island is a South Florida jewel located on the causeway between downtown and Miami Beach. Animals in the 19-acre park include flamingos, parrots, African penguins and tortoises. Fun animal shows, jungle trails, a petting zoo and exhibits round out the unique venue.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
To fully learn about and experience the cultural city that Miami is, you have to visit one of its many museums. Top on your list should be the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Located in the heart of Miami, this national historic landmark is culturally and historically significant and provides a state-of-the-art experience learning about art, history and the environment.
Joe’s Stone Crab
Plan ahead and make time for Joe’s Stone Crab—arguably the top restaurant in South Beach. Get there early to enjoy a seat inside or take in the take-out café next door by the same name. A decadent menu that features unforgettable stone crab and seafood, Joe’s is a tad pricy, but it’s worth every single cent.
If you’re looking a unique mix of unique shopping and dining, then you could spend a lot of time around Lincoln Mall. The open air outdoor mall has been built for pedestrians and chock full of trendy boutiques, galleries and restaurants from the unknown to chains like H&M and Shake Shack. Located just a few blocks off the beach, the walkable 10-block stretch is a great place to grab a cup of coffee and people-watch too.
Easily one of the most original outdoor attractions in the country, the Venetian Pool is a Mediterranean-inspired swimming area built on a former rock quarry. During the summer, the pool’s water is fed with spring water from an underground aquifer and drained/refilled each day. It’s also the only swimming pool on the National Register ofHistoric Places. FYI: Tickets stop being sold when the pool reaches maximum capacity, so be weary of that when planning to visit.
Looking to add a little culture while visiting Miami? Welcome to Little Havana where you can immerse yourself in pretty much all things Cuban. Take a stroll down SW 8th Street, or Calle Ocho, and take in the cafes, artistry and, if you indulge, the famed cigar stores where each are hand-rolled. If you’re in Miami in March, then check out the Calle Ocho street festival, a one-day celebrations of Cuban music, food an dance.
Drink Cuban coffee
While you’re in Little Havana (or pretty much anywhere in Miami), you should look for Cuban coffee, or cafecito — an espresso shot sweetened with demerara sugar (more or less dark brown sugar) as it is being brewed. Specifically you should do this at 3:05. Why? It’s the government blessed official time to put life on pause and sip a delicious cup of cafecito. Try 3:05 Cafecito or Versailles for this taste of Cuban culture.
Meeting location: 17696 SW 8th Street
If you’re more of an airboat and alligator type of person, leave the speed boats alone and find yourself aboard an everglades bound vessel with the top-rated Everglades Adventures staff. Tour the great Florida Everglades, a national treasure, on a custom boat or the Swamp Buggy to experience the excitement of Miami’s other wild side.
Nowhere else combines the rich culture and city of Miami with the sandy beaches and warm water quite like world-famous South Beach. Enjoy a relaxing late morning or afternoon on the beach before taking in South Beach Blvd—chalk full of cafes, boutiques, diners, bars, museums, and a never-ending supply of night clubs.
Wynwood Walls is perfect spot to take amazing photos and brag to your friends about your Miami trip. This outdoor spot features larger-than-life graffiti walls all in one space. Artists come from around the world to collaborate with on the 40 murals that dot the Miami landmark, which is free of charge. The walls were such a success with the community, it spawned another canvas of art called Wynwood Doors.
Ancient Spanish Monastery
In 1925, billionaire William Randolph Hearst bought this Ancient Spanish Monastery and had it taken apart stone by stone and shipped to the U.S. in 11,000 separate, yet numbered boxes. In 1952, developers reassembled the monastery on its current site. Activities include guided tours, services, concerts and more. There is an admission fee, and you’re allowed to take photography pretty much anywhere.
Azucar Ice Cream Company
Once you’ve had your Cuban coffee, head over to this fun creamery for a taste of Cuban ice cream. Azucar Ice Cream Company offers some of the most unique flavors you’ve never imagined including flan, passion fruit, Cuatro Leches (four milk cake), Guava and, of course, Cuban coffee. No worries for those who don’t like to venture too far away from the basics. There’s plenty of cookies-n-cream, chocolate and strawberry for everyone.
Art Deco Walking Tour
After a visit to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, put on your comfortable walking shoes and go on the Art Deco Walking Tour. This cultural walking tour, rated No. 1 in Miami Beach, transports you back to the early decades as you admire beautiful architecture and fascinating stories and trivia from lively tour guides.