IS MIAMI WORTH VISITING?
We asked The Travel Addicted Unicorn to cover this topic for us.
Miami is a destination that has always captured the imagination of travelers worldwide. And rightfully so!
Miami is known for its beaches, cultural attractions, nightlife, and diverse cuisine, as well as having unique charm and energy. But is Miami actually worth visiting?
So, join us as we peel back the layers of Miami’s glamour and delve into its heart and soul. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have an answer to the question: Is Miami truly worth visiting?
Is Miami Worth Visiting In 2023?
Miami is undoubtedly worth a visit as it offers a captivating blend of attractions that cater to a diverse array of interests.
From its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife, perfect for both relaxation and excitement, to its rich culture that spans from the colorful streets of Little Havana to the dynamic art scene of Wynwood, Miami promises an unforgettable experience.
Culinary enthusiasts will love the city’s diverse food scene, featuring everything from authentic Cuban delicacies to upscale international cuisine.
With its multicultural neighborhoods, outdoor activities like exploring the nearby Everglades, shopping streets, festivals, and tropical climate, Miami is a great destination for any traveler seeking a sun-soaked getaway.
23 Best Things To Do & Activities In Miami
There are plenty of fun and captivating activities to enjoy in Miami. Below is a list of some of the best things to do in this gorgeous city.
1. Spend the Day on South Beach
South Beach, often referred to as “SoBe,” is an iconic neighborhood located in Miami Beach, Florida. It is one of the most famous and sought-after destinations in the city, known for its stunning beaches, Art Deco architecture, lively nightlife, and energetic atmosphere.
South Beach’s sandy shoreline is wide and inviting, with the ocean waters lapping against it. Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the ocean, or engage in various water sports and activities.
While strolling along the beach, check out the Lifeguard Towers which are a unique picturesque attraction in Miami Beach.
There are 36 Lifeguard Towers spread throughout the entire beach strip, and each of them is designed in different styles and colors. Stroll along the boardwalk, take a dip in the ocean, or just relax on the sandy beach.
Spending time on the beach is one of the best things to do in South Beach and definitely makes a vacation to Miami worthwhile.
2. Marvel at Art Deco Buildings
The area around Ocean Drive in Miami Beach is the best location to see examples of Art Deco architecture in Miami. The Art Deco Museum offers an excellent walking tour that provides a deeper insight into the historical context and intention of this widely embraced architectural style.
Art Deco emerged as a design trend in France around 1910 and gained popularity during the 1920s and 1930s in the United States.
This style blends bright and bold colors with well-defined contours and geometric patterns and its elegant architecture uses an array of synthetic materials like plastic and reinforced concrete, creating a streamlined and modern appearance.
Many of the buildings that were built in the Art Deco style have intricate detailing, which makes them visually captivating.
3. Stroll Along Ocean Drive
If architecture isn’t your thing Ocean Drive is still an area worth exploring! Strolling along Ocean Drive, you’ll find the hotels and restaurants on one side and the beach strip on the other.
With its picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean, a variety of restaurants, and charming cafes, Ocean Drive sets the stage for delightful dining experiences.
As day turns into night, the street transforms into a vibrant nightlife hub, housing lively bars, clubs, and lounges that cater to those seeking entertainment.
💡Pro Tip: Visit Ocean Drive during the daytime and night time to experience both vibes!
Also, located at Ocean Drive and 10th Street, you’ll discover the South Beach Clock Tower, a great photo opportunity to prove the date and time of your visit to Miami!
You can also find the former Versace Mansion, now an upscale hotel and restaurant at the intersection of Ocean Drive and 18th Street.
You can’t go to Miami Beach and not take a stroll down Ocean Drive!
4. Take a Spin in a Supercar
Where else are you going to have the chance to drive a Ferrari? It’s time to check that off your bucket list in Miami Beach!
Cruising through the scenic streets of Miami Beach in a luxury car offers a truly exhilarating experience. With the wind in your hair and the backdrop of the stunning ocean views, driving a high-end vehicle in this iconic destination is an unforgettable and unique experience.
Most people who rent luxury cars play loud music, honk at the onlookers, rev the engine, and take pictures with the stunning vehicles.
💡Pro Tip: If you don’t feel the need for speed, you can also rent smaller ATV-looking cars which are easier to drive.
There are many places all over Miami Beach where you can rent the latest model Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches. There are even ones that have the gullwing doors that open upward! Most luxury cars don’t come in automatic, so you will need to know how to drive standard.
5. Catch Sunset at South Pointe Park and Pier
South Pointe Park is an urban park located at the southern tip of Miami Beach that is particularly popular during the evening, as it offers spectacular sunset views over the water.
This popular public space features a combination of stunning waterfront views, recreational facilities, green spaces, and South Pointe Lighthouse, which resembles a black and white Jenga tower.
The park features a paved promenade that runs along the waterfront, allowing visitors to take leisurely strolls or ride a bike.
At the end of the promenade, there is the South Pointe Pier that extends into the water, providing a perfect vantage point for enjoying the beautiful South Beach shoreline.
6. Hit the Shops on Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road is a pedestrian-friendly shopping street located in the heart of Miami Beach. It is known for its many retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and lively street scenes.
💡Pro Tip: Don’t miss the H&M store located inside the Lincoln Theater!
Strolling up and down Lincoln Road makes for a wonderful walk even if you are not looking to shop.
This popular destination stretches across several blocks and serves as a hub for visitors seeking a lively urban experience. With its mix of shopping, dining, and people-watching, Lincoln Road encapsulates the dynamic spirit of Miami Beach.
7. Slow Down at the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a historic estate that was originally built as the winter residence of industrialist James Deering. It is located in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood which lies a short distance from downtown.
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is known for its stunning architecture, lush gardens, and artistic elements.
💡Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Barge, a stone breakwater shaped like a barge that offers protection to the estate while welcoming visitors that arrive by water.
The gardens surrounding the main house feature beautifully landscaped grounds with fountains, sculptures, reflecting pools, and a variety of plant species.
The architectural style of the Villa draws inspiration from the Italian Renaissance, and many of the authentic artworks and furnishings are showcased within the museum’s exhibits. This is a great place to spend a few hours in Miami.
8. Immerse Yourself in Little Havana
Little Havana is a culturally rich neighborhood known for its strong Cuban influence and heritage. The neighborhood earned its name due to the large population of Cuban immigrants who settled there in the 1960s.
Visitors to Little Havana can experience a taste of Cuban life through its various restaurants, cafes, and food stands that offer authentic cuisine such as Cuban sandwiches, plantains, and pastries.
Also, the neighborhood is known for its lively street life, with colorful murals, markets, and music playing on many corners.
One of the iconic spots in Little Havana is Calle Ocho (8th Street), which serves as the neighborhood’s main street
💡Pro Tip: The third Friday of every month, 7 pm to 11 pm Calle Ocho hosts , you can participate in a free event called Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays). The event features Cuban history, food, music, dancing and art.
Some of the attractions to check out in Little Havana are the painted rooster statues, the Bay of Pigs Monument, Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, etc.
Check out Domino Park which is a popular gathering spot for locals where they play dominoes and engage in social activities and grab a Cuban sandwich at El Pub and some ice cream at Azucar.
And don’t miss the Little Havana food and walking tour, one of the best ways to explore this neighborhood and taste your way through Little Havana
9. Mingle With the Elite in Miami Designer District
The Miami Design District is a neighborhood known for its luxury shopping, high-end fashion boutiques, art galleries, and upscale dining options.
Located northeast of downtown (Midtown), the Design District is a hub for art, fashion, and design enthusiasts, with a focus on contemporary and avant-garde styles.
The district is also home to numerous flagship stores of prestigious fashion brands, as well as art installations and exhibitions. Some of the stores you will find are Fendi, Hermes and Marc Jacobs, to name a few.
Exploring this area is best done on foot as there are many hidden gems here. The area has experienced significant redevelopment over the recent years, transforming it from a primarily industrial area into a fashionable and sophisticated destination.
10. Enjoy the Street Art at Wynwood Walls
The Wynwood Walls is a popular outdoor street art gallery located in the Wynwood neighborhood. It is an ever-changing collection of colorful murals, graffiti, and street art created by artists from around the world.
The walls of various warehouses were used as blank canvases for the creation of large-scale murals that reflect a wide range of cultural, social, and political topics.
In addition to the outdoor murals there is an indoors area that resembles an art gallery with art hanging on the walls.
💡Pro Tip: Entrance to Wynwood Walls costs $12 per person but exploring the neighborhood is free. There are plenty of murals outside the enclosed area if you want to save a couple bucks.
The whole neighborhood is covered in murals and you will find exciting food options so it is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. For a local’s insight don’t miss the Wynwood Food & Art Walking Tour.
11. Reflect at the Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach is a monument dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust and its victims. It serves as a place of remembrance, reflection, and education about the atrocities of the Holocaust.
The design and layout of the memorial are deeply symbolic and evoke the emotions associated with the Holocaust.
💡Pro Tip: The Holocaust Memorial hosts various educational programs, lectures, exhibitions, and events to raise awareness about the Holocaust.
It features a large, outstretched arm reaching toward the sky, with a sculpted group of human figures clinging to the arm.
The central element of the memorial is a serene reflecting pool that provides a calm and contemplative space for visitors. Also, the memorial features a wall adorned with the names of victims, survivors, and donors.
South Florida has one of the highest populations of Holocaust survivors in all of the United States so this is an important memorial to the local Jewish community.
12. Find Your Zen at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens
The Miami Beach Botanical Gardens are located right behind the Holocaust Memorial and are one of the best free things to do in Miami.
It is a beautiful and serene green space that serves as a lush oasis within the urban environment, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature and enjoy various plant species.
The garden is designed to showcase both native and exotic plants in a harmonious and educational setting. There are plenty of benches to sit and rest on, a small Japanese Garden with bamboo, water features and a bridge, and at the heart of the garden you’ll find a pond with a fountain.
In addition, you will spot many different species of butterflies that call the Botanical Garden their home.
It is not that big, so it will probably take you no more than half an hour to walk around and explore it.
💡Pro Tip: Lincoln Road, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens can be seen in one day as they are close to each other.
13. Discover Bayside Marketplace
The Bayside Marketplace is a well-known outdoor shopping and entertainment complex located in downtown Miami, along the waterfront of Biscayne Bay. It offers a mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, and beautiful views of the bay.
Part of the marketplace consists of small pavilions with products from different countries as well as shops that sell souvenirs, jewelry, art, etc. The other half is a mall where you will find large chains such as Express and Victoria’s Secret.
The complex often features live music performances, street entertainers, and cultural events, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.
As you explore the area, be sure to observe the ground, as you’ll come across the Miami Walk of Fame, a series of blue stars embedded in the sidewalk, each bearing the names of celebrities who were born in Miami.
Beside the Bayside Marketplace stands the Torch of Friendship monument, a tribute to the numerous Latin immigrants living in America. In close proximity, you’ll find the Freedom Tower, a former immigration facility and a newspaper office turned museum.
14. Get a Bird’s-eye View on the Observation Wheel
The Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel, situated in downtown Miami right beside Bayside Marketplace, is a 200 foot (61 meters) tall observation wheel.
Riders are treated to breathtaking views of Miami’s skyline, Biscayne Bay, and the surrounding scenery. Also, from the gondola, you can see the many cruise ships that have docked at the cruise port.
The wheel consists of climate-controlled gondolas that take passengers on a slow rotation to the top. It is operational both during the day and in the evening, allowing visitors to experience the city in both settings.
The ride lasts about 15 minutes which is enough time to take pictures and enjoy the experience. Open year round, Skyviews provides an opportunity to see Miami from a different perspective and appreciate the city’s vibrant urban landscape.
15. Cruise By Millionaire’s Row
The Island Queen Millionaire’s Row Cruise is a popular sightseeing cruise visitors do in Miami. It takes passengers on a journey along Biscayne Bay, offering views of some of the most luxurious waterfront properties in the city.
The cruise is known for showcasing the extravagant homes of celebrities, business tycoons, and other wealthy individuals, giving passengers a glimpse into Miami’s upscale lifestyle, as well as stunning panoramic views of the skyline, and surrounding natural beauty.
This 90-minute cruise starts at Bayside Marketplace and includes narration by a knowledgeable guide who shares interesting facts, historical tidbits, and stories about the celebrities and properties along Millionaire’s Row.
16. Wander Through Little Haiti
Little Haiti is a Miami neighborhood that is known for its strong Haitian influence and heritage. It earned its name due to the large population of Haitian immigrants who settled there in the 1980s.
These immigrants brought with them their language, traditions, cuisine, and artistic expressions, contributing to the unique character of Little Haiti.
This neighborhood is a hub of Haitian culture, offering a range of restaurants, markets, and shops that provide authentic food, art, music, and other cultural products.
Don’t miss the Sounds of Little Haiti, a free event on the third Friday of every month between 6pm – 11pm where you can enjoy Haitian live music, food, drinks and dancing.
17. Catch a Laser Show at Frost Science Aquarium & Planetarium
The Frost Science Aquarium & Planetarium is a place for scientific exploration and education, located right beside the FTX arena, home of the Miami Heat.
The facility offers an immersive experience that combines the wonders of the ocean depths with the mysteries of the cosmos. The aquarium is on three levels and showcases a diverse range of marine life focused mainly on habitats and aquatic ecosystems that are native to South Florida.
The planetarium, on the other hand, whisks visitors away on celestial journeys, projecting stunning visuals of the universe and offering insights into the wonders of space.
There are laser show nights every month that feature laser visuals set to the music of Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Taylor Swift and David Bowie.
18. Dance the Night Away
Indulging in the vibrant nightlife of Miami entails a captivating journey through an array of clubs and bars that pulse with energy. The city’s nightlife scene is renowned for its diversity, catering to a range of tastes, and is one of the most fun things to do in Miami for adults.
From trendy rooftop lounges with panoramic views of the skyline to beachside bars, Miami offers an array of settings to enjoy.
The best areas for parties are along Ocean Drive in South Beach (Miami Beach Island) and the Wynwood area (mainland Miami).
Whether sipping a mojito in the heart of Little Havana or immersing oneself in the glitz of South Beach’s iconic venues, enjoying the clubs and bars in Miami promises a nightlife adventure that is as dynamic as the city itself.
19. Perez Art Museum
The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is a renowned contemporary art museum that showcases a diverse collection of modern artworks, hosting exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events.
The museum’s building itself is a work of art, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron. The design integrates indoor and outdoor spaces, offering stunning views of Biscayne Bay.
💡Pro Tip: The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
In addition to gorgeous art don’t miss an opportunity to dine at Verde, the on-site restaurant offering small plates, salads, pizzas, burgers, pastries, and even brunch. Handcrafted specialty cocktails and a variety of wines are also available.
20. Relax at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a picturesque and historic state park located on Key Biscayne, a barrier island beside Miami.
The park offers a range of outdoor activities, including beachgoing, wildlife observation, recreational sports, and exploration of its historical sites like the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
Visitors can climb the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Miami skyline.
The park has beautiful, sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, providing opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. as well as bike paths, hiking trails, dunes, and mangroves to explore.
21. Take a Dip in the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables
The Venetian Pool is a historic and unique swimming pool located in Coral Gables known for its distinctive design, which replicates the appearance of a Mediterranean-style lagoon or natural spring.
The pool features two waterfalls, caves, grottos, and bridges that contribute to its natural and picturesque appearance. Spring water from an underground aquifer continuously replenishes the Venetian Pool, ensuring a fresh supply of water daily, totaling more than 820,000 gallons!
Back in the day, it used to have gondolas that visitors could ride, however, but these days it’s the perfect place to cool off.
22. Survey the Everglades
The Everglades is a vast and unique ecosystem located in southern Florida, which includes parts of the Miami metropolitan area.
Spanning more than 7,800 square miles (20,000 square kilometers) it is considered one of the largest wetlands in the world!
Often referred to as the “River of Grass,” the Everglades is a subtropical wetland characterized by its shallow, slow-moving water and extensive sawgrass marshes renowned for its diverse wildlife, plant species, and distinct landscapes.
The Everglades are home to alligators, wading birds, snakes, turtles, panthers, and a variety of fish species and many migratory birds.
Take a guided airboat ride, swamp walk, or nature tours to experience the unique environment of the Everglades.
23. Day Trip to Key West
When in Miami, Key West is well worth visiting. This picturesque city located in the southernmost part of the Florida Keys is known for its vibrant culture, laid-back atmosphere, historical significance, and stunning natural beauty.
The city has a rich history and is home to numerous historic landmarks, including the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Harry S. Truman Little White House, and the Key West Lighthouse.
With beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and a tropical climate, Key West attracts visitors seeking relaxation and outdoor activities like kayaking and sailing.
Other major attractions include the Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A. monument, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, and watching the sunset at Mallory Square.
Where To Stay In Miami
The best place to stay in Miami depends on the type of experience you’re looking for and the areas that align with your interests.
South Beach area is a great option if you seek a lively atmosphere, proximity to the beach, and access to trendy restaurants, bars, and shopping while Downtown Miami offers a mix of business, culture, and entertainment.
➡️Best Budget Spot: The Balfour Hotel is on Ocean Drive is close to shopping, dining, and entertainment options and is only 2 minutes walk to the beach. Relax in the private garden or try some Latin food at the on-site restaurant.
➡️Best Mid-range Spot: citizenM Miami Bricknell is a gorgeous hotel ideally located in downtown Miami. Lounge by the rooftop pool, sip drinks at the bar, or lounge in one of the comfy common spaces.
➡️Best Luxury Spot: The Sentai Miami Beach is arguably one of the best luxury hotels in all of Miami. Located directly on the beach, the Sentai brings Asia to Miami, with stunning decor, on-site spa and yoga and tai-chi classes. Enjoy the three infinity pools or exploring the surrounding neighborhood.
Getting Around Miami
When it comes to getting around Miami, there are many options. The Metrorail is an elevated rail system that offers a convenient way to travel between downtown Miami, the airport, and across the city.
Downtown Miami offers the Metromover, a free automated people mover that makes it easy to explore the area.
Meanwhile Miami Beach offers a system of free trolleys that run along the entire island.
Services like taxis, Uber, and Lyft are widely available in Miami as well and if you plan to explore areas outside of the main urban core or want the flexibility to travel at your own pace, renting a car can be a good option.
Just be aware that traffic and parking can be challenging in some areas!
Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to figuring out if Miami is worth visiting.
Are there any reasons NOT to visit Miami?
Miami’s hot and humid climate, particularly during the summer, can be uncomfortable for those not accustomed to such conditions. The location is also in a hurricane-prone area so avoiding hurricane season (June – November) is a good idea.
Miami is also a more expensive destination so travelers on a budget may want to skip this city.
Is Miami safe?
Miami is generally considered a safe destination for tourists, with popular areas like South Beach and downtown being well-monitored and frequented by visitors.
Because this is a major city you should take the usual safety precautions. Research specific neighborhoods before visiting, especially if you intend to leave the main tourist zones. Use common sense, stay aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye on your belongings.
Is Miami expensive?
Miami can be considered relatively expensive compared to many other U.S. cities. The cost of living, accommodations, dining, and entertainment can add up, particularly in popular areas like South Beach and downtown.
Upscale shopping, luxury hotels, and trendy restaurants contribute to the city’s reputation for a higher price tag. While there are budget-friendly options available travelers should be prepared for higher costs, especially during peak tourist seasons.
How many days in Miami is enough?
The ideal duration for a trip to Miami depends on your interests and the experiences you wish to have. A short stay of 3 to 4 days can provide a taste of the city’s highlights but if you want to fully immerse yourself in the city and include a day trip or two, stretch your trip to 5 – 7 nights.
What is the best time of year to visit Miami?
The peak tourist season is during the winter months, from December to February, when the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for beach activities and outdoor exploration. However, this is also when the city can be most crowded and accommodation prices are higher.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly and less crowded experience, consider visiting during the shoulder season of spring (March to May). The weather remains warm, and you can enjoy fewer crowds while still participating in outdoor activities and events.
Is Miami a good place to visit with family?
Miami can be a fantastic destination for a family vacation, offering a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to all ages.
Families can enjoy the beautiful beaches, where kids can build sandcastles and play in the waves. The city has many family-friendly attractions such as the Miami Children’s Museum, Jungle Island, and the Miami Seaquarium, where children can learn and interact with marine life.
Conclusion: Is Miami Worth Visiting?
Miami is undeniably worth visiting for many reasons. Its stunning beaches, vibrant cultural scene, rich history, and unique neighborhoods offer a diverse range of experiences.
From the iconic Art Deco architecture of South Beach to the street art of Wynwood, from the excitement of the nightlife to the tranquility of the Everglades, Miami provides a dynamic and fun destination for travelers.
While considering factors like the climate, cost, and potential crowds is important, the city’s blend of entertainment, cuisine, art, and natural beauty makes Miami a destination worthy of exploration and discovery.