What To Do In Miami
Miami is filled with things to do. Travelers can shop 'til they drop at famed locales and check out the exhibits in the city's collections of noteworthy museums. And if that's not enough, Miami Beach's sand and water sit close by and the natural offerings of the Everglades National Park are just an hour away.
Costly activities will seduce you as well: bicycling, with rentals averaging $20 daily; sky’s-the-limit shopping; children's attractions such as the Seaquarium; and live entertainment and sporting events, where ticket prices can cost anywhere from $15 to $100 or more. Expect to spend about $200 a week on a rental car – more if it's peak tourist season.
Architecture buffs surround themselves with outstanding examples of the Art Deco style, and for consummate shoppers, there's no shortage of boutiques, outdoor shopping promenades, and outlet malls.
Although Miami's museums can't compete with those in places like New York City, the art establishments in this town are blossoming. In addition to the Bass Museum of Art, writers suggest the burgeoning galleries of the Design District. Travelers also recommend the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coral Gables and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
- Celebrate the city's intriguing past at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Explore the mysteries of science and space at the Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium. Take a stroll through the exquisite 16th-century Italian Villa Vizcaya and gardens.
- Bargain seekers, take note: while museums do charge entrance fees, usually around $5, many have free days or hours, including the Bass Museum of Art (6pm until 9pm second Thursday of the month), the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (Sunday) and the Miami Art Museum (Sunday).
Attractions for Kids
Because it is sometimes overshadowed by Miami Beach's reputation as a hedonistic, party destination, Miami is sometimes disregarded for family vacations. But the city does offer several attractions geared toward children. Experts and travelers recommend the Miami Children's Museum downtown and the Miami Metrozoo south of Coral Gables. The city also offers numerous family friendly beaches.
- The Miami Children's Museum's not so much a museum as a glorified playhouse. Be forewarned: this place is a zoo on rainy days.
- The distance between animal habitats (at the Miami Metrozoo) can be great, so you'll do a lot of walking here. … because the zoo can be miserably hot during summer months, plan these visits in the early morning or late afternoon. Expect to spend about 3 hours here.
Miami proper is filled with shopping malls and centers. Some of the most popular places to swipe your plastic include the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables and the chain stores in Coconut Grove. Writers also recommend stopping by the boutique shops at Coconut Grove's CocoWalk and Streets of Mayfair. Travel experts and recent visitors also highly recommend the market on Calle Ocho in Little Havana for Cuban-inspired goods and snacks.
- Hit the Design District for cutting-edge stores selling items such as Italian furniture, British colonial antiques, and whimsical bathroom fixtures.
- Coral Gables: You'll find upscale shopping and restaurants in this “magical, banyan-tree-lined neighborhood full of palatial, Spanish-colonial-style homes." -- Sherman's Travel
- For a taste of Little Havana, take a walk down 8th Street between SW 27th Avenue and SW 12th Avenue, where you'll find some lively street life and many shops selling cigars, baked goods, shoes, furniture, and record stores specializing in Latin music.
Besides the sun, sand and salty water you'll find across the Biscayne Bay at Miami Beach, travelers can visit the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables. Writers also recommend making the hour-long drive west to the expansive Everglades National Park, which crawls with alligators, crocodiles and lush plant life.
- Bill Baggs has bicycle rentals, a playground, fishing piers, and guided tours of the Cape Florida Lighthouse, South Florida's oldest structure. ... The restored cottage and lighthouse offer free tours at 10 AM and 1 PM Thursday to Monday. Be there half an hour beforehand.
- Outdoor enthusiasts can golf, snorkel, and boat their way through Miami. For the adventurous, there's always nearby Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.
By far, the biggest and craziest nightlife options will be found across the Biscayne Bay in the city of Miami Beach's South Beach neighborhood. If you want to stay on the mainland, travel writers recommend making your way to some of the open-air live music clubs and bars found in Little Havana or Coconut Grove.
- Miami nights are one big party, but be advised that clubs don’t start hopping until well after 11pm.
- As a rule, partying in Miami is set to the tune of electronic and dance music rather than that of the live-band variety. You might skip paying the cover charge if you arrive before midnight at the city's more serious nightclubs, but chances are you'll be partying solo.
- Coconut Grove offers a variety of live music venues. Miami's nightlife, however, is much too diverse and extensive for such generalizations. You can always find something going on somewhere.