One of the best reasons to visit Miami is the warm and sunny weather. This makes Miami a perfect destination for a beach trip with plenty of relaxation time. Water sports – you name it – Miami has it! Shopping – Miami has it! Night life – boy-oh-boy does Miami have it! Miami is one of the most diverse places in the country. Your trip to Miami can be as relaxing or as busy as you would like it to be.
You simply cannot visit Miami and not go to the beach. Miami’s beaches are laid-back, but at the same time many beach-goers in Miami dress to impress. The oceanfront in Miami – Ocean Drive – is the place to see some of the most beautiful and historic Art Deco buildings. The posh and ultra-popular South Beach area is worth checking out just to people watch. Other beach areas worth visiting – North Shore Park Beach, Golden Beach, and Crandon Park Beach.
Miami is a mecca for shoppers, and the must-see shopping district in the city is along Lincoln Road. Here you’ll find wonderful boutique shops, as well as art galleries, movie theaters, and hip restaurants and bars. The bulk of the shops are on Lincoln Road between Alton Road and Washington Avenue. This area has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and is home to your favorite designer stores, a farmer’s market, and outdoor concerts.
Situated along the banks of the Biscayne Bay, the Bayside MarketPlace is located next to a marina that offers many tour and fishing boats. The market is the perfect spot to wander around an browse for souvenirs or to grab a happy hour drink. Street performers regularly perform here, so you’ll hear the sounds of live music while you sit, sip and stroll. Bayside MarketPlace is an outdoor mall with over 150 specialty stores and eateries where you can just take a walk without any pressure to buy, and it’s open every day.
Miami is an international city at Florida’s southeastern tip. Its Cuban influence is reflected in the cafes and cigar shops that line Calle Ocho in Little Havana. There’s really no better Cuban food outside of Cuba than in Miami. Check out Calle Ocho to visit the local Cuban restaurants, bars, and shops. This is a great place to listen to live music from Cuba and the Caribbean. If you visit during the Viernes Cultural, head there on a Friday for a chance to watch Cuban dancing and browse arts and crafts.
Another cultural area in Miami is Little Haiti, located in a neighborhood once known as Lemon City. There you will find Haitian art galleries, book and music stores, and a cultural center that hosts musical events and dance performances. The neighborhood hosts “Big Night in Little Haiti” events on every third Friday of the month that are free to attend. These events are hosted by the Rhythm Foundation and the Little Haiti Cultural Center. You will find authentic Haitian food, arts and crafts, and live concerts.
Once you get over the surreal sight of an Italian Renaissance-style villa in the hippie enclave that is Coconut Grove, visiting Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is like entering a wonderland. Built for Chicagoan industrialist and Europhile James Deering in the early 20th century, the extravagant architecture gives way to an opulent interior. Full of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries and complete with original fittings, it will transport you to a golden age.
Launched during Art Basel, what began as a few commissioned murals to beautify the area has morphed into the city’s only outdoor street art park. The park features over 40 murals from a roster of world-renowned artists. Wynwood Walls is open to the public all year round and admission is free.
Today’s Ball & Chain is the re-creation of a 1930’s hot-spot that once occupied the same space and welcomed jazz superstars like Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Chet Baker to its stage. Across from the historic Tower Theater, the Ball & Chain has its own storied past filled with Jewish and Cuban community influences. Cuban-inspired cocktails like the Mojito Criollo (made the classic way with the mint leaves left intact for enhanced aroma, and more sugar) and the Canita (white rum, lime, house-made honey syrup, guarapo or sugarcane juice, sugarcane stick) are standard and refreshing. Live jazz kicks off at 6 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday. On Saturdays, a wild Cuban fiesta, La Pachanga, kicks off around 9 p.m. when salsa dancers take to the bar.
Take a Culinary Tour
If you’re the type who researches a city’s food scene before booking travel, Miami Culinary Tours will keep you from spending precious hours Googling away. The various gastronomic journeys, comprising groups of up to 16 people, set off daily through Little Havana, Wynwood or South Beach, making five stops along each of Miami’s most popular neighborhoods. Taste an authentic Cuban sandwich in Little Havana, sample Caribbean cooking in Wynwood and indulge in a traditional Latin American empanada in South Beach.
Take a Ghost Tour
For more than a decade, Sandy Walker has been taking fans of the supernatural on a two-hour walking tour of Coconut Grove, which she considers a hotbed for paranormal activity. The tour starts at the abandoned Coconut Grove Playhouse building, and patrons are encouraged to bring their cell phones to snap photos and hunt for ghosts using any of the popular electromagnetic field apps on the market. More than just a spooky walk through the neighborhood, the ghost tour is a fun way to learn the fascinating history of Miami-Dade’s oldest community.
Take a Seaplane Tour
See Miami in a whole new way on an exhilarating seaplane tour! Beautiful aerial views of Miami’s coastal hot spots like Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Star Island and South Beach. Enjoy 30 minutes of colorful storytelling from your pilot while you check out white-sand beaches, unbelievable mansions and Miami’s signature Art Deco architecture from above. Highlights include taking off and landing on the water of Key Biscayne! This tour won’t break the bank either! Price starts at $124 per person.