This guide has all the Miami tips and tricks you need for an unforgettable time! For a city that is only fifteen square miles, you’ll be shocked by every thing Miami Beach has in store. It is definitely one of the most visited places in Florida and for good a reason!
I’ll mainly be covering Miami Beach, which is just the beach side part over the bridge. The rest of Miami includes Wynwood, Brickell, Key Biscayne, and more. If you get a chance to visit those areas, there is a lot of fun to be had, but you won’t miss out if you stick with Miami Beach. Without further ado, here are my Miami tips and tricks.
Things To Do in Miami Beach and More
The beaches here are nice enough that some would be content with spending a whole trip relaxing on it. Others may come to Miami Beach for the clubs and never see the shore! However, if you like variety, here are the twelve best things to do in Miami Beach. I have also included ten things to do nearby.
- See the sights on an Art Deco Tour – One of the most unique things about Miami Beach is it’s architecture. Ocean Drive and Collins Drive are the best streets to explore, and while you can take a paid tour, I recommend doing a self-guided one!
- Soak up the Sun on World Famous Beaches – The sand and ocean here make for some of the best beaches in the country. If your hotel doesn’t have beach access, then visit Lummus Park Beach to soak it all in.
- Party Poolside in the Magic City- Miami is known for being a party city and they start the day early with parties by the pool. If you don’t want to pay a cover fee then The Cleavlander is the place to be with lively pool parties and top notch DJ’s every weekend. We went our first time here and aside from the overpriced drinks, had a blast! On our last visit to Miami, we had a more low key time at our hotel the Confidante which had a pool party with a DJ as well. Most hotels do this on weekends, and you can find other pool party options here.
- Shop in Style at Lincoln Road Mall – the most famous place to shop here is the outdoor Lincoln Road Mall. You can find all the designer fashions here, as well as casual beachy shops. It’s a fun place to walk through and people watch as well.
- Dance the Night Away in South Beach – if you like going dancing at clubs, then this is the place! Miami has pretty much every night life scene you can imagine. Some of the most popular spots include LIV at the Fountainbleau, BASEMENT at the EDITION, and “Do Not Sit on the Furniture”. I’m not one for clubbing, but don’t let that scare you away from Miami either. We have enjoyed hitting rooftop bars like Area 31 and low key venues such as the Broken Shaker.
- Take a Stroll on South Pointe Pier – This park is located on the southern tip of Miami and offers panoramic views of the city and beaches. Take a short stop here for beautiful pictures and a scenic walk, or stay longer for a picnic in the park or fishing off the pier.
- Check out the Funky Side of Miami – if you like art, then you can visit the very Miami, World Erotic Art Museum. This features a stunning collection of tasteful, but adult rated art.
- Explore Miami by Boat on a Sightseeing Cruise – There are plenty of sightseeing cruises to choose from where you can see mansions, monuments and nature all from the dazzling aqua water. I recommend a fun speedboat sightseeing cruise, but you can also find slower pace tours on duck boats or larger boats and catamarans.
- Experience a Tropical Getaway without leaving the City – For more of the nature side of South Beach, visit the Botanical Gardens of Miami. This garden boasts four acres of jungle landscapes, diverse flowers and a plethora of butterflies.
- Tour the Town on Wheels- I highly recommend renting a bike for an enjoyable ride around the city. A lot of hotels rent them for free, but the city offers affordable Citi Bikes where you can find and drop off at a variety of points. If you want a more retro experience, you can roller blade through the city as well!
- Discover the Jewish History of Miami Beach – Check out the Jewish Museum of Florida for a fascinating tour of Jewish history in Florida. You can also find the beautiful Holocaust Memorial statue a few blocks north.
- Work Out on the Beach – Miamians are serious about their fitness! You can run on the beach boardwalk or take a yoga class on the beach any day of the year!
The above list contains things to do on Miami Beach, but if you are willing to leave the beach side, there is so much more to do! Here’s a breakdown of nearby things to do and neighborhoods to see.
- Take an Urban Graffiti Tour through Wynwood– Probably the number one area to visit outside Miami Beach is neighborhood Wynwood. This spot is famous for its streets decked out in colorful graffiti. You can easily park and walk around yourself, but there are tours offered as well if you want to learn more about the art. There are also a umber if great restaurants, bars and breweries here so definitely plan to spend at least a half day here if you can.
- See Dazzling Sights in the Design District- the next up and coming area of Miami over the bridge is the Design District. This is full of inventive architecture and art galleries, in addition to trendy dining and shopping. We recently came here for lunch at St. Roch Market and enjoyed walking around after.
- See the Cuban side of Miami- Another neighborhood unlike any other in America is Miami’s Little Havana. This colorful town has the best Cuban cuisine you can find as well as frequent street parties and festivals.
- Find paradise at Key Biscayne – If you want to see some of Florida’s best beaches, check out the barrier island Key Biscayne. You’ll feel like you are on a remote island on these miles of white sand beach. It’s a great spot for paddle boarding, boating, camping and fishing or just lounging on the beach.
- Explore the nature of The Everglades- Another nearby area for nature enthusiasts is Everglades National Park. It’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and there is so much to explore here!
- Swim in a coral rock quarry – Skip the pool parties on South Beach and jump into the Venetian Pool! You can find this large freshwater spot in Coral Gables, where anyone can pay for admission for a swim.
- Be transported back in time at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens – This large estate has some of the most gorgeous 20th century architecture in Florida. You can spend a few hours exploring this Coconut Grove museum.
- Meet some creatures at Zoo Miami – Get up close to giraffes, elephants, lions and more than 500 different species at this zoo and garden, less than an hour away from South beach.
- Swim with Dolphins and more at Miami Sea Aquarium – This aquarium is home to manatees, turtles, penguins and rays, and is the perfect place for ocean lovers to visit.
- Tour a Hand-Sculpted Coral Castle – One of the most unique museums in Miami, is this coral structure created by one man alone! Find out more about this famous Florida Man and see his coral creations.
Miami Restaurants To Eat At
One thing Miami Beach is known for is amazing food! Celebrity chefs from all over have restaurants here and you can easily have a thousand dollar dinner on the strip. However, there are plenty of cheap eats to be found as well! I have listed a selection of twenty-three restaurants on Miami Beach of varying cuisines and price points. This does not include any restaurants outside of Miami Beach, but I am working on a post to detail some of the best.
One dollar sign means entrees are around $10 and under, two dollar signs means $25 dollar signs and under and three dollar signs means anything more than that. All of the expensive restaurants I listed have options for under $50, and be sure to look for happy hours if you want to save a few dollars!
- Panther Coffee ($) – A Miami-based coffee chain that is loved all over the county.
- Las Olas Cafe ($) – A simple, yet beloved spot with all-day breakfast and amazing Cuban sandwiches.
- My Ceviche ($) –Small stand with a variety of ceviche and fish meal combinations to choose from.
- Andrix Cafe ($) – Italian cafe with breakfast sandwiches and coffee and pizza later in the day.
- Under the Mango Tree ($) – A cafe serving acai bowls, smoothies and more refreshing treats.
- Taquiza ($) – Outdoor Mexican spot with a selection of tacos on handmade tortillas.
- La Sandwicherie ($) – Famous sandwich shop selling French bread sandwiches from early morning to late at night.
- Havana 1957 ($$) – Authentic Cuban cuisine with classic meals like Ropa Vieja, as well as creative meals with a unique spin.
- Lucali ($$) – Cozy pizza spot with some of the best in the city.
- Bodega Taqueria ($$) – A taco spot open until 4 in the morning, complete with an excellent tequila selection.
- Pubbelly Noodle Bar ($$) – Some of the best Asian food in the city, Pubbelly has a variety of noodle dishes and sushi rolls.
- 27 Restaurant ($$) – Foodie creations and craft cocktails at this historic house in the Freehand Hotel.
- Sweet Liberty ($$) – An upscale dive bar experience with classic American eats.
- Lolo’s Surf Cantina ($$) – Authentic Mexican food served for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including some of the best tacos aroud.
- Pizza and Burger ($$$) – Unique spins on pizza and beer at the Fountainbleau hotel and a great happy hour from 5-7.
- Lure Seafood ($$$) – A nautical seafood spot at Lowes Miami Beach serving surf ‘n’ turf and sushi.
- Bird and Bone ($$$) – One of the best places to get Southern comfort food in the city, including traditional Nashville hot chicken.
- Upland Miami ($$$) – A trendy, yet casual spot with Californian and Italian cuisine.
- Planta South Beach ($$$) – A gorgeous, plant based restaurant small plates, sushi and a delectable brunch.
- Byblos ($$$) – This fancy, Moroccan themed restaurant serves all sorts of exotic cuisine.
- Cecconi’s ($$$) -A dreamy garden atmosphere with amazing pasta and seafood dishes.
- Matador Room ($$$) – A glamorous spot at the Miami Beach EDITION where you can get upscale Latin influenced cuisine.
- Joe’s Stone Crab ($$$) – Possibly the most famous restaurant in South Beach, Joe’s Stone Crab constantly has long waits to get in because the stone crabs and raw bar are really that good.
Getting There and Around Miami
Though Miami Beach is only a small stretch of land by the ocean, the city of Miami spans quite a large distance. There is no airport on Miami Beach, so if you are flying in, you will need a way to get to the beach. The easiest option is to take an Uber/Lyft which usually costs around $20 one-way. There is also the Airport Flyer bus that will take you to South Beach for only $2.35 per person. It will take up around an hour though and runs from 6 AM to 11 PM.
I recommend either of these options over renting a car, although that can be limiting. Parking is very expensive, especially the hotel nightly parking rates and it’s pretty easy to to walk, bike and Uber around South Beach. If you do plan to explore the greater Miami area (the Everglades, Coral Gables, etc.), it may make more sense to rent a car and stay on the land side of Miami.
Hotels to Stay At in Miami Beach
If you are staying in Miami Beach, there are tons of hotels to choose from! Most of them are pretty expensive and there is no shortage of glamorous hotels to stay at. However, I have found a few hidden gems that do not cost an arm and a leg to stay in Miami Beach
- The Confidante – The hotel I recommend the most is the Confidante. This is a Hyatt operated hotel in the slightly north part of Miami Beach, near famous hotels like the Fountainbleu and the Nautilus. Not only does it have two dreamy pools, a fun retro vibe and a gorgeous beach area, but you can often stay there for around $200 per night. However, you can check out my full blog post here to find out one of my best Miami tips and tricks, which is how to get an even better deal by paying with points.
- The Freehand Miami – I have not stayed here, but I have been to the fun outdoor Broken Share bar here many times and everyone staying there seems to love it! It’s in a great location and always has parties going on by the pool. You can get a typical hotel room for less than $200 per night or go the hostel route and stay in a quad for around $30 per night.
- The Hyatt Coral Gables – This hotel is a bit out of the from South Beach, but it’s the perfect spot if you want to explore more than just Miami Beach. It’s also affordable and in an area where you can walk to some of the best Coral Gables restaurants!
- Airbnb Your Stay – This is the perfect city for an Airbnb because the rates are usually half of a traditional hotel and you don’t have to deal with tourists or added fees. There are a lot of great studio apartments available, and if you look early, you might be able to find a place with enough room for a group of people!
- The Four Seasons – If you have come to Miami Beach to splurge, you can definitely do that as well! If I could stay anywhere, I would probably pick The Four Seasons. It has one of the best pools in the city and the design is the height of elegance. It will cost you around $400 per night, but I am sure the experience would be unforgettable!
This should cover it for all the Miami tips and tricks I have! There are plenty of other restaurants and things to do, but I don’t think you will be disappointed with any of the options in this Miami Beach guide. I hope to add more posts soon about everywhere from Coral Gables to the Design District. For now, you can check out my Things to Do in Wynwood post for information on the artsy part of Miami.
Don’t come to Miami unprepared! Check out my Miami Packing List and find out the essentials I recommend for a Miami vacation.
If you are looking for more Florida vacation ideas, I have Ultimate Guides to St. Petersburg, New Smyrna Beach, and Melbourne and Cocoa Beach currently published. Which area should I write a guide about next? Let me know in the comments!