It has one of the world’s most famous beaches
You’ll be happy (or perhaps horrified) to know that Miami Beach is every bit as over the top, flashy, and party-happy as it’s rumored to be. Shutterbugs will love the area’s colorful buildings, picturesque beaches, and unbeatable people-watching. During the day, the beach offers great ocean waves and water activities fit for all ages, while at night, tourists and locals alike rub elbows at the area’s numerous bars, clubs, and exclusive parties.
You can bring home treasures from Antique Row
Savvy shoppers flock to North Miami’s Antique Row, a luxury shopping destination and a well-kept secret amongst locals. This unofficial district is home to a concentrated collection of vintage dealers, most of whom specialize in high-end furniture and home décor. Don’t let the price tags scare you off (the area’s wares range from a few hundred dollars to five figures); many local shops are accustomed to and welcoming of window-shoppers. If you do decide to furnish your dream home during your stay, Vermillion, Stripe, Visiona, and the rest of the row’s shops are here to help.
It has some of the best contemporary art
Home to the world-famous art event Art Basel, Miami is a hub for contemporary art year-round. Visiting art aficionados shouldn’t miss the Museum of Contemporary Art or its free monthly jazz concerts, the internationally focused offerings at The Bass, and Miami Beach’s uncommon (but on-brand) World Erotic Art Museum.
Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 893 6211
The Bass, 2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 673 7530
World Erotic Art Museum, 1205 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 532 9336
It has great vintage finds
While in town, you’re sure to note the colorful, breezy, and sensual style sported by Miami residents. Fans of retro hues and silhouettes, locals are enthusiastic about thrift and vintage shopping. Hit the racks at popular spots C. Madeleines, The Rabbit Hole, and Consign of the Times to snag the local look.
C. Madeleines, 13702 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 945 7770
The Rabbit Hole, 791 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 892 0213
Consign of the Times, 1935 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 535 0811
It’s home to some vibrant, iconic streets
A stone’s throw from Miami Beach, Ocean Drive is widely considered to be ground zero of the city’s 1980s cosmopolitan boom. Among the street’s noteworthy landmarks are the News Cafe (as famous for its people-watching as it is for its impressive selection of international newspapers and magazines) and the fashion-world favorite Pelican Hotel, which has counted Grace Jones, Cindy Crawford, and Yoko Ono amongst its guests.
Once you’ve had your fill, journey to the nearby Lincoln Road, a famous stretch of sidewalk cafés, galleries, high-end retail stores, and more.
News Cafe, 800 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 538 6397
Pelican Hotel, 826 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 673 3373
You can enjoy fresh-caught seafood
Seafood may as well be the sixth major food group for Floridians—sample a taste of the coast’s fresh-caught fish, crabs, and more, and you’ll understand why.
At local hot spot Captain Jim’s Seafood Market Restaurant, diners have the opportunity to do just that. Serving up super-sized crab cakes, lobster rolls, conch po’ boys, crab salad, and much more, the Captain has been keeping customers happy for over 20 years. Did you try something you like? The spot also operates an on-site market featuring fresh seafood staples so that you can enjoy a taste of the ocean at home.
It has incredible Art Deco architecture
Home to over 800 Art Deco structures, South Beach is a must-visit destination for architecture enthusiasts. Awash in pastel pinks, seafoam greens, and turquoises, the area feels frozen in a different time. There are numerous buildings worth seeing here, but we recommend The McAlpin, The Carlyle, and The Colony Theatre to get you started.
The McAlpin, 1430 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 604 8225
The Carlyle, 1250 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 905 483 6826
The Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 800 211 1414
There are many golf courses
It’s no secret that Miami locals enjoy their leisure. This laid-back attitude is one explanation for the area’s abundance of golf courses. Open to all experience levels, the world-famous Greynolds Golf Course and Miami Springs Golf Club are perfect places to get in a little light exercise. (Note: The courses’ gorgeous views could win over even the most sports-averse travelers).
Miami Springs Golf Club, 650 Curtiss Pkwy, Miami Springs, FL, USA, +1 305 805 5180
You can immerse yourself in nature
Immersing yourself in the city’s outdoors, complete with lush vegetation, varied landscapes, and diverse animal life, is a crucial component of the Miami experience. One of over 170 Florida State Parks, Oleta River State Park is the system’s largest property, measuring at 1,032 acres. The park, featuring a swim-up restaurant, bike trails, kayaking, and sighting of wild birds, crabs, and manatees, offers something for everyone.
Oleta River State Park,3400 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 919 1846
You can try your luck at one of Miami’s many casinos
You may or may not be aware that Florida is home to a bounty of casinos: some upscale, most flip flop-friendly. For an evening of unpretentious entertainment complete with low-stakes slot machines, down-home bar food, and affordable drinks, try your luck at the nearby Calder Casino and Casino Miami.
Calder Casino, 21001 NW 27th Ave, Miami Gardens, FL, USA, +1 305 625 1311
Casino Miami, 3500 NW 37th Ave, Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 633 6400
You’ll find a piece of Spanish history at the Ancient Spanish Monastery
A piece of 12th-century Spanish history in a relatively young American city is certainly worth exploring. The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux was conceived in 1133 AD in Sacramenia, Spain. Nearly 800 years later, the dismantled structure made its way to North America, eventually arriving in Miami. Today, the Church of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, known locally as the Ancient Spanish Monastery, is an active congregation hosting regular Catholic services.
Even non-religious visitors are sure to be impressed by the attraction’s maze-like gardens, 14th-century marble artworks, and picturesque design.
It offers movies with a view
It should come as no surprise that such a visually arresting city would be home to a population of passionate cinephiles. One of many film-screening venues in the area, SoundScape stands out as a welcome experience of visual overload. Film fans from across the city flock to this weekly mass movie night, where concerts, video art, and movies are projected onto a 7,000-square-foot (650-square-meter) wall in Miami Beach.
SoundScape, 400 17th St, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 305 673 3330