20 Must-Visit Attractions in Miami

Miami Beach brims with Art Deco gems
Miami Beach brims with Art Deco gems | © Siegfried Layda / Getty Images
Photo of Jessica Vincent
4 December 2019

From feasting on Cuban ice cream to hanging out with orangutans and crocodiles, these are the things you must see when visiting Miami, Florida.

Wynwood Walls

Art Gallery, Brewery, Museum
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Graffiti Wall Decoration. Wynwood Art District.
Miami’s Wynwood Art District is known for its vibrant murals, which are open to the public | © Felix Stensson / Alamy Stock Photo

Once known only for its rusty warehouses and drab, windowless concrete buildings, Wynwood didn’t have much to offer travelers. However, when Goldman Properties built the Wynwood Walls here in 2009, that all began to change. Today, almost half a million visitors come to Wynwood every month to see Miami’s largest collection of street art – an ever-changing display of eye-popping murals by some of the world’s top graffiti artists, including Invader, Kenny Scharf and FUTURA 2000.

Time Out Market Miami

Market, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Korean, Italian, North American, Japanese, $$$
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TIMEOUTMARKET-DSC06442 May DeepSleep Studio
Hungry visitors can find plenty of food, dessert and drink stalls to choose from at the Time Out Market in Miami | Courtesy of Time Out

The Time Out Market, which opened in May 2019, is one of Miami’s newest attractions – a luxury food hall that brings together some of the city’s best chefs to show off their greatest recipes under one roof. Guests can choose from over 100 different dishes from 17 kitchens, ranging from Jeremy Ford’s Korean food with a Southern twist to Norman Van Aken’s gourmet pizza joint, Beach Pie. Miami’s top mixologists and wine connoisseurs are also on hand to shake up new and bold flavors; think anything from jalapeño-infused mezcal to Don Q Blanco whiskey laced with cinnamon, baked sweet potato and honey.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Aquarium, Museum, Park
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Frost Science Oculus
The curious will find a planetarium, aquarium and various exhibits at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science | Courtesy of Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
The newly renovated Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science reopened in 2017 and is considered one of the pioneering science museums in the world. Spanning over four buildings, this 250,000-square-foot (23,226-square-meter) learning space features a 500,000-gallon (1.9 million-liter) Gulf Stream aquarium, a 67-foot (20-meter) planetarium dome and dozens of interactive exhibits on anything from health and technology to dinosaurs and outer space. The museum stays open 365 days a year and hosts many special events.

Ocean Drive

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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Ocean Drive, Miami, Florida, USA
On Ocean Drive, you can eat, drink, be merry and watch drag performances, all in one night | © Buena Vista Images / Getty Images
Ocean Drive – a major street with hotels, restaurants and bars – is a top tourist attraction in Miami. Spend the morning checking out some of the city’s most celebrated Art Deco architecture, including landmark hotels such as The Colony Hotel, The Carlyle and the Clevelander South Beach. Then, join the area’s greatest brunch party at Palace, where you’ll watch Miami’s best drag acts perform Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ in sequined corsets. Afterward, choose from designer shopping on nearby Lincoln Road, hanging out at a rooftop pool party or hiring a bike and cycling along the boardwalk to Mid-Beach.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Botanical Garden, Museum, Park
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Discover classic art and inspiring architecture in Miami’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens | © Bill Sumner / Courtesy of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Art and architecture buffs will want to visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, built by industrialist James Deering in the early 20th century. The building is one of the most lavish examples of Miami’s Mediterranean Revival-style architecture and houses paintings, antique furniture, appliances and decorative arts. You can also enjoy Vizcaya’s Italian- and French-inspired gardens, which feature gurgling fountains, stone balconies, manicured greenery and marble sculptures. If you get hungry, stick around for a sandwich and coffee at the equally lavish Vizcaya Café.

Everglades National Park

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Dramatic skies over Everglades
You can explore the many animal species and gorgeous surroundings of the Everglades by bike, kayak or airboat | © James Keith / Getty Images
A protected wetland that spans 1.5 million acres (607,028 hectares), the Everglades is a haven for rare and endangered species, including the manatee, the American crocodile and the Florida panther. Fly through the grassy swamps in an airboat, where you’ll get the chance to spot crocodiles, eagles, pelicans and spoonbills. Alternatively, paddle your way through 99 miles (159 kilometers) of waterways, or wade through knee-high mud with an adventurous off-trail hike. Fishing, camping, biking and tram tours are also available.

Venetian Pool

Swimming Pool
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Venetion Pool, public swimming at Coral Gables.
Take a dip in the only pool in the United States that’s on the National Register of Historic Places | © Chuck Mason / Alamy Stock Photo
The Venetian Pool – the only pool in the US on the National Register of Historic Places – is an 820,000-gallon (3.1 million-liter) pool fed by spring water from an underground aquifer. Featuring candy-pink coral rock, two waterfalls and several cave-like grottoes, this Coral Gables swimming spot has been drained and refilled daily since the early 1920s. But the spring water isn’t the only draw here – lush palm trees, quaint bridges and Greek-style porticos give this summer oasis an extra-luxurious feel.

Bayside Marketplace

Market, Shop, Shopping Mall
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Shop, dine and drink along the waterfront at Miami’s Bayside Marketplace | © Gustavo’s photos / Getty Images

If you’re in Miami for some retail therapy, Downtown’s Bayside Marketplace is a great place to start. Not only does this two-story shopping complex have a great selection of street, designer and boutique brands, but it also offers a wide range of cocktail bars, fine-dining restaurants and a daily line-up of live-music performances. The uninterrupted marina and Biscayne Bay views are reason enough to spend a couple of hours here.

Domino Park

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Latin men playing dominos at Domino Park, Little Havana, Miami. Slow down in Little Havana at this famous Cuban landmark, popular with visitors and locals alike
© Chuck Mason / Alamy Stock Photo
The Máximo Gómez Park, also known as Domino Park, is one of Little Havana’s most famous Cuban landmarks. Cuban retirees have been gathering here to smoke cigars, drink cafecitos and play fierce domino tournaments since 1976. Despite becoming a popular tourist spot, much remains the same, with thick cigar smoke hovering over plastic domino tables, the sound of slapping tiles filling the air and mustached men arguing passionately in Spanish over domino moves. Come along and watch the masters at work, or if you think you have what it takes, grab a seat and challenge a Domino Park regular to a game.

Monkey Jungle

Park, Zoo
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Squirrel monkey at Monkey Jungle, Miami, Florida.
All kinds of monkeys are yours to explore as you walk through viewing tunnels at Monkey Jungle | © Buff Henry Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Monkey Jungle – a wildlife reserve dedicated to squirrel monkeys, howlers and more in South Miami – may sound like your average city zoo. However, having been at the heart of wildlife research in Florida since 1935, it’s a little different from the rest. Here, it’s the humans, not the animals, who are kept in cages. To ensure the monkeys are disturbed as little as possible, visitors walk through the reserve’s purpose-built viewing tunnels, while the animals are free to run wild in their 30-acre (12-hectare) territory. Guided tours with specialist conservation guides are available, but information leaflets and maps also make it easy and fun to explore the park independently.

Olympia Theater

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General view inside the Olympia Theatre
At the Olympia Theater, there are grand architectural views to take in while enjoying a live performance | © Vallery Jean / Contributor / Getty Images

Built in 1926, the Moorish-style Olympia Theater once served as Florida’s first silent-movie palace. Almost 100 years on, it has been restored to host live jazz, ballet, film and comedy events over lunchtime and in the early evenings. The interior features crushed-red-velvet seats, a ceiling covered in deep blue, golds and candy pinks, and grandiose, heavily embellished balconies. You can find its full event schedule and ticket purchase information online.

Azucar Ice Cream Company

Ice Cream Parlour, Dessert, Ice Cream
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Take delight in scoops of Cuban ice cream at Azucar in Miami | Courtesy of Time Out

Over half of Miami’s population is of Cuban heritage. And while dancing to live salsa, drinking mojitos and savoring a Cuban sandwich are all part of the Miami experience, Cuba’s greatest gift to the city might be this tiny ice cream shop along Calle Ocho. Using only natural and local ingredients, Azucar serves up Miami’s best Cuban scoops, including classics such as café con leche (in this case, coffee and Oreo), plátano maduro (sweet plantain) and dulce de leche (caramel). More adventurous combinations like olive oil, orange zest and chocolate are also on the menu.

Neptune Memorial Reef

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A sculpture of a lion in Neptune Memorial.
Scuba dive through an underwater cemetery at Neptune Memorial Reef | © National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Ever fancied scuba diving through an underwater cemetery? At the 40-foot-deep (12-meter) Neptune Memorial Reef, you can swim your way past 16 acres (6.5 hectares) of concrete headstones, carved lions and enormous Roman columns dedicated to some of the world’s greatest diving heroes, some of whose cremated remains are cast into the stone. This Atlantis-inspired metropolis also serves as a haven for some of Florida’s most diverse marine life, making it an exciting deep-sea dive even for the pros. If you have diving gear and a boat, you can visit the memorial for free. If not, the site recommends these dive operators.

AmericanAirlines Arena

Sports Center
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American Airlines Arena, Miami Florida, USA
At the AmericanAirlines Arena, you can catch a Miami Heat basketball game or concerts and other sporting events | © Juan Silva / Getty Images
During the NBA season (from October to April), the AmericanAirlines Arena plays home court to its three-time NBA winning basketball team, the Miami Heat. For the rest of the year, this cylindrical-shaped venue that seats approximately 20,000 spectators hosts concerts for megastars such as Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey, as well as other major sporting events, including the WWE Smackdown. Check out its full events schedule here.

Mac’s Club Deuce

Bar, Pub Grub
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Mac’s Club Deuce is the perfect boozy lounge for dive-bar lovers | © Matt Argondizza / Courtesy of Mac’s Club Deuce
If you’re looking for fancy handcrafted cocktails, you won’t find them here. However, what Mac’s Club Deuce lacks in drink choice, it certainly makes up for with character. Self-dubbed “the oldest bar in Miami,” this legendary drinking den has been serving the best happy hour in Florida since 1926. The menu features local beer and tequila shots at half price from 8am until 7pm, seven days a week. All of this, plus an always-happening pool table, a bumping jukebox and the strangest mix of clientele you’ll ever see – what more could you want from a night out in Miami?

Jungle Island

Amusement Park, Park
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A flock of Caribbean flamingos at Jungle Island, Miami.
© Peter Etchells / Alamy Stock Photo
Jungle Island is one of Miami’s oldest attractions and allows visitors to get up close with some of the world’s rarest animals, including sloths, lemurs and orangutans. After a $20 million renovation to repair the damage done by Hurricane Irma, this eco-adventure theme park also boasts zip lines, virtual-reality experiences and a free-flight wind tunnel that lets you soar over Miami’s skyline. Your biggest challenge will be deciding what to do first.

Boxelder Craft Beer Market

Craft Ale Bar, Beer, Belgian, North American, $$$
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Choose from more than 150 types of beer at Boxelder Craft Beer Market | Courtesy of Boxelder Craft Beer Market

Offering a selection of 150 bottles and 20 taps, Boxelder Craft Beer Market is home to Miami’s most exciting beer collection. You’ll find your classic American and Belgian favorites, but you can also get your hands on never-heard-of-before brews from around the world. If you get hungry, there’s usually a local food truck parked by the bar selling burgers or hot wings. Check its website for its full schedule of events, including its much-loved beer and food festivals.

St Bernard de Clairvaux Church

Church, Monastery
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The Garden of St. Bernard de Clairvaux monastery
Built in Spain in 1141, the St Bernard de Clairvaux Church was rebuilt in Miami | © Ricardo Arnaldo / Alamy Photo Stock
The St Bernard de Clairvaux Church in North Miami today serves as a parish for the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, but its history goes back to the 12th century. Thought to be the oldest building in the western hemisphere, this church was first built in Spain in 1141. It wasn’t until 1925 that the American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst shipped the church’s walls, beams and flooring in 11,000 crates to Miami, where it would be reconstructed. History aside, its early-Gothic architecture and beautifully kept grounds make for a peaceful escape from the bustling city.


Nightclub, Pub Grub, $$$
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LIV at Fontainebleau
Dance the night away to beats by famous DJs at LIV in Miami | © Simon Hare / Courtesy of LIV
Hosting celebrities and big-name music acts every weekend, LIV is Miami’s most famous and exclusive nightclub. A $10 million renovation upgraded the 18,000-square-foot (1,670-square-meter) megaclub with an even bigger dance floor, luxurious VIP lounges and a state-of-the-art light show. The music changes for each carefully choreographed club night, from hip-hop and R&B to dance and latin. Be sure to check its website for its live music and DJ set schedule, dress code and cover charges.

Flamingo Gardens

Botanical Garden
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Flamingo Gardens rehabilitates Florida’s injured wildlife | © Igor Rybaltchenko / Getty Images
Founded in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest animal sanctuaries in the region. Its 60-acre (24-hectare) green space provides a home for injured or non-releasable animals native to South Florida, including crocodiles, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers and more than 45 species of birds. Its botanical collection, which features over 3,000 species of tropical, subtropical and native plants and trees, is just as diverse. Choose from exploring the gardens with a botanical guide, feeding the flamingoes with the animal-care staff or exploring 50 acres (20 hectares) of the park with a narrated tram tour. Check out its list of activities here.
These recommendations were updated on December 4, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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