The 30 best things to do in Miami

In between sunbathing, swimming and sipping cocktails (or craft beer), check off these essential experiences curated by Time Out contributors.

Virginia Gil by Time Out Miami editors and Virginia Gil

As any true local knows, the best things to do in Miami extend beyond lounging on the sand—though it goes without saying that spending some time on the best Miami beaches is de rigueur. Of course, Miami is famous for its Art Deco architecture, and it’s not surprising that the U.S. host city of Art Basel Miami Beach has a vibrant cultural scene. In between sunbathing, swimming and sipping cocktails (or craft beer), check off these essential experiences.

1
Visit Europe by way of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Things to do

Visit Europe by way of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

What is it? A surreal Italian Renaissance-style villa in the hippie enclave of Coconut Grove.
Why go? To gawk at European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Time Out tip: It is a popular wedding venue, so call ahead to make sure they aren’t hosting an event during your trip as parts of the grounds may be restricted.

Coconut Grove
2
Get blown away at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Things to do

Get blown away at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

What is it? The 250,000-square-foot museum connects people of all ages with science through a range of inspiring programming—some of which is even bilingual.
Why go? To visit the new Frost Science (an upgrade from its previous Coconut Grove location), which occupies four buildings—the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium and the North and West Wings—and features year-round exhibits, plus a 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream aquarium that houses all sorts of sea creatures.
Time Out tip: Don't skip a visit to the planetarium dome and the monthly rock 'n' roll laser light shows.

Downtown
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3
Stroll down Calle Ocho in Little Havana
Things to do

Stroll down Calle Ocho in Little Havana

What is it? The epicenter of Cuban identity in Miami, Little Havana is where you go to get a heady flavor of the Vedado and Mirara neighborhoods of Cuba.
Why go? To peep Mediterranean-style houses with rocking chairs on the porch, fragrant tobacco scents wafting from cigar stores, the click of dominos in Máximo Gómez Park—better known as Domino Park—and the hum of Latin music from record shops all contribute to the neighborhood’s authentic Cuban vibe.
Time Out tip: Keep your eyes peeled for colorful cocks, randomly situated every couple of blocks, when strolling down Calle Ocho. Though originally a flock of 80 in 2002, only a handful of these commissioned statues remain.

Free
4
Salsa dance at Ball & Chain
Bars

Salsa dance at Ball & Chain

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

What is it? Today’s Ball & Chain is a recreation of a 1930s hotspot that once occupied the same space and welcomed jazz superstars like Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Chet Baker to its stage.
Why go? To dance the night away and knock back a few Cuban-inspired cocktails: the Mojito Criollo, the Canita and the Pastelito Daiquiri, made with pastelito-infused aged rum.
Time Out tip: Expect live jazz at 6pm sharp Thursday through Saturday. On Saturdays, a wild Cuban fiesta, La Pachanga, kicks off around 9pm when salsa dancers take to the bar. Plus, salsa-dancing classes are free every Thursday night.

East Little Havana
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5
Eat Cuban food at Versailles restaurant
Restaurants

Eat Cuban food at Versailles restaurant

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

What is it? Almost as famous locally as its palatial namesake is in France, Versailles is a kitschy Cuban diner with wall-to-wall mirrors, a constant buzz and an unabridged menu featuring every dish ever cataloged as Cuban.
Why go? The Cubano might be the most popular thing on the menu: toasted, filled slices of ham, roasted pork and swiss cheese and cut perfectly in half.
Time Out tip: The adjacent bakery has a wider selection of pastelito and other baked goods. If the cafecito window is busy, which it usually is, head next door and find a seat for a proper coffee break.

West Little Havana
6
Indulge at Azucar Ice Cream Company
Restaurants

Indulge at Azucar Ice Cream Company

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

What is it? This new-wave Latin ice cream parlor is where owner Suzy Batlle takes the best flavor combinations from her childhood and churns them into delicious Cuban flavors.
Why go? To dive into a bowl of the wildly popular Abuela Maria—vanilla ice cream, Maria crackers, guava and cream cheese.
Time Out tip: Azucar often carries seasonal flavors that are scooped up faster than it takes your cone to melt. Keep an eye out for specials like the Knaus Berry Farm cinnamon buns soaked in bourbon.

East Little Havana
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7
Drink craft beers in Wynwood
Bars

Drink craft beers in Wynwood

What is it? Swap the ubiquitous Miami martini for a pint at one of Wynwood Arts District’s craft breweries and biergartens.
Why go? Feast on house-made sausages and a rotating selection of beers, from IPAs to porters and beyond, at the Butcher Shop, a spacious beer garden and restaurant. To sample more homegrown ales, head to one of several local breweries, all of which have tap rooms: Miami’s first craft brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company, which has a flavor-packed blonde ale called La Rubia (Spanish for, you guessed it, the blonde); J. Wakefield Brewing, the leading local brewer of sour beers (and a tasty Hop for Teacher IPA); or Concrete Beach Brewery with its massive 30-barrel brewing system and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Wynwood
Free
8
Discover the Deering Estate
Things to do

Discover the Deering Estate

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

What is it? A sprawling winter retreat built by James Deering’s similarly well-off brother Charles.
Why go? The impressive, waterfront estate is comprised of several buildings and features a mangrove boardwalk and a fossil pit of 50,000-year-old animal bones and 10,000-year-old human remains.
Time Out tip: Deering Estate hosts a series of exciting events throughout the year, like tree lighting during the holidays, a large seafood festival in the spring and spooky overnight stays.

Palmetto Bay
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9
Shop, sip and snack on Lincoln Road
Shopping

Shop, sip and snack on Lincoln Road

What is it? Designed by iconic architectural guru Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, Lincoln Road Mall was once dubbed the “Fifth Avenue of the South,” though it’s now commonly referred to as “Lincoln.”
Why go? Endless sidewalk coffee shops, lounges and cultural venues—such as the Colony Theatre—and stretch along its length from Washington Avenue to Alton Road. Got money to burn? The Herzog & de Meuron–designed 1111 Lincoln Road—quite possibly the world’s most glamorous parking garage—houses upscale retail on the ground level, as well as laid-back eateries like Shake Shack and the Nespresso Boutique.
Time Out tip: Lincoln Road introduced a packed schedule of free events, including weekend concerts and other live performances. Keep your eyes and ears open as you pop in and out of stores.

Mid-Beach
10
Escape to tranquil Key Biscayne
Things to do

Escape to tranquil Key Biscayne

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

What is it? The northernmost island in the Florida Keys offers pristine beaches, two waterfront parks, a cycling path and gorgeous views of Miami.
Why go? Crandon Park, toward the east end of the Key, has barbecue and picnic areas, making it great for family trips.
Time Out tip: Spring 2018 brings the last Miami Open tennis tournament to the Key before it moves north to its new home at Hard Rock Stadium. Make sure to nab tickets.

Key Biscayne
Free
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11
Stop and smell the flowers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Things to do

Stop and smell the flowers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

What is it? This 83-acre garden, named after renowned botanist and Miami resident David Fairchild, is filled with tropical splendor: a lush rainforest with a stream, sunken garden, dramatic vistas, an enormous vine pergola and a museum of plant exploration.
Why go? Check out the exquisite rare plant conservatory, a stunning showcase of palms, bromeliads, orchids and ferns. Narrated tram rides (given on the hour from 10am to 3pm) give visitors a close-up look at the resident flora.
Time Out tip: The garden hosts a series of annual events, like July’s mango festival and January’s chocolate festival.

Miami
12
See the Wynwood Walls
Things to do

See the Wynwood Walls

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

What is it? Launched during Art Basel, the city’s only outdoor street art park features more than 40 murals from a roster of world-renowned artists.
Why go? “humanKIND,” the new slate of murals that debuted during Art Basel Miami 2017, features 12 fresh pieces by visionary artists from around the world—including Seth Globepainter from France, Joe Iurato from the States and Leon Keer from Amsterdam, among others.
Time Out tip: Wynwood Walls is open to the public all year round and admission is free.

Wynwood
Free
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13
Splash around at Miami Seaquarium
Things to do

Splash around at Miami Seaquarium

What is it? Miami’s largest aquarium is home to sea life and marine exhibits.
Why go? Catch the dolphin show (Flipper was even filmed at the Seaquarium!), jolly sea lions flapping about and the park’s most famous resident, Lolita, the killer whale.
Time Out tip: Have a little one interested in all things aquatic? The Seaquarium offers special programming for children, both in groups and individually.

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14
Go back to nature at the Kampong
Things to do

Go back to nature at the Kampong

What is it? This glorious seven-acre botanical garden was once the home of botanist Dr. David Fairchild, who went on to found the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. As chief of the Seed Section of the US Department of Agriculture in the early 20th century, Fairchild traveled the world collecting plant specimens and bringing them back here.
Why go? One of only two tropical plant research sites in the country, it’s a stunning place, with an Indonesian-inspired house set by a lagoon.
Time Out tip: The shady and slightly secluded space is a popular wedding venue and closes for special events; call ahead to make sure someone isn’t getting hitched on the day you plan to visit.

Coconut Grove
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15
Delight in Art Deco in Miami Beach
Things to do

Delight in Art Deco in Miami Beach

What is it? Miami Beach’s Art Deco District contains more than 800 buildings dating from the 1920s to the ’40s. It holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Why go? To gawk at the highest concentration of these streamlined, strikingly geometric structures in the U.S. and take a walk along Ocean Drive north of 5th Street.
Time Out tip: Stop by the Art Deco District Welcome Center on Ocean Drive for self-guided audio tours.

Free
16
Be one with the birds at Jungle Island
Things to do

Catch a show Fillmore Miami Beach

What is it? This iconic performing arts building served as a theater and then a soundstage for shows like Ed Sullivan, and is now world-class concert venue.
Why go? To check out big-names like Miguel, Al Pacino and Bush in a stunning Art Deco setting.
Time Out tip: Shows at the Fillmore sell out faster than at most concert venues in Miami. Sign up to receive email alerts and check the property’s Instagram regularly for the latest info on upcoming shows.

South Beach
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17
Party until dawn at LIV
Nightlife

Party until dawn at LIV

What is it? Nestled inside the lobby of the historic Fontainebleau hotel—itself a backdrop for major motion pictures including Scarface to Goldfinger—LIV is at once opulent and turnt beyond belief.
Why go? Afrojack, Martin Garrix and Laidback Luke hold down monthly residencies at the EDM powerhouse alongside a regular program of huge DJs and rap stars. And the stars show up to worship.
Time Out tip: If you only go once, make sure it’s LIV on Sundays for the most popular weekly party in the city. It’s a tough door and springing for bottle service is strongly suggested.

Miami Beach
18
Find a bounty of tropical fruit at Robert is Here
Shopping

Find a bounty of tropical fruit at Robert is Here

What is it? This emporium of exotic fruit and vegetables boasts a sizeable marketplace, a petting zoo and a walk-up milk shake and juice bar.
Why go? Robert is Here’s key lime milk shake is the stuff of legends—flavored with fresh key limes and hand spun to a thick consistency.
Time Out tip: Count on Robert to sell every single rare variety of fruit or vegetable you’ve been scouting.

Redlands
Free
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19
Kid around at the Miami Children's Museum
Things to do

Kid around at the Miami Children's Museum

What is it? With a futuristic design by Miami-based architecture firm Arquitectonica, the comprehensive museum and learning facility boats interactive, educational exhibits for young children.
Why go? Check out the colorful, mosaic-tiled Castle of Dreams, a cruise ship that lets you take turns steering the make-believe vessel and a mock Bank of America that teaches kids about financial literacy and even lets them design their own currency. Under-fives can “stock up” in a mini supermarket with shopping carts and checkout lanes, among other activities.
Time Out tip: Looking for something fun and safe to do with young children? Every Monday from 10am to 6pm, the museum hosts special programming for infants and toddlers under the age of five.

Miami
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20
See renowned works at Pérez Art Museum Miami
Things to do

See renowned works at Pérez Art Museum Miami

What is it? Miami’s foremost museum of contemporary art houses works by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella and Ana Mendieta, not to mention some high-caliber traveling exhibitions.
Why go? Family-friendly interactive programs bring art home: during free Second Saturday (of the month) programs, museum teachers lead families in hands-on activities inspired by the works on display, while Third Thursdays play host to evenings of music and entertainment.
Time Out tip: Verde, the museum’s waterfront cafe, only opens for dinner on Thursday evenings. Reservations are strongly encouraged, especially if you want an outdoor table closest to Biscayne Bay.

Downtown
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21
Hang out in South Beach
Things to do

Hang out in South Beach

What is it? Miami’s most coveted stretch of beach is always mobbed with tourists, but we like it anyhow.
Why go? Models sauntering along golden sands and rollerbladers gliding down Ocean Drive; the killer champagne brunch at Nikki Beach Miami; a romp at the World Erotic Art Museum; and dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab or Prime 112—both for the food and for celebrity spotting.
Time Out tip: Ocean Drive is crawling with tourists traps. Save your hard-earned money for the restaurants in the South of Fifth neighborhood, like Upland and Stubborn Seed.

Free
22
Have an animal encounter at Zoological Wildlife Foundation
Things to do

Have an animal encounter at Zoological Wildlife Foundation

What is it? Founded in 2001 by Mario and Maria Tabraue, this private zoo, preservation and conversation facility for rescued and endangered animals is home to about 150 different primates, exotic species, predatory birds and mammals.
Why go? For more one-on-one interaction, guests can book interactive animal encounters (like a photo session with Instagram sensation Limbani) for an additional cost and spend time holding, cuddling and learning about these remarkable creatures.
Time Out tip: Because this isn’t your typical zoo, reservations will need to be made in advance as all visits include are guided tours.

Redlands
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23
Go for a swim at Venetian Pool
Things to do

Go for a swim at Venetian Pool

What is it? The impossibly idyllic setting combines tropical foliage, waterfalls and Italian architectural touches with freshwater, replenished nightly in summer months from a subterranean aquifer.
Why go? Once a quarry, it was built in the 1920s as an exotic locale for swimming and entertainment. Today, it remains one of the most beautiful swimming pools in the world.
Time Out tip: It’s open seven days a week and, naturally, overrun with children on the weekends. Go on a weekday during the summer months, when a dip in the perpetually freezing water (it’s from a quarry, after all) is peaceful and refreshing.

Coral Gables
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24
Dine like you're in Dynasty at the Forge
Restaurants

Dine like you're in Dynasty at the Forge

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

What is it? One of the most fantastic dining experiences in the city, this deluxe steakhouse has hosted the likes of Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Richard Nixon.
Why go? Behind the 19th-century Parisian facade is a glitzy interior that’s a rococo lover’s dream. The Forge still has an 1822 Château Lafite Rothschild worth $165,000 to prove its star quality and an enomatic wine system to dispense various-sized pours of some of the world’s most sought-after vintages. The decadent wines accompany steak and fish dishes such as the bone-in filet mignon with the signature Forge rub, and the local red snapper.
Time Out tip: Though not publicly advertised, the Forge offers diners free tours of its private wine cellar. Make sure to ask your server to show you around after dinner.

Mid-Beach
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25
Go shopping in the Design District's Palm Court
Shopping

Go shopping in the Design District's Palm Court

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

What is it? Ultra high-end shops—think Louis Vuitton, Emilio Pucci and Giorgio Armani—renowned architecture and art galleries fill the multilevel, open-air shopping complex.
Why go? Besides the fabulous window shopping, Palm Court is the place to go for free outdoor programming. The stunning center courtyard hosts weekly events like symphonic concerts and al fresco yoga.
Time Out tip: The parking garage below Palm Court offers seriously cheap parking, $5 for up to three hours. It’s small victories like these that make this bougie spot a favorite of all Miamians.

Mid-Beach
26
Drive south to the Hemingway Home & Museum
Things to do

Drive south to the Hemingway Home & Museum

What is it? Ernest Hemingway’s former home-turned-museum, where the prolific American author wrote and lived for nearly 10 years.
Why go? Bizarrely, the main attraction isn’t the display of Hemingway artifacts—which includes his typewriter—or even the house itself, but the extended family of nearly 50 of them roam the museum grounds, many of them descendants of Snowball, Hemingway’s own multi-toed ball of fur, which lived with him on the property.
Time Out tip: Hemingway’s abode is down the street from the southernmost point in the U.S., and where you’ll find the much photographed “90 miles to Cuba” sign.

Mid-Beach
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27
Explore Fruit & Spice Park
Things to do

Explore Fruit & Spice Park

What is it? The only garden of its kind in the US: a 37-acre park exhibiting more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, nuts and exotic edibles.
Why go? To explore Florida’s varied and lush vegetation, visit an old schoolhouse and coral rock building that recall south Florida’s pioneer life and stock up at the charming gift shop that sells spices, jams and jellies, unusual seeds and aromatic teas, plus cookbooks on tropical fruits and vegetables.
Time Out tip: The park is the site of the Asian Culture Festival in March, and Blues, Brews and Barbecue in April. There are free guided tours offered daily.

Redlands
28
Savor the cinnamon rolls at Knaus Berry Farm
Things to do

Savor the cinnamon rolls at Knaus Berry Farm

What is it? Visit the family-run Knaus Berry Farm for a taste of the old Homestead, with its abundant fruit orchards and crop fields. You can still pick your own strawberries and tomatoes here, but most people come for the quaint bakery.
Why go? From November through April, Knaus Berry Farm is the place to score homemade (and hugely addictive) cinnamon rolls, pineapple upside-down cake and fruit milk shakes.
Time Out tip: Make the journey to Knaus early in the morning on a weekday or risk waiting in lines hours long on Saturdays, when most Miamians travel to Homestead to stock up on baked goods.

Redlands
Free
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29
Visit Hemingway's favorite dive, Sloppy Joe’s
Bars

Visit Hemingway's favorite dive, Sloppy Joe’s

What is it? Ernest Hemingway’s beloved watering hole and arguably the most famous bar in southern Florida. When he wasn’t home writing Farewell to Arms, or playing with his cat Snowball, he could be found knocking back Rum Runners at Sloppy Joe’s.
Why go? Literary lore aside, the slushie cocktails are tasty, sweet and deceptively strong. One thing’s for sure: if Hemingway were alive today he wouldn’t be drinking here.
Time Out tip: Don’t miss the restaurant’s namesake sandwich, stuffed with drippy, seasoned ground beef. We like ours with cheese.

Redlands
30
Check out Art Basel Miami Beach
Things to do

Check out Art Basel Miami Beach

What is it? Miami’s largest art fair descends on the city every year in December, bringing with it more than 1,000 artists and 200 galleries.
Why go? There are also a number of satellite fairs including NADA, Pulse and Design Miami. Galleries hold special shows, South Beach clubs host art soirees and restaurants offer specials. This event is all about drinking cocktails while chatting about art alfresco.
Time Out tip: Art Basel is one VIP event after the other, so you’ll need to pull strings to get into the week’s hottest parties. Keep your ear to the ground and read Time Out’s annual guide for the lowdown on what’s happening.

Redlands