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Photograph: Shutterstock/Marco Borghini

The best Miami attractions to check out while you’re in the Magic City

From historic sites and public art to tropical gardens, Miami’s best attractions offer something for every type of traveler.

Written by
Falyn Wood
Contributors
Virginia Gil
&
Ryan Pfeffer
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For those of us who don’t have the pleasure of calling Miami home year-round, it’s basically a known fact that the beach or pool beats out any other attraction about 90 percent of the time. The other ten percent is typically spared for dining at Miami’s best restaurants and hitting up the obligatory South Beach clubs. We’re not knocking the formula—there’s a reason the hits hit! But if you’re ready to venture off the sand, there are so many more things to do in Miami. Explore grand estates and gardens, historic neighborhoods, incredible shopping and fascinating Miami museums the whole family will appreciate. Our guide to the best Miami attractions has something for every type of curious traveler.

Time Out Market Miami
  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

The best chefs, restaurants and bars in Miami all comingle at this South Beach food hall, curated by our very own editors. From the music you’ll hear and the art you’ll see to the delicious dishes you’ll taste, everything was handpicked for your enjoyment. Find a culinary sampling of the city’s tastiest eats—from pizza to fried chicken to Basque cheesecake and more.

Best Miami attractions

Calle Ocho
Photograph: Time Out/Vanessa Rogers

1. Calle Ocho

Famed for its strong coffee, delicious food, music and cigars, Little Havana remains one of Miami’s busiest and most iconic destinations. Calle Ocho is the historic neighborhood’s charming main corridor, where you’ll find numerous Cuban restaurants, cocktail bars and cultural landmarks, including Domino Park. Grab a scoop of Abuela Maria ice cream from Azucar and enjoy it in the public square where viejitos still gather to play, or sip mojitos and learn to salsa dance at Ball & Chain.

Time Out tip: Stop by during the third Friday of the month for Viernes Culturales, the free monthly festival in Little Havana's cultural district.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Wynwood

This outdoor street art park launched during Art Basel in 2009 and has since become an anchoring institution of the wildly popular arts district. Featuring nearly 50 murals that rotate annually, some of the world’s most acclaimed artists have contributed over the years, including Shepard Fairey, Ryan McGuinness, Kenny Scharf, How and Nosm, Faile, Retna, the Date Farmers and Liqen.

Time Out tip: Get more bang for your buck on the last Thursday of every month, when Wynwood Walls hosts live concerts produced by 88.9 FM WDNA Serious Jazz. Bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy with beer, wine and cocktails from the venue’s onsite restaurant, Joey’s.

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  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Coconut Grove

Built by Chicago magnate James Deering as his winter estate, this sprawling waterfront mansion is the idyllic backdrop of numerous (expensive) weddings and quinceañera photoshoots. When it’s not being used for celebrations, the palatial estate and its manicured gardens are ripe for exploring. Check it out on weekends when Vizcaya hosts full moon parties, outdoor yoga classes and other community events.

Time Out tip: Use your Miami-Dade Library card to check out free passes for up to four people. 

  • Things to do
  • Coral Gables
  • price 1 of 4

The only public pool in the city worth its weight in chlorine, Venetian Pool, first designed in 1923 by Coral Gables mastermind George Merrick, remains a fanciful Mediterranean postcard with waterfalls, a grotto and plenty of room to swim. Go for a dip in the city’s only quarry. Even during Miami’s scorching-hot summers, the 820,000-gallon pool remains cool thanks to the underground aquifer used to fill it with fresh water.

Time Out tip: Time Out tip: Coral Gables residents score discounted admission to the pool. Make friends in the neighborhood and enjoy the facilities for more than half-off.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers

For decades, children of all ages have learned all about Florida’s array of sea creatures through visits to this Key Biscayne attraction. It’s where you’ll catch the dolphin show jolly sea lions flapping about and the park’s most famous resident, Lolita, the killer whale. Bonus points: Flipper was filmed at the Seaquarium.

Time Out tip: The park offers animal encounters where the whole family can go for a dip with a group of adorable dolphins.  

  • Things to do
  • Miami

Pretty gardens are hard to come by in scorching-hot Miami, so we’re extra grateful for places like Fairchild, whose diligent groundskeepers and volunteers keep it looking fresh and verdant year-round. Plus, with 83-acres of rare plants and flowers, you’ll never get tired of exploring. Take a morning or afternoon stroll through these stunning surroundings and escape the South Beach bustle. Not one for greenery? Visit during the annual chocolate festival in January—a delicious event dedicated to all things cocoa.

Time Out tip: Spring for a membership and take advantage of after-hours programming. Deals change seasonally but often include a perk to one of the garden’s exciting festivals.

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  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Miami
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? Located on Watson Island between South Beach and mainland Miami, Jungle Island is a sanctuary for birds, exotic animals and local wildlife. The lush, verdant facilities make for a unique zoo experience.

Why go? Jungle Island has grown to include more than wildlife. Families can visit and experience the SuperFlight, a sky diving simulation that takes place inside a wind tunnel while groups can outsmart their way through an escape room. For animal lovers, the park offers new hands-on encounters and feeding experiences.

Time Out tip: Jungle Island is open 365 days a year, making it the perfect family outing on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when visiting a Chinese restaurant might be your only option. 

  • Things to do
  • South Beach

A small but charming oasis in bustling Miami Beach, the botanical garden offers nearly three acres of lush greenery showcasing native flora and fauna alongside a Japanese garden, rare orchids and calming water features. Kill some time in between stops or snap a quick Instagram with a pineapple in the edible garden.

Time Out tip: Admission is free Tuesday through Sunday, including the community yoga sessions hosted in the Great Lawn every Wednesday and Sunday morning.

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  • Things to do
  • Palmetto Bay

Up the road from Vizcaya, is brother Charles Deering’s waterfront estate. It’s far less flashy but a hit with nature lovers—mangroves, salt marshes and an Indian burial ground make up its 400-plus acres. Mark your calendars for the annual seafood festival (stone crabs!) and regular music programming.

Time Out tip: Deering offers monthly night hikes, featuring guided walks through the premises’ 444 acres and a group campfire with s’mores. It’s the perfect wintertime activity for budding naturalists.

  • Things to do
  • Coconut Grove
  • price 1 of 4

Kampong is home to nearly 600 trees and more than 200,000 varieties of plants and crops. A portion of the grounds sustained considerable damage during Hurricane Irma in 2017 but valiant recovery efforts have all but completely restored the tropical oasis (including erecting its famous 50-ton baobab tree from Tanzania, which founder David Fairchild planted himself in 1928).

Time Out tip: Reservations are required to visit the nine-acre property so we recommend planning your day here in advance. Self-guided tours are available but we suggest the guided option to really get a sense for the bountiful space.

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  • Things to do
  • Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne’s Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is home to South Florida’s oldest lighthouse—which guided sailors to safety throughout the 19th century. Once you’re through swimming and soaking up the sun off the coast of Key Biscayne, climb the 109 spiral steps to the top of the lighthouse. Included with the price of park admission ($8 per vehicle), visitors can tour the tower five days a week at 10am and 1pm. The tower is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Time Out tip: Catch the sunset from Lighthouse Café, the waterfront restaurant tucked away inside the park. 

  • Things to do
  • Miami
  • price 2 of 4

From reptiles and amphibians to primates, the cageless zoo is home to hundreds of species. Kids will love the carousel rides and splash zones (especially during the hot summer months) while parents look forward to pedaling around the park in Safari Cycle bikes, which fit up to five family members.

Time Out tip: Book a behind-the-scenes tour and take your kiddo beyond the enclosures. These guided experiences go in-depth with the animal care team and are safe and fun for little ones.

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  • Things to do
  • Leisure City
  • price 1 of 4

Coral Castle is a bizarre but captivating outdoor sculpture garden that was apparently the work of just one man, Ed Leedskalnin, who channeled a broken heart into hulking works of coral. If you can’t make it to the Taj Mahal, Coral Castle is a worthy runner-up as far as grand gestures go. Visit on the first weekend of the month for psychic Saturday, featuring palm readers and fortune tellers.

Time Out tip: Every year during Valentine’s Day, the museum hosts a massive vow renewal ceremony should you want to reaffirm your love surrounded by thousands of your closest friends.

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