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Vizcaya - Do List image
Photograph: Robin Hill

The best things to do in Miami right now

From restaurants and festivals to events and more, these are the best things to do in Miami

Written by Virginia Gil in association with Haig Club
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May 2021: May in Miami is busy! We’ve updated this list with two of the essential happenings this month: South Beach Wine and Food Festival and Rolling Loud. We’re so thrilled to see these two major events return. We’ve bumped Joe’s from the list now that stone crab season is over and said goodbye to the Dali exhibit, which was a great one. In its place, you’ll find the immersive Van Gogh experience as well as Lasting Impression at the Arsht Center, where art and Instagram opportunities abound.

Locals and tourists can agree that 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 fundamental to life in the 305. In the wintertime particularly, Miami is better known for its thriving cultural scene led by events like Art Basel and neighborhoods such as Wynwood, which every year turns over a brand new facade with the spate of fresh murals that debut during Miami Art Week. And lest we miss out on one of the most important aspects of life in the Magic City—eating!—it’s worth mentioning the booming culinary scene and the host of award-winning Miami restaurants that abound, many of whom we’ve invited to join us at Time Out Market Miami. In between sunbathing, swimming and sipping cocktails, check off these essential Miami experiences. By the way, this list is curated, as always, but isn’t ranked—we just couldn’t choose favorites.

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere.

The best of the city under one roof

Time Out Market Miami
Photograph: Arévalo Photography

Time Out Market Miami

Restaurants South Beach

What is it? This food-and-culture destination in South Beach boasts some of the best dining in the city, all hand-picked by our editors.

Why go? Time Out Miami take all these amazing chefs, restaurants and dishes that we rave about online and get them all together in one place for the perfect culinary sample of a city. 

Don’t miss: There’s happy hour every day we’re open, bottomless brunch on Saturday and Sunday and a host of other fun things to do in between—think drag bingo and speed dating.

Best things to do in Miami

Heineken Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons® hosted by David Burtka & Neil Patrick Harris - 2019 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Marriott Bonvoy™ North VenueBeachside at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach on Fe
Heineken Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons® hosted by David Burtka & Neil Patrick Harris - 2019 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Marriott Bonvoy™ North VenueBeachside at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach on Fe
Photograph: Seth Browarnik

1. Eat your face off at South Beach Wine and Food Festival

Things to do Festivals

What is it? The most important food event of the year returns with aplomb! South Beach Wine & Food Festival moves from February to May, bringing with it more chefs, greater events and and loads of celebrities. 

Why go? Well, you’re hungry and likely starving for some social interaction, which the folks at SOBEWFF have made planned to ensure your safety. Also, BubbleQ is back! The event that put the festival on the map two decades ago, and our personal favorite, returns this year with flowing bubbles and Guy Fieri as its host.

Don’t miss: The opportunity to see your favorite local chefs and food personalities flex their skills around town. Homegrown talent is well represented across the board, from events to dinners to seminars. 

Wynwood Walls - new 2021
Wynwood Walls - new 2021
Photograph: Courtesy Goldman Properties

2. Ogle street art at the Wynwood Walls

Things to do Exhibitions Wynwood

What is it? The city’s first and only outdoor museum dedicated to street art.

Why go? The decade-old cultural institution is the famed epicenter of the Wynwood Arts District, legitimizing graffiti art with a roster of more than 50 murals painted by renowned artists around the world—from Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf to Kelsey Montague. Vibrant in color, deep in meaning and large in scope, the groundbreaking Walls are the undisputed selfie capital of Miami and chances are you’ll recognize some of the murals from the profile pics in your Insta feed.

Don’t miss: The Walls welcomes folks to do more than browse street art. This spring, stop in for outdoor yoga, public concerts and rotating DJ sets, most of which are free though you must book in advance to attend.

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Vizcaya Gardens
Vizcaya Gardens
Photograph: Robin Hill

3. Stroll the magnificent Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Things to do Event spaces Coconut Grove

What is it? Miami’s number one attraction is a surreal Italian Renaissance-style villa in the middle of lush, laid-back Coconut Grove. Its meticulously landscaped gardens, sprawling bayfront terrace and, well, the house itself, make up a total of 43 acres.

Why go? Vizcaya makes for the most fetching photo backdrop in the city (just ask the quinceañeras and brides roaming about) and its inimitable collection of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries is truly breathtaking. Need to up your social game? Vizcaya is home to some of Miami’s most Instagrammable floors and staircases.

Don’t miss: Vizcaya’s event calendar is packed with free activities that are accessible year-round.

Rolling Loud
Rolling Loud
Photograph: Courtesy Rolling Loud/ArrogantWatcher

4. Rage at Rolling Loud 2021

Things to do Concerts Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens

What is it? You’ve heard of Ultra but did you know that Miami is also home to one of the biggest hip-hop festivals in the freaking world? Rolling Loud is it.

Why go? Some of the biggest names to grace past Rolling Loud stages include Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Future and Lil Wayne. This year, A$AP Rocky, Post Malone, and dozens more pile into Hard Rock Stadium for three days of lit hip-hop mayhem.

Don’t miss: Any of it, really. It’s been a while since your last concert and this is the ultimate reintroduction. 

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Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami, Museum
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami, Museum
Photograph: Courtesy Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science/Ra Haus

5. Tap into your inner nerd at Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Things to do Exhibitions Downtown

What is it? Spanning across a massive 250,000 square feet, the new Frost Science (an upgrade from its previous Coconut Grove location) occupies four buildings—the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium and the North and West Wings—features year-round exhibits and is a delight for curious minds of all ages.

Why go? Frost Science is as state-of-the-art as it gets, featuring interactive opportunities, a 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream aquarium that houses all sorts of sea creatures and a planetarium dome that hosts biweekly laser light shows.

Don’t miss: “Power of Science” is the first permanent exhibit to launch since the museum first opened. Exploring four scientific frontiers—oceans, the environment, the human body and the cosmos—the interactive experience takes visitors through transformative research being conducted by the University of Miami staff.

Broken Shaker
Broken Shaker
Photograph: Courtesy Broken Shaker

6. Soak up the tropical vibes at the Broken Shaker

Bars Cocktail bars Miami Beach

What is it? The bar that started it all. Without the Broken Shaker, we’d still be ordering vodka-sodas and flavoring our drinks with cranberry juice.

Why go? For the tropi-cool vibes you can only get hanging poolside at Miami’s OG cocktail bar. We’d usually recommend a punch (they’re seasonal and a boozy bang-for-your-buck) but these are weird times we’re living in and sharing is not caring. Try one of the specials instead.

Don’t miss: Stay for dinner at the homey 27 Restaurant, where longtime chef Jimmy Lebron dabbles in Israeli, Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisines.

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Miami, Lincoln Road Mall, shopping, lincoln road
Miami, Lincoln Road Mall, shopping, lincoln road
Photograph: Time Out/Wei Shi

7. Shop and people watch down Lincoln Road

Shopping Shopping centers Mid-Beach

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.” Endless sidewalk cafés, lounges and cultural venues—such as the Colony Theatre—stretch along its length from Washington Avenue to Alton Road.

Why go? The Herzog & de Meuron–designed 1111 Lincoln Road is quite possibly the world’s most glamorous parking garage and houses upscale retail on the ground level. But there are more than several blocks of stores and boutiques to browse and shop for hours.

Don’t miss: Lincoln Road continues to expand its outdoor programming with weekend food pop-ups and well-attended artisan markets on the last Sunday of every month. Plus, don’t miss the self-guided tours of the Fairchild Garden vegetation along the promenade.

Café La Trova
Café La Trova
Photograph: Adam DelGiudice

8. Travel to Cuba by way of Café La Trova

Restaurants Cafés East Little Havana

What is it? Authentic cuisine, cocktails and culture—this charming Cuban restaurant in Little Havana packs the neighborhood’s hallmarks into one inviting spot.

Why go? It’s rare to find a place that ticks off all the boxes of a proper touristic experience and also captures the attention of locals. James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein is behind the stellar menu, featuring favorites like the irresistible jamón serrano croquettes, hand-cut steak empanadas and risotto-style arroz con pollo. While decorated cantinero Julio Cabrera mixes up all kinds of cocktails

Don’t miss: The house band playing Trova-style music nightly. Let the sounds of Cuban son sweep you away!

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Espanola Way reopens
Espanola Way reopens
Photograph: Courtesy Española Way

9. Take in the sights on Española Way

Shopping Lifestyle South Beach

What is it? Find a slice of old-world Europe right in the middle of South Beach. Española Way is a charming, pedestrian strip lined with shops, restaurants and cozy, bilevel hotels that transport you to far-flung places.

Why go? Much larger Lincoln Road may have overshadowed it at one point, but the bustling tourist corridor is attracting more locals than ever before with its sidewalk eateries and free outdoor programming. Experience Paris’ café culture at enduring favorite A La Folie Café, serving up hard-to-find French classics. Drink your way down the tree-lined street’s mix of open-air bars and restaurants, stopping to take in the live music and unique people-watching, and get away from Miami without the need to go very far.

Don’t miss: One of lockdown’s best home chefs, Ben Murray, opens Vietnamese sandwich shop Benh Mi this spring while boutique hotel Esmé Miami Beach, which features food and drink concepts from the team behind Lost Boy, is set to debut sometime in 2021.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

10. Explore the lush grounds at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Things to do Miami

What is it? One of South Florida’s natural jewels, 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? It’s about the easiest, most scenic place to socially distance right now. And there are plenty of shady corners that provide respite from the summer heat.

Don’t miss: The botanical beauty ups its programming through the spring and summer seasons, hosting date nights for couples, dog-friendly events, farmers’ markets and other outdoor activities. Check their website for the latest.  

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Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne
Photograph: Shutterstock

11. Chill out at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Things to do Key Biscayne

What is it? At the tip of serene, secluded Key Biscayne is this 400-acre state park with beach access, picnic tables, bike trails, and watersport rentals.

Why go? A great place for families with accessible parking close to the sand, Bill Baggs is home to South Florida’s only lighthouse. Take the kids and let them climb the 109 steps to the top of the lookout.

Don’t miss: Boater’s Grill is one of Miami’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away at a far corner of the park, the waterfront spot provides free docking for small vessels and serves moderately priced breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Beyond Van Gogh
Beyond Van Gogh
Photograph: Courtesy Beyond Van Gogh

12. Become one with the art at “Beyond Van Gogh”

Things to do Exhibitions Ice Palace Films Studios, Omni

What is it? The highly anticipated Vincent Van Gogh exhibition you’ve seen all over the internet is finally here: “Beyond Van Gogh” brings the Dutch painter’s most iconic works to life with larger-scale projections that flow freely across the Ice Palace backdrop.

Why go? You’ll find yourself suspended in the heavens while walking through The Starry Night and then frolicking through fields of bright yellow flowers in a scene from Sunflowers. There are as many as 300 different artworks animated throughout the space.

Don’t miss: Your camera? This stuff is Instagram gold.

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Rubell Museum Miami
Rubell Museum Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Rubell Museum/Chi Lam

13. Take in the wonders of the Rubell Museum

Things to do Exhibitions Allapattah

What is it? Don and Mera Rubell’s eponymous museum houses nearly 7,200 works by more than 1,000 contemporary artists. From Basquiat and Warhol to Koons, the whos-who of 20th-century artists is well represented.

Why go? It’s a former warehouse the couple turned into a sprawling exhibition space after outgrowing their Wynwood gallery of more than 26 years. With 53,000 square feet to play with, the Rubells have room to exhibit as well as engage the community via school partnerships and curatorial training programs.

Don’t miss: Dig into elevated tapas at Leku, the onsite Basque restaurant that’s every bit as enchanting as the contemporary art collection you just witnessed.

Deering Estate, Miami, Florida
Deering Estate, Miami, Florida
Photograph: Courtesy Miami Dade County/Armando Rodriguez

14. Explore the historical and charming Deering Estate

Things to do Palmetto Bay

What is it? Built by James Deering’s similarly well-off brother Charles as his own sophisticated winter estate, the vast property encompasses several buildings, a mangrove boardwalk and a significant archeological discovery. 

Why go? Outdoorsy types will appreciate the guided nature walks and birding opportunities. Plus, the estate boasts a fossil pit of 50,000-year-old animal bones and 10,000-year-old human remains; the latter are Paleo-Indians.

Don’t miss: Talk about a backdrop! Deering Estate opens its doors early on select days for sunrise photography sessions.

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The Bass, Miami Beach
The Bass, Miami Beach
Photograph: Courtesy The Bass Miami Beach/Zachary Balber

15. Flood your IG feed with works from the Bass

Things to do Cultural centers South Beach

What is it? What began in 1964 as a small, private collection of contemporary art is now an internationally recognized institution with hundreds of pieces within its multiple halls. The 1930s Art Deco building also has meeting areas and classrooms for family-friendly programming, though some of that is on hold for now.

Why go? The Bass’s permanent collections, as well as its traveling exhibitions, comprise art people actually want to see—and Instagram (the real reason we go to museums these days, right?). Think large-scale works made up of found objects that probe us and a site-specific work of LED signs that make you feel at home.

Don’t miss: Spend some time on the lawn exploring the museum’s public art, including Jim Drain’s chess table, Ugo Rondinone’s unmissable Miami Mountain and Najja Moon’s monument to motherhood, Your momma’s voice in the back of your head, which debuted this past March.

Robert is Here, Museums and attractions, Miami
Robert is Here, Museums and attractions, Miami
Photograph: Anna Moehling

16. Visit Miami’s most popular fruit stand at Robert is Here

Shopping Redlands

What is it? A throwback to Florida’s fruit stands of old, Robert is Here started in 1959 when the shop’s namesake, then six, began selling his family’s cucumbers from a roadside table. It has since grown into an emporium of exotic fruit and vegetables—and a huge tourist attraction.

Why go? A lovely farm setting, a bevy of exotic fruit—which you can ask to be whipped into a fresh milk shake—and an adorable petting zoo make this worthy of the trek down (way) south.

Don’t miss: Beyond sourcing nearly every type of fruit available, Robert is Here stocks “Grandma’s Kitchen,” its small general store, with local honey, artisanal bread and other yummy, Miami-made treats. Only drive-through service is available at the moment, everything can be ordered ahead online or via DM and picked up from the car. 

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Sugar at EAST, Miami
Sugar at EAST, Miami
Photograph: Courtesy EAST

17. Sip a fancy cocktail in the sky at Sugar

Bars Cocktail bars Brickell

What is it? A stunning rooftop bar that sits atop East, Miami, rewarding those who venture up with 360-views of the city and Asian-themed cocktails. It’s a bougie crowd, so dress accordingly.

Why go? While a rooftop bar on the mainland might not instantly seem like an essential thing to do in the city, Sugar is deserving of its spot on the list. At 40 floors, it’s the tallest bar in Miami and its secluded, storybook garden setting is like none other.

Don’t miss: Don’t miss: Sugar’s happy hour in the sky, featuring two-for-one deals on classic cocktails, signature spritzes and every day from 4 to 6pm.

Jungle Island Aerial park
Jungle Island Aerial park
Photograph: Courtesy Jungle Island/Mike Pochwat Photography

18. Face your fears at Jungle Island

Things to do Event spaces Miami

What is it? A lush, tropical oasis boasting waterfront views and hundreds of species of wildlife, plus playgrounds, zip lines and other attractions for kids.

Why go? It may have started out as a place to see a few exotic fowl, but the former Parrot Jungle is now home to much more with 300-plus species of birds, orangutans and other animals. While some of these areas remain closed at the moment, you can visit Jungle Island’s new Aerial Game Trek, featuring a six-acre aerial adventure park featuring four color-coded ropes courses, over 100 obstacles, two ziplines, and ample space to social distance.

Don’t miss: Jungle Island’s new Treewalk Village was completed in March and boasts five 19-foot treehouses you can explore via hammock nets and wooden bridges.

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Everglades National Park, Florida, boat tour
Everglades National Park, Florida, boat tour
Photograph: Shutterstock

19. Hop on a boat tour of Everglades National Park

Things to do Walks and tours

What is it? This massive national park spans 1.5 million acres of wetlands. See alligators, cranes, turtles, manatees and even panthers roam their native habitat freely.

Why go? There’s no place in the world like it, and it’s within driving distance of downtown Miami. With three separate entrances, visitors can explore on foot, on a bicycle and via boat.

Don’t miss: Have you ever zipped to marshes on an airboat? It’s the most exhilarating way to see the Everglades, and now’s your chance.

Freehold
Freehold
Photograph: Courtesy Freehold

20. Treat yourself to a daycation at Freehold Miami

Things to do Event spaces Wynwood

What is it? Everything you like about a hotel—think fun lobby, hip coffee counter, cool bar dotted with beautiful people—minus the rooms.

Why go? Play all day and go home to your very own bed at night. It’s the sweetest deal if you ask us. Freehold Miami has areas to get work done and take meetings, booths to meet friends for a cocktail when business turns to pleasure and a large outdoor area serving a full menu of drinks and bites from day to night. If hotel hangs at places like the Ace and the Standard are your nightlife vibe, you’ll have found a home at Freehold Miami.

Don’t miss: Monthly trivia nights held on the last Wednesday of the month, hosted by Question Party?!—a couple of irreverent New York City comedians with a wealth of obscure pop-culture knowledge and excellent DJ mixes. You’ll play, you’ll limbo, you’ll take lots of mezcal shots and, if you’re lucky, win a $100 bar tab at the end of the night.

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Versailles, cuban, restaurant, miami
Versailles, cuban, restaurant, miami
Photograph: Courtesy Versailles

21. Get real-deal Cuban at Versailles restaurant

Restaurants Cuban West Little Havana

What is it? This self-proclaimed “most famous Cuban restaurant in the world” is arguably more popular than its palatial namesake in France. The Little Havana institution is the unofficial meeting place for the city’s Cuban community, who crowd the cafecito window 24/7 sipping on Cuban coffee.

Why go? Toasted Cuban sandwiches, piping-hot Cuban coffee served in thimble-sized cups, authentic Cuban pastelitos made the exact same way for 40-plus years, yummy arroz con pollo...shall we go on?

Don’t miss: Versaille’s adjacent bakery (it all connects inside) doubles as a charming dessert shop selling mini flans and key lime pies as well as Cuban-inspired ice cream. Get your meal to-go or take advantage of the large tents in the parking lot, offering loads of socially distant outdoor dining.

Zoo Miami
Zoo Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Zoo Miami/Ron Magill

22. Check out the wildlife at Zoo Miami

Things to do Miami

What is it? The city’s premier wildlife center is home to thousands of animals, from reptiles to mammals to birds. The sprawling facility spans across 750 acres and is the largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida.

Why go? Due to the zoo’s sub-tropical temps, species native to Australia, Africa and other warm climates comfortably reside here. Forget a safari—Zoo Miami is where you’ll safely spot zebras, giraffes and lions. 

Don’t miss: Hop on a Safari Cycle (with room for up to six riders) and see it all without tiring yourself out.

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Miami Design District
Miami Design District
Photograph: Luis Gomez

23. Surround yourself with beautiful things at the Miami Design District

Shopping Designer Design District

What is it? The former Decorators’ Row has expanded into a hub for vanguard architecture, fashion and art. There are several multilevel, open-air shopping complexes like Palm Court and Paradise Plaza where to shop for luxury fashion labels including Emilio Pucci and Giorgio Armani. 

Why go? If your pockets aren’t deep enough for the shops, there’s always the neighborhood’s growing number of galleries, a slew of public art and free museums, such as the ICA, which has reopened and offers timed free admission.

Don’t miss: The food! From Michelin-starred Cote and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon to hometown darling Itamae, some of the best meals in Miami are within walking distance.

E11even
E11even
Photograph: Courtesy E11even

24. Party like it's 2019 at E11even

Nightlife Clubs Park West

What is it? Miami’s 24/7 ultraclub is a playground for celebrities and hard-partying locals alike.

Why go? If you’re really missing the club scene, E11even has you covered with a full nightlife experience—think dancers, bottle service and tons of big-name musical performances. The curfew’s been lifted so we can all go back to partying ’til daytime.

Don’t miss: The people-watching. Sit back and take it all in.

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Miami Circle
Miami Circle
Photograph: Shutterstock

25. Contemplate Miami’s indigenous history

What is it: To the unenlightened, this might seem like a patch of grass with some limestone benches but the Miami Circle is actually a national historic landmark smack in the middle of Brickell.

Why go: The archeological dig preserves the history of Miami’s earliest inhabitants, the Tequesta Indians. A local developer discovered the site, which is believed to be somewhere between 1,700 and 2,000 years old.

Don’t miss: Today, it’s a dog-friendly, waterfront park where locals picnic, watch the boats go by and find a peaceful respite from the Brickell commotion.

More great things to do across the globe

Uluru’s ‘Field of Light’
Photograph: Mark Pickthall, courtesy Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016

The 40 best things to do in the world right now

Things to do

Going out and doing things satisfies our need to explore, to learn and to grow (and then to brag about it on social media). Our hope is that the DO List becomes not just your bucket list, but your inspiration to experience and appreciate the corners of magic in the world.

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