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Miami Beach Classical Music Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Miami Beach Classical Music Festival/Dennis OdaImmersive Space Symphony Concert at Faena Forum

The best things to do in Miami for locals and tourists

Pride events, summer festivities, iconic sightseeing and more of the best things to do in Miami right now

Falyn Wood
Virginia Gil
Written by
Falyn Wood
Contributor
Virginia Gil
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June 2024: Miami is heating up (literally) and we've got tons of June events in Miami to ensure you get out and make the most of these last, fleeting spring days. Of course, there's so much to explore in the Magic City no matter the weather (be sure to bookmark our guide to Miami's best things to do on a rainy day now that those summer storms are starting to roll in). Below, check out all of our picks for the best things to do in Miami right now. 

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. Aside from dabbling in our famous nightlife and exploring Miami's best bars, no trip to the Magic City would be complete without scoping out the booming culinary scene and our award-winning Miami restaurants. In between sunbathing, swimming and sipping cocktails, check off these essential Miami experiences, a mix of year-round attractions, seasonal events, cultural staples and exciting one-offs vetted by our expert editors. By the way, this list is curated, as always, but isn’t ranked—we just couldn’t choose favorites.

Best things to do in Miami

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

What is it? The annual Pride celebration on the mainland returns for a fifth year, standing defiantly in the face of heat waves, tropical storms and gay flight to Fire Island. Unlike Miami Beach Pride, Wynwood Pride happens in June, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community alongside the rest of the world during World Pride Month. The concept was to create a more music and performance-driven atmosphere in the heart of Miami’s booming arts district that appealed to different ages and underserved groups.

Time Out tip: Events for this year span across weekends in June, including a special edition of First Fridays at ICA Miami. Stay tuned to their Instagram page for the latest.

  • Things to do
  • Film events

What is it? This annual festival in the heart of Miami Beach features five days of screenings, celebrity interviews, workshops, panel discussions and networking events celebrating Black television and filmmaking.

Why go? As in years past, the 28th ABFF will host a packed schedule of Hollywood premieres, an indie showcase, a comedy night, an awards show and an epic closing gala on Saturday. Events take place primarily across Miami Beach Convention Center and New World Center.

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  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • South Beach

What is it? This annual, month-long music festival platforms over 200 classical musicians across Miami Beach for a series of free public performances and ticketed events, including three full opera productions and three symphonic concerts.

Why go? This year features the return of its popular Fourth of July orchestra and fireworks show at Lummus Park and an immersive space symphony concert at Faena Forum backdropped by 360-degree live projection-mapped visuals, among other unique offerings.

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Coconut Grove

What is it? Miami’s number one attraction (at least on Trip Advisor) 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 is home to some of Miami’s most Instagrammable floors and staircases and makes for the most fetching photo backdrop in the city (just ask the quinceañeras and brides roaming about). Its inimitable collection of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries is truly breathtaking. 

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  • Things to do

What is it? With a collection of works from such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella and Ana Mendieta, not to mention some high-caliber traveling exhibitions, this relatively young museum (formerly Miami Art Museum) is worth a visit.

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.

  • 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? Winter is the absolute best time to visit Fairchild; the breezy weather just beckons you to explore every inch of this sprawling tropical land. 

Don't miss: Jurassic Garden, a new exhibit in which life-size dinos hold court amid a collection of cycads, ferns, conifers and all sorts of flowering plants that date back to primitive times

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  • Attractions
  • Beaches

What is it? Not all beaches are created equal. That becomes abundantly clear when you live near one of the world’s best and then try leaving. In Miami, it’s actually hard to find a beach you won’t like. Still, we all have our favorites, and different occasions call for different beaches. Yes, we have that many. From sunbathing meccas to shady spots for picnicking, we've compiled our picks for the best beaches in Miami.

Why go? Looking to chill in nature? Perhaps try a beach on Key Biscayne. Wanna strip down to your birthday suit? Haulover (the nude section) is your destination. Ready to party? We probably don’t have to tell you which beach is best for that. 

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  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • Omni

What is it? This is Miami's premier performing arts center. 

Why go? The striking postmodern architecture alone makes it worth a visit. But the fact that it’s home to Zoetic Stage, the Florida Grand Opera and the Miami City Ballet, and occasionally hosts the New World Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, doesn’t hurt either. Not sure where to start? Explore our critic's picks for the best Miami theater and shows to see this season.

Don't miss: Arrive to your show early for a meal (or just drinks and apps if you're short on time) at Teatro, the Arsht's recently debuted on-site restaurant that's high on drama (and Latin American-inspired flavors).

  • Restaurants
  • American creative

What is it? When it comes to dining on the water, Miami has a bit of everything: Lively dockside dives, glamorous Mediterranean-inspired lounges and wellness-focused options abound—not to mention storied hotspots where celebrities (both legit and aspiring) arrive via yacht.

Why go? From seafood towers and $1 oysters to dog-friendly decks where piña coladas flow like water, Miami has that and more. If you’re not seizing every opportunity to indulge at one of Miami’s many waterfront restaurants, you’re doing something wrong. Click through to scope out our full guide to Miami's best waterfront dining.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Downtown

What is it? Frost Science is an aquatic-driven museum that occupies four buildings—the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium and the North and West Wings— and features year-round exhibits and is a delight for curious minds of all ages.

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

Don't miss: Running through October 6, the new Journey to Space exhibit explores human space travel with a hands-on, climb-aboard experience that brings to life what it takes to live and work in space. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • East Little Havana
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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, earning La Trova the No. 24 spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 awards.

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

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  • 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: Chime Garden, the tranquil new wind chime installation that's one of the largest of its kind in the world. Go on the weekends so you can also catch the Lincoln Road Antiques and Collectibles Market, which happens every other Sunday. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Allapattah

What is it? A massive 50,000-square-foot art space dedicated to the production of experiential mediums.

Why go? With so many so-called Instagrammable installations floating about, it’s hard to get excited about anything that bills itself as experiential —but that’s not Superblue Miami, one of the city's best immersive experiences. Featuring brand-new works by some of the art world’s most creative installation artists like Devlin, James Turrell and teamLab, the groundbreaking venture challenges perceptions, heightens the senses and generally wows.

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  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • South Beach

What is it? America’s only full-time orchestral academy, the New World Symphony grooms graduates from conservatories for careers in the symphony and other high-profile posts. Concerts range from classical to experimental, and the quality is high: guest teachers have included Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman and past guest conductors have included Sir Neville Marriner and Paavo Järvi. Founder Michael Tilson Thomas of the San Francisco Symphony often lends a hand too.

Why go? Since 2011, the symphony’s home has been a Frank Gehry-designed showstopper in SoundScape Park, where they regularly hold free, outdoor WALLCAST concerts and movie screenings. 

  • Nightlife
  • Pop-ups and food events
  • Little Haiti / Lemon City

What is it? A live music venue and cultural space in Little River that is possibly the best place to find refreshing, new, global and up-and-coming artists in town. 

Why go? This is where you go when you want to come as you are and just dance—not to EDM, not to reggaeton (OK, sometimes to both)—but to refreshing sounds like Afro-Caribbean funk, Brazilian disco, salsa, boogaloo or electro cumbia. 

Time Out tip: Zey Zey is currently the home base of Little River Flea, one of Miami's most popular weekend vintage markets. Check Instagram for dates.

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  • 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.

  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • Park West
  • price 3 of 4

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

Why go? If you’re in the mood for going all out, E11even has you covered with a full nightlife experience—think dancers, bottle service and tons of big-name musical performances. 

Don’t miss: The people-watching at Giselle, the club's extravagant rooftop restaurant. Just sit back and take it all in.

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  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs

What is it? An afternoon spent wandering the isles of Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods sounds fun, but nothing beats a dewy Saturday morning picking through organic produce and testing out kitchen-made salt scrubs as the Florida sun warms your shoulders. We’ve rounded up the best farmer’s markets in Miami, from year-round staples to options with air conditioning, too. 

Why go? For nearly every neighborhood in Miami, there is a farmers’ market, and nothing says “I support local” like giving small farms and mom-and-pop businesses the chance to peddle their homegrown and homemade goods. Oftentimes, you’ll find the produce is fresher (and cheaper) than grocery stores, and packing a picnic blanket to lay out on after a shopping trip makes for a fabulous family or dog-friendly afternoon.

Don't miss: Free yoga under the banyan trees on Saturday mornings at Legion Park.

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Ashley Brozic
Contributor
  • Things to do

What is it? From visits to the best Miami attractions and spending the day getting splashed by some marine life to day trips that put them face-to-face with wild animals, there’s plenty to keep children entertained with our guide to Miami's best things to do with kids.

Why go? These are actually activities the whole family will enjoy—not just the little ones in the bunch. Rather than boring your kids with Miami tours, or trekking to kid-friendly Orlando for a quick escape, treat them to one of these local experiences they’ll never forget.

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  • Things to do
  • Redlands
  • price 1 of 4

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. An old schoolhouse and coral rock building recall South Florida’s pioneer life, while the charming gift shop sells spices, jams and jellies, unusual seeds and aromatic teas, plus cookbooks on tropical fruits and vegetables.

Why go? The park is also the site of recurring events like an annual orchid festival, blues concerts and a summer fruit festival where you can really stock up. 

Don't miss: This month, the park hosts its annual Summer Fruit Festival. If you can't make it, there are free guided tours offered daily. Learn about the fruits as you eat them—visitors are allowed to try anything that's already fallen from a tree.

  • 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, bicycle and via boat.

Don’t miss: A sunrise in the everglades by booking a room at Flamingo Lodge, the only hotel inside Everglades National Park.

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  • 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: Breezy rooftop cocktails above it all at the chic new Esmé Miami Beach hotel. 

  • 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. Plus, The Cleat is just steps away for a sunset cocktail with your toes in the sand.

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  • Things to do
  • South Beach

What is it? More than 800 buildings from the 1930s and early ’40s survive in the city’s historic Deco District, between 5th Street to the south and Dade Boulevard to the north. 

Why go? Amazingly, these buildings were almost destroyed by developers in the early 1970s. Their survival is due to a handful of activists who, in 1976, founded the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). With their help, a number of the best Miami hotels, and even some South Beach clubs, have maintained their beautiful façades and historical designation.

Don't miss: A few of our favorite Art Deco buildings, including the Celino Hotel, the Carlyle and the historic Miami Beach U.S. Post Office. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Allapattah

What is it? Don and Mera Rubell’s eponymous museum houses over 7,700 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.

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  • Things to do
  • Palmetto Bay

What is it? Built by James Deering’s similarly well-off brother Charles, the vast property served as his winter escape and 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.

  • 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 spring.

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  • 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. 

  • Things to do

What is it? Dubbed “Miami’s original neighborhood,” Coconut Grove is an eclectic waterfront enclave with a rich history as the oldest continually inhabited neighborhood in the city. Beyond its recent real estate boom, Coconut Grove is a pretty little neighborhood with some of Miami’s most beautiful architecture and pockets that are full of character.

Why go? One of our favorite neighborhoods in the city, Coconut Grove ranked number 29 on Time Out’s list of the 51 coolest neighborhoods in the world in 2022. It was the only Florida neighborhood to make the list.

Don't miss: Catch the sunset at Monty’s, a lively dockside raw bar with strong tiki drinks and picturesque views of the marina. For dinner, Ariete (New American) and Los Félix (Mexican) both earned nods in the Miami Michelin Guide.

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  • Things to do

What is it? Contrary to what any rap or reggaeton music video might have you believe, life’s not all about flexing on a megayacht around here. In Miami, we get down with watercraft in all their forms. On the beach, in the bay and dotting the canal and river-crossed landscapes in between, you can find rental options aplenty spanning everything from pontoons and Miami boat tours to those delightfully zippy jet skis. 

Why go? Because it's hot, and zipping around on the water sounds like a really fun way to cool down. On the jet ski front, we’ve vetted some primo locales for zooming through Miami’s glistening waters, as well as go-to companies for ensuring the rental process goes smoothly. When your next Miami jet ski adventure calls, we’ve scouted out who to turn to and where to go for an amazing time on the water, plus tips on pricing, tours and more. 

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Jesse Scott
Contributor
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brickell
  • price 3 of 4

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: Come before the crowds to catch an absolutely stunning sunset over the Miami skyline. Stick around for the lively after-dinner crowd, or bop around Downtown after wetting your beak to find less pricy drinking options. Reservations are definitely recommended. Looking for more rooftop action? Check our full guide to Miami's best rooftop bars.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • West Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Shopping
  • Designer
  • Design District
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What is it? Our 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 you can shop luxury fashion labels including Emilio Pucci and Giorgio Armani. 

Why go? There's always something happening at the District. 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 admission to the district's main art museum, the ICA.

Don’t miss: The food! From Michelin-starred Cote Miami and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon to Contessa, Tablé and Sushi Yasu Tanaka, some of the best meals in Miami are within walking distance here.

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  • Shopping

What is it? What do tourists like more than exploring South Beach, scarfing down Cuban sandwiches or basking on the best Miami beaches? Of course, it’s shopping in a Miami outlet mall. Vaguely lost-looking visitors shuffle through the perennially bottlenecked corridors of these bargain emporiums, loading up their empty suitcases with just about every sale item imaginable—from clothes to housewares to accessories.  Occasionally, it’s locals who begrudgingly schlep across highways and massive parking lots and dodge swarms of sale shoppers all in the name of a good deal. 

Why go? Are outlet malls in Miami pleasant? If you can avoid going on a weekend, they can be. Will they save you loads of money? Always, so we visit them anyway. Click through to 

  • Things to do
  • North Miami Beach

What is it? Built in the mid-1100s near Segovia, Spain, this monastery was occupied by Cistercian monks for 700 years before it was converted to a granary and stable. In 1924, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters and outbuildings and had the structure dismantled and shipped to the United States. It was intended for his California coastal mansion, Hearst Castle, but Hearst had financial problems, so most of his collection was sold at auction, and the stones remained in a Brooklyn warehouse for 26 years before finally being purchased and reassembled at a cost of $1.5 million.

Why go? Today, this Romanesque structure is an anomalous oasis in a noisy area. Things to look out for include a life-size statue of the Spanish king Alfonso VII (the monastery was originally constructed to commemorate one of his victories over the Moors) and a couple of attractive round stained-glass windows.

Time Out tip: The monastery is a favorite spot for weddings – so much so that it’s often closed to the public, especially on Sundays; call in advance before setting out.

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  • Things to do
  • Miami
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

  • Shopping
  • Thrift stores

What is it? Yes, Miami can be over-the-top bougie. But there’s also plenty to experience here on the cheap, like a day sunbathing on one of Miami’s famous beaches or scouring for treasures at the best thrift shops in Miami. For the latter, peruse our full guide to the best flea markets in Miami.

Why go? If it’s time to give your wallet a little break or the thrill of a great bargain just gets you off, look no further. We’ve hunted down all of Miami’s best flea markets so you can get your fill of guilt-free shopping.

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