October 2019: Our favorite things to do in Miami Beach comprise an ever-evolving and expanding list of parks, museums, restaurants, concert venues, cocktail bars and more. Aside from debuting our beloved Time Out Market Miami over the summer, we’re checking back in here to drop in even more unmissable Miami Beach items—from an NYC-imported barbershop/cocktail lounge hybrid to our absolute favorite spot to catch the sunrise. Pack some sunscreen and consider hopping on a Citi Bike because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
A list of the best things to do in Miami Beach isn’t just something tourists need to study. Locals could use a refresher too. Because while you might not have too much trouble finding the best Miami beaches or the best Miami Beach hotels, it’s considerably harder to find things to do in Miami Beach that are actually fun. It’s tricky out there. There are a lot of tourist traps and underwhelming attractions floating around the area. Luckily, there’s plenty of quality places too. You just have to know where to look. And we’ve already done the looking for you.
Best of the city under one roof
What is it? We clicked our heels together three times and made a wish that all our favorite, highest-rated Miami restaurants would get together in one big room and serve the Miami dishes we find ourselves craving just about every damn day. And guess what? It came true!
Why go? Because Time Out Market actually includes some of the best chefs and concepts Miami has to offer: Kush, Coyo Taco, Norman Van Aken and more. Plus, original Time Out cocktails as well as collabs with local bartenders from Sweet Liberty, Broken Shaker and more.
Best things to do in Miami Beach
What is it? This open-air music venue with a proscenium stage and bench seating is where you’ll catch Miami’s most eclectic bookings—think rare world music acts and Latin jazz brought to you by venue managers Rhythm Foundation.
Why go? With string lights and an ocean breeze above, this place is Miami’s most charming little music venue.
What is it? The one bar you need to visit during your time in Miami Beach. This indoor/outdoor watering hole sums up the city’s drinking culture down to its poolside seating and shareable punch bowls, which change seasonally. Not sure what to sip? Close your eyes and point to the menu. Everything is good.
Why go? The pool is also open to customers, so feel free to grab a drink and take a dip.
What is it? Part of the Faena District, this architecturally stunning event space hosts some of Miami’s best public gatherings. The floor inside looks like a kaleidoscopic and doubles as a roller-skating rink during the free roller blade party that goes down every second Sunday of the month.
Why go? During Art Basel Miami Beach, it’s where you’ll find groundbreaking exhibitions and installations—like the kaleidoscopic floor designed by assume vivid astro focus (avaf).
What is it? The most famous club in South Beach. Last summer’s million-dollar renovation added more LED screens that generate greater light spectacles to highlight its usual star-studded lineup—everyone from Travis Scott and Skrillex to Justin Bieber have held court at LIV.
Why go? For LIV’s famous weekly Sunday night party (LIV on Sunday). You’ll see no less than five famous rappers.
What is it? South Florida’s most famous restaurant, which turned 100 in 2013 and is as much a Miami must-see as Ocean Drive.
Why go? For the seasonal stone crabs (October–May) served with a “secret” sauce, garlic creamed spinach, fried sweet potatoes, coleslaw and hash browns. Joe’s doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared for a horrendously long wait. Or head straight to Joe’s Take Away next door, where you get the same fresh claws at the same price without the long lines.
What is it? The 99-acre waterfront green space features picnic pavilions, offers easy parking and beach access and hosts a fun food truck festival every Tuesday from 5 to 9:30pm. It’s also a tan-line-free zone: Haulover has one of the few nude beaches in the county.
Why go? It’s also home to probably the best of Miami’s few dog-friendly beaches.
What is it? It ain’t a bad idea to spend a day at this historic Miami Beach hotel. Take advantage of the plush cabanas at Nobu Hotel Miami Beach (located within the Eden Roc), which are open to hotel guests and locals during select promotions.
Why go? If you don’t want to drop hundreds on a cabana by the pool, grab a reservation at the Eden Roc’s new(ish) restaurant, Malibu Farm, for fresh healthy food and an unbeatable beach view.
What is it? A perfect post-beach lunch spot with a killer house-made michelada. Like its sibling further south, it boasts organic blue masa tortillas, which are ground daily and stuffed with fresh protein or (if you’re brave enough) grasshopper.
Why go? Don’t skip a basket of crispy totopos with a side of guac. Like, seriously. Don’t. We prefer this location for its charming outdoor patio overlooking the beach, housed inside a restored Art Deco motel (it’s got a decently big bar too).
What is it? The centerpiece of the Collins Park’s cultural campus (which includes the adjacent Miami City Ballet). The recently enhanced and enlarged contemporary art museum includes more exhibition space, four new galleries, a gift shop, café by Thierry Isambert and a new educational facility called the Creativity Center.
Why go? With the revamp came a series of fresh acquisitions and gifts from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In addition to pieces from the museum’s own permanent collection (including Sylvie Fleury’s Eternity Now, 2015 site-specific installation and Ugo Rondinone’s Magic Mountain), it hosts world-class traveling exhibitions—everything from folk art to photography and video installations
What is it? This classic Spanish street functions as an elegant, picturesque cousin to nearby Lincoln Road, replete with Mediterranean flair and adorable sidewalk cafes.
Why go? Following an ambitious restoration project, which completely replaced the street's existing pavement and sidewalk, Española Way has been restored to its original grandeur as a true pedestrian-only strip. You won't find big-box stores nor large hotels, just quaint small shops and cozy, bilevel hotels that whisk you away to far-flung places.
What is it? A super-cool art-house movie theater nestled inside the Carl Fisher-designed former City Hall. Art exhibits hang on the walls, and there may be music, a mini-festival or talks.
Why go? Miami Beach’s European-inspired cinematheque is also the home of the Miami Beach Film Society, which screens independent and experimental movies, along with film classics, to an audience of just 50.
What is it? Louder than the fanfare surrounding Jeremy Ford’s new restaurant was the collective sigh of relief reverberating through the city’s foodie circles—the Top Chef-winning toque who’d left his post at Matador Room months prior was behind the line once more.
Why go? Stubborn Seed is Ford’s first solo restaurant (a second one with Grove Bay Hospitality Group is in the works), and he’s every bit the fixated parent fussing over his new baby—in a good way. The eight-course tasting menu is a sign of a chef who’s poured over every detail of the culinary experience.
What is it? While most activities in this city require driving, Basement solves your transportation woes by grouping your favorite nighttime activities (and even some daytime things) into one super fun location. The underground space offers bowling under neon lighting and indoor ice skating, plus features a full bar and a dance floor.
Why go? Because you will literally find no other club in Miami with ice skating and bowling.
What is it? South Pointe Park occupies the southernmost tip of Miami Beach. There's beach access (with a great view of massive cruise ships rolling in and out of Miami), a walkable pier and also some green space to spread a blanket and chill out.
Why go? If you can wake up early enough (or stay awake late enough), the sunrises from this vantage point are seriously out of this world.
What is it? Another Faena property that is drop dead gorgeous. For all its luxury and richness—literally, drinks will run you upwards of $20—the Faena Miami Beach’s on-site theater has a steady roster of cool acts and shows.
Why go? Don’t have deep pockets? Hit up the theater’s Rock the Mic live band karaoke, which is free to the public.