16 Miami hacks to make your life easier

Our best Miami hacks and proven tricks to save cash, avoid lines, beat traffic and run this town

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/5chw4r7z

When was the last time you stopped and asked yourself: Am I living my best Miami life? If you’re not following our handy list of Miami hacks, the answer is probably no. You’re likely spending too much time stuck in traffic, waiting in line at a South Beach club or paying full price for dinner at Miami’s best restaurants. But not for much longer. With these brilliant shortcuts, insider tips and hush-hush deals, you’ll be running this city like a boss in no time.

Miami hacks

Be a BYOB a badass

Be a BYOB a badass

Lessen the blow to your billfold by bringing your own booze to these spots.

El Carajo International Tapas & Wines

Bring your own or, for $15 corkage fee, pick a bottle from the wine shop.

Ironside Kitchen

Pack your favorite beer or wine and crack it open at no extra charge.

Talavera Cocina Mexicana

The restaurant waives wine-bottle corkage fees every Monday and Tuesday.

Batch Gastropub

Pony up $15 to pop open your preferred bottle of bubbly or wine any day of the week.

Sawaddee Thai & Sushi Restaurant

Pair your pad thai with your wine or beer of choice and never pay a corkage fee. 6968 Bay Dr, Miami Beach (305-866-8111)

Midtown Garden Center

Inside the adorable garden center is Nomade, a tiny café that allows outside boozy beverages. Stop by the liquor store across the street if you’re dry.

Photograph: Unsplash/Elle Hughes 

Get in, dammit

Get in, dammit

After-hours clubs

Peak club time in Miami is usually somewhere between 2 and 5am but Club Space, which is open 24 hours on weekends, offers a reduced cover fee for early birds who arrive before 1am and for the party animals who show up after 8am.

Basement

Miami Beach’s three-in-one nightclub (bowling alley, ice-skating rink, dance floor) gives locals a special token that, all year long, allows them to skip the line and pay no cover. Just show the Miami Beach EDITION concierge your valid ID and ask for the Basement token.

 

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Commute smarter

Commute smarter

American Airlines Arena

Attending a big concert or game here takes meticulous planning, never mind the driving-and-parking factor. Stay sane by catching a Lyft to the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover station (1455 Biscayne Blvd), then ride two stops to Park West (800 NE Second Ave). When the show’s over, retrace your steps to beat the post-event traffic.

Trolley

No bus fare? Ride the free trolley. Go online and find your route and nearest stop on the mainland (miamigov.com/trolley) or in Miami Beach (miamibeachfl.gov/city-hall/transportation/trolley).

Freebee

Have you ever seen a golf-cart–like electric vehicle zipping around South Beach, Wynwood, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove? It’s a Freebee, a neighborhood-specific shuttle that is (you guessed it) free. Hail one or request a ride on the app—but don’t forget to tip your driver.

Venetian Causeway

Everyone’s favorite shortcut to and from Miami is the toll road that crosses the Venetian Islands. Flanked by the MacArthur and Tuttle causeways, it’s often faster than either—except on weekdays from 7am to 7pm, when the bridges go up on the hour and on the half hour. Plan accordingly.

The Shops at Midtown Miami

Don’t burn any more of your lunch break looking for metered parking at the Midtown Miami shops. From noon to 3pm on weekdays, park in the garage and have one of the 30 participating restaurants validate your ticket.

Score free sunscreen in Miami Beach

Score free sunscreen in Miami Beach

Miami Beach Suncare

Forgot sunscreen at home? Use Miami Beach Suncare’s free SPF 30 sunscreen dispensers, which are installed at 50 locations throughout the city, where you need ’em most.

Photograph: Unsplash/Ashley Satanosky

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Learn to salsa dance for free

Learn to salsa dance for free

Ball & Chain

You’ve gotten by on your two-step for long enough. Learn some new moves at Ball & Chain’s free salsa classes, held every Thursday at 9pm. Come solo or bring a partner and follow along with the club’s choreographer and dancers. 

Photograph: Michael Strader Marko

Beat the rush

Beat the rush

The Salty Donut

Beating the line here is a tall task but not impossible. “On Saturday and Sunday at 10am, there’s pretty much no line, and we’re stocked up on fresh donuts,” says bakery cofounder Amanda Pizarro. “Once 10:30am hits, it’s a nonstop line.” 

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Get a gratis haircut

Get a gratis haircut

Wynwood Models

Pay nothing to change up your ’do at one of Wynwood Models’ casting calls. Register online, show up at your designated time and trust your tresses to professional stylists training in new techniques. Bonus: You get a goodie bag of high-end hair products to take home with you.

Photograph: Unsplash/freestocks.org

Shotgun a beer—on the house

Shotgun a beer—on the house

Boxelder Craft Beer Market

Start the weekend early at Boxelder’s back patio: Anyone there at 4pm gets the #FuckYeahItsFriday special: a gratis craft beer to shotgun as fast as you can.

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Nab free coffee

Nab free coffee

Nespresso

Miamians definitely need caffeine to tackle Lincoln Road. Luckily, Nespresso, on the west end of the pedestrian strip, offers coffee tastings to browsing customers. Just put on your best “potential buyer” face.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Yon Garin

Never pay for museum admission again

Never pay for museum admission again

Art lovers should keep handy this list of free days.

Pérez Art Museum MiamiFirst Thursday of the month from 10am to 9pm, second Saturday from 1pm to 4pm. 

Museum of Contemporary Art, North MiamiLast Friday from 7 to 10pm

The Bass: Last Sunday from 10am to 5pm

HistoryMiami: Second Saturday of the month from 10am to 5pm

Miami Children’s Museum: Third Friday of the month from 3 to 9pm.

Wolfsonian-FIU: Friday from 6 to 9pm

Coral Gables Museum: Second Saturday of the month from 1 to 5pm

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU are always free.

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