Miami is filled with so many activities to do and must-see places, it’s nearly impossible to narrow it down to the best. So where do we begin? Whether you’re a tourist wanting to get the best out of the city or a certified local that knows Miami like the back of your hand, you cannot miss these essentials.
You may have done these more than once, while others may be on your bucket list, so it’s time to carry them out:
1. See the view from the top of the Cape Florida Lighthouse
This lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park has stood tall on the shores of Key Biscayne since it was built in in 1825. During a tour, visitors can travel up the 95-foot-high structure and marvel at 360-degree views from its wraparound balcony.
📍 1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
2. Stroll around Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
A National Historic Landmark, Vizcaya is a beautiful bayfront estate with more than 30 rooms and 10 acres of gardens to get lost in. Wander the maze of well-groomed plants, pose by the stained glass windows and look out into the sparkling waters of the bay.
📍 3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129
3. Take a moonlight kayak tour
While there are many kayaking adventures you can take in Miami — clear kayak tours, sunset kayaks and more — a truly unforgettable activity is letting the moonlight illuminate your path as you kayak through Biscayne Bay. These tours depart from the Deering Estate’s boat basin, where you’ll paddle out toward Chicken Key, a seven-acre mangrove island and bird rookery that’s about one mile off-shore. Just don’t forget your mosquito spray!
📍 16701 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33157
4. Jam to free jazz at MOCA
On the last Friday of every month, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami hosts free outdoor concerts at 8 p.m. — one of our favorite free things to do in the city. The performances are rain or shine, and you should head over there early because the galleries are also open by donation from 7 to 10 p.m.
📍 770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161
5. Venture to space at the Frost Planetarium
The Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a must-visit for the ever curious and you can kick your visit up a notch by checking out their 250-seat planetarium. Its vast dome screen and surround sound will transport you deep into the cosmos or through coral reef ecosystems. While the museum displays daily shows in the planetarium, make sure to stop by during one one of their monthly Laser Evenings!
📍 1101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
6. Set sail on a boat party
You don’t need to own a boat or have a friend with a boat to hook you up with having the best day on the water! There are numerous boat rentals and booze cruises that cruise down the bay, featuring live DJs, all the drinks you’d like for several hours and stunning skyline views. Check out a local boat renter, or even set sail from the marina at Bayside Marketplace.
7. Sip drinks atop Miami’s highest rooftop bar
Perched on the 40th floor of the EAST Miami, Sugar is the perfect place to sip a few cocktails and take in unobstructed views of Brickell. Miami has plenty of spectacular rooftop spots and this is one you must go to at least once. Why not check out more of the best rooftops in Miami here?
📍 788 Brickell Plaza #40, Miami, FL 33131
8. Shop for local produce at a weekend farmers’ market
Living in Florida, we have access to some of the best produce anyone could find. That’s why farmers’ markets are a must for Miamians who enjoy getting their food from local sources. Plus, they’re the perfect places to wander around and spend the day in. Some of our favorites are the Coconut Grove Saturday Farmers Market and The Aventura Market, but you can click here for a full list.
9. Sneak into a speakeasy
Spice up your evenings at one of Miami’s hidden speakeasies, often found behind an unsuspecting back door. At several Bodega Taqueria y Tequila locations, there’s a lively lounge behind a “port-a-potty.” In similar fashion, Coyo Taco’s Wynwood shop has a secret speakeasy that opens in the wee hours of the night on weekends. Freddys Speakeasy, a low-lit lounge behind the door in one of the InterContinental Miami’s ballrooms, gives off major Prohibition vibes. It’s up to you to search for them and enjoy a well-deserved cocktail!
10. Attend a concert by candlelight
Held in some of the most beautiful places in the city, these gorgeous Candlelight concerts are truly an experience unlike any other, and you won’t want to miss out. Each show features a different musical theme, from great composers to modern day artists, under the glimmer of candlelight. Check out upcoming concerts here.
11. Watch a movie under the stars at Rooftop Cinema Club
Miami’s massively popular rooftop movie theater shows everything from popular blockbusters to classics on a giant LED screen. You’ll wear wireless noise-cancelling headphones too, so you can live in those memorable cinematic moments. Rooftop Cinema Club can be found atop a South Beach parking garage, perfect for catching a beautiful sunset and dazzling skyline backdrop for the perfect night at the cinema.
📍 1212 Lincoln Rd 6th Level, Miami Beach, FL 33139
12. Order stone crab claws in season at Joe’s Stone Crab
Miami Beach’s legendary Joe’s Stone Crab first opened in 1913 and is credited as one of the best places to get fresh claws, for good reason. Although it is so well known, it can be difficult to snag a reservation so you’ll have to act fast. Stone crab season officially runs from October to May every year, giving us several months to enjoy the tasty crustacean.
📍 11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
13. Cheer on a local team
Whether or not you’re a fan of sports, the buzz and excitement of a full stadium in the Magic City cannot be missed. Grab tickets to a Miami Heat game at the Kaseya Center, cheer on the Marlins at loanDepot Park or put on your Dolphins jersey for a great time at the Hard Rock Stadium. Let your car take you further up north for a Florida Panthers or Inter Miami game, now that Messi is in town, and if college sports are more your vibe, the city hosts the annual Orange Bowl while locals love the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers.
14. Wait in line for cinnamon buns in true Miami fashion
Knaus Berry Farm has earned quite a reputation for its sweet cinnamon buns, so much so that fans usually line up for hours to get their hands on some. And yes, waiting in that line is an essential thing to do. Cinnamon rolls aren’t the farm’s only draw — they also serve delicious milkshakes and you can also pick your own strawberries to take home. The farm opens seasonally from November through mid-April, and keep in mind that they only take cash!
📍 15980 SW 248th St, Homestead, FL 33031
15. Plan a trip to the Everglades
One of the largest national parks, the Everglades sits away from the hustle and bustle of Miami and boasts an array of things to do for the perfect day out in nature. From alligator sightings and birdwatching to attractions like airboat rides, as well as biking down Shark Valley or camping in Long Pine Key, there’s something in the exquisite outdoors for everyone.
16. Explore Wynwood’s ever-changing murals
For all you art lovers, Miami boasts an iconic collection of street art and wall murals by many talented artists to admire. It’s almost as if a new piece pops up in Wynwood nearly every week! Walk throughout the neighborhood and peep the works along the buildings.
17. Have a laugh at Miami Improv
You’re in for an awesome night when you grab tickets to this comedy club next door to Copper Blues in Doral. Many top-tier comedians make their way to perform here while you drink, dine and get some laughs in.
📍 3450 NW 83rd Ave #224, Doral, FL 33122
18. See a show at the Adrienne Arsht Center
You simply cannot be in Miami without watching a performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown. Its stages come alive year-round with artists from around the globe, free community events and more. There’s always a Broadway show, Family Fun Live! series, Free Gospel Sundays performance or other fantastic productions happening, so there’s never a lack of entertainment.
📍 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
19. Sip on a cafecito, duh
We don’t need to tell you this, but it also wouldn’t be a list of things to do in Miami at least once without mentioning cafecito. Ventanitas have become part of the city’s culture, used by locals looking to have the best Cuban coffee around while chatting it up. When cafecito o’clock rolls around, take your pick: Versailles, La Carreta, Islas Canarias or any Latin American Cafeteria.
20. Ride a Brightline train
The next time you want to get around South Florida, secure a ticket aboard the Brightline, which travels to and from West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura and Miami — with Orlando soon to come!
📍 600 NW 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33136
21. Feast at the new Julia & Henry’s
There are dozens of incredible food halls in Miami, but few feature as many spots as Julia & Henry’s — named after Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler. Taking over the former Walgreens building with a unique wine tower rising through the space, get a taste of the city and beyond from 26 food and drink vendors to choose from.
📍 200 E Flagler St, Miami, FL 33131
22. Head to a music festival
Throughout the year, Miami hosts some of the largest music festivals to smaller street festivals — there’s something for everyone to enjoy whether you’re visiting or a local. A few standouts include Rolling Loud and Ultra Music Festival, but you can click here for a full list.
23. Enjoy the best nightlife
In a world-class nightlife destination like Miami, there’s nothing like partying the evening or night away at some of the most electrifying places the city has to offer. Think the likes of MAD Club Wynwood, E11EVEN, LIV, Club Space and its sister club Floyd, Club M2, Hyde Beach and more.
24. Wade through a field of sunflowers
At 30 acres, The Berry Farm in the Redlands is one of the best places to spend your fall, winter and spring. Any trip to this “piece of the country in Miami” is a fun one, especially when it’s all dressed up in holiday decor. Don’t forget to breeze through their sunflower field, perfect for snapping pictures and making memories with your favorite people.
📍 13720 SW 216th St, Miami, FL 33170
25. Stroll down Lincoln Road
Ranked the most visited open-air destination in South Florida, with millions of visits per year, there’s something seriously wrong if you haven’t walked down Lincoln Road. The mile-long pedestrian street is great for jogging, shopping, brunching and dining, taking in the art deco-styled buildings and even catching a show (check out the Colony Theatre).
26. Take a tour of Stiltsville
If you travel to the northernmost part of Biscayne National Park, you’ll see a collection of peculiar houses built on stilts. That’s Stiltsville, or at least what remains of it. It’s an interesting part of Miami’s history, most famously a community of bars and social clubs in its heyday in the 1930s-60s. But extensive damage done over the years by hurricanes and fires left few buildings standing which can be seen today by boat or kayak.
📍 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
27. Putt around Puttshack Brickell
As one of the best date ideas in Miami and a great spot for birthday celebrations, you won’t get bored inside this fun zone. Enjoy exhilarating games of tech-infused mini golf paired with bumping beats, scrumptious food and delectable drinks.
📍 701 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33131
28. Indulge in Smorgasburg’s food market
Foodies can delight in eats from dozens of vendors at Smorgasburg, which has two different locations in the city. Eat to your heart’s content, from steamed dumplings to smoked brisket sandwiches, plenty of plant-based choices and desserts to wash it all down. Find Smorgasburg in Wynwood every Sunday and Saturday from 4-11 p.m. and in Lincoln Road every Friday from 5:30-10:30 p.m.
📍 2600 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127
29. Belt out your favorite tunes at karaoke
One of the best late-night activities to do in any city, it’s especially a fun time in Miami. Sing your heart out to a crowd of strangers at Sweet Caroline in Brickell or your close friends in a private room at 1-800-Lucky. Check out a list of karaoke spots here.
30. Live out your mermaid fantasy at Venetian Pool
The world is your oyster at this Coral Gables swimming pool, the only pool listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1923, Venetian Pool is a picturesque and historic hideaway lined in coral bridges, streaming waterfalls and an enchanting grotto that can be accessed by swimming underwater.
📍 2701 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134
31. Search for restaurants used as filming locations
Why not live out your favorite films or shows after watching them? There are several spots throughout Miami that have been used as film sets, like Ball & Chain making an appearance in Max’s “Father of the Bride” or Jimmy’s East Side Diner being the setting of a scene in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.” Recreate your favorite scenes from the list of restaurants here.
32. Dine at a celebrity-owned restaurant
So you’re wondering what the food actually tastes like at Gekkō by Bad Bunny and David Grutman. Or what mixing brunch and reggaeton is like at Nicky Jam’s La Industria Bakery & Cafe. The city is home to many restaurants owned by celebrities, which you can find here.
33. Attend a concert by the New World Symphony
NWS has a stellar lineup of concerts all season long at their Miami Beach venue, the New World Center. Enjoy their WALLCAST concerts, where you can listen to the music of the live orchestra through a 7,000-square-foot projection wall. Bring a blanket, set up a picnic and enjoy the unforgettable performances.
📍 500 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
34. Fly on the Skyviews ferris wheel
Last on our list goes out to those who are not afraid of heights. At the Skyviews Observation Wheel at Bayside, you can enjoy 360-degree views of Biscayne Bay at nearly 200 feet in the air. Each gondola has glass windows that will let you admire the landscape.
📍 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
35. Soar over the Magic City in a helicopter
If you want to be dazzled by the city from a different angle, a helicopter tour is a must! Day or night, book a scenic ride and gaze down at the wondrous sights of Miami as you’re whisked into the air.
Bonus: Eat at Miami’s favorite hangout, Flanigan’s!