Here comes our ultimate Miami bucket list. We would like encourage you to visit this paradise spot in Florida, so let us provide you with some useful tips. The list of the must-see sites and unforgettable ideas what exactly to do in Miami. Besides just simply enjoying life and going with the local vibe & flow.
“Party in the city where the heat is on, all night, on the beach till the break of dawn “Welcome to Miami”
“Bienvenidos a Miami”. Bouncin’ in the club where the heat is on, all night, on the beach till the break of dawn. I’m going to Miami.” Everyone knows the famous song by Will Smith. And even if it’s not your kind of music, neither you are in the club scene, somehow the vibe is really coming through via the lyrics.
There are many unforgettable moments in our lives. A sunset over South Beach or just driving down the boulevard are definitely one of these. You can love or hate Miami for many reasons. But undoubtedly there is a reason why this coastal metropolis is a major tourism hub for all international visitors, ranking as second in the U.S.A. right after New York City.
- 1 What to see in Miami: The Ultimate Miami Bucket List
- 1.1 South Beach
- 1.2 Ocean Drive
- 1.3 Art Deco Historic District
- 1.4 Pérez Art Museum
- 1.5 Coral Castle
- 1.6 Miami Design District
- 1.7 Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
- 1.8 Wynwood Walls
- 1.9 Bayside Marketplace
- 1.10 Little Havana
- 1.11 Miami Heat Stadium
- 1.12 Freedom Tower
- 1.13 Venetian Pool
- 1.14 Key Biscayne
- 1.15 Jungle Island
- 2 Best experiences in Miami
- 3 Where to stay in Miami
- 4 How to get to Miami
- 5 How to get around in Miami
What to see in Miami: The Ultimate Miami Bucket List
Miami is famously known for its pastel art deco house and architecture as well as its skyscrapers. And obviously also known for its never-ending white sandy beaches and beach lifestyle. The life here is combined with Latin, particularly Cuban, Caribbean & Mexican culture. And sometimes you might have difficulties if you don’t speak Spanish.
South Beach, also nicknamed SoBe, is maybe the most famous neighbourhood in the city of Miami Beach. This area was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed, starting in the 1910s, due to the development efforts of Carl G. Fisher, the Lummus Brothers, and John S. Collins. The latter of whose construction of the Collins Bridge provided the first vital land link between mainland Miami and the beaches. The area has gone through numerous artificial and natural changes over the years. Including a booming regional economy, increased tourism, and the 1926 hurricane, which destroyed much of the area. As of 2010, 39,186 people lived in South Beach.
Before the days of the series of Miami Vice, South Beach was considered a very poor area with a very high rate of crime. Today, it is considered one of the wealthiest and most prosperous commercial areas on the beach. Despite this, poverty and crime still exist in some isolated places surrounding the area.
The famous and highly over-romanticised Ocean Drive is a major thoroughfare in the South Beach neighbourhood of Miami Beach. In July 2020 though, the Miami Beach Commission passed a resolution that banned cars on Ocean Drive to create a pedestrian thoroughfare and increased sidewalk seating. Which, in my opinion, is a very interesting and polemic action.
Many movies, novels, hits, lyrics in our pop culture narrate the once-in-a-lifetime-feeling of driving through South Beach on the Ocean Drive. The all-year-long summer breeze, while driving on the shore your car under the never-ending line of palm trees, observing the bars, the sunset and people around, while listening your music… Well this is exactly that we cannot do anymore. Certainly for the calmness and peace of the locals is a really favourable action. But whoever was looking for this romanticised experience of Ocean Drive, sadly won’t be able to get it anymore.
The Miami Beach Architectural District (also known as Old Miami Beach Historic District and the more popular term Miami Art Deco District) is a U.S. historic district of Miami. The area is well known as the district where Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace lived and was assassinated by crazed C.S. Lewis enthusiast Andrew Cunanan, in a mansion on Ocean Drive. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Sixth Street to the south, Alton Road to the west and the Collins Canal and Dade Boulevard to the north. It contains 960 historic buildings.
This historic district holds the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world, an umbrella term covering a range of styles such as “Streamline”, “Tropical”, and “Med-deco” and built mostly between the Great Depression and the early 1940s. Notably, the architectural movement reached Miami after the city’s real estate market took a downturn in 1925, and the “Great Miami Hurricane” of 1926 that left 25,000 people homeless throughout the greater Miami region.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is a modern and contemporary art museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Founded in 1984 as the Center for the Fine Arts, it became known as the Miami Art Museum from 1996 until it was renamed in 2013 upon the opening its new building designed by Herzog & de Meuron at 1103 Biscayne Boulevard. PAMM, along with the Museum of Science and a City Park which are being built in the area with completion in 2017, is part of the 20-acre Museum Park (formerly Bicentennial Park).
The Coral Castle is an oolite limestone structure created by the Latvian-American eccentric Edward Leedskalnin (1887–1951). It is located in unincorporated territory of Miami-Dade County, between the cities of Homestead and Leisure City. The structure comprises numerous megalithic stones, mostly limestone formed from coral, each weighing several tons. It is currently a privately operated tourist attraction. Coral Castle is noted for legends surrounding its creation that claim it was built single-handedly by Leedskalnin using reverse magnetism or supernatural abilities to move and carve numerous stones, each weighing many tons.
The Miami Design District is a creative neighbourhood, an upscale district of Miami devoted to high-end fashion, innovative design, contemporary art, modern architecture and fine dining restaurants & experiences. The Miami Design District has also become a prime location to explore some of the destination’s most exciting restaurants owned and led by world famous chefs.
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, previously known as Villa Vizcaya, is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune, on Biscayne Bay in the present day Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate also includes: extensive Italian Renaissance gardens; native woodland landscape; and a historic village outbuildings compound. The landscape and architecture were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean Revival architecture style, with Baroque elements. F. Burrall Hoffman was the architect, Paul Chalfin was the design director, and Diego Suarez was the landscape architect. Miami-Dade County now owns the Vizcaya property, as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is open to the public.
Wynwood Walls was established in 2009 by the legendary Tony Goldman of Goldman Properties, as an outdoor museum of international street art. Since the first year’s program-featuring Kenny Scharf, Futura, Os Gemeos, Swoon, Shepard Fairey, and other renowned innovators in street art, Wynwood Walls has become a phenomenon, spurring the creation of murals throughout the Wynwood district. It is now one of the best venues in the world to see the work of leading street artists. Encompassing more than 50 dazzling, cutting-edge murals created by respected street artists from Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States, the Wynwood Walls attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world each year.
The Bayside Marketplace is a two-story open air shopping center located in the downtown of Miami. The banks of Biscayne Bay wrap around the property with the City of Miami marina at its side. It is recognized by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau as the number one most visited attraction in Miami. Different from typical shopping malls, Bayside offers an entertainment experience with live music daily, restaurants, bars, open-container policy, family events, and the picturesque settings that come with a waterfront property. Tenancy at the Bayside Marketplace consist of 140 inline spaces, in addition to over 50 carts and kiosks located in and around the center.
You cannot miss Little Havana! The neighbourhood that once served as a first entry point for Cuban immigrants into their new lives in the U.S. Today it has a slightly hipper vibe, with many sleek shops and more and more eateries appearing along Calle 8 (or in English: 8th Street), the neighbourhood’s main artery. But there’s still plenty of authentic Cuban flavour here, too, from the music, the cigar shops and art galleries to bars and restaurants.
The famous stadium of Miami Heat NBA team, that used to be called and known by everyone as the American Airlines Arena. Today, exactly from June 2021, the signage removed, and was set to te renamed to FTX Arena. A new era, definitely for the fans of Miami Heat. I had the chance to visit this amazing stadium still as the American Airlines Arena. It was an unforgettable experience. I’m excited what the new stadium name brings to the team. Let’s See the Heat hit the court!
The Freedom Tower is located right next to the Miami Heat Stadium, so you cannot really miss it. It’s an iconic landmark and orientation point for locals. Its complete name is: Miami Dade College’s National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower. It has stood as an icon on the Downtown Miami skyline since 1925. It became an emblem of the ideal of America as a democratic haven for those seeking freedom and opportunity. From 1962 to 1974, it served as the Cuban Assistance Center. A crucial help center for hundreds of thousands of Cuban refugees fleeing communism and political persecution. These immigrants would transform Miami. Following several decades of neglect, the Tower was rescued by Cuban American community leaders seeking to honor the Cuban legacy in Miami, who donated it to Miami Dade College in 2005.
The famous Venetian Pool is an aquatic facility unlike any other. It has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. And is still one of the main tourist attractions for those visiting Miami. The pool was created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, where much of the original coral rock was used to border and further accentuate the pool. The 820,000 gallon pool is fed with spring water from an underground aquifer. In the spring and summer seasons, the pool is filled and drained daily. There are two waterfalls that provide a scenic backdrop as well as the cave-like grottos which provide a fun experience for swimmers.
A trip to the Miami area isn’t complete without a stop in Key Biscayne, just a short – and gorgeous – drive from the big city. This island town’s a population (on July 1, 2019) was estimated as 12,846. Key Biscayne lies south of Miami Beach and east of Miami. The village is connected to Miami via the Rickenbacker Causeway, originally built in 1947. Because of its low elevation and direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually among the first Miami areas to be evacuated before an oncoming hurricane.
The Jungle Island due to Covid-19 restriction is temporarily closed. They are using this time to prepare new adventures and promised to come back open soon to the public! Jungle Island, by the way is Miami’s premier entertainment destination. It combines the beauty of Miami’s tropical landscape with a jungle full of extraordinary animals from all over the world. But this is the location where you can find and observe very rare Caribbean species. That are not available to watch nowhere else in the U.S.A. This location provides complete family programs, daily adventures for kids and event venues for parents.
Best experiences in Miami
Where to stay in Miami
It’s worth to know that unfortunately Miami got one of the highest rates of violence in the U.S.A. There are gangs, drugs and all types of crimes towards tourists. Obviously the local authorities try to make the situation better, improve the safety. But it’s still better to avoid the risks and some neighbourhoods too. Especially when you are choosing your hotel. If possible, overall try to avoid the areas of Liberty City, Little Haiti, parts of Miami Riverfront, Overtown. And some parts of South Beach (between 8th and 11th Streets) – at least this is what usually you are being advised with.
For all the rest of the city, especially in the resort areas, you shouldn’t have any big problem. Feel free to use our search bar below or pick one of our recommendations.
How to get to Miami
Miami is one of US’s top destinations for fun in the sun. The good news is that you can travel to Miami right now. The United States reopened in November 2021 to air travelers from 33 countries.
However, remember to follow all recommendations and guidelines as set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even though there are more & more people get the vaccine, the best kind of travel is responsible travel. Especially if you’re planning to visit a destination that receives lots of visitors.
Florida’s towns and neighbourhoods, especially the surroundings or Miami are far from each other. It’s impossible to walk all of those lengthy blocks in the stifling hot and humid Miami weather, so a car is a must. The best is to pick up your car at the airport. Feel free to check your options via our searcher!
How to get around in Miami
The city of Miami covers a huge territory. From the airport to the city center, along the coast, it’s dozens of kilometres. That makes it really impossible for pedestrians to see it all by foot. Luckily there are several ways to explore around.
Maybe the best option for those planning to stay in Miami Beach, Edgewater or Downtown is Uber. It comes cheap and offers many option for individual rides or car-sharing with others.
The Trolley service in Miami is free and accessible to all! You can also use the trolley tracker to view routes and maps. You can also check times, and see exactly where each trolley is on its specific route.
Have you heard of the Scooter Pilot Program in Miami? The City of Miami has approved a pilot program for e-scooters. Allowing nine private operators to offer motorised scooter rentals in Miami’s neighbourhoods. The pilot program provides residents and visitors access to this new transportation option. While allowing the City to evaluate the effectiveness of scooters as part of an overall transportation and mobility program.
We can just easily download the appropriate app from the app stores. To inquire about cost, local employment opportunities, or get other information, please contact vendors below that are participating in the pilot program: Baus, Bird, Bolt, Helbiz Jump, Lime, Lyft, Spin & Wheels.
Wherever you’re staying along Miami Beach, you can rent bikes super easily on the spot, thanks to Citi Bike Miami bike rentals. You’ll find stations all along the waterfront, and a bikable boardwalk that will you take you most of the way. Otherwise you can also book ahead via our discount bike booking system below.
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