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15 Things To Do In The Magic City, Miami - Updated 2020

15 Things To Do In The Magic City, Miami
Crystal
Crystal
Updated

Coined the “Magic City”, the enchantment of Miami is apparent even to the first-time traveller. When the sun rises, the sprawling skyscrapers and tropical forests are basked in a soft glow, a signal for the beautiful wildlife of Florida to start to emerging from their deep slumber. Amidst the bustling nightlife, high-heeled models strut down Lincoln Road with a martini in hand — the party is only just getting started!

Explore the hidden side of Miami with these 15 things to do during your stay.

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1. Explore the Coral Castle

Beautiful sculptures

Can you believe this stone garden was built single-handedly? There’s certainly magic in the creator, Edward Leedskalnin’s hands, who managed to carve out these beautiful stone sculptures. Working tirelessly from 1923 to 1951, Leedskalnin gifted us one of Miami’s most legendary work of art. Till today, art critics are mystified by how a 5-foot tall man could cut through thick coral stones and move them to their present locations. Perhaps you could solve the mystery yourself by paying the garden a visit!

Coral Castle

Address: Coral Castle Museum 28655 South Dixie Highway Miami, FL 33033 (305) 248-6345

Price: from 7 USD

Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 8 am – 6 pm, Friday & Saturday 8 am – 8 pm

Website: Coral Castle

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

2. Tread past the flora and fauna on Jungle Island

Parrots at Jungle Island theme park -Miami -USA-8a
Source: Photo by user Chris Acuna used under CC BY 2.0

Jungle Island is more than just a mere forest, it is heaven for wildlife lovers worldwide! Combined with the natural beauty of Miami’s flourishing landscape, the island has long been home to a wide selection of vibrant animals. The twin orangutans are a popular sight, as are the fluttering colours of over 300 different species of birds. Keep an eye out for cycads, a seed plant with an ancient fossil history as well as the intriguing African Sausage Tree (which really resembles its name!).

Jungle Island

Address: 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail Miami, Florida 33132

Price: from 32.95 USD

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am to 5pm, Saturday & Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

Website: Jungle Island

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

3. Take a dip in the Venetian Pool

Venetian Pool, Coral Gables
Source: Photo by user Matt Kieffer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

What better way to cool down during the sweltering heat than to cannonball into a large pool of pristine water? Up your summer vacation game by opting for the Venetian Pool instead of the overcrowded beaches. The water in this pool isn’t your usual chlorine waves, but rather, it is filled with spring water from an underground aquifer! Sit back and chill with an ice cold martini in hand, as you watch the sun set beyond the scenic waterfalls.

Venetian Pool

Address: 2701 de Soto Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Price: from 5.50 USD

Opening Hours: Varies depending on season. Check the website for more information.

Website: Venetian Pool

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

4. Take a stroll down Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive (Miami Beach) 01
Source: Photo by user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Boasting a delectable selection of picturesque restaurants, take a lovely evening stroll by the swaying palm trees after a filling dinner. Watch as the quiet street transforms into a vibrant nightlife scene when the sun sets. The loud music coming from Nikki Beach Club certainly sets the mood for the rest of the night! For party animals, rave till late with the locals here, or if that isn’t your cup of tea, you can opt instead to set off on a exquisite cruise across the high seas.

Ocean Drive

Address: Eighth Street and Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Varies depending on the shop’s opening hours. Check the website for more information.

Website: Ocean Drive

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

5. Admiring fine art in the Art Deco District

Colourful architecture in the district
Source: Wikimedia

A must-see after you’ve toured Ocean Drive, head over to the Art Deco District nearby for a glimpse into the past. Style Moderne, as it was called, is stylised with clean lines and geometric patterns, and South Beach has since adapted the style by adding a tropical touch to the existing design. The pastel hues add vibrancy and are representative of the local culture here — cheerful, bright, and friendly!

Art Deco District

Address: 1001 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Varies depending on the specific shop. Usually open till late.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

6. Immerse yourself in Cuban culture in Little Havana

LittleHavanOct06CafeteriaArt
Source: Photo by user Infrogmation used under CC BY 2.5

Welcome to Little Havana, the only neighbourhood in Miami where you can catch a whiff of fragrant Cuban Coffee mixed with the slight hint of tobacco from the elderly men rolling a cigar. Amongst intense games of dominoes, visitors will find the festive Cuban and Afro-Cuban music that pulse through the streets are a joy to jam out to. Slow down your pace and enjoy a cup of coffee with the locals, all whilst admiring the colourful murals that decorate the streets.

Little Havana

Address: 1442 SW 8th St. Miami, FL 33135 305/643-5500

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Varies depending on the specific shop.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

7. Shop till you drop at the Bayside Marketplace

Bayside Marketplace
Source: Photo by user Christoph Meyer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s a vacation without some shopping, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Head over to the Bayside Marketplace after you’ve had your coffee fix back at Little Havana, and prepare to brave through crowds of enthusiastic shoppers. Splurge on some of your favourite brands ranging from Crocs, GAP, and Victoria’s Secret — there’s even the Disney Store for the little ones. Be sure to stop by the Miami Walk of Fame to see if you can spot the names of your favourite celebs!

Bayside Marketplace

Address: 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm, Friday - Saturday: 10:00 an - 11:00 pm, Sunday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

Website: Bayside Marketplace

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

8. Tour the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens-8.jpg
Source: Photo by user Steve used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Home to James Deering, the grand Vizcaya house and gardens took reference from the beautiful 18th century Italian Mediterranean architectural style and adapted it to create a sprawling paradise that looks as though it was taken directly out of a painting. Explore the well-maintained secret garden, where you can catch a moment of peace within the high stone walls with the nearby flora and fauna as your silent companion.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Address: 3251 South Miami Avenue Miami, FL 33129

Price: from 6 USD

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm except Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Website: Vizcaya

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

9. Say hi to Lolita, the friendly killer whale at Miami Seaquarium!

Miamiseaquariumlolita
Source: Photo by user Averette used under CC BY 3.0

Ain’t she a cute one? Aside from Lolita, there are plenty of exotic sea creatures living at the Miami Seaquarium. Consider trying your hand at being a trainer for a day by signing up as a participant. Aside from getting up close to your favourite mammals, you get to feed the curious otters and teach the penguins how to spiral down the waters, too! Sign up for the “Dolphin Encounter” package if you’d like to give the dolphins a friendly handshake or a little peck on their cheeks — they love it when you give them attention! Editor’s Note: Although killer whales are an attraction offered in Miami, Trip101 strongly advocate against supporting captive killer whales.

Killer whales were raised in the wild, and in the wild is where they belong. Born to swim across long distances, keeping them captive in a tank actually stresses them out which in turn leads to occasional accidents happening with their trainers.

Most captive killer whales have been separated from their parents since young. Please try to avoid supporting killer whale attractions and watch them in their full glory where they truly are home — the vast ocean.

Miami Seaquarium

Address: 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, FL 33149 (305) 361-5705

Price: from 34.99 USD

Opening Hours: 10 am - 6 pm

Website: Miami Seaquarium

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

10. Tour the Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Antique collection of trains
Source: Photo by user

Locomotive fans, rejoice! Here at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, you can gawk at some of your favourite train models up close. Boasting a wide collection of over 40 railcars, you just can’t pass on a chance to hop a ride on some of the oldest and most historical trains in the world!

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Address: 12450 SW 152nd Street Miami, FL 33177-1402

Price: from 6 USD

Opening Hours: 11 am – 4 pm

Website: Gold Coast Railroad Museum

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

11. Take a day off at South Beach

Pristine waters

Shimmy into your best swimsuit, because it’s time to hit the beach! Grab a drink from the nearby bars as you watch the sun set beyond the horizon. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of some of your favourite actors, as the pristine sands of South Beach are known to have been graced by famous models and glamorous celebs looking to chill out!

Miami Beach

Address: Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Price: Free

Opening Hours: No closing hours

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

12. Spend a relaxing afternoon in Bayfront Park

Julia Tuttle Statue Bayfront Park Miami
Source: Photo by user Phillip Pessar used under CC BY 2.0

For a relaxing morning, pack your picnic basket and head over to Bayfront Park, where the sprawling landscapes make for a unique al fresco dining experience. Complete with scenic biking trails, bring your family along on a day out by taking in the stunning natural wonders that Miami has to offer.

Bayfront Park

Address: 301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132, USA

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 7 am - 10 pm

Website: Bayfront Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

13. Admire the stunning Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower at night 04, Miami, FL, September 2016
Source: Photo by user Agd1960 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The light that illuminates this historical emblem is a sight that cannot be missed when you’re in Miami. In 1962 to 1974, the tower was used to host Cuban refugees and till this day, remains a symbol of faith and acceptance that is proving to be even more important in this time, where hate crimes and racial slurs seem to have caused a division in a country known for its diversity.

Freedom Tower

Address: 600 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132, USA

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 12 pm to 5 pm, closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Website: Freedom Tower

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

14. Exploring the Design District

Bulgari At Design District Buckminster Fuller Fly's Eye Dome
Source: Photo by user Phillip Pessar used under CC BY 2.0

Craving a little luxury in your life? Pay a visit to the Miami Design District, where minimalistic art forms decorate the neighbourhood with their grace. You can even indulge in some light shopping with a large selection of high-end fashion brands, or pick up a new couch for your living room with the many designer labels specialising in architecture and furniture.

Miami Design District

Address: 3841 NE 2nd Avenue Suite 400 Miami, FL 33137

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 11 am – 8 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm

Website: Design District

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

15. Take a look around the quirky Wynwood District

Wynwood Arts District (Distrito de Arte Wynwood)  | 160221-3869-jikatu
Source: Photo by user Jimmy Baikovicius used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Aside from housing the infamous naked Donald Trump statue, the Wynwood District is famous for its spirited street art that adds a pop of colour to the rustic buildings. Perfect for art geeks, indulge in a day of gallery hopping with a wide array of over 70 antique shops, galleries, and picturesque bars for you to choose from.

Wynwood District

Address: Downtown Miami

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Varies from store to store

Website: Wynwood District

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Miami, South Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Miami, South Florida, US

The magic is all around you!

Don’t be enticed to stay in by the comforts of your new hotel room — head out for a breather, because magic is in the air! With so much to see and do in Miami, can you really be staying in bed all day? Put on your sturdiest shoes and start exploring!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Crystal is a curious child, who loves exploring Singapore in her free time with a camera in hand. Her street photography subjects often include unaware strangers, uncommon architecture, and...Read more

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