Things to do in Miami: Attractions and places to visit

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When you hear the word Miami, you immediately have wonderful pictures in front of your eyes: miles of fine sandy beaches, palm trees, Caribbean flair and, of course, sunshine. And so is the reality in the most famous city of the Sunshine State Florida!

Miami is a year-round destination with a subtropical climate and endless possibilities. In addition to sunbathing, swimming and water sports, Miami also offers a whole range of other highlights that are perfect for a round trip.

Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Miami.

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1. South Beach

The ideas most people have of Florida almost always refer to Miami Beach and more precisely to the southernmost part of it – South Beach, or SoBe for short. The extensive, fine sandy beach is very well maintained and with its lifeguards on the colourful high seats corresponds perfectly to the photos in travel catalogues.

The motto here is “see and be seen”. Perfect bodies and beautiful, expensive cars are displayed from morning to night. During a Florida vacation this coastal section belongs to the program on at least one day.

2. Art Deco District

Miami has the second largest Art Deco quarter in the world. Around 1000 buildings in the typical pastel colours with the characteristic style elements of the 1930s and 1940s can be found here. Especially at Ocean Drive one Art Déco house follows the other. Most of the buildings were built after a hurricane destroyed almost the entire city in 1926 and had to be rebuilt.

Many houses show maritime elements and resemble steamers or ocean giants in their form. Curved lines and airy courtyards are very common. A walk through the district, rediscovered by the television series “Miami Vice”, should not be missing on any visit program.

3. Little Havana

Miami is colorful and rich in contrast, characterized by American, European and Cuban influences and reminds in many places strongly of the Caribbean. This is no coincidence, because more than 50% of the inhabitants come from Central or South America and many of them speak little English even after decades. Most of the immigrants come from Cuba and attach importance to a very close cohesion among themselves.

This is particularly evident in the Little Havana district. It’s colourful and lively – there are great restaurants and a wide range of cultural activities. A stroll through the streets with the exotic smells and the omnipresent music is a very special experience. Little Havana is one of the most exciting sights in Miami.

4. South Pointe Park

South Pointe Park is perfect for anyone looking for a place to rest in between. Although the spacious complex on the southern tip of Miami Beach is very popular at any time of day, there is always a relaxing, quiet atmosphere. In the morning hours there are many athletes to be seen here: Joggers, yoga groups and people with their personal trainers. The view from the viewing platform onto the Government Cut Canal, through which the cruise ships set off on their long voyages, is unique.

Miami has the largest cruise port in the world and between 4pm and 5pm it’s “rush hour”. The promenade is located directly on the Atlantic Ocean and leads to the marina, so that extended walks along the sea are also possible. Those who travel with children will appreciate the many play and sports equipment that can be found everywhere.

5. Bayside Marketplace

For most tourists, shopping is definitely part of a holiday in the USA. Miami has a large number of shopping malls, but the Bayside Marketplace is certainly one of the most beautiful. Due to its unique flair, the “Bayside” is without doubt one of the most popular sights of the city.

Located directly on the ocean and airy, it offers a very successful mix of shops, cafés (including the Hard Rock Café Miami) and open air snack stands. Especially at sunset and in the evening it is worth to enjoy an exotic cocktail or another refreshment in one of the many bars.

6. Vizcaya Museum

The castle-like Villa Vizcaya was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the style of the Italian Renaissance and is located in the suburb of Coconut Grove. It was privately owned by an American industrialist who spent the winters in warm Florida. The house is one of the oldest buildings in the city and is now a national historical monument.

The more than 70 salons and rooms were furnished by the former owner with European furniture and art objects from different epochs. The villa, which is more likely to be in Tuscany, is surrounded by an extensive park in which there are still various staff and farm buildings. Especially recommended is the magnificent orchid garden.

7. Miami Zoo and Jungle Island

Tiergartens are always extremely popular destinations, especially for families with children. In Miami you have the choice between the zoo and the “Jungle Island”, which is located on a small island called Watson Island but can be easily reached by car. Miami Zoo is the only zoological garden in the United States to be located in the subtropical climate zone, providing ideal living conditions for many exotic animals from Africa, Asia and Australia. Of the more than 500 animal species in the area, at least 40 are considered threatened with extinction. There is a great commitment to their protection and conservation.

Alternatively, holidaymakers can also spend a relaxing day in Jungle Island. The most popular attractions here are the monkeys, some of which run free, and the many free-flying parrots and cockatoos. Also a rare example from the crossing between lion and tigress, a so-called liger, is to be seen here. For the kids there is of course a petting zoo. If you like animals, you can spend some wonderful hours in both parks.

8. Wynwood Art District

The creative heart of the city beats in the Wynwood district between Miami Beach and the airport. About 20 years ago it was a run-down area with abandoned warehouses and drug dealers on every corner. Art has saved this part of the city from decay and over time a very active scene has emerged. More than 70 galleries, studios, museums and fairs have settled here.

An open day is held at regular intervals during which interested visitors can take a look behind the scenes. But especially impressive are the many huge graffitis and wall paintings that turn a walk into a visit to an open-air museum where one does not even know where to look first. Since many cafés and restaurants have also settled in the neighbourhood in the meantime, the physical well-being is also taken care of. Wynwood is a must for every Miami vacationer interested in art.

9. Sea-Aquarium Miami

The Miami Aquarium is another Miami attraction for young and old. Among the numerous specimens of the fascinating underwater world are the most diverse species of turtles, crocodiles, alligators, fish in all sizes and colors and fin-footed animals such as seals, walruses and the gentle manatees.

The park’s entertainment programme includes various interactive exhibitions and shows with dolphins and orcas. The highlight for many visitors is swimming with dolphins, which is possible here. Cooling off on hot days can be found on the large water playground, which of course is one of the main attractions for children.

10. Lincoln Road Mall

The Lincoln Road Mall is not a shopping center, but a very nice, car-free shopping street with shady trees and fountains that reminds more of Europe than the USA. Many tourists and locals stroll from shop to shop, take a break in one of the many cafés or restaurants and watch the passers-by.

Almost all American brands have a shop on Lincoln Road and so you have the opportunity to buy many souvenirs for your home. The farmers’ markets, which always take place on Sundays, are also an experience.

More things to do and activities for your Miami holiday

Best time to visit Miami

We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Miami:

January, February, March, April, November, and December

You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Miami.

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