During a week you have time to see and do many things in Miami. Of course its beaches are essential destinations, but I also recommend you to stroll through its streets and get to know the different neighborhoods, which make up small cities, to understand the multiculturalism of this place.
Little Havana, Little Haiti, South Beach... Each district is like a small treasure of Miami. If you follow my advice and organize your trip well, rest assured that you will be able to get to know every corner and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Take note of all my suggestions and get ready to discover the art, culture, gastronomy and history of this city.
Day 1: A tour of downtown Miami
For your first day in Miami, I suggest you to get to know the Downtown district. During the tour you will pass under tall skyscrapers but you will also have the opportunity to visit more cultural sites, such as the Freedom Tower. To finish, nothing like an NBA game.
Start the day by visiting the Downtown business district
There is no better place to start your trip than Downtown Miami, specifically Brickell Avenue. This street is right on the bay and can be easily reached with the Metromover, a free train that runs throughout the area.
The Downtown business district was the scene of scenes from the series Corruption in Miami, so be prepared for a jungle of large glass and metal buildings, as if it were New York's Wall Street. If you want a panoramic view of this area, go to Brickell Key Bridge.
Take a stroll through Bayfront Park
Just a 20-minute walk from Brickell Avenue, also in Downtown, is one of Miami's best parks: Bayfront Park.
Your second destination of the day is perfect for walking through the green of the park while you see the blue of the sea in the distance. Along the way you will cross the Miami River at the Brickell Ave Drawbridge; take the opportunity to take a picture of the mouth of the river in the bay.
Bayfront Park is also full of monuments, as well as large trees and tropical plants. On your walk, I recommend you approach the Torch of Friendship, in the northeast corner of the park, which is always lit to commemorate the brotherhood between various Spanish-American countries.
Stop for lunch (and some shopping) at Bayside Marketplace
Hungry? Just take a 5-minute walk from the north gate of Bayfront Park to Bayside Marketplace.
This shopping area is not only a good place to do some shopping, but also to eat at one of its terrace restaurants; the views from there towards the marina and the bay are unbeatable.
When you're done, don't leave without taking a stroll through the more than 150 stores there. Don't think that everything will be big clothing chains, because these are mixed with artisan shops.
Get to know the influence of Cuban culture in Miami through the Freedom Tower
After lunch I recommend going to the Freedom Tower.
You will arrive in about 5 minutes from Bayside Marketplace and there you will find a yellowish building. Its design is somewhat different, as it has a Mediterranean style, not at all similar to the skyscrapers around it.
Before being a government space, it was the headquarters of the Miami News newspaper and now there is the Cuban Legacy Gallery. I recommend you go inside (approximately 10€) to learn how the Cuban population and culture have influenced South Florida.
Experience the NBA atmosphere at a Miami Heat game
Nothing better than ending your first day in Miami by buying tickets to a Miami Heat game (they cost about 150€), the city's basketball team.
They play at the FTX Arena, which is only 5 minutes away from the Freedom Tower. The experience of watching a live NBA game is unique and quite a spectacle.
The FTX Arena has three floors and, when full, can hold almost twenty thousand people. Basketball is one of the biggest sports in the country (and the Miami Heat are one of the best teams), so be prepared to see big plays and experience the excitement of the event firsthand.
Day 2: Discover the artistic side of Miami
Your second day in Miami will be all about art. You will start with the most alternative to finish with the most eclectic; both, each in its own way, represent the culture of the city.
Stroll among the buildings of the Design District
Start your second day in Miami's Design District, a neighborhood located between Biscayne Boulevard and Florida Road. What you will see during your visit: an area with buildings designed by the best international architects.
A good option to get from one to the other is to rent a bike (approximately 25€) during the morning and tour the Design District at your leisure.
Stroll through Miami's Design District and be amazed not only by the stores, but also by the art galleries and creative studios. All are housed in buildings of great architectural and creative value, such as the famous Moore Building.
Contemplate the graffiti and murals of Wynwood Walls
A must-see stop in Miami's Design District is Wynwood Walls, the birthplace of street art. Less than a 10-minute bike ride down NW 2nd Ave, you'll find this neighborhood full of murals and graffiti by local and international artists.
Art is the main protagonist of the walls of Wynwood, which forms a great street and alternative gallery since its founding in 2009. The best part is that it is constantly being renewed, as the graffiti changes every 6 months, like collections in a museum.
Cross to South Beach and discover its beaches
There is always something to see or do in South Beach, so it's your next stop. To get there you will have to take the car and cross MacArthur Causeway or take the 120 bus from Wynwood.
It is an area that looks like something out of a movie but where you can also take one of the best food tours in Miami; this way you will get to know the cultures that coexist here through the palate.
When you get to South Beach you will see that there are many people, as it is one of the most visited (and most fashionable) places in the city. It is also perhaps the most representative of the Miami you have in mind: white sand and colorful lifeguard booths.
Enjoy Miami's best Art Deco in South Beach
At the southern end of South Beach is the famous Art Deco district, perfect for continuing your artistic tour of Miami. All the buildings in this area were designed between the 1920s and 1940s, so they have a very geometric and ornate style.
In addition to its bright and pastel colors, the many neon lights will catch your attention. In order not to miss anything, my advice is to take a good tour to discover the best Art Deco in Miami.
Stroll along the Ocean Drive boardwalk to end the day
Before ending the day and going back to your hotel to rest, take advantage of being in South Beach to go to Ocean Drive, the boardwalk.
There is always an atmosphere there, the restaurants are full and Latin music plays inside the bars at night. It is a perfect place to have dinner and then have a drink.
If when you arrive the sun has not yet set you will see many people skating or strolling, but when the night comes the colored lights turn on and the party starts.
Day 3: Get to know the Everglades and the Coconut Grove neighborhood
The third day will start with an excursion to the Everglades, where you will get in touch with Florida's wildest nature. Back in Miami, you will have the whole afternoon to explore one of the most charming neighborhoods: Coconut Grove.
Take a trip to the Everglades
One of the best recommendations I can make is to take a trip from Miami to the Everglades in South Florida. Discovering this National Park for half a day is almost essential. In total there are more than six thousand square kilometers full of swamps, vegetation and exotic animals. The entrance fee is about 25€.
Upon arrival you will be greeted by a wide expanse of tall grasses swaying in the wind. When strolling through the area, remember to wear mosquito cream and keep your eyes peeled for flamingos and other subtropical species.
Ride a hovercraft to see the crocodiles of the Everglades
Everglades Park is known for its wildlife, especially the number of American crocodiles. The best way to see them, and to tour the swampy terrain of the park, is aboard a hovercraft. I highly recommend booking an organized tour that includes this activity (total cost is approximately 29€), as it is a unique experience.
The hovercraft allow you to enter the park completely. Without them, there are areas that are inaccessible by water, and it is difficult to see caimans and crocodiles. The best thing is that the tour is with a specialized guide who will explain everything about the fauna and flora.
Walk the streets of Coconut Grove and take a break for lunch
On your way back from the Everglades I suggest you go to Coconut Grove, a very quiet neighborhood perfect to relax after such an exciting morning. It is located south of Miami, next to the bay.
Once there, the first stop will be the Coco Walk, an outdoor mall full of stores and restaurants.
You could say that Coconut Grove started as a hippie neighborhood and still maintains some of that character, although it has been modernized. After lunch I encourage you to stroll around, buy something vintage or go up to the upper floors of Coco Walk, where there are often street musicians.
Visit the oldest house in Coconut Grove: The Barnacle
There is also room for history and art in Coconut Grove; I encourage you to take a 10-minute walk to The Barnacle, the oldest house in the neighborhood, which is famous for being surrounded by greenery and blending in with nature. You can visit the whole complex for about 2€.
This place is a state park in itself and is the work of architect and botanist Ralph Monroe, who always defended the environment. Its interior is also interesting, as it has a collection of everyday objects from the 19th century.
Cruise Miami Bay at sunset
After a busy day, how about a cruise around Miami? Several boats leave from Coconut Grove and sail around Biscayne Bay. In addition, at sunset, watching the day fall over the city makes the experience even more special. The trip costs approximately 30€.
From Biscayne Bay you will be able to see several important buildings of Miami, such as its mansions of that characteristic coral tone. Don't worry because on board you will be able to listen to commentaries explaining what each place is.
Day 4: Discover Little Havana and Cuban Culture
Surely after three days in Miami you have realized the influence that Cuban culture has there. This will be more evident to you after getting to know Little Havana, the quintessential Hispanic neighborhood of the city located between the river and Brickell.
Learn about Cuba's history on 13th Avenue
On 13th Avenue, one of the main arteries of the neighborhood, is the Cuban Memorial Plaza, where you can see different monuments commemorating Cuban heroes. It is a quite peaceful area and perfect to start your tour of Little Havana.
In the Cuban Memorial Plaza there are several monuments honoring different personalities of Cuba, such as the poet José Martí, and historical events such as the Bay of Pigs invasion. I recommend a stroll along the avenue as you make your way up to your next destination: Domino Park.
Play dominoes at Domino Park
Domino Park, a 10-minute walk from the Memorial, is the meeting place for older Cubans, the first ones to arrive in Miami. Here they usually meet to play dominoes, an activity they imported along with many other cultural elements.
Beyond the always crowded game tables, Domino Park, which is actually called Máximo Gómez Park, always hosts interesting debates and discussions about the current situation in Cuba.
Taste Cuban food on Calle Ocho (Eighth Street)
Domino Park is located on Calle Ocho, the nerve center of Little Havana and the street that crosses the neighborhood from end to end. It is a wide avenue where there is always a good atmosphere, demonstrating the open and optimistic character of Cubans. Its buildings are full of colorful tiles and street art.
In Calle Ocho there are places that maintain the Cuban culture through gastronomy, so I advise you to enter one of them to try the famous recipe of Moros y Cristianos (rice with beans). Of course, finish the menu with a Cuban coffee, which will give you the energy you need to continue with the day.
Discover the stars of Miami's Walk of Fame
Also on Calle Ocho, right in front of Domino Park, is the Walk of Fame. Like Hollywood, stars have been placed on its floor, only here you will only find names of Latin American singers or actors.
Some of the names that will appear under your feet are those of Thalia or Celia Cruz. The tile design features palm trees to emphasize pride in the artists' origins.
End the day at a Miami Marlins baseball game
One of the most successful sports in the United States is baseball, which is also part of Cuban tradition. In fact, some of the great players in the league have been and are of Cuban origin, so I suggest you end the day by buying tickets to see the Miami Marlins, the state team.
The Miami Marlins play in the stadium of the same name. It is only a 20 minute walk from Calle Ocho, so it will be easy to get there. To complete the experience, buy a hot dog at one of the stands and dine while you watch a few home runs.
Day 5: Take a tour of nature and Miami's most authentic neighborhoods
Your fifth day in Miami includes some of the most exotic visits but also allows you to discover famous places such as Key Biscayne or Little Haiti. Of course, the distances to be covered are a bit long, so I recommend renting a car or taking public transportation.
Visit the district of Little Haiti
North of Miami is Little Haiti, a district full of color thanks to the immigrants from this island. When you arrive you will feel like you have entered a different world, as they have managed to preserve their local traditions very well. The good thing about going in the morning is that you may be able to enter a church where they celebrate mass with Caribbean rhythms.
One of the churches I recommend you to go to is the Church of Notre-Dame, which is somewhat small but gathers many people during mass. At the end, you can go to the Caribbean market on Second Avenue and 60th Street.
Venture into the rainforest of Jungle Island
From Little Haiti to Jungle Island, your next destination, is more than an hour's walk, so I recommend going by car (15 minutes along Second Avenue) or by public transport (buses 9 and 10 make the trip in just 40 minutes).
Entering Jungle Island, which is like a large tropical rainforest, costs approximately 45€.
Jungle Island was the project of Austrian Franz Scherr, who focused on bird shows. Over time this zoo was expanded and now there are animals as curious as the son of a tiger and a lion or twin orangutans.
Organize a picnic in Crandon Park
When you leave Jungle Island you will have to take the car to go, in about 25 minutes, to Crandon Park, which is located on the island of Key Biscayne. If you prefer, you can take the Biscayne bus line, although it will take you more than an hour. Once in the park, which is actually a beach, sit down for a picnic under the palm trees.
When you finish, take the opportunity to rest for a while and take a swim in its crystal clear waters. I especially recommend the southern part, since the northern part has stronger waves and is where the surfers go.
Take a hike through Bear Cut Nature Preserve
In Crandon Park there are two very interesting places on a natural level. One of them is Biscayne Nature Center, an interpretive center to learn about the flora and fauna of the island, and the other is Bear Cut Nature Preserve, where I suggest you take a short hike before the end of the day.
Walking through Bear Cut Nature Preserve is to do it near the sea but among lush vegetation, so it is a perfect setting. The route is fairly flat, so they are not complicated routes. My advice is to start at the visitor center and continue along Crandon Boulevard to the end (it's just over half an hour in total), right where the big lighthouse is.
Climb to the top of the Biscayne Lighthouse
The Key Biscayne Lighthouse, called Cape Florida Lighthouse, is the oldest building in South Florida. You can climb its more than 100 steps to see Miami from the top. The climb is free but you will have to pay for access to Bill Baggs Park (approximately 8€).
From the almost thirty meters high of the Cape Florida Lighthouse you can take amazing pictures of Miami, especially of the bay and its buildings, and the vegetation of Biscayne Island.
Day 6: Take an excursion to Key West Island
One of the best excursions you can do from Miami is to Key West (Key West), a small island south of Florida and close to Cuba. From the capital it is about a four-hour drive and, although you can go on your own, it is advisable to book an organized tour (approximately 100€) to include all the activities and trips.
Make a first stop at Southernmost Point
Key West is where Florida ends and the Caribbean begins. Specifically Southernmost Point, where the waves hit the hardest.
If you go as soon as you get to the island you will find fewer people, as it is the most photographed place in the area. Nearby you will also see that there is a hut where years ago was the telephone cable that connected Key West with Havana by telegraph.
Visit Ernest Hemingway's House-Museum
From Southernmost Point you can walk 7 minutes to the Ernest Hemingway House-Museum. I'm sure you've noticed how relaxing and special Key West is, well, the famous writer thought exactly the same, and that's why he spent so much time there. Today you can visit his former home (admission is approximately $14).
Key West is where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works. The building looks like it was built with colonial stones and has an incredible outdoor garden.
Eat the best seafood at the Key West Pier
Leave Hemingway's house behind and walk 20 minutes to the other end of the island, further north, just the closest point to Cuba. In this area is where the Key West docks are, which have been converted into entertainment spaces and restaurants where you can eat good seafood.
If seafood is not your favorite dish, you have other options, although I always recommend ordering fresh fish. In any case, you can also find other types of food with a marked Caribbean flavor. One of my recommendations is Garbo's Grill, which is a very famous food truck.
Dive into the waters of Key West
One of the activities I recommend you do on your trip to Key West from Miami is snorkeling. From the docks there are usually boats that take you to the best spots and they lend you snorkeling equipment so you can see the coral reefs and the rest of the underwater life in this area. The price is approximately 50€.
Diving in Key West is a unique experience to get closer to a world that many times we don't know: the one that is underwater. The tropical flora and fauna in this part of the world are unique, so don't miss the opportunity to get close to them in a safe and respectful way.
End the day with a party in Mallory Square
When you get back from snorkeling, you're sure to want to sit back, relax and take it all in. One of the best places to do so is Mallory Square, Key West's most famous and busiest pier. There you can have a drink while watching the sunset.
Later, when the sun has gone down, musicians, jugglers and other street performers will arrive to liven up the atmosphere. Join this daily "Sunset Celebration", which started in 1960 and is still going on today, it's amazing!
Day 7: Visit the Coral Gables neighborhood and museums
Your last day in Miami still has many surprises in store for you: you will discover one of the most luxurious and well-kept neighborhoods and you can also relax in one of the most spectacular swimming pools in the world. To finish, nothing like saying goodbye to the city with a helicopter ride.
Discover the Mediterranean architecture of Coral Gables and the famous Biltmore Hotel
South of Miami, specifically on Anastasia Avenue, is the Biltmore Hotel. Think that this neighborhood was born with the idea of being "beautiful", so all the houses there are Mediterranean-style mansions and The Biltmore acts as the ultimate exponent of this style.
Although staying at the Biltmore Hotel is not an option (the night costs about 800 euros), you can go for a walk around the resort, full of lush and well-kept tropical vegetation, and observe its tower, which mimics the Giralda of Seville.
Visit the Coral Gables Museum
A little less than a half hour walk from The Biltmore is the Coral Gables Museum, your next stop. The building is made of coral stone on the outside and inside has collections of architecture and decorative arts. Admission is free.
The Coral Gables Museum is a large complex consisting of the old Police and Fire building and other outdoor spaces. In addition to viewing the temporary exhibits, I recommend visiting the old jail cells and taking a closer look at the decor throughout the interior.
Take a dip in the impressive Venetian Pool
Feel like taking a break? Nothing better than the Venetian Pool, a large pool of waterfalls, palm trees and coral rock formations located just a 20-minute walk from the Coral Gables Museum. The entrance fee is approximately 13€; it is well worth it to access this oasis in the middle of Miami.
Venetian Pool is the only pool in the world that is also a World Heritage Site. No wonder, since it dates from the early twentieth century and is built over a quarry. You can go there for a dip and a slice of pizza in the cafeteria before heading out for the day.
Head to the Lowe Art Museum and discover art from around the world
When you finish enjoying the Venetian Pool I suggest you go to the Lowe Art Museum, which makes a world tour of art from Roman times to the present.
To get there I advise you to go by car (about 7 minutes by Granada Boulevard) or by bus (line 56 takes about half an hour), as it is almost an hour walk. The best thing is that access is free.
The Lowe Art Museum, which is part of the University of Miami, aims to show the creativity of humans through centuries and centuries of history. There are pieces from pre-Columbian, Greek and modern times, including some signed by great artists such as Picasso, Tintoretto or Gauguin.
Finish the trip with a helicopter ride over Miami
For your last day, what better way to say goodbye to the city in style? Never better, because you will close the trip with a helicopter ride over Miami. For approximately 200€ you will be able to see the bay from above, as well as the entire skyline and the neighborhoods you have walked all week.
Surely after seven days in Miami you have realized how huge it is, but when you are in the helicopter you will be able to check it better. From the heights you can say goodbye to South Beach, Key Biskayne or Bayfront Park.
How to get around Miami
Miami is a very large city, to the point that you could say that it is made up of small cities (its neighborhoods). Getting around it can be complex, although you have different options.
- On foot: especially during the day to go from one place to another within the same neighborhood.
- By public transport: you have several options, although only the bus and the elevated subway circulate throughout the city. The price of a single ticket costs approximately 2€, although you have daily passes for about 5€ and weekly passes for 25€.
- Renting a car for the whole week costs about 900€, although you have to add the price of gasoline (about ) and parking fees (about 4€). Another option is to rent the car only on the days you will need it for an excursion; the price is lower (about 100€).
- On the Big Bus tourist bus: you can get off at any stop you want, get to know the area, and get back on.
A week in Miami is a lot of fun, so make sure you make the most of it and let me know how it goes when you get back!