As any well-known local knows, the best things to do in Miami go beyond sunbathing on the beach, although frankly, it’s always a good idea. Of course, Miami is famous for its Art Deco architecture, for the great Cuban influence that can be seen and enjoyed in Little Havana and it is not surprising that the host city of the most important art exhibition, Art Basel Miami Beach, has a vibrant cultural scene.
Between sunbathing, swimming and drinking cocktails (or craft beer), make sure to make time for these noteworthy experiences that you should not miss.
1. VENETIAN POOL CORAL GABLES: Part of the National Register of Historic Places and one of Coral Gables’ main tourist attractions, the Venetian Pool, was built from a coral rock quarry in 1923. This 820,000-gallon spring water oasis is a summer hotspot , so expect crowds if you visit.
2. EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK: A trip to Miami is not complete without touring the Florida Everglades in a hydrofoil: it is the best way to admire nature. The Everglades is home to endangered, exotic wildlife, with humans inhabiting it for 15,000 years. Here you can also immerse yourself in the practices and cultures of the Miccosukee tribe and try another type of food, Ayeee, crocodiles are not only in the water!
3. SCHNELBY WINERY- Homestead: What better way to enjoy the outdoors than renting or driving your convertible south to Homestead. Approximately one hour from Downtown Miami this area known as Redland is the entrance to the National Parks, but it is also home to Schnebly Winery. A unique experience for wine lovers, Schnelby produces wines with tropical fruits. Think mango, lychee, guava, coconut, passion fruit … even avocado! Tours of the winery and the brewery are available by appointment. On Friday and Saturday nights, Schnebly organizes parties with live music.
4. FAENA DISTRICT: A new arts district, Faena District is catalyzing a cultural renaissance in Miami, creating vibrant connections between the North and South Beach community. The Faena district extends north on Collins Avenue from 32nd and 36th streets, between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Creek. The District challenges the convention while promoting a lifestyle of cultural inclusion that benefits an entire community. It is the result of a collaboration between some of the most talented and creative minds including: Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, Studio Job, Juan Gatti, Alberto Garutti, Damien Hirst and more. Within the District is Faena Theater, a spectacular 150-seat cabaret, offering live musical performances, as well as the original production of Faena, C’est Rouge! DATE NIGHT APPROVED!
5. VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDENS Built in 1916 as a winter house by industrialist James Deering, this Italian Renaissance-style villa and its 10 hectares of formal gardens, filled with European antiques, was the first Mansion in the city, and is now open to the public. If you have time, visit his second villa, the well-known Deering Estate.
6. HOMESTEAD MIAMI SPEEDWAY: For adrenaline lovers, the Homestead Miami Speedway of South Dade is an exciting attraction throughout the year. Once a month, Fast Lane Friday is a legal endurance race down the 1,760-foot fast track and is open to anyone over 18 with a valid driver’s license. You can also sign up for high-performance coaching by professional car drivers at the wheel of your own car or by renting a selection of high-speed sports cars such as Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari GT or Audi R8 in the afternoon. If you just want to sit down and watch others do the high-speed driving, there are also 280 active annual racing days so you can cheer those drivers. But if you are like my husband, look at the guy in the picture above striking a pose next to the car, and love Driving Experiences, then make sure to check out their webpage for the next one, it’s coming up at the end of October.
7. ZOO MIAMI: At Zoo Miami, visit 2,000 mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles along three miles of trails. Featured animals include tigers, elephants, zebras, bears, lions, gorillas and chimpanzees. Feed flamingos, pelicans, giraffes and rhinos. Capture the Cheetah training session and the Meet the Zookeeper chats. For your little ones, go to Wacky Barn, Wildlife Carousel, Humpy’s Camel Rides, playgrounds and water play areas. If you are all day I recommend renting a bicycle or go to the Safari Tram Tour or Monorail.
8. MUSEUM PARK: A 30-acre urban public park in downtown Miami just across from Biscayne Bay and home to the Perez Art Museum (PAMM) and the newly constructed Frost Science Museum. PAMM is the flagship museum of Miami, which presents the international art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, the state-of-the-art facility offers 200,000 square feet of space for indoor and outdoor programs. The Frost Science Museum, one of the few institutions in the world that has a cutting-edge planetarium and an aquarium, the 250,000-square-foot facility sits on four acres of land overlooking Biscayne Bay surrounded by the dazzling skyline from Downtown Miami.
9. WYNWOOD and WYNWOOD WALLS: Ten years ago, Wynwood was a fully industrial area that gave way to the graffiti movement, making Wynwood one of the largest and most respected outdoor art and graffiti districts in the world. The Wynwood Walls are a complex of buildings that occupy 2 blocks in the district and in addition to its walls has a garden with sculptures and art studios. A series of weekly guided tours are available and the second Saturdays of the month Wynwood has its famous Art Walk.
10. BOAT TOUR: When you live in a city on the water, there is no better way to see everything it has to offer by navigating through and around it. You don’t have a boat? Don’t let that stop you! Here in Miami, there are many boat tour operators and yacht charter companies that offer everything from educational and adventure tours to dazzling yacht boats perfect for a day trip in Biscayne Bay.
Hope this list helps you re-discover Miami if you are a local, and if you are visiting, make sure to add these to your list of places to visit. Remember that Miami has a moody tropical weather so make sure to always have your sunblock handy and that mini umbrella in your bag.
Use my customized map to get to every place mentioned above: