1. People watch on South Beach
From shopping to partying, this area of Miami Beach is well known for being trendy and full of unique shops, upscale hotels, and cool cocktail bars. Spend some time just strolling up and down the incredibly photogenic Ocean Drive along the beach, admiring its famous pastel-colored Art Deco architecture. South Beach is more expensive than other areas, but it’s worth checking out while you are there. It’s the quintessential Miami experience!
2. See the art in Wynwood
Wynwood is a former industrial neighborhood that has evolved into a cultural hub/trendy hotspot for graffiti and street art, as well as trendy shops, cool restaurants, chill cafes and coffee roasteries, artisan breweries, and art galleries. Keep an eye out for the Wynwood Walls, a collection of 40 murals from some of the world’s best street artists. Admission to Wynwood Walls costs $12 USD, or $17 USD including a one-hour guided tour. The Museum of Graffiti, the first museum in the world dedicated to this art form, is also located in the neighborhood (admission is $16 USD).
3. See Coral Castle
Coral Castle was created by Latvian-born Miami resident Ed Leedskalnin as a monument to his lover who cancelled their wedding the day before they were meant to get married. Ed channeled his heartbreak into hand-carving 1,1100 tons of coral rock, creating various monuments and sculptures over the span of 28 years. He originally started building in Florida City, yet when a subdivision was planned nearby, he bought land further away, single-handedly moving the heavy coral carvings to Homestead (where Coral Castle is now). It’s a bit of a trip from downtown, but well worth the time. Admission is $18 USD.
4. Explore the Everglades
Everglades National Park has 1.5 million acres of swamps, prairies, and sub-tropical jungles. It is one of the most unique and largest public parks in the United States. Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage site, it is home to 14 rare and endangered species including the Florida Panther, American Crocodile, West Indian Manatee, and more. Over 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles also live in this unique environment. Admission is $30 USD per vehicle. Taking an airboat is a popular activity to do here. Tours cost around $25 USD.
5. Visit Little Havana
In the mid-1960s, an estimated 300,000 refugees fled Castro’s Cuba, with most landing and settling in Miami, creating Little Havana, Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, almost overnight. Today, over 1.2 million Cuban-Americans live in Miami, with Little Havana centering around “Calle Ocho” (SW 8th Street). Eat in one of the little restaurants and bakeries, walk the vibrant streets, enjoy a Cuba Libre (rum and coke) or Café Cubano (espresso shot sweetened with brown sugar), or get in on some salsa dancing. watch my vlog below…