Places to visit in Miami
Welcome to Miami as the biggest City in Southern Florida, Miami has shrugged off its old image and has emerged as one of the most vibrant and desirable worldwide holiday destinations.The cultural diversity and sub-tropical climate, along with the Forbes Magazine award in 2008 for being “America's Cleanest City”, have combined to bring Miami back into the public consciousness.
There are enough attractions and places to see that you could spend a year in Miami and not get around them all, so we have tried to list the “Must-see” things, separating them into specific categories depending on different interests.
Miami has an excellent public transport system which interconnects all of these places to make getting around easy, with buses, rail and a state of the art elevated people mover so you get to see the sights on the way!
Places to visit
Miami boasts not only the largest zoo in Southern Florida, but one of the first free range zoos, and the only sub tropical zoo in the United States with over 700 different animals interacting in carefully controlled habitats. Open 365 days a year and with very reasonable entrance fees this is a must see for young and old. Find it at 12400 SW 152 St. Miami.
The Holocaust Memorial
Opened In February 1990 on South Beach as a tribute to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, the Memorial has a beautiful sculpture garden and Garden of Meditation. Admission is free and it is open 365 days a year. Located at 1945 Meridian Ave. Miami Beach.
Everglades National Park
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the compelling Everglades National Park. America’s largest subtropical wilderness is home to a captivating amount of plant and animal life. Take a guided tour and spend some time in the Visitor Centre to learn more about the hundreds of plant and bird species that call the Everglades home. You might even see an Alligator! With Camping grounds and hiking trails make sure you take some comfy shoes and a fishing rod. For more information see the National Park Service website. The Everglades Visitor centre can be found at 40001 State Road, 9336, Homestead.
Just minutes from South Beach, Jungle Island is home to a host of exotic wild animals including the largest crocodile in the world. You will also find tigers and parrots. Open all year round Jungle Island also hosts weddings and birthday parties. A great day out for all of the family can be had at 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami.
Open 7 days a week from 9.30am to 6pm, Miami Seaquarium is a 38 acre tropical paradise. Feed the seals and sea lions in their dedicated feeding pool and meet the manatee, Florida’s state mammal .A whole host of sea dwelling beasties including whales and sharks can also be spotted, and for an additional fee you can fulfil your dream to swim with dolphins. Have a great day out at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami.
Kampong Tropical Gardens
Located at the southern end of Coconut Grove, this private botanical garden is home to a huge collection of plants from all over the world. Take a leisurely walk around the grounds at 4013 Douglas Rd. Coconut Grove.
Biscayne National Park
With 99% of the park underwater, the best way to see Biscayne National Park is by taking one of the fabulous glass bottom boat trips from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. Be sure to take along a camera as you will see fish and plant life that can be found nowhere else in the United States. Or, if you prefer to get a little wet, you can snorkel the coral reefs, keeping an eye out for the sea turtles and manatees that live in the area.
Consisting of 36.53 acres of grassy park in the heart of South Beach, Flamingo Park is the home of recreation in Miami. The swimming pool and a water playground are surrounded by every kind of court and pitch imaginable, including tennis, basketball and handball. There is also a soccer pitch, a baseball field and a gym to keep even the most active families busy. Prepare to sweat at 999 11th Street.
Oleta River State Park
As Florida’s largest urban park, Oleta River is the place to go for outdoor pursuits. With activities ranging from canoeing, kayaking and swimming to mountain biking along the miles of trails, this park has something for everyone. There are cabins and a campground for overnight stays and picnic tables and grills for the day trippers. Find peace and tranquillity away from the bustle of city life at 3400 NE 163rd St. North Miami.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
With over 75 shipwrecks scattered along the coastline, Miami is one of the top five worldwide destinations for scuba divers. The crystal clear water of the John Pennekamp marine sanctuary offers divers and snorkelers the opportunity of seeing North Americas largest living coral reef. Plenty of companies offer dive trips, to enter the underwater world with South Beach divers head to 850 Washington Ave. Miami Beach.
Skydive over Miami
From sea to sky, Miami offers an incredible array of activities, and one of the most unforgettable experiences is the Miami Skydive. From beginner’s tandem dives to those for experts, you can leap out of a plane over the Everglades, or see Southern Florida from the Keys all the way up to Miami. Take your life into your hands at 28730 S.W 217 Ave. Homestead.
Deep Sea Fishing
Ever caught a 90 lb Tarpon? Well, here is your chance. There are companies up and down the coast offering various experiences. You can fish for sharks, grouper, marlin, or even shipwrecks. Whatever your preference there is something or somebody to accommodate you. The night fishing option also offers spectacular views of the illuminated Miami skyline. Get your tackle out at 1635 N. Bayshore Drive.
Rent a kayak.
For a spectacular view of Miami and the nearby Venetian Islands, why not rent a kayak? Whether you are a pro or a beginner the friendly staff will show you the ropes before sending you on your way. You can find fun for all the family and a reasonably priced day out at 1771 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach.
Miami Art Museum
With a focus on collecting and exhibiting art from the 20th and 21st centuries, the museum holds a large collection of modern and contemporary paintings by predominantly American and Cuban artists. There is plenty to occupy children and the entrance fees are reasonable.
Find it in the heart of Downtown Miami’s Cultural Center Plaza on 101 West Flagler Street, Miami.
The Wolfsonian Museum
Located in the heart of the Art Deco district the Wolfsonian Museum is home to a wide range of artefacts , primarily of North American and European origin. It is also host to many travelling exhibitions so be sure to check what they have at any given time. Located at 1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach.
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida
One of the largest private history museums in the country, The Historical Museum houses a permanent gallery of items donated by Florida residents. It also plays host to a number of travelling exhibitions. Learn about the origins of the State, the growth of Miami and the history of Southern Florida through the interesting exhibits. The museum is also the starting point for many walking tours of the city. Find it at 101 W. Flagler St. Miami.
Miami Science Museum
Probably the pick of the bunch, entrance to the Science Museum also includes entry into the Planetarium and the Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured birds of prey. The Museum itself is aimed at both children and adults, and there are a whole host of activities and exhibits to keep the little ones happy for hours. The Planetarium is home to the Weintraub observatory which houses two Meade telescopes; incredibly powerful machines that on a clear night let you look further into space than you ever dreamed of. With cheap admission and guaranteed entertainment we would highly recommend a visit to 3280 South Miami Avenue, Miami.
Tours are operated by many groups throughout Miami. One such tour, operated by Tours by Locals, is the walking tour. This great tour lasts between one and a half and two hours and focuses on Ocean Drive, taking in the Hotel Victor, the Hotel Carlyle and the Versace mansion. This excellent company also offers bike and Segway tours which last two to two and a half hours and include Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road, South Pointe Park, the Holocaust memorial and the Bass Museum. Tours leave from the Art Deco Center which can be found at 1001 Ocean Drive.
Little Havana Food Tour
This tour is all about sampling traditional Cuban cuisine. It takes you into the heart of Little Havana to visit family owned restaurants and allows you to taste your way through history and uncover the stories behind the different foods. The tour takes you up Calle Ocho where you will meet local artists, watch artisans hand roll cigars and take a look into Domino Park. A must for foodies.
Little Haiti Tour
Miami Cultural Tours
An opportunity for you to immerse yourself in Haitian culture through exploring the local shops, listening to Roots music and learning about voodoo dolls and Haitian cuisine. This wonderful little corner of Miami will welcome you with open arms.
Art Deco Walking Tour
Uncover the history of South Beach dating back to the 1930’s, spot the exteriors used in the filming of the 1996 movie “The Birdcage” starring Robin Williams and discover the stories behind the real "Miami Vice". This tour takes you inside some of Miami's historical buildings and gives you a closer look at their architectural design.
The Miami Children’s Museum
Open every day except holidays, this museum is an absolute must. It is an incredible attraction packed with fun things to make, learn and play with.
With art projects, cookery classes, arts and crafts, dance classes and even a time machine to take you back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, this museum appeals to the child in all of us. Have a great day out at 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami.
Amelia Earhart Park
It isn’t often you come across a farm in an urban area but that’s exactly what you find in Amelia Earhart Park. The Bill Graham farm village is where people young and old love to pet farm animals. This huge park also boasts two lakes, a picnic area, pony rides, a children’s island and a country store. Pet a pig at 401 East 65th Street, Hialeah.
Fly A Kite.
Have some simple, innocent fun flying a kite in Haulover Park. Generally accepted as the best place in Florida for kite flying, there are regular kite festivals and people come from all over the world to take part. With free parking, a kite store and a concession stand, everything is in place for a great day out. Fly down to 10800 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
A great day out for all the family, Boomers has the largest wooden rollercoaster in Florida and plenty of other things for a fun filled, busy day. Tire the little ones out on the bumper cars and boats, stock karts, go karts, mini golf, batting cages and laser tag and then let them run riot in the game room while you take a breather. Prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep at 1700 NW 1st Street, Dania Beach.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Built by James Deering in 1916, this 10 acre Italian Renaissance style mansion set in a sub tropical forest is registered as a National Historic Landmark. The gardens are open to the public all year round and the museum hosts a wealth of travelling exhibits. Check their website to see current exhibitions. It is worth a visit simply to walk around the grounds and marvel at the magnificent facade of the old building. Located at 3251 South Miami Ave.
Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall.
With more than 350 brand name stores and outlets spread over 2.5 million square feet of retail space, this is the 4th largest Mall in America. With all of the usual suspects, including Gap, Nike, Bloomingdales and a Cheesecake Factory, you might need to pencil in a whole day just to look around it. Take your life into your hands and go in the run up to Christmas to 12801 W Sunrise Blvd. Sunrise.
Coral Gables Venetian Pool
The Venetian Pool at Coral Gables has the distinction of being the only swimming pool included in the National Register of Historic Places. Fed by underground wells the pool is completely chlorine free and contains a Spanish fountain, observation towers and waterfalls that cascade into a beautiful lagoon with rock caves. Come and relax at 2701 De Soto Boulevard, Coral Gables.
Everglades Airboat Ride.
The ultimate in sightseeing tours, the Everglades Airboat Ride is an exhilarating way to see the Everglades from the water. Keep your eyes open and your camera at the ready for alligators, exotic birds, turtles, snakes and the tropical fish indigent to the area. The Everglades Safari park also has wildlife shows and walkways through the jungle so you really feel like a part of nature. Start your adventure at 26700 SW 8 Street, Miami.
South Pointe Park.
Having recently undergone a 28 million dollar refurbishment, South Pointe Park is the place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of South Beach. An ideal place to sit to watch the sunset, or the Cruise ships heading in and out of the Port of Miami, this beach is a firm favourite for families and couples. Chill out at 1 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach.
Known as SoBe to the locals, this was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed in 1910. A beautiful but busy beach surrounded by hundreds of nightclubs , restaurants, boutiques and hotels. This is where the beautiful people hang out and come to be stared at. The beach runs alongside Ocean Drive which is responsible for the tourist’s image of South Beach.
Hobie Beach/ Windsurfer Beach
Looking for a place to windsurf that also has great views of the skyline of Downtown Miami? Here it is. Looking for a place with bike and walking trails, water sport rentals and nearby parking? Again, here it is. Hobie Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists who congregate to watch the hundreds of windsurfers who come out in their droves at the first breath of wind.
Miami Beach, North and Central
Popular beaches with all of the amenities; concession stands, lifeguards, beach chair and umbrella rentals. The powdery sand underfoot and the crystal water is as inviting as any Miami beach.
Best known for the “Clothing Optional” policy at the north end of the beach. However Haulover Beach is so much more, frequently mentioned on Travel Channels as one of America’s top beaches with an array of activities from beach volleyball to impromptu surfing competitions arranged by the locals. With its white sands, clear blue waters and proximity to Haulover Park this beach summarises what Miami is all about, fun, family and beauty.