7 Top Things to Do in Miami

by  Danielle Contray | Updated on Feb 17, 2023

The Best Things to Do in Miami

You won't be disappointed if you fly into Miami a day or two before your cruise (a good strategy, especially in winter when flight cancellations and delays from cities to the north and west are most common). The city's vibrant art, culinary scene, and world-famous architecture will give you lots to explore. Or, you could just lie on the beach until it's time to embark: We won't judge you either way. 

Here, the seven best things to do in Miami.

1. Explore Art Deco South Beach

Whether you stroll along Collins Avenue or barhop on lively Ocean Drive, you'll be surrounded by “tropical deco” architecture. South Beach is home to more than 800 buildings built mostly in the 1930s and 1940s with distinct white-and-pastel exteriors and neon signage. (The Art Deco Welcome Center on Collins Avenue offers great tours.) Plus, many buildings are now hotels, so you can also snooze amid the splendor.

2. Kick Back on the Beach

Want to soak up some of that Florida sunshine? South Beach is the most iconic place to stretch out on the sand. The beach scene is, well, a scene, and there are lots of hip bars for post-sun cocktails. If you're looking for something a little quieter, head across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne, where life slows to a relaxing pace and two state parks have terrific beaches that are calm spots to swim, kayak, and snorkel.

3. Sample Local Cuisine

Miami’s food scene brings together Cuban classics, South American flavors, and pure Southern cooking. You can try restaurants helmed by chefs such as Michael Schwartz (whose eatery, Michael's Genuine, serves up top-notch New American fare), Brad Kilgore (the James Beard Award finalist behind MaryGold's Florida Brasserie), and Daniel Serfer (the talented force behind Mignonette and Blue Collar). Also, you can never go wrong at beloved spots such as Joe’s Stone Crab or Versailles

4. Take in the Art Scene

Easily Miami’s most colorful neighborhood, the Wynwood Art District is home to eclectic galleries, restaurants, and bars. One of the neighborhood’s most distinctive features is Wynwood Walls, a public street art project featuring 50-plus magnificent murals. If you'd rather enjoy art in the comfort of air conditioning, check out Pérez Art Museum Miami, which boasts an extensive collection of modern art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

5. Visit Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Fans of over-the-top opulence will be awed by this Italian-Renaissance-style villa. Completed in 1922, the winter home of millionaire James Deering has been a museum since 1953, and the lavish rooms are decorated with 2,500 art objects and furnishings. There are also ten acres of formal gardens, including 2,000 orchids.

6. Take a Boat Tour

Yes, you’ll be on the water for your cruise, but before you board your mega ship, you can live out your Miami Vice fantasies with a boat ride around Biscayne Bay. Choose from a duck boat, speed boat, or sailboat as you soak up the scenic views. Feeling extra-adventurous? Explore the Florida Everglades via airboat — and keep an eye out for the resident alligators.

7. Catch a Game

Depending on when you visit — and the teams’ home schedules — you can see nine innings of National League baseball at Marlins Park or some NBA court action at American Airlines Arena, which is where the Miami Heat play. Meanwhile, the Marlins play from April to September, and the Heat’s season runs from October to April. The seasons could stretch longer if the teams make the playoffs.

Want to take that trip for free — and score some valuable miles for your next excursion? Check out our top pick travel credit cards for the best welcome bonuses, perks, and plenty of cash back. 

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