Other than the Florida Keys, Miami is the warmest part of Florida and — because of this — a popular winter vacation destination. The city of Miami proper, along with Miami Beach and other surrounding communities, all feature pristine beaches and a vibrant nightlife scene. The art scene (whether it’s performing arts or visual arts) here is strong, with some suggested itineraries like a walking tour of South Beach’s Art Deco district or viewing contemporary works at the Pérez Art Museum, located in the 30-acre Maurice A. Ferré Park area (formerly known as Museum Park).
The food scene here is marked by both celeb chefs and unique ethnic influences that reflect local populations, such as authentic Cuban dishes in Little Havana and soul food in Overtown, Liberty City, and the often-overlooked West Grove neighborhood — not to mention Little Haiti’s signature, delicious spicy cuisine. Francis Mallmann, Michael Mina, and Nobu Matsuhisa are just three celebrity chefs with Miami eateries.
Explore the Design District
Where streets are lined with high-end fashion retailers and a myriad of dining options, Miami’s Design District is also the place to be if you love window shopping. Sculptures — and even an artsy parking garage — serve as inspiring eye candy.
Walk in South Beach
At first, South Beach's Ocean Drive may seem gimmicky (think high-priced drinks, traffic, and showy resort-style hotels). But, if you pause to take in the architecture, you’ll see why it continues to be one of the city's most popular spots. Sign up for a guided Art Deco walking tour with the Miami Design Preservation League.
Wander through Wynwood
Street art has always been popular — and this mecca in Wynwood is a national leader in providing commissioned space for today’s emerging artists. Wynwood Walls is where you'll find some of the most vibrant art in Miami. Refuel with a latte at the nearby Panther Coffee.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
You can easily spend a few hours admiring the art and antiques on display at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is located in Miami's arty Coconut Grove neighborhood. Tip: Before you leave, take a few minutes to stroll through the manicured gardens. Tickets are available through the attraction’s website.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Miami’s tropical climate translates to lush foliage year-round, which you can witness at this 83-acre garden —which is home to 3,400 different plant species — in nearby Coral Gables. In 2012, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden became the home of the American Orchid Society. Each spring, the garden hosts an International Orchid Festival, which spans three days and showcases over 10,000 varieties of orchids.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Right next to Pérez Art Museum you'll find the Phillip and Patricia Frost Science Museum. Kids and adults alike will appreciate the interactive exhibitions, planetarium, and aquarium. Bonus: The building overlooks Biscayne Bay, so visitors can enjoy beautiful waterfront views.
Nearly half of all cruise ships departing out of Florida sail out of PortMiami, which is the largest passenger ports in the world. The port is located on Dodge Island, just east of downtown Miami. If you are looking for a hotel pre- or post-cruise, it’s best to stay somewhere downtown, so you'll have easy access to the port.