At the epicentre of Miami’s heady mix of sun, sea and glamour is South Beach, found at the southern tip of Miami Beach, which offers some truly unique things to see and do.
It’s perfectly possible – and not a little tempting – to come to Miami South Beach and spend your entire time reclined on its pristine sandy shore. But for those keen to explore the area and perhaps venture beyond its time-honoured tourist spots, there are endless opportunities awaiting you. If you’d like some inspiration for your Miami itinerary, we’ve picked out 20 of the best activities and attractions below.
Take a wander around a historic district
Miami’s Historic District is unquestionably one of South Beach’s jewels in the crown. Every year the Art Deco District Welcome Center attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, all keen to explore this fascinating neighbourhood. Boasting a remarkable concentration of over 800 Art Deco buildings all within one square mile, the area can be explored on foot during an official Welcome Center self-guided walking tour.
Another great part of Miami to explore is Little Havana, the Latin heartbeat of the city and its Cuban population. Nothing is more synonymous with Cuban culture than cigars and rum, a harmonious marriage between these two traditions originating from mother earth’s soil and perfected by centuries old processes. During a Little Havana Walking Tour, you’ll be taken to a cigar factory and lounge to learn the history and etiquette of cigars dating back to Spanish colonial days and how to pair it with rum. It’s a sophisticated tradition like drinking a fine wine, not to be inhaled but savoured. This experience can be enjoyed by both men and women, and is a fun activity for couples or friends to share.
Admire the very best in art & design
Miami Beach has a sprinkling of exceptional cultural venues and among the very best is The Wolfsonian. Situated in the heart of the Art Deco District, the museum is part of Florida International University and showcases American and European decorative and fine arts produced between 1850 and 1950. From propaganda posters to World’s Fair memorabilia, the array of objects offers visitors a thought-provoking journey through the modern age. As well as the art on display, there’s also a design store selling a selection of unconventional gifts, books and films inspired by the museum’s collection.
LOCATION 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach HOURS Mon-Tues & Thurs-Sat 10am-6pm Sun 12pm-6pm Closed Weds
Get a true taste of Miami
Miami has a hugely diverse culinary scene and dedicated foodies visiting the city can explore it by joining a mouth-watering tour. The South Beach Multicultural Food Tasting tour allows you to embark on a culinary adventure through Miami Beach combining delicious food and drink with historical, architectural, and cultural insights. You’ll stop for plenty of tastings along the way, including Cuban, artisanal Peruvian, Italian, and Jewish comfort foods, each one a homage to the cultural diversity of this city.
Book at GetYourGuide.com
Learn the magical dance of salsa
Perhaps not the most family-friendly of attractions, if you’re in South Beach without any kids then the South Beach Sip, Savor and Salsa, Lessons & Mojitos tour will captivate the senses. After meeting at the most exciting hot-spot for Latin nightlife and culture in the heart of South Beach, you’ll experience a truly vibrant and colourful night of dance and drink, sipping expertly crafted Mojitos while learning the intricate, rhythmic movers of Salsa and Bachata until the early hours.
Book at GetYourGuide.com
Explore South Beach on a cruise
One of the most memorable ways to take in the delights of Miami Beach’s expansive coastline is from the vantage point of a boat cruise. There are a huge number of cruise companies offering a range of themed tours around the area. Among the most popular are cruises that take you to the Florida Everglades, private night cruises, sightseeing cruises through Biscayne Bay, and package tours that combines a cruise with another fun-filled activity such as a bus tour.
Book at Viator.com
Attend a great festival
With a packed programme of festivals taking place here every year, there’s always something great to do in Miami Beach. Several buzzing music festivals held along the beachfront are among the most popular, but there are also many more sedate options such as the Japanese Spring Festival and South Beach Wine & Food Festival. These events tend to be kid-friendly, and some are even free to enter.
Let the kids loose in a fun-packed country park
Combining all the amenities of a park with easy access to the famous sandy shore of South Beach, South Pointe Park is a hugely popular recreation spot that throngs with visitors all-year-round. Within the 17-acre county park you’ll find a kids’ playground with water features, a pier for fishing, restaurants, and a 20-foot-wide walkway popular with joggers, bikers, rollerbladers, or anyone taking a leisurely a stroll. The park also plays host to a several summer festivals and other outdoor events.
Pick up some local booze at a craft beer market
Miami has a vibrant craft beer scene and at the vanguard of this burgeoning local industry is Boxelder Craft Beer Market, an independent, family-owned bottle shop and taproom in the heart of the Wynwood district, a short drive west of South Beach. Offering a huge selection of American craft and Belgian beers, as well as plenty of other provisions, Boxelder also plays host to a regular programme of events, including food and beer tastings, guest speakers, and more.
LOCATION 2817 Northwest 2nd Avenue HOURS Fri-Sat 1pm-2am Sun 1pm-10pm Mon 4pm-11pm Tues-Thurs 1pm-12am
Cast a line in Biscayne Bay
The waters around Miami offer some exceptional fishing opportunities and one of the best spots for casting a line is Biscayne Bay. Anglers of all ages and experience can book a private fishing charter that gives you and your group the chance to fish for grouper, snapper, trout, and plenty of other fish varieties, all set against the backdrop of the Miami skyline. Most tours include a professional and fully licensed guide and boat, all fishing equipment, bottled water and the use of marina facilities.
Book at Viator.com
Enjoy South Beach with the wind in your hair
Cycling is a hugely popular pursuit in South Beach, with visitors and locals alike keen to enjoy the idyllic views while feeling the wind in their hair – and getting some exercise to boot. Happily, Miami runs an award-winning bike sharing and rental system – called the Citi Bike program – which is available in South Beach and several other locations across the city and allows visitors to simply ‘grab and go’ once they’ve downloaded a free app. Every bike is solar-powered, sturdy and durable and is locked into a network of docking stations which are accessible 24/7. Bikes can be then dropped off at any station at any time.
Experience Miami Beach’s pulsating nightlife
Miami Beach’s reputation for nightlife is legendary, and that’s in large part thanks to the South Beach scene, which is lined with mega-clubs that attract party people seven nights a week. Or for something truly unique, Pedal Pub are a leader in the experiential tourism industry, providing pilot-driven pedal tours in Miami. They offer community members and tourists alike the chance to create authentic and meaningful memories through a positive, team-building experience, socialising with friends, partaking in a light workout and touring neighbourhoods and cities in an exciting way.
Step into a world of exotic animals
A quick drive west of South Beach is Jungle Island, a magical tropical-themed attraction that’s home to a wide array of exotic animals including lemurs from Madagascar, the world’s only tame cassowary, parrots, a pair of twin orangutans, and plenty more. Regular shows are held here too, and there’s also a children’s play area to let the kids unwind, along with a thrilling skydiving experience, a zip-line and an Escape Room.
LOCATION 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail HOURS Sun-Thurs 10am-10pm Fri-Sat 10am-11pm