Most travelers perceive Miami merely as a beach paradise and a place where yachts and luxury hotels are everywhere, fine Cuban cuisine can be found, and rich people from around the world roam the streets. Yes, Ernest Hemingway lived there as did 100’s/1000’s of celebrities and noble scholars. In this article we will try to broaden our knowledge about Miami Beach and the surrounding area.
There are several ways to get around Miami. We believe that the best option is to rent a car as many of the most interesting attractions are accessible only if you have your own means of transport.
We have composed a fascinating list of local attractions, including an overview of unusual places and corners that both children and adults should like.
1. Relax on South Beach
First of all, head to South Beach and explore it to the fullest. Enjoy the ocean, watch the surfers catch the waves of the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Wander along the white sandy beach and head to Ocean Drive. In the evening head to nightclubs and shopping malls. Then, party till dawn in popular Nikki Beach Club.
2. Learn about Art Deco style
Make a trip back in time by discovering the Art Deco district as tiny Miami Beach consists almost entirely of buildings built in the 30–40s of the last century. But the main exposition of Art Deco is Ocean Drive running along the length of the ocean in South Beach. Miami generally looks good at night - the notorious Art Deco in neon lights making you feel lost as though you’re in Havana looks better than in the sun as it brings out the true character of the neighborhood. Also, Park Central Hotel and Imperial that have particularly interesting decorations.
3. Explore the Design District
Continue exploring design and contemporary trends in the decor world by simply visiting the Design District. Looking to add “Miami” style to your home with luxurious furniture from Holly Hunt? In the Design District, you will find anything that a sophisticated and inquiring mind of the buyer is capable to think of.
Miami Beach is famous for kitsch in the visual arts. You can get a complete picture of this area at Art Basel in Miami Beach. This art fair demonstrates the work of more than a thousand artists, featuring many celebrities.
4. Enjoy the vibe of Little Havana
To take a trip back in time, head to the neighborhood of Little Havana. If you’re interested in the times of Fidel Castro or are you dreaming of sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of a Mediterranean-style house with the aromatic smells of Cuban cigars and the rumble of Latin music? If you answered yes to any of those things, make sure to visit this area during daylight hours.
5. Go shopping on Lincoln Road
Another area you can explore on foot is Lincoln Road, Fifth Avenue South. Countless cafes, clubs, shops and cultural centers stretch all the way from Washington Avenue to Alton Road. Looking for exclusive items or fabulous discounts? Then Merrick Park Mall with 3 floors of open-air shops is for you.
6. Take a ride to Florida Keys
Rent a car and head for a little road trip adventure. Luckily, the car rental is very affordable in Miami.
Florida Keys is an archipelago that stretches 180 km out towards Cuba and forms the southernmost point of the US. The first island in the chain - Key Largo - is connected to the mainland by a unique highway in the ocean.
If you want to relax and take a break from partying, then Key Biscayne, the northern island of Florida Keys is waiting for you. This is an exclusive resort that attracts the rich and celebrities by secluded beaches, a shady park on the waterfront, bike paths and great views of Miami. The island has an excellent pool, picnic areas, and barbecue. Sure it’s a little bit on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a quick getaway this should be the spot for you to splurge on.
7. Visit Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Admission: $16 for adults, $5 for children. Parking is free.
You can stroll forever around this incredibly poetic "museum" villa. You can hide from the heat in gardens with fountains built in a French-Italian classical style. The house was built at the beginning of the last century (1914-1922) as the winter residence of the businessman from New York, James Deering. Basic style: Napoleon Bonaparte era. At that time, this house was luxurious - with an elevator, heating and ventilation, a semi-automatic laundry room and almost modern plumbing.
(The garden is divided according to European canons) taking into account the tropical flora of the state. Also, you can find there statues and grottoes, galleries and fountains; many orchids and other flowers; a stylish cafe and gift shop.
This place is ideal for taking pictures.
8. Have fun in Miami Children's Museum
Traveling with kids? Make sure to visit the Miami Children's Museum. An entertaining platform with a dozen interactive displays, a colorful sandcastle, tiled with mosaic tiles and a real television studio will be interesting to visitors of any age. Here kids can ride a pony, do face painting and go on a boat excursion.
9. Spend quality time in Pinecrest gardens & Fresh Market
Admission: $5. Parking is free.
Beautiful park with subtropical plants. In this park, you feel like you are in the jungle with paved roads to walk on.
In the park, you will find: plants typical for Florida; waterfalls and ponds;
carps, turtles, birds; contact zoo; a playground; game fountains; a pavilion for the holidays; a cafe; a Botanical Garden; World of butterflies.
10. Pay Hemingway a visit
Are you a fan of Hemingway and appreciate classical literature? It's time to go visit his mansion in the quaint city of Key West where the great writer lived for 8 years. Sure it’s a bit over 3hrs to drive there, but the prices of car rentals in the area are honestly too good to pass up!
11. Miami Everglades National Park
Admission: $30 per vehicle for 7 days.
This National Park is the third-largest in the United States. Untouched ecosystems and landscapes, wet meadows and swamps, mangroves all together occupy an area of 6000 m². Here you can find the rarest plants: soap, mangrove, mahogany and satin trees, sea grapes, orchids and magnolias. The reserve's infrastructure includes campsites, shops and cafes. You can move around on foot, on bicycles, aero boats and canoes. You need to get here by car. The entrance fee is symbolic - 5-10 dollars.
12. See alligators at Sawgrass Recreation Park
Admission: Entrance ticket (aka boat ticket) $ 22.95 adult, $ 12.95 children (4-12 years). Parking is free.
It’s a natural park with alligators where you can get a boat ride and explore marshlands typical for Florida.
At the park you can see: alligators (don’t confuse with crocodiles - these are two different species); alligators swimming freely right a few centimeters from the boat with low sides; turtles; a mini zoo; a show with alligators.
You can book a private day or night tour.
Be sure to take free earplugs at the counter as the boat motor is very loud.
13. Visit Lion Country Safari
Admission: $31.50 for adults, $23 for children. Parking $7.
First, you drive your car through the prairie and savannah, where lions, rhinos, zebras, many species of deer, goats, ostriches, giraffes, monkeys, turtles and birds live.
Then you leave the car in the parking lot ($7) and go for a walk around the amusement park where you can experience: a contact zoo; fountains; Parrot Pavilion, feeding - $ 1; camel riding - $ 5; ferris wheel; feeding a giraffe $ 2.50; a maze;
Carousels; slides, including water slides; catamarans and a boat on the lake;
gold and precious stones for children - $5; mini golf.
Water slides may be closed if it is rainy. It is important to be careful not to open the windows and doors of the car during the safari. Rhinos and ostriches come very close to cars.
14. Learn how to surf
The Atlantic is much more friendly to newbie surfers than the Pacific coast. The surf conditions are pretty The best area to surf is from 1st to 3rd street, you can surf with or without an oar. An instructor is required. You can simply get injured without knowing the basics and choosing the wrong board. Rental points are concentrated in the same area of 1-3rd street.
15. Have a drink in Ice Bar
Admission: just entering the bar for adults costs $ 20. Entrance + cocktail package costs $35.
This bar has become one of Miami's most vibrant attractions.
There are similar bars in several European cities (for example, in Copenhagen), and there is also an ice hotel in Scandinavia. But overall, an ice bar is not such a commonplace thing.
Visitors get warm clothes as they will have to enjoy their drinks in the bar at sub-zero temperatures (-5’C or 23’F). Glasses are also made of ice. The entrance is open for children at certain times, they also get fur coats and hats.
Tiny Miami Beach consists almost entirely of buildings built in the 30–40s of the last century. But the main exposition of Art Deco is Ocean Drive Street, running along the ocean. Miami generally looks good at night - the notorious art deco in neon lights looks better than in the sun.