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The 16 Best Things to Do in Miami + Where to Stay, Eat, and Drink

things to do in miami

If there’s one place I’d consider moving outside of New York, it would undoubtedly be Miami. I love everything about it—the food, the culture, the people, the bars, the hotels, and ugh…THE WEATHER! Don’t even get me started on the weather.

Even if you’re not a beach person (judging you), there are still SO many things to do in Miami Beach, and Miami as a whole. Trust me. I’ve put together an exhaustive list of my favorite places—some are new, some are mainstays. And if you’re looking for a great place to stay in Miami, here’s my go-to list.

Here’s what the guide covers. You can skip to each individual section by clicking on the links below:

Whether you’re going for a romantic weekend with a significant other, planning a girls trip, bachelorette party, or doing a family vacation, consider this list your bible.


The Best Things to Do in Miami

1. Have an Instagrammable cup of coffee at the Dior Café.

Located on the third floor garden terrace of the Dior store in the Design District, this uber-extra cafe offers a small menu of coffee, tea, juices, and pastries.

2. Hit Miami South Beach.

Sure, this is the most obvious recommendation for a guide to the best things to do in Miami, but it is an absolute must. For the quintessential experience, you’ll want to head to South Beach.

Miami South Beach

But if you’d prefer an area that’s slightly more low key, mid-beach (between 21st and 45th streets) is where it’s at.

3. Stroll through the Wynwood Walls.

The most photo-worthy place in all of Miami! Be sure to grab a coffee at Panther coffee, a favored local coffeehouse.

Wynwood Walls

Wynwood Walls, photo: @nyclovesnyc

4. Spend all of your money at the Bal Harbour Shops.

Every top designer imaginable has a storefront in the Bal Harbour shops. Think Chanel, Celine, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and more.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat while you’re here, Makoto is among the best. (More restaurant recommendations below!)

5. Take an Art Deco walking tour of South Beach.

I haven’t personally done this yet, but TripAdvisor has reviews of a few different tours to choose from that look great.

walking tour South Beach
Photo: @jacquelinexh

6. Get cultured at the Perez Art Museum Miami (aka PAMM).

The modern and contemporary art museum features exhibits from the 20th and 21st centuries.

7. Book a cabana at Tidal Cove water park.

The newly-opened Tidal Cove at Turnberry Isle Resort—which is technically in Aventura, just north of Miami, but still worth mentioning—manages to offer an experience that’s enjoyable for kids and adults.

Tidal Cove water park

A glass of rosé while floating in the lazy river? Don’t mind if I do. You can book one of their cabanas for a bit more privacy, or purchase a general admission day pass for access to everything in the park.

Day passes are $105 per person on the weekends.

8. Channel your inner science nerd at The Frost Museum of Science.

A great place for kids and adults alike, the museum has a planetarium, and aquarium, and so much more. It’s one of my top suggestions for the best things to do in Miami Beach when it rains!

9. Get a massage at The Standard Spa, arguably Miami Beach’s best. 

Open to both hotel guests and non-hotel guests, the spa is described as “part recovery center, part hydrotherapy playground, part new-age ashram.”

Book an appointment here and you’ll have plenty to choose from, including a Turkish-style hammam, an aroma steam room, a Roman waterfall hot tub, a Finnish sauna, an arctic plunge, treatment baths, a mud lounge, and an infinity pool. Oh, and if you’re feeling up for something active, you could always take a yoga class.

things to do in miami
Photo: @jasonmac7

10. Wander around the Miami Design District. 

The ritzy shopping destination is home to art galleries, boutiques, incredible architecture, and fab outdoor restaurants, including the Dior Café (see above!)

11. Regret all of your life decisions at the SLS’s Hyde Beach pool party

It’s a wild day party complete with bottle service, smoke machines, DJs, and a guaranteed next-day hangover. This is only advisable for bachelor/ette parties or those under the age of, like, 35. 

12. Embrace Cuban culture (and cuisine) in Little Havana.

You’d be remiss if you didn’t get a Cubano sandwich and cuban coffee at Islas Canarias, a family-owned restaurant that opened in 1977. The late Anthony Bourdain famously visited on an episode of Parts Unknown.

13. Head to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

The iconic gathering of the world’s top chefs and restauranteurs takes place each year in late February. It’s a four-day extravaganza filled with masterclasses, private dinners, parties, demos, events, and tastings.

If you’re a foodie and wine-lover, it is 100% a bucket-list worthy experience. I’ve been twice and would highly recommend it.

Because hotels tend to book up fast and rates increase due to high demand, I would suggest looking into accommodations at least 6 months in advance.

14. Walk around Ocean Drive.

Ocean Drive is arguably one of Miami’s most iconic streets, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a first time visitor. Stroll along the street for great people watching, shopping, and sandy beachfront views. While you’re in the area, stop by Lummus Park, which is just on the other side of Ocean Drive

15. Check out Coconut Grove.

Another noteworthy area worth checking out? Coconut Grove, which is Miami’s oldest neighborhood. It’s located in Miami Dade County and is known to be one of the best places to live in Florida, offering residents an upscale, urban feel. If you want to drool over swanky houses and pretty sailboats, head here for the afternoon.

16. Visit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

Check out a lush variety of plants at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, which is essentially a tropical oasis in the heart of the city. You can wander through flowering trees, orchids, and more than 100 species of palms all within the 3-acre property. If you’re traveling with a group or you just want a relaxing activity, this is a good option.


Pro Tip: Use this Google Map hack to keep track of all the places you’d like to visit on your trip.


Hiden

If you’re looking for a knock-your-socks-off, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience in south Florida, you’ll find it at Hiden—if you can get a reservation.

The Japanese omakase restaurant is located in the back of a Wynwood taco joint, where there are only 8 seats total. You’ll experience seven to eight courses that the chef prepares right in front of you, and when I say that the sushi was even better than I had in Tokyo…I’m not exaggerating.

Joe’s Stone Crab

If you were to ask a local which restaurant best represents classic Miami, they would say Joe’s.  It’s an institution.

The place has been around since 1913 and eating there will transport you to another era—servers wear suit jackets and bow-ties, and the whole thing is like a theatrical performance.

Joe’s Stone Crab

And the best part? It’s not stuffy in the least. Plus, you’ll probably run in to a celebrity or two (celebs, athletes, and politicians always hang out here.) They don’t take reservations so prepare to wait. Believe me, the experience is worth it.

Mandolin Miami

Mind-blowing Mediterranean in the Design District. (Omg my mouth is watering just thinking about the dips. I die for a dip, as you know.)

Go for lunch so you can take advantage of the beautiful outdoor seating—the atmosphere will make you feel like you’re in the middle of Greece.

Pro tip: after lunch, pop into Mrs. Mandolin down the block. It’s a shop owned by the restaurant and has the most insanely curated selection of home decor, accessories, and more.

things to do in miami - Mandolin Miami
Photo: @mandolinmiami

Makoto

It’s in Bal Harbour (not South Beach, where I usually suggest staying) but if you want really good, fancy sushi and Japanese food, you go to Makoto.

Big Pink

A classic greasy spoon diner that is a GODSEND for a hangover. Also: they deliver.

things to do in miami - Big Pink

Prime 112

A fun and sceney steakhouse. Bougie would be the operative word here.

KYU

Amazing Asian fusion cuisine in Wynwood, which is the hip art district—very trendy, buzzy spot.

Under the Mango Tree

This place was recommended to me by several people who touted it for having the “best acai bowls in the world.” They weren’t lying. 

The health-centric menu features every type of bowl imaginable, as well as fresh juices, smoothies, and small bites.

things to do in miami

Planta

A plant-based hotspot from Miami nightlife impresario David Grutman (he owns LIV nightclub.)

Jaya at The Setai

Fancy Thai food; one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

Komodo

If you’re looking for a dining experience that also feels like a night out, go to Komodo. It’s a three-story restaurant and lounge in Brickell that’s perfect for a big group of girlfriends or guys.

The people watching is, shall I say….next level. And so is the food. Fancy Southeast Asian cuisine and fab cocktails.

Swan

I haven’t been here yet, but apparently it’s the hottest new kid on the block. It’s located in the Design District (which you should spend time hanging around, if you haven’t).

The food is described as “modern European” and—fun fact!—Pharell is a part owner. Celeb hangout with stunning Instagrammable interiors.

Pub Belly

Popular sushi joint with a vast Asian-inspired menu.

Matador Room

I love Matador Room at The Edition for brunch or dinner. It’s one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restos and technically described as Latin/Caribbean, but it’s really a little bit of everything. Order the avocado pizza.

Cecconi’s at Soho House

They put on the most INSANE Sunday brunch spread—the fanciest buffet you’ve ever seen. Breakfast food, sushi, oysters, pasta…you name it.

They even walk around with a Bloody Mary cart and make tableside Bloody Marys.

Chotto Matte

I ate here on a recent trip to Miami and it was absolutely mind-blowing. Japanese-Peruvian style cuisine (which is such an incredible combo.) Here’s what to order: truffle spinach salad, tuna tartar, pollo den miso, shishito peppers.


Juvia

Nothing screams trendy like a bar located on top of a “designer” parking garage, am I right? I’m a big fan of Juvia.

Juvia bar

It has a gorgeous outdoor rooftop space, and the inside bar is fantastic as well. I’d also recommend it for dinner. Gorgeous views and chic crowd.

Broken Shaker

Trendy hipster outdoor spot at the Freehand Hotel. String lights, couches, etc. You get the vibe.

Photo: @delanobeachclub

Sweet Liberty

A laid-back bar in the heart of South Beach that has an awesome oysters and rosé happy hour.

Casa Florida

I haven’t been, but looks super cute & instagrammy.

things to do in miami
  • Faena: With its bold red-and-white striped umbrellas and loungers, Faena stands out from the crowd in more ways than one. It has a decidedly retro aesthetic coupled with great vibes and phenomenal service. A 10/10 for me.
  • Four Seasons Surfside: I typically talk about FS Surfside as the location of my all-time favorite hotel bar (the Lido Champagne Bar)—but it’s also home to one my favorite pools. It’s low-key and simple, yet feels like the quintessential resort pool experience.
  • The Setai: When you enter the greenery-lined walkway that leads you to the pool at the Setai, you’ll notice a sign that says “no photos.” Here, you’ll find privacy, discretion, and the most incredibly refreshing cocktails served in fresh coconuts.
  • The Standard: If I had to describe the pool at The Standard in three words? Quirky, energetic, and fun. It’s one of my favorite pools for people people-watching, and the crowd is unmatched: an eclectic mix of young and beautiful 20 and 30-somethings all looking for a boozy, yet relaxed good time.
  • 1 Hotel: When I think about a hotel pool that represents the quintessential essence of Miami, it would be the rooftop of the 1 Hotel. Cabanas draped in white linens, an endless parade of pool boys serving up rosé on ice, and the most jaw-dropping rooftop view of the beach that Miami has to offer.

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