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Miami is a fantastic place for beach bumming and tanning during the day, and then hitting up restaurants or bars at night. There are only so many days you can spend on the beach before you get bored and/or sunburnt, so here are recommendations on how to branch out.
Here is a list of things to do in Miami besides going to the beach.
Miami Day Cruises
The Island Queen Cruises offering public tours from Downtown Miami, go past a lot of the “must-see” places like the Millionaire’s Row (a bunch of fancy celebrity homes, eg Star Island etc). The benefit of this activity is that you’re still enjoying the water, so you’re not totally leaving the surf behind. Bonus: you can access the cruise at the Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami, which is a great place for shopping and dining. (note: if you have the Go Miami Card, you’ll get additional discounts to use at the Bayside Marketplace).If you are not on a budget you can also consider renting your own boat or charter a boat - and South Florida as boating capital has much to offer - from small speed boats to luxury power yachts. Miami is also famous for sailing - and Miami charter or rental sailboat fleet is pretty impressive, e.g MiamiSailing.net
While it might not be the most exciting activity to think of doing while in Miami, it’s certainly a great way to get an overview tour of the city especially if you’ve never been or if you’ve never gotten around to seeing the big sites. Big Bus Miami is an open top double decker, which is great for taking pictures. Bonus: You can use it as free transportation! It’s a hop-on hop-off, so you can come and go when something looks interesting.BIke Rental
Cannot think of better way of enjoying South Beach sights
Many tourists call this one of their favorite spots in Miami and it’s been regularly rated as one of the top ten things to do in Miami. It has an amazing variety of animals in a really cool tropical / jungle setting. Bonus: great gift shop.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens are some of the most beautiful things you’ll see on your trip. It’s a local historical landmark, and the details are just amazing. Beautiful buildings, architecture, floral design, you name it. If you are into photography, then you’ll have plenty to take pictures of. It’s also farther away from the heart of the city, so it’s a nice break for some quiet time.
Miami Seaquarium. It’s a great little aquarium that focuses on local sea life, plus a bunch of famous animals like dolphins and sea lions. They have a really sweet Killer Whale named Lolita, too! This is a great place to bring kids to.
Day Trips / Cruises
Miami is really close to a number of other great vacation spots like Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Key West.
You can take a boat tour through the Everglades to see swamps and alligators. The Everglades Tour takes about half a day, so keep that in mind when you plan.
Things to Walk To / Through
• Right off the beach is Ocean Drive, which is a great place to find excellent restaurants and bars. Mango’s Tropical Café is a real quintessential Miami experience, so at least do a cruise by to see the decorations and stuff.
• Lincoln Road is another popular spot for restaurants and shops, it is a mall in South Beach but it has a bunch of other stuff, too. A good combo of high end and affordable.
• Bayside Marketplace—It is like a fun outdoor mall with a bunch of unique craft stuff, too. And tons of food options.
• The Holocaust Memorial is a free museum near the beach, too; it’s very moving. If you’re into history, definitely check it out.
• Miami Beach Botanical Gardens falls in the same category as Vizcaya and the Zoo—with its beautiful lush outdoor, it feels like a tropical paradise. This is another place for some great pictures.
• Little Havana is hands down the best neighborhood in the city to eat. Versailles Restaurant is rated a favorite, although almost everything there is good. Some places can be somewhat pricey, so do a little research before you set out for dinner.
Miami nightclubs come and go but few became real institutions.
• Top Miami nightclubs such as LIV at the famous Fontainebleau Resort & E11EVEN are very popular and offer some of the best nightlife in the city.
• For Latin music and dancing, few Latin clubs in Miami have been around for a long time. Hoy Como Ayer is popular among locals, has live music and small performances.
Money Saving Tips
• Look into discount attraction passes, which get you into a lot of the major tourist attractions for less money. The Go Miami Card is a great option– you pay a price up front to gain admission to all the major attractions. It ends up being significantly less than what you would pay if you bought tickets at the gate. In addition, you choose the number of days—1, 2, 3, 5, 7—you want the card for and then you can use it whenever during a two-week period after activation. This gives you great flexibility in balancing the beach days and attraction days! Here’s where you can get more info and deals on the card: Smart Destinations.
• Do some research on restaurants before you dine. Miami has everything from the cream of the crop 5 star joints to some truly tasty but more budget friendly places. Yelp.com and OpenTable.com are both pretty reliable sites. If you can, definitely check out Versailles.
• Give yourself a shopping budget—and try to stick to it!
• Use something like Big Bus Miami to get around as much as possible – you want to make the most of your time and money in Miami, so take advantage of their convenient stops to avoid taxis/driving. You might also consider planning your whole day around where you can get off the bus!