A vibrant city known for its beach culture, party scene, and Cuban influence, Miami is definitely considered one of the most energetic and fun cities in America. Miami attracts millions of visitors each year.

Personally, Miami isn’t my favorite city in the States (although I love the beaches), but there’s absolutely no denying that there’s a lot of fun to be had here. From beaches to parties to Cuban culture to the nearby Everglades, there’s plenty to do. (And if you want to splurge, there are plenty of luxury hotels, upscale shopping districts, and fine dining restaurants.)

1. Explore the Everglades

Everglades National Park encompasses 1.5 million acres of swamps, prairies, and subtropical jungles. It’s one of the most unique and largest public parks in the United States. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species of animals, including the Florida panther, American crocodile and Caribbean manatee. This unique environment is home to over 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 40 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles.

There are numerous hiking and biking trails that allow you to explore the park on foot, but to navigate the waterways you’ll need to hop on an airboat. The park is just an hour from the city.

Airboat tours cost around $37. If you want a more active boating experience, kayaking tours are also popular (expect to pay around $100 for a kayaking tour that includes kayak rental).


2. Visit Little Havana

Little Havana, Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, sprang up practically overnight. In the mid-1960s, an estimated 300,000 refugees fled Cuba, most of whom landed and settled in Miami. Today, over 1.2 million Cubans live in Miami, with Little Havana centered around “Calle Ocho” (SW 8th Street). This is one of my favorite parts of the city and the food here is incredible. Eat at one of the small restaurants and bakeries, stroll the lively streets, enjoy a Cuba Libre (rum and coke) or Café Cubano (espresso sweetened with brown sugar), or dance salsa. It’s an artsy, quirky neighborhood worth exploring.

Food tours of Little Havana cost around $69 and are the best way to get to know the area from an experienced local guide.

3. Admire the Art Deco of South Beach

The Art Deco Historic District in South Beach is an area of ​​Miami Beach known for its concentration of over 800 Art Deco buildings in one square mile. Art Deco was a popular architectural style from France that was widely popular between 1910 and 1939 and was characterized by its bold geometric shapes, lavish ornamentation, and use of modern materials and technology.

You can also take an Art Deco bike tour of the area for even more insight into the architecture and history.

4. Check out the art in Wynwood

Wynwood is a former industrial district that has become a cultural hub/trendy hotspot for graffiti and street art, as well as hip shops, cool restaurants, laid-back cafes and coffee roasters, craft breweries, and art galleries. The most popular attraction here is the Wynwood Walls, a collection of 40 murals by some of the world’s best street artists. The impressive 3,250-square-foot outdoor space, built around existing warehouses, features artists from 21 countries.

The murals are constantly changing, so you never know what you’re going to see, but many murals address social and political issues, offering commentary on topics like environmentalism, immigration, racial justice and human rights. The Museum of Graffiti, the world’s first museum dedicated to the art form, is also located in the Wynwood neighborhood.

Wynwood Walls: 2520 NW 2nd Ave, (305) 531-4411, Open Mon-Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm and Sun 10am-7pm. Admission is $12, a guided tour is $20 (admission included).

Museum of Graffiti: 276 NW 26th St, (786) 580-4678, Open Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-7pm. Admission is $16.


5. Take a sightseeing cruise

Exploring the city by boat will give you a different perspective on Miami and its coastal attractions that are otherwise inaccessible by land. You’ll see sights like the picturesque Brickell Key, cruise ships departing from the Port of Miami, and the impressive Miami skyline. You’ll also see the opulent residences along the exclusive Millionaire’s Row (a section of Miami Beach so named for its luxurious waterfront mansions) and Fisher Island (a wealthy barrier island known for its upscale residential area).

There are many cruises to choose from, but some of the most popular tours are Millionaire’s Row Cruises or Speedboat Tours. Sightseeing cruises typically cost between $30 and $45.

6. Learn to Salsa

Miami is known for its vibrant nightlife and rich Latin culture, and the salsa scene is something to be experienced. From the iconic Calle Ocho in Little Havana to trendy South Beach, salsa fans will find a variety of venues to suit different styles and skill levels.

In Little Havana, Ball & Chain offers free salsa classes every Thursday starting at 9 p.m. If you’re looking for more of a nightclub experience, Mango’s Tropical Café is the place to go, offering a Sip, Savor & Salsa experience every day from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $89 and include salsa and bachata beginner classes, a mojito, food, and then admission to dance at Mango’s Nightclub (it opens at 10 p.m.).

7. Immerse yourself in art

An artistic, avant-garde city, Miami offers many different, quirky, immersive art experiences with interactive installations, cutting-edge technology, and multi-sensory environments. Here are some of the most popular:

Superblue Miami – Superblue is a massive (4,600 square feet) experiential art space that showcases large-scale, immersive artworks by contemporary artists. Exhibits often include interactive elements and cutting-edge technology. Tickets cost $38.50.

ARTECHOUSE Immersive Art Experience – Artechouse is a South Beach venue that combines art, science, and technology to create immersive digital art installations. Exhibits often use projections, light, and sound to create visually stunning and interactive environments. Admission is $30.

Museum of Illusions – This Miami Beach museum features mind-boggling optical illusions and immersive exhibits that challenge perception. It’s a fun and interactive experience for visitors of all ages. Tickets cost $30.

Paradox Museum – Appropriately located in Wynwood, the Paradox Museum is a quirky and interactive optical illusion museum. It’s also a fun activity for kids. Tickets cost $30.