Things are about to get hot! If you want to spend one day in Miami, you are in for something very special. The city is famous as a tourist destination thanks to its numerous clubs, beaches and parties, so if a fun and active city is what you’re looking for this is most certainly it. However, this place has a whole lot more to offer than just partying all night. Culture plays an important role in the city’s everyday life, so there’s something for pretty much every type of visitors. The offer is really spectacular, and it’s not easy to narrow down the selection, but here are some attractions many tourists think are the best things to do in Miami.
Plan your trip
1. What’s the best time to visit Miami?
2. A few facts about Miami
3. One Day in Miami Itinerary
3.1. Start your day from Bayside Marketplace
3.2. Make a trip to Miami Beach
3.3. Visit Little Havana
3.4. Miami nightlife
3.5. Things to do near Miami airport
4. Where to stay in Miami?
5. Day trips from Miami
6. Extra tips for visiting Miami
Before we get to the attractions though, a few words on what to expect. Miami’s climate is tropical, which is certainly something to consider when planning your trip. That means that its summers are very hot and very humid. If that is a problem for you, avoid the period from June to October. Furthermore, hurricanes are quite common in the period from the second half of August to the end of September. On the flip side, winters here are exceptionally mild – January averages 20˚C (68˚F) – with less rain. So, if you can’t stand the heat and humidity, the best time to visit Miami is between December and March. If, on the other hand, you want to experience real Miami summer, June and July are ideal for that.
Miami is the only one of the major US cities that was founded by a woman – her name was Julia Tuttle and thanks to her, railroad came into the area and caused the city to grow. Furthermore, the name Miami comes from the name of a tribe of native people who lived here in the 17th and 18th century. They were called the Mayaimi. Of course, the city and its fashion, style and way of life were made famous thanks to the original Miami Vice show which aired in the 80s. Because of that show, huge parts of the city were renewed, and the number of tourists swelled. Today, the whole metropolitan area of the city is one of the biggest and cleanest in the whole of the US.
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Miami.
Bayside Marketplace is a great location for the start of your tour. It is an energetic place with loads of shops, restaurants and shops, plus everything is accompanied by live music. Essentially, this is a shopping mall out in the open, so you can do your shopping or simply sit down for a drink right next to the bay, but in any case, you will be able to get a sense of what Miami is all about very quickly. The place is buzzing with people from all over the world, be they tourists or locals, and visiting it is a great way to energize yourself for the day ahead.
After you’re done with the marketplace, make a trip to Miami Beach. It’s not very far, and you have lots of things to do, especially if you follow celebrities and want to know and see as much related to them as humanly possible. Most of them are located in the south part of this area, and you can even get a boat tour and check out celebrity homes from close.
But there are many other things to do in South Beach, too. There is actually a surprising number of museums here, and the historic Art Deco district is a must-see because of the huge concentration of Art Deco buildings in the area. On top of that, the food is excellent, so you will definitely enjoy yourself here.
Almost three quarters of the city’s population are Latinos and one third of the population are of Cuban origin. But to get a real sense of just how much these people mean to Miami, you should go and visit Little Havana. Try Cuban coffee and food, mingle with the locals, maybe play a game of dominos and see how Cuban cigars are made, all in a unique and very colourful setting. This part of the town is very easy to get to, since this is an obligatory stop for many tour buses, and public buses go through this neighbourhood too. Choosing one of the hotels in Little Havana is also an excellent way to experience this vibrant community.
Let’s face it, most of the people who come to this city will come with Miami nightlife in mind. After you’re done sightseeing, you will surely want to have some fun. And if you’re planning on pulling and all-nighter, South Beach is the place to be because many places there are open until 5 a.m. Massive clubs and fancy bars have something for literally everyone, no matter what kind of taste you have, just remember that you may have to wait in a queue to get in and some places can get quite pricy.
But in all honesty, if you’re a party-goer, it will be well worth it. Latin music is particularly popular due to the make-up of the city’s population, but there are also many DJs (big names come here), clubs for singles, LGBT persons… you name it. Clubbing in Miami will definitely be an experience of a lifetime.
If you’re just passing through and don’t even have 24 hours in Miami, don’t worry – there are things to do near Miami airport, too. Depending on how much time you have, you can take the bus directly to South Beach, for example. You also have the Dolphin Mall relatively close to you. However, if you can’t spare too many hours, there are some interesting things to do in Miami airport, as well. The food is great, and you can try many Cuban specialties to get a taste of what it’s like around here, but the airport also boasts a yoga room, art exhibits and even a spa.
788 Brickell Plaza, Brickell, Miami, FL 33131
If you really want to live it up when you get here, you WILL want to check into EAST, Miami. Not only does the hotel provide a great view of the Biscayne Bay, but it’s also quite close to the Bayside Marketplace. Furthermore, every room has a balcony and a huge flat-screen TV, but what sets this place apart from other hotels are no less than four different pools and an excellent rooftop bar. EAST, Miami is located in Brickell, another neighborhood full of clubs and restaurants, so booking a room here will put you right in the middle of this vibrant city’s life.
Best Western Premier Miami International Airport Hotel
4100 West Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33134
Remember when we said that you can pick one of the hotels in Little Havana? Well, Best Western Premier Miami International Airport Hotel & Suites Coral Gables offers a great value for your money. It is close to the Miami Airport if you’re just passing by, but it is also on the western edge of this picturesque neighborhood, so you can immediately start experiencing the atmosphere as soon as you get out of the building. The rooms are big, well-equipped, comfortable and clean, and guests have access to the hotel’s pool and gym. Furthermore, a free ride to the airport is also provided, so you really have everything you need.
1351 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
If hostels are the type of accommodation you’re looking for, Rock Hostel is definitely the way to go. Its location is simply excellent in central South Beach, but you can easily get around thanks to the fact that the shuttle here is free and that you can also hire a bike or even a car from them. However, thanks to its excellent location, you can simply walk to many interesting places, such as the Art Deco district, for example.
If you’re not in the city for the first time and want to see something new, of if you’re spending three days in Miami or something like that and have a day to spare, book one of the day trips from Miami to some of the neat places nearby. Many people come here thinking of making a trip for Miami to Nassau, but Nassau is almost 200 miles away, so it’s not quite suitable for this kind of trip. Maybe if you have 3 days in Miami or more, you can do it. However, you can still visit the Bahamas, just check the list below.
One day cruise from Miami to Key West
One day cruise from Miami to Key West is among tourists’ favorite ways to enjoy this part of the Caribbean, and rightly so. It’s very easy to get a boat, but what makes this place particularly enchanting is the abundance of marine life. If you want to go scuba-diving or snorkeling, this is quite literally the perfect place to do it. Coral reefs, all kinds of beautiful fish and dolphins can all be seen here, but you can go on a trip on a boat with glass bottom if you don’t want to get wet.
Everglades airboat ride
If you really want something to get your adrenaline going and see not just the city but the nature around it, Everglades airboat ride is a great choice. This is one of the best things to do in Miami because this national park will provide you with a unique view of the city’s impressive skyline. The airboat ride itself lasts about half an hour, but you go through the jungle, look for alligators and do all kinds of exciting stuff. A short cruise in the Biscayne Bay before you go back to your hotel is a perfect way to end the day.
A trip to the Bahamas
Among Miami day trips, a trip to the Bahamas is something especially alluring. Bimini, the island closest to the US, is just 50 miles away. You can get there in about two hours and then spend the day enjoying incredible beaches, exploring underwater shipwrecks, swimming with dolphins or relaxing in this peaceful place by grabbing an excellent meal and just soaking up the atmosphere of this place. Bimini offers a complete touristic package, especially for those who like an active vacation.
Duck Tours in Miami Beach
Of course, you always have the option of hopping on a guided tour and letting a guide there tell you and show you everything you need to know about Miami. But which tour to choose? Well, Duck Tours in Miami Beach (South Beach) are a great way to quickly learn a lot about the city and do so in a really memorable way. You see, this tour will take you on an amphibious vehicle which will eventually splash into Biscayne Bay. Couple that with extremely knowledgeable guides that accompany you, and you get a unique experience worth every cent!
-Better safe than sorry, right? So, be sure to keep yourself insured at all times. World Nomads are a group of experienced travelers who will make your trip much safer through their travel insurance packages. Apart from that, they have loads of great tips and very interesting perks to offer you. Check them out and make sure your trip is as carefree as possible.
– Miami is world-famous for its nightlife, but there are some peculiarities about this aspect of the city you should know about if you want to go clubbing. Namely, the real action usually starts pretty late, often well after midnight, so people who turn up before that will in many cases find the clubs empty. Many times, even DJs won’t show up before 2 or 3 in the morning.
– Don’t forget your sunscreen! Summer days can be extremely hot, and no matter if you’re just sightseeing or heading to the beach, you should always have a bottle of this thing by your side.
– Go Miami Card is what you want when visiting all the attractions the city offers. Depending on which type of card you choose, you can save up to 55% this way when visiting things. Everything is done online, and you can even pick and choose exactly which attractions you want to see and then include them in the pass.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).