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 in this itinerary you will find attractions many tourists think are the best things to do and see in Miami. Get ready!
Plan your trip
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. This means that the city’s 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.
As for the events, there are plenty to choose from. Ultra Music Festival attracts tens of thousands of electronic music fans every year, so do try to make it if you like this kind of music. However, if you want to avoid crowds, this is not the time to visit. International Mango Festival in July is something quite unique, and Miami International Boat Show in February is also huge. But this is just the tip of the iceberg – whenever you come, there will be something interesting to see.
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, the 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 centuries. 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.
You are in Miami and you are going to have an amazing time! One day in this city is enough for you to see what makes it so attractive and unique, but be warned – you will definitely want more! Nobody can remain immune to Miami’s charm. Follow this itinerary and see 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.
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. Oh, and don’t skip the newly-opened Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel for some spectacular views.
Check out the Perez Art Museum
Right next to the marketplace lies the Perez Art Museum (also known as PAMM), so this is a great way to continue your one day in Miami. The building itself is a work of art, but what is particularly interesting is the attention this museum gives to local artists. So, this is a great way to get a sense of what Miami’s all about. Just keep in mind that the art here is all modern, from the 20th century to the present.
The museum has permanent exhibits and temporary ones, so there is plenty to see. And there’s also a great restaurant on the premises, ideal for brunch. Not to mention the view of the bay you get from this position. Definitely a must!
After you’re done with the and the museum, 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 southern 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 Art Deco Historic 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.
Sit down for lunch
And since the food is great, Miami Beach is an ideal place to stop for lunch. And a lunch here fits nicely into your itinerary. You will undoubtedly see a few restaurants that will spark you’re interest as you’re exploring the area, but the following establishments should be at the top of your list.
Il Pastaiolo, for example, is a great Italian place, laid-back and pleasant, where you can enjoy outdoor seating. CVI.CHE, on the other hand, is an amazing Peruvian restaurant, while Santorini by Georgios has you covered if you’re in a mood for a Greek dish.
These are just some of the restaurants you can choose from, though. There are all kinds of cuisines represented here, many of which offer excellent, relaxed settings in which you can thoroughly enjoy your food. Explore a bit and you will be rewarded!
Stop at Vizcaya Museum
Vizcaya Museum is a National Historic Landmark, and as soon as you see it, you will understand why. A beautiful mansion built at the beginning of the 20th century looks like a lavish Italian villa. No surprise there because the building was inspired by the Renaissance.
It also has lush gardens which are beautifully decorated, and the 34 rooms inside are full of wonderful European pieces of art and furniture that, in some cases, go all the way back to the 15 century. The fact that more than a thousand people worked on creating this building tells you just how special and intricate it is.
There is a direct bus from Bayside Marketplace to the Vizcaya, and the ride takes about 20 minutes. The place is therefore quite easily accessible. On top of that, this museum is fairly close to the next place on our itinerary.
Almost three-quarters of the city’s population are Latinos and one-third of the population is 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 colorful setting. In fact, why not stay here for dinner? Old’s Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina makes authentic Cuban food and killer mojitos, and El Rey De Las Fritas is also worthy of your attention. Finally, you can’t go wrong with Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine, either.
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 neighborhood 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 with sightseeing, you will surely want to have some fun. And if you’re planning on pulling an all-nighter, South Beach is the place to be.
Mango’s Tropical Cafe is one such place, and Nikki Beach is a restaurant on the beach that turns into a club at night. Voodoo Lounge is also worth a visit, but there really are loads of clubs here you can check out. Just remember that you may have to wait in a queue to get in and some places can get quite pricy.
In all honesty, though, 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.
The Palms Hotel & Spa
3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Now, this is a great hotel. The Palms Hotel & Spa is located in Miami Beach, right on the beachfront. Not only that, but it has an outdoor pool which is surrounded by tropical trees and greenery! Next to the pool is a nice bar, and the hotel has a fantastic restaurant, too. Naturally, a spa and a fitness centre are also available, and you only have to take a few steps to get onto the beach. Oh, and you can even enjoy a stroll through a wonderful garden, too. This is what Miami is all about!
Shepley South Beach Hotel
1340 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Shepley South Beach Hotel will impress you with its interior design. It was built way back in 1938, and its interior is a modern and glamorous take on that period. The hotel also has very well equipped rooms, plus you also get two beach chairs and towels to take with you to the beach. Which is just a couple of minutes away! A very good breakfast is also something to look forward to here, and just a block away is a whole slew of great restaurants. So, you can get to the beach or have a nice evening out with your hotel always being just a few minutes away!
Sonesta Simply Suites Miami Airport Doral
8855 Northwest 27th Street, Doral, Miami, FL 33172
If you’re looking for quality and affordable accommodation in Miami, Sonesta Simply Suites is the way to go. This is because this place is close to the airport, but at the same time, you can be in the city centre very quickly by car. On top of that, the place has an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. The rooms are very modern and quite comfortable, guaranteeing plenty of rest, plus the hotel offers a very convenient shuttle service. Clean and pleasant, this place will make sure you enjoy your day in Miami.
If you’re not in the city for the first time and want to see something new, or 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!
– 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).