The best things to do in Miami right now
Explore the Magic City with our guide to the best things to do in Miami, from museums to restaurants and more
Summer in Florida is upon us and that means life is sort of back to normal. In Miami, that means plenty of spring breakers enjoying the Miami beaches, tourists meandering through neighborhoods like Little Havana and South Beach and locals spilling out of the best restaurants across every corner of the city. Apropos of the season, our list of the best things to do in Miami is going through somewhat of a rebirth too. We’re seeing old favorites reopen, such as the Wynwood Walls, and new spots pop up, like Freehold Miami and a Salvador Dali exhibition. Below you’ll find our updated list of top attractions, must-visit museums and the best places dine and drink whether you’re visiting or looking to explore a different side of home.
Locals and tourists can agree that the best things to do in Miami extend beyond lounging on the sand—though it goes without saying that spending some time on the best Miami beaches is fundamental to life in the 305. In the wintertime particularly, Miami is better known for its thriving cultural scene led by events like Art Basel and neighborhoods such as Wynwood, which every year turns over a brand new facade with the spate of fresh murals that debut during Miami Art Week. And lest we miss out on one of the most important aspects of life in the Magic City—eating!—it’s worth mentioning the booming culinary scene and the host of award-winning Miami restaurants that abound, many of whom we’ve invited to join us at Time Out Market Miami. In between sunbathing, swimming and sipping cocktails, check off these essential Miami experiences. By the way, this list is curated, as always, but isn’t ranked—we just couldn’t choose favorites.
1. Stroll the magnificent Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Things to do Event spaces Coconut Grove
What is it? Miami’s number one attraction is a surreal Italian Renaissance-style villa in the middle of lush, laid-back Coconut Grove. Its meticulously landscaped gardens, sprawling bayfront terrace and, well, the house itself, make up a total of 43 acres.
Why go? Vizcaya makes for the most fetching photo backdrop in the city (just ask the quinceañeras and brides roaming about) and its inimitable collection of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries is truly breathtaking. Need to up your social game? Vizcaya is home to some of Miami’s most Instagrammable floors and staircases.
Don’t miss: Vizcaya’s event calendar is packed with free activities that are accessible year-round.
2. Take in the sights on Española Way
What is it? Find a slice of old-world Europe right in the middle of South Beach. Española Way is a charming, pedestrian strip lined with shops, restaurants and cozy, bilevel hotels that transport you to far-flung places.
Why go? Much larger Lincoln Road may have overshadowed it at one point, but the bustling tourist corridor is attracting more locals than ever before with its sidewalk eateries and free outdoor programming. Experience Paris’ café culture at enduring favorite A La Folie Café, serving up hard-to-find French classics. Drink your way down the tree-lined street’s mix of open-air bars and restaurants, stopping to take in the live music and unique people-watching, and get away from Miami without the need to go very far.
3. Ogle street art at the Wynwood Walls
What is it? The city’s first and only outdoor museum dedicated to street art.
Why go? The decade-old cultural institution is the famed epicenter of the Wynwood Arts District, legitimizing graffiti art with a roster of more than 50 murals painted by renowned artists around the world—from Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf to Kelsey Montague. Vibrant in color, deep in meaning and large in scope, the groundbreaking Walls are the undisputed selfie capital of Miami and chances are you’ll recognize some of the murals from the profile pics in your Insta feed.
Don’t miss: GGA Gallery’s 10-year retrospective, showcasing new works from past and present artists who’ve graced the Wynwood Walls with their creativity.
4. Tap into your inner nerd at Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
What is it? Spanning across a massive 250,000 square feet, the new Frost Science (an upgrade from its previous Coconut Grove location) occupies four buildings—the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium and the North and West Wings—features year-round exhibits and is a delight for curious minds of all ages.
Why go? Frost Science is as state-of-the-art as it gets, featuring interactive opportunities, a 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream aquarium that houses all sorts of sea creatures and a planetarium dome that hosts biweekly laser light shows.
Don’t miss: “Power of Science” is the first permanent exhibit to launch since the museum first opened. Exploring four scientific frontiers—oceans, the environment, the human body and the cosmos—the interactive experience takes visitors through transformative research being conducted by the University of Miami staff.
5. Soak up the tropical vibes at the Broken Shaker
What is it? The bar that started it all. Without the Broken Shaker, we’d still be ordering vodka-sodas and flavoring our drinks with cranberry juice.
Why go? For the tropi-cool vibes you can only get hanging poolside at Miami’s OG cocktail bar. We’d usually recommend a punch (they’re seasonal and a boozy bang-for-your-buck) but these are weird times we’re living in and sharing is not caring. Try one of the specials instead.
Don’t miss: Stay for dinner at the homey 27 Restaurant, where longtime chef Jimmy Lebron dabbles in Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisines.
6. Shop and people watch down Lincoln Road
What is it? Designed by iconic architectural guru Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, Lincoln Road Mall was once dubbed the “Fifth Avenue of the South,” though it’s now commonly referred to as “Lincoln.” Endless sidewalk cafés, lounges and cultural venues—such as the Colony Theatre—stretch along its length from Washington Avenue to Alton Road.
Why go? The Herzog & de Meuron–designed 1111 Lincoln Road is quite possibly the world’s most glamorous parking garage and houses upscale retail on the ground level. But there are more than several blocks of stores and boutiques to browse and shop for hours.
Don’t miss: From musicians on golf carts and site-specific theater performances to self-guided tours of the Fairchild Garden vegetation along the promenade, it’s a season full of outdoor activities and socially distant events all along Lincoln Road.
7. Travel to Cuba by way of Café La Trova
What is it? Authentic cuisine, cocktails and culture—this charming Cuban restaurant in Little Havana packs the neighborhood’s hallmarks into one inviting spot.
Why go? It’s rare to find a place that ticks off all the boxes of a proper touristic experience and also captures the attention of locals. James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein is behind the stellar menu, featuring favorites like the irresistible jamón serrano croquettes, hand-cut steak empanadas and risotto-style arroz con pollo. While decorated cantinero Julio Cabrera mixes up all kinds of cocktails
Don’t miss: The house band playing Trova-style music nightly. Let the sounds of Cuban son sweep you away!
8. Explore the lush grounds at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
What is it? One of South Florida’s natural jewels, this 83-acre garden, named after renowned botanist and Miami resident David Fairchild, is filled with tropical splendor: a lush rainforest with a stream, sunken garden, dramatic vistas, an enormous vine pergola and a museum of plant exploration.
Why go? It’s about the easiest, most scenic place to socially distance right now. And there are plenty of shady corners that provide respite from the summer heat.
Don’t miss: The botanical beauty ups its programming through the spring and summer seasons, hosting date nights for couples, dog-friendly events, farmers’ markets and other outdoor activities. Check their website for the latest.
9. Chill out at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
What is it? At the tip of serene, secluded Key Biscayne is this 400-acre state park with beach access, picnic tables, bike trails, and watersport rentals.
Why go? A great place for families with accessible parking close to the sand, Bill Baggs is home to South Florida’s only lighthouse. Take the kids and let them climb the 109 steps to the top of the lookout.
Don’t miss: Boater’s Grill is one of Miami’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away at a far corner of the park, the waterfront spot provides free docking for small vessels and serves moderately priced breakfast, lunch and dinner.
10. Explore the historical and charming Deering Estate
What is it? Built by James Deering’s similarly well-off brother Charles as his own sophisticated winter estate, the vast property encompasses several buildings, a mangrove boardwalk and a significant archeological discovery.
Why go? Outdoorsy types will appreciate the guided nature walks and birding opportunities. Plus, the estate boasts a fossil pit of 50,000-year-old animal bones and 10,000-year-old human remains; the latter are Paleo-Indians.
Don’t miss: Talk about a backdrop! Deering Estate opens its doors early on select days for sunrise photography sessions.
11. Flood your IG feed with works from the Bass
What is it? What began in 1964 as a small, private collection of contemporary art is now an internationally recognized institution with hundreds of pieces within its multiple halls. The 1930s Art Deco building also has meeting areas and classrooms for family-friendly programming, though some of that is on hold for now.
Why go? The Bass’s permanent collections, as well as its traveling exhibitions, comprise art people actually want to see—and Instagram (the real reason we go to museums these days, right?). Think large-scale works made up of found objects that probe us and a site-specific work of LED signs that make you feel at home.
12. Visit Miami’s most popular fruit stand at Robert is Here
What is it? A throwback to Florida’s fruit stands of old, Robert is Here started in 1959 when the shop’s namesake, then six, began selling his family’s cucumbers from a roadside table. It has since grown into an emporium of exotic fruit and vegetables—and a huge tourist attraction.
Why go? A lovely farm setting, a bevy of exotic fruit—which you can ask to be whipped into a fresh milk shake—and an adorable petting zoo make this worthy of the trek down (way) south.
Don’t miss: Beyond sourcing nearly every type of fruit available, Robert is Here stocks “Grandma’s Kitchen,” its small general store, with local honey, artisanal bread and other yummy, Miami-made treats. Only drive-through service is available at the moment, everything can be ordered ahead online or via DM and picked up from the car.
13. Take in the wonders of the Rubell Museum
What is it? Don and Mera Rubell’s eponymous museum houses nearly 7,200 works by more than 1,000 contemporary artists. From Basquiat and Warhol to Koons, the whos-who of 20th-century artists is well represented.
Why go? It’s a former warehouse the couple turned into a sprawling exhibition space after outgrowing their Wynwood gallery of more than 26 years. With 53,000 square feet to play with, the Rubells have room to exhibit as well as engage the community via school partnerships and curatorial training programs.
Don’t miss: Dig into elevated tapas at Leku, the onsite Basque restaurant that’s every bit as enchanting as the contemporary art collection you just witnessed.
14. Sip a fancy cocktail in the sky at Sugar
What is it? A stunning rooftop bar that sits atop East, Miami, rewarding those who venture up with 360-views of the city and Asian-themed cocktails. It’s a bougie crowd, so dress accordingly.
Why go? While a rooftop bar on the mainland might not instantly seem like an essential thing to do in the city, Sugar is deserving of its spot on the list. At 40 floors, it’s the tallest bar in Miami and its secluded, storybook garden setting is like none other.
Don’t miss: Don’t miss: Sugar’s happy hour in the sky, featuring two-for-one deals on classic cocktails, signature spritzes and every day from 4 to 6pm.
15. Face your fears at Jungle Island
What is it? A lush, tropical oasis boasting waterfront views and hundreds of species of wildlife, plus playgrounds, zip lines and other attractions for kids.
Why go? It may have started out as a place to see a few exotic fowl, but the former Parrot Jungle is now home to much more with 300-plus species of birds, orangutans and other animals. While some of these areas remain closed at the moment, you can visit Jungle Island’s new Aerial Game Trek, featuring a six-acre aerial adventure park featuring four color-coded ropes courses, over 100 obstacles, two ziplines, and ample space to social distance.
Don’t miss: Jungle Island’s new Treewalk Village was completed in March and boasts five 19-foot treehouses you can explore via hammock nets and wooden bridges.
16. Hop on a boat tour of Everglades National Park
What is it? This massive national park spans 1.5 million acres of wetlands. See alligators, cranes, turtles, manatees and even panthers roam their native habitat freely.
Why go? There’s no place in the world like it, and it’s within driving distance of downtown Miami. With three separate entrances, visitors can explore on foot, on a bicycle and via boat.
Don’t miss: Have you ever zipped to marshes on an airboat? It’s the most exhilarating way to see the Everglades, and now’s your chance.
17. Get real-deal Cuban at Versailles restaurant
What is it? This self-proclaimed “most famous Cuban restaurant in the world” is arguably more popular than its palatial namesake in France. The Little Havana institution is the unofficial meeting place for the city’s Cuban community, who crowd the cafecito window 24/7 sipping on Cuban coffee.
Why go? Toasted Cuban sandwiches, piping-hot Cuban coffee served in thimble-sized cups, authentic Cuban pastelitos made the exact same way for 40-plus years, yummy arroz con pollo...shall we go on?
Don’t miss: Versaille’s adjacent bakery (it all connects inside) doubles as a charming dessert shop selling mini flans and key lime pies as well as Cuban-inspired ice cream. Get your meal to-go or take advantage of the large tents in the parking lot, offering loads of socially distant outdoor dining.
18. Check out the wildlife at Zoo Miami
What is it? The city’s premier wildlife center is home to thousands of animals, from reptiles to mammals to birds. The sprawling facility spans across 750 acres and is the largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida.
Why go? Due to the zoo’s sub-tropical temps, species native to Australia, Africa and other warm climates comfortably reside here. Forget a safari—Zoo Miami is where you’ll safely spot zebras, giraffes and lions.
Don’t miss: Hop on a Safari Cycle (with room for up to six riders) and see it all without tiring yourself out.
19. Surround yourself with beautiful things at the Miami Design District
What is it? The former Decorators’ Row has expanded into a hub for vanguard architecture, fashion and art. There are several multilevel, open-air shopping complexes like Palm Court and Paradise Plaza where to shop for luxury fashion labels including Emilio Pucci and Giorgio Armani.
Why go? If your pockets aren’t deep enough for the shops, there’s always the neighborhood’s growing number of galleries, a slew of public art and free museums, such as the ICA, which has reopened and offers timed free admission.
Don’t miss: The food! From Michelin-starred Cote and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon to hometown darling Itamae, some of the best meals in Miami are within walking distance.
20. Party at E11even
What is it? Miami’s 24/7 ultraclub is a playground for celebrities and hard-partying locals alike.
Why go? If you’re really missing the club scene, E11even has you covered with a full nightlife experience without breaking curfew. Book your table, order bottle service and make like 9pm is the new 2am while dancing the (early) night away.
Don’t miss: The people-watching. Sit back and take it all in... Read More