Miami Beach has long been a cultural hub. Filled with world-famous nightlife, an architectural style all its own, and first-class hospitality, it’s no wonder this Florida region makes for a top vacation destination!
But even the location itself is what makes it so special. While the miles of sandy beaches make for perfect days down by the water, it’s also the only US city to be bordered by two national parks: Biscayne National Park and the Everglades National Park. These parks make for great adventures that’ll awaken the explorer in anyone.
With so many things to do in Miami Beach, where should you start? To help you plan your perfect vacation, we’ve put together our list of the absolute must-do things in Miami Beach for you – from unique ways to see the city to botanical gardens that look lost in time.
Check out these awesome Miami Beach attractions and activities, and you’re bound to have an amazing time in the Sun and Fun Capital of the World!
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15 Fun and Unique Things to do in Miami Beach, FL
1. Enjoy the Flora at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Looking for a tranquil place to spend a day? A visit to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is one of the best things to do in Miami Beach to have a relaxing day in nature.
This botanical garden sits on three acres amid the hustle and bustle of South Beach. Here you’ll find a litany of gardens, plant collections, wildlife, and human-made beauty. Learn about growing food in the Edible Garden, see the beautiful blooms of the Flowering Trees, and see the local flora as it attracts pollinators in the Native Garden.
Water plays an essential role in the botanical garden, which is why you’ll find stunning water features throughout. One of the most prominent features of the garden is the pond, which includes an oolite waterfall and flowering water lilies. Keep your eyes peeled for koi and turtles in and around the water.
The botanical garden also often plays host to art exhibits that show the marriage between humanity and nature. Throughout the year, you’ll also find many different types of events happening here. Engage in sound meditation, try a soothing yoga or tai chi class, or learn about tending to plant life and creating a garden as beautiful as the ones you’re surrounded by.
2. See a Show at SoundScape Park
SoundScape Park is a 2.5-acre park in the heart of Miami Beach. This multi-use space is a cultural hub and gathering place for the community, and visiting here to see one of the excellent shows is one of the coolest things to do in Miami Beach.
The park is a mix of modernity and nature. While you can relax in the shady palm trees throughout your stay, the best time to visit is when there’s a special event happening.
From October through May, the City of Miami Beach hosts free screenings of family-friendly films on Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can also listen to the New World Symphony’s WALLCAST concerts, with live projections of concerts appearing inside the hall. If you’re a yoga lover, you can join Yoga Mornings at SoundScape Park for free monthly yoga classes.
3. Tour the Art Deco Historic District
Love being surrounded by art? You’ll fall in love with the Art Deco Historic District, one of the best sights in Miami Beach. This district runs from 5th Street to 23rd Street, where you’ll find buildings built in the 1920s and 1930s Art Deco style.
It’s been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979 and contains about 800 historic buildings filled with bright colors and designs. While you can walk around this district and explore on your own, you can also learn more about the Art Deco style through a daily walking tour offered by the Miami Design Preservation League.
These tours run for around two hours and will tell you all about the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern styles found throughout the area. You can also learn more by visiting the Art Deco Museum and Welcome Center, where you’ll learn all about the signature design elements of this style.
4. Play around Flamingo Park
Located in the heart of South Beach, spending some time in Flamingo Park is one of the best things to do in Miami Beach if you’re looking for a day of fun where you can cool off from the Miami Beach heat. This park has tons to do to keep you busy all day long.
Watch MLB players train during the off-season at the baseball stadium or take in a game played by the local high school team or the Adult South Florida Baseball League. Or watch NFL players train at the football stadium during their off-season!
Play on the basketball courts, handball courts, soccer field, softball field, or tennis center. Take your dog to the Bark Park or take your little one to the Tot Lot, complete with equipment designed to support early social development, cognitive development, and fitness.
The highlight of the park is the Aquatic Center, which features two pool areas. The main pool includes a lap area and is heated in the winter. In the water playground, little ones can splash and play around in a space designed specifically for them.
5. Listen to Music at the Miami Beach Bandshell
The Miami Beach Bandshell truly is one of the most iconic and historic Miami Beach attractions. This open-air amphitheater is located in the heart of North Beach and has been entertaining audiences since 1961.
At its heart, this outdoor theater is designed to create shared cultural experiences to highlight the diverse communities of South Florida. Seeing a show here is one of the most unique things to do in Miami Beach. And you have plenty of opportunities to see a one-of-a-kind performance.
From genre-bending collaborations with local orchestras to celebrations of music from all over the world to hands-on workshops, there’s always something to do and see in this beloved location.
The Miami Beach Bandshell features a number of signature events and series, from the Arts in the Parks series to the Miami Beach Youth Music Festival to the GroundUP Music Festival.
6. See the Art at the Wolfsonian-FIU
The Wolfsonian-FIU is located in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach, and it perfectly fits the area. The museum, library, and research center is designed to explore how design affects the modern world and shapes our future. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Miami Beach, as it’s an art museum unlike any other.
Exhibits and installations are always changing, so you’ll never have the same experience here twice. Learn about the influence maps had on modern life, how satirists have fought back against tyrants, how murals reflect underrepresented stories, and much more.
Events are happening here all the time that show art in all different lights. From music festivals to culture crawls, you can experience the museum in unique ways. The Wolfsonian-FIU also offers Free Family Days, with fun crafts and workshops for kids that focus on the current exhibits.
7. Go for a Dip at the Venetian Pool
Over in Coral Gables, you’ll find one of the most unique things to do in the Miami Beach area. The Venetian Pool is a historic public swimming pool, and you’ll love spending a day in the clear turquoise waters. Grab yourself a day pass and get ready for a refreshing retreat.
This pool has been delighting visitors since 1923. In fact, in addition to creating a water-filled day of fun for travelers, it was also frequently drained and used for orchestra concerts, thanks to its lovely acoustics.
The Venetian Pool is fed by spring water from an underground aquifer and refilled daily, creating the crystal clear waters. The pool features two waterfalls and cave-like grottos for you to explore.
This Mediterranean-inspired oasis, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the Miami Beach sun. Go for a swim, lounge about in the beach area, or just take in the views.
8. Kayak around Oleta River State Park
Located in North Miami Beach, Oleta River State Park offers scenic views and plenty of outdoor activities. At 1,043 acres, it’s Florida’s largest urban park.
Go biking on more than 10 miles of intermediate and advanced mountain bike trails, four miles of novice trails, and three miles of paved trails. Camp under the stars, or go a little cozier and book one of the air-conditioned cabins featuring covered porches and picnic tables.
Wake up to the sunrise as you get ready to go fishing, snorkel in the saltwater lagoon, go for a swim, or watch for birds, dolphins, and manatees. You can also go canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the calm waters of Biscayne Bay or the Oleta River.
You can book a guided paddling tour through Oleta River Outdoor Center or go for something even more unique and try a paddleboard yoga class!
9. Have a Beach Day
It’s no surprise that beaches play a big role in Miami Beach. There are so many to choose from that you might just need multiple beach days on your trip. With all these beaches around, you have plenty of options to pick the right one for you and your fellow travelers.
One of the most famous beaches is South Beach, known for its turquoise waters and white sand. It’s often busy, but it’s conveniently near plenty of entertainment options. So, when you’re done with your beach day, you can head out into the city to enjoy the nightlife.
North Beach Oceanside Park is a great family-friendly option. Enjoy the water, go on a bike ride, play on the playground, have a picnic using the BBQ grills, or take a stroll on the walking trails.
If you’re looking for more active Miami Beach activities, Crandon Park Beach is an excellent place to visit. Vendors offer both lessons and rentals for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and kiteboarding. On land, you can play volleyball, get in a round of golf or tennis, or go on a naturalist-led walking tour across a mangrove boardwalk to a fossilized coral reef.
10. Create Art at the Poppet Project
Traveling with little ones? If your child is an art lover, visiting the Poppet Project is another one of the must-do things in Miami Beach. This art studio is designed to foster children’s imaginations and develop their artistic skills. You and your child can work together to create something extraordinary, making for a day of family fun.
When you enter the Poppet Project’s Open Studio, you’ll find a wonderland of art stations where you and your child can create. Paint on easels, play around on the plexi wall, engage in sensory play, make jewelry, tinker with projects, create masterpieces on the magnet wall, and much more!
If your child is a fan of making slimes, as so many kids are, they’ll be delighted to know that the Poppet Project makes slime with the children every 20 minutes. Everything your child makes in the Open Studio can be taken home with them for more playtime fun.
11. Explore Pinecrest Gardens
Located in Pinecrest, Pinecrest Gardens was once the home of the Parrot Jungle theme park. Today, it’s one of the best attractions in the Miami Beach area.
This cultural arts park has several gardens to explore. Stroll through the Lower Gardens to venture into the wettest part of the park and see rare tropical plants, walk through the marsh grass into the Mangrove Forest, and marvel at how the cacti grow with so little water in the Dry Gardens.
But Pinecrest is just as much about art as it is about nature. The park has a massive collection of artwork, from bright and colorful paintings to sculptures and statues dedicated to the natural aesthetic of the park. There are often new exhibits popping up and being showcased at the park.
The park features several different programs and classes for adults and children alike. Adults can enjoy the Curious Gardener Workshops, a monthly event that focuses on a new topic each class, from making a terrarium to learning how to watercolor paint flora.
Meanwhile, kids can enjoy S.T.E.A.M. classes, take Mommy and Me Dance! classes, and create art that teaches about science. Pinecrest Gardens is also home to one of the best farmer’s markets in the area. Stop by Sundays between 8 am and 2 pm to pick up fresh produce and enjoy the grounds.
12. Take the Little Ones to Miami Children’s Theater
Seeing a show at the Miami Children’s Theater is one of the best things to do in Miami if you have little ones traveling with you. It’s frequently been voted one of the best children’s theaters around. What was once simply an after-school program has grown into one of the best performing arts centers in the Miami area.
The theater has two shows that the talented actors are working on at a time. The Main Stage is for the older group of actors, while Main Stage Junior is for the younger kids. Both offer high-quality productions that are great ways to get your child interested in the world of theater. Either show would be an outstanding first theater production for your child.
Spending a summer in Miami Beach? You can sign your little one up for the MCT Summer Camp. The theater has two camps available: Creative Camps for younger students and Broadway Bound for teenagers. Creative Camp is divided up further, with Group A being ages 5 to 8 and Group B being ages 9 to 12.
All Creative Camp and Broadway Bound groups spend four weeks training to put on a Broadway-caliber performance. If your little one has dreams of being on stage, this camp is the perfect place for them to get started.
13. Marvel at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
What was once a private villa has become one of the best and most unique Miami Beach attractions. The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a gorgeous Mediterranean-style mansion that’s home to art and artifacts dating all the way back to the fall of Pompeii. You’ll find this collection throughout each room of the Italian-inspired Main House and in the gardens.
The gardens themselves were inspired by 17th- and 18th-century Italy and France and designed to look like a series of rooms, each with its own purpose and personality. Explore the tranquil Secret Garden, get lost in the Maze Garden, or enjoy some time of reflection in the Theater Garden. With so many gardens to wander through, there’s always something to see in bloom.
Through the Contemporary Arts Program, you can also enjoy the works of many local artists in the museum and its gardens. Listen to a singer perform on the flowering grounds, take in new pieces of art, or enjoy a story come to life.
The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is more than a museum. The estate comes with its own historic farm and village, which is working to be restored into a community hub. Today, it hosts events, farmer’s markets, classes, and guided tours.
14. Climb Aboard a Speedboat Tour
There are many different tour options to choose from in Miami Beach, but one of the most unique things to do is hop aboard a speedboat. While other tours offer a more relaxing ride, speedboat tours are great for thrill-seekers looking to do some exploring. It’s a one-of-a-kind way to do some Miami Beach sightseeing!
Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures has been offering such tours for nearly two decades, offering both public and private charters. During public tours, you’ll hop on one of three Thriller speedboats for a 45-minute high-speed cruise around Miami Beach.
You’ll see the city itself, Biscayne Bay, Fisher Island, and the famous mansions on Star Island. You’ll love seeing the Miami Beach skyline from the water. Special tours are offered on holidays. If you’d like to enjoy the fireworks on Independence Day or New Year’s Eve, there’s no better place to watch than from the water.
15. Look for Manatees
In Florida, manatee season is typically between mid-November and the end of March. If you’re visiting Miami Beach during this time, keeping an eye out for these sea cows should be at the top of your Miami Beach bucket list.
Virginia Key Outdoor Center offers a manatee photo safari for a tour of a lifetime. Multiple manatee families can be found in Jimbo’s Lagoon. Although you must keep a respectful distance, these sea cows seem to love posing for the camera!
You’ll hop on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard for a two-hour guided tour. Unfortunately, Virginia Key Outdoor Center is closed for the time being by the city of Miami, but they aim to begin tours again, so keep an eye out for their return date.
In the meantime, another option for seeing manatees is taking a drive over to Riviera Beach to see the Manatee Lagoon. In addition to wild manatee sightings, you can also enjoy exhibits designed to teach you more about these majestic creatures, as well as other aquatic life.
Here, you can take a guided tour, listen to expert speakers talk about a new environmental topic each month, or even take a relaxing yoga class against the backdrop of the lagoon.
There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Miami Beach. What’s your favorite thing to do in Miami Beach?
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