I have been in Miami more times that I can remember as every year growing up we used to go twice, as it is one of the closest american airports to my hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador. I have always had to do a layover in Miami when going anywhere else in the United States. That is why I created this quick guide on what to do and see in Miami to help you enjoy and take full advantage of your next layover in Florida.
The most important thing you should know is that in Florida the transportation system is lacking, so you will need to rent a car in Miami to explore the city. It will save you time and will make your time in this sunshine city more enjoyable. The good thing is that you can put your luggage and backpack on your trunk and enjoy the beach, the Everglades or the malls without worry.
It is often suggest to either take the Airport Flyer, which is a shuttle between South Beach and Miami Airport or using a rideshare app. We recommend to rent a car as it is not as expensive, gives you the freedom to move around the city and provides a safe place to leave your luggage.
Swim and walk in South Beach
Our first stop is South Beach, which is 30 minute drive from the airport. It is the perfect place to walk around, visit some shops, grab a bite and even swim in the Atlantic Ocean. There is this awesome trolley you can take that is called South Beach Local Trolley that takes you around South Beach. Also make sure to walk down Lincoln Road Mall and Ocean Drive.
Without a doubt Ocean Drive is the most iconic street in Miami. Ocean Drive has some of the most unique architecture in the city. It remind us of the resort-style architecture from the 1920s and 1930s.
In Miami Beach you will also see the 8th Magic Mountain. In Las Vegas there is this famous exhibition called the Seven Magic Mountains. It is a similar exhibition worth the visit. It is located in Collins Park outside of the Bass Contemporary Art Museum.
Another cool street to visit in South Beach is La Española Way. It is Miami’s Historic Spanish Village founded clear back in the 1920s. It is a two-block corridor between Washington and Pennsylvania Avenue. When you visit this cute and unique street in Miami Beach you feel like you travel to a Mediterranean villages in Spain or France.
Our next stop is the Holocaust Memorial about a 10-minute drive from South Beach. The Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach is open daily from 9:30 AM to sunset and it is free to enter. It is a powerful memorial and a unique way to experience this commercial city.
Take an Everglades Tour
The Everglades are a little bit far from Miami and you will definitely need to rent a car at the Miami airport to visit. I lived in Florida for over 6 months and I visited the Everglades countless times. Our favorite tour company is the Everglades Holiday Park, almost an hour drive from MIA. The 60-minute tour takes you on an airboat to see wild alligators and includes an alligator presentation and a one kodak group photo. The park is open daily from 9AM to 5PM.
Visit Brickell or Downtown
When exploring downtown Miami make sure to visit the Bayside Marketplace, which is an outdoor shopping center with a beautiful waterfront view of the Biscayne Bay.
Visit the Wynwood Art Walk
If you have ever seen any photos of wall art in Miami there is a good chance it is from the famous Wynwood Art Walk. It is a free public area where many graffiti murals are displayed for that perfect Instagram photo! The entire Wynwood neighborhood is really fun and hip. The Wynwood Art Walk is surrounded by restaurants, boutique stores and unique frozen popsicle stands.
Outside of this complex you will find tons of cool murals as well. We recommend to spend a a good amount of time exploring the surrounding areas and taking awesome photos.
Explore Coconut Grove
Stroll through the eclectic neighborhood of Coconut Grove. As you make your way into this laid back neighborhood you will be met with charming boutiques, endless cafes, art galleries and sailboats docked nearby. It is the best place to sit back and enjoy a cool drink.
Drive around Coral Gables
Go for a drive through Coral Gables to see the beautiful works of architecture as you drive down the streets. There are many historic homes dotting the streets with many beautifully designed green parks.
Enjoy a break at the Little Havana
Explore a bit of Cuba in Miami in the Little Havana neighborhood. The vibrant and colorful streets are known for its Cuban restaurants, hole in the wall ventanitas and lively street festivals. Enjoy your short trip to the Caribbean without even leaving Miami.
Walk around the Miami Design District
The Miami Design District is by far one of my favorite places in Miami. It is known for its sleek modern architecture, upscale interior design stores and art galleries. You will find several luxury fashion brands, jewelry boutiques, cafes and celebrity-chef restaurants. My favorite public art is the Fly’s Eye Dome although there are several pieces worth checking out.
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