With its almost endless summer, it is no wonder that suntan lotion was invented in Miami. With miles of beaches and over 800 city parks, there is plenty of opportunity to explore outside. This city is the only major city in the United States to be founded by a woman. When you go to Miami, make sure to see some of over 800 art deco buildings. With so many things to see and do in Miami, you will need a lifetime to do them all. Therefore, consider this list of our six favorite things to do in Miami.
1. Explore Miami Beach
Located on a barrier island stretching from Biscayne Bay to the Atlantic, Miami Beach offers many unique opportunities. Many stars adore Its South Beach. Travel Channel voted it the top beach in America. It has more than 800 art deco buildings making it the largest art deco district in the world. Strolling around the city is one of the best things to do in Miami Beach. There are also many beach hotels for budget travelers. Make sure to see the oldest building in town at northwest corner of Ocean Drive and First Street. Eat at Joe’s Stone Crab that has been serving customers for more than 100 years.
- Best time to do this activity: Miami Beach is open all year. Be aware that summer temperatures can be quite high.
- Perfect for: Everyone can enjoy visiting Miami Beach depending on activities chosen.
2. See the Animals at Jungle Island
One of the most unique zoos in the world is Jungle Island. Seeing this zoo is one of the fun things to do in Miami. This park uses no artificial fertilizers or pesticides to maintain its pristine environment. Watch the only trained cassowary in the world perform. Making this an extraordinary thing to do in Miami are the many trained birds that perform regularly. See one of the few liger in the world. This unusual animal is a cross between a tiger and a lion. If you do not have the time to visit the Florida Everglades, then you can see many of its plants at this bayfront park. Pet a red kangaroo and other animals from around the globe.
- Best Time: The park is open all year long. Be aware that summer temperatures can get very hot.
- Perfect for: Best for those without mobility issues because there is quite a bit of walking.
3. Stroll through Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
In 1987, President Reagan entertained Pope John Paul II at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens that was originally constructed by James Deering. He made his fortune with McCormick International Harvester. The estate was also used by President Bill Clinton to host 34 world leaders. External views of the property can be seen in many movies including Iron Man 3, Ace Ventura Pet Detective and The Money Pit. See the formal Italian gardens and tour the home. Hearing the pipe organ played makes this one of the best things to do in Miami. The organ was made especially for this home with the pipes hidden behind the oil painting.
- Best Time: The house and gardens are open all year. The gardens are most beautiful in the spring.
- Perfect for: Adults as most children will not find much to interest them here. Those in wheelchairs may find the property hard to explore because there are many stairs and uneven floors.
4. Wander through Little Havana
The rock and stucco houses of Little Havana along Southwest 12th and Southwest 17th Avenues are known as Little Havana. Watch the men playing dominoes at Máximo Gómez Park. Take in a film at The Tower Theater which is the only movie house in Miami to show English films with Spanish subtitles. View the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame paying tribute to Latino entertainers. Strolling through the Bay of Pigs Museum to learn more about this historic event is one of the most rewarding things to do in Miami. Soak in the unique atmosphere at Versailles while dining on authentic Cuban cuisine. Bet on the dogs or test your luck at the casino-style games at Magic City Casino.
- Best Time: Remember that Miami can get hot in the summer, so plan frequent breaks. The dogs race most weekends during the year and sometimes during the week.
- Perfect for: Everyone depending on activities chosen- No one under 21 allowed in the casino.
5. Visit the Deering Estate
The 444 acre Deering Estate was also created by James Deering. The beautiful grounds are featured many times in the television show Miami Vice. The grounds contain the largest virgin coastal tropical hardwood hammock forest in the United States. When the Richmond Cottage opened in 1900 as a hotel, it was the most southern accommodation in the United States. See the Cutler Burial Mound where it is believed that Native Americans were buried since at least 500 BCE. Taking the canoe tour to Chicken Key to learn about how chickens were raised historically is one of the most interesting things to do in Miami. Enjoy a concert as this venue often hosts up and coming stars.
- Best Time: The estate is open all year long. The grounds are best enjoyed during the spring and fall.
- Perfect for: Everyone although people will need to choose their activities based on mobility issues. This venue often hosts children’s classes.
6. Interact with the Exhibits at the Miami Seaquarium
The Miami Seaquarium is one of the oldest oceanariums in the United States. The park served as home for over 88 episodes of the television series Flipper. The park is home to the oldest orca living in captivity. Interact with the penguins at the Penguin Encounter. Swim with the dolphins and the seals. Walk through the 300,000 gallon aquarium by wearing a special suit. Play trainer for the day while accompanying a marine biologist on a behind-the-scenes tour. Watch the four amazing shows each day as marine animals perform amazing stunts. See the 200 pound sharks in the Sea Channel. Viewing the tropical birds makes this one of the most unique things to do in Miami.
- Best Time: The Miami Seaquarium is open every day except major holidays.
- Perfect for: Everyone depending on activities chosen
There is so much to do in Miami that it would take you a long time to do it all. Therefore, we suggest that you choose your favorite activities from this list. Explore the two Deering estates each with its own unique focus, explore Little Havana or see Miami’s Seaquarium. Of course, no trip to Miami would be complete without stopping at Miami Beach. If you live or have visited Miami, then we would love to hear your suggestions for things to do in Miami.