I‘ll admit…a visit to South Beach would not be complete without spending some time lounging on the beach, people watching on Ocean Drive, or shopping on Lincoln Road. The “always a party” vibes in the SoBe district of Miami Beach were the reason I frequently flew to Miami — if only to get a taste of the nightlife. But as a person who has spent many vacations enjoying Miami into the wee hours of the morning, the explorer in me now craves something more.
Whether it’s your first time to Miami or you’re just looking for cool things to do, here are several ways to explore Miami when you want to venture beyond the clubs.
Head to Wynwood for Murals and Breweries
Another hip and happening area in Miami is Wynwood. Known for its famous Wynwood Walls and the Wynwood Brewing Company (Miami’s first craft brewery), this colorful neighborhood has converted warehouse buildings into over 40 murals from some of the world’s most popular street artists. It’s basically like walking through an 80,000 square foot art gallery…outside. Each year during Art Basel Miami, the walls get a new look when artists from around the world come to once again turn Wynwood into their personal canvas. Enjoying the art, snapping a few photos, and grabbing a beer sounds like the perfect afternoon.
Spoil Yourself Rotten at Miami Design District
And while we’re on the subject of art, Miami’s Design District must be mentioned. Combining innovative architecture and eclectic art galleries with high-end shopping, the midtown Miami destination is the best of best worlds. It’s home to over 130 outlets including restaurants, boutiques, and showrooms, and boasts some of Miami’s hottest chefs — check out Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, Harry’s and Ella by Michael Schwartz and Crumb on Parchment by Michelle Bernstein. Miami’s International Art Fair is also held here.
Explore Miami’s Cuban Culture in Little Havana
A Calle Ocho walking tour would lead me to some of the most popular spots in Little Havana, but feel free to explore on your own. The area is bustling with authentic Cuban vibes from the cafes, bars, dessert shops, markets, and parks. You will literally feel as though you have stepped out of the U.S. and into Havana. Drop by and watch a game of dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park, have a legit Cuban sandwich at Versailles, slide into Ball and Chain for a delicious mojito, get your ice cream fix at Azucar (order the guava and cream cheese), and end the afternoon at El Exquisito for a cafecito — all with a Cuban cigar in hand from the Little Havana Cigar Factory.
Board a High-Speed Airboat at “The Everglades”
Everglades National Park provides an opportunity for visitors to get up, close and maybe a little too personal with snakes, alligators, frogs, crocodiles, and panthers via 1.5 million acres of swamp lands. Yes, you can opt to take in the wildlife using their walking trails and boardwalks or even by bicycle, but if you really wanna have some fun, you gotta jump on an airboat! Coopertown, Everglades Safari Park, and Gator Park offer airboat tours inside Everglades National Park for one exhilarating experience.
Go Ice Skating at the EDITION hotel
After a late flight into Miami, the last thing I wanted to do (besides grabbing a bite to eat and heading straight to bed) was to jump into a pair of ice skates. Isn’t it amazing how quickly you can receive a jolt of energy so powerful you quickly forget your body was in dire need of rest? As soon as someone told us there was an indoor ice skating rink downstairs at the EDITION hotel we were off! The Basement, as it’s called, houses a bowling alley, disco, and ice-skating rink all in one place. Now, who’s ready to have some fun?
Sip and Savor at Time Out Miami
If you live in a city where the culinary scene is remotely poppin’, you may have noticed the influx of food halls around town. If not, then the recently opened (May 2019) Time Out Miami Market will be your foodie lover’s paradise. The best of Miami’s food, drink, and culture under one roof sounds like a stretch, but when it’s curated by their all-knowing editors and shows off a roster featuring the city’s top chefs, restaurants, and bartenders, the proof may be in the pudding. There are 18 concepts to choose from with cuisines covering everything from Cuban (of course) to Vietnamese and Peruvian. Stop in for a bite and hang around for the cocktails.
Peruse Miami’s Top Museums
I enjoy visiting cities and getting a chance to check out their museums. You’ll always come across a new-to-you collection and it’s the perfect way to schedule in some time to mentally refresh in between day time parties and the nighttime turn up. Pérez Art Museum (PAMM), one of the top art museums in Miami, features modern and contemporary art, while The Bass, Art Deco Museum, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Jewish Museum of Florida, and Oolite Arts leave plenty of options worth exploring.
Have you been to Miami? If so, did you go for the beach and nightlife or something outside of the norm?