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Florida’s reputation as the Sunshine State is well deserved. Warm Gulf Stream waters flow northward past Key West, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. Add copious amounts of sun and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a great place to live. Grab a ticket to Miami International Airport let’s explore America’s “Magic City.” From Zoo Miami to Jungle Island, Everglades National Park to the Miami Seaquarium, we’ve traveled up and down this exciting destination to bring you the best it has to offer. Without further ado, here are the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
We start with something fun for the entire family. Located southwest of downtown, Zoo Miami is a sprawling park and the only sub-tropical zoo in the continental U.S. Over 2,000 animals call the park home. Cage free enclosures are designed to mimic natural habitats and species are grouped together with others native to particular environments. This innovative and humane design makes the experience at Zoo Miami more akin to a nature safari than a traditional zoo. When you visit, you will see animals interacting with each other as they would in the wild. Take a mini trip around the world as you visit the different park sections including Asia, Africa, Australia, the Amazon, and more. Ride the park’s monorail to get a sense for the different environments and then return to see the animals up close. Take a boat ride through the Everglades enclosure and learn about the amazing habitat that’s practically on Zoo Miami’s doorstep. Families will appreciate the many educational experiences on offer. These include tips on how to promote conservation and protect the environment in our daily lives. Whether you have kids of your own or are just a big kid at heart, there is plenty to enjoy at Zoo Miami, one of the city’s top-12 ultimate things to do.
First established in 1949 as the Junior Museum of Miami, the Frost Museum of Science is South Florida’s premiere museum for science and technology. Located in the heart of downtown Miami, it is easy to access and a great stop when you’re out exploring the waterfront. Visit the museum’s many hands-on exhibitions, which cover topics ranging from outer space to the strange creatures living inside each of us. Visit the design lab where you’ll be presented with engineering challenges requiring creative solutions. The innovative “River of Grass” exhibit gives you a detailed look at the incredible Everglades ecosystem. Learn about star formation, black holes, and more when you catch a show at the planetarium. Wander the enormous three-level aquarium exhibit and meet beautiful sea creatures. With something for everyone, the Frost Museum of Science is fun for the entire family. Tickets are available online so grab them ahead of time and skip the lines. Crowds swell as the day progresses so morning is a good time come. A few exhibits are located outdoors so keep that in mind as regards possible inclement weather or the need to protect yourself against the sun. With so much to see and experience, we know you’ll agree the Frost Museum of Science is one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
If you love everything about the ocean and the animals that live in it, the Miami Seaquarium is the place for you. Located on Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay, it is one of the oldest oceanariums in the United States. A variety of tickets are available offering differing experiences. These include the chance to play with dolphins, swim with seals, or even become a trainer for the day. Don’t worry though if you don’t fancy getting wet, you can always just grab a general admission ticket. As a bonus you will save 10 dollars if you purchase your ticket online Monday through Wednesday. Be sure to check if the park is offering any promotions such as a free children’s ticket with the purchase of a regular price adult ticket. This can mean a big savings! From Central Miami, the best way to get to the Seaquarium is via car. Public transportation options are also available, however, so don’t worry if you’re in town on foot. Once you arrive, be sure to check the show schedule so you can manage your time and see your favorite animals. Families will want to make a stop by the touch pools where the little ones can discover bamboo sharks, cleaner fish, and various invertebrates. Finally, don’t miss the beautiful flamingos near the entrance as you’re arriving. These gorgeous creatures will bring a smile to your face and set you in the right mood for exploring one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Located on the other side of Biscayne Bay from downtown is the impressive South Beach. Here you will find trendy shops, amazing beaches, and steamy nightlife. Venture over from central Miami and start at South Pointe Park Pier. South Beach is packed with upscale developments and great resorts. Trendy restaurants and cafes dot the streets near the pointe. Stroll through South Pointe Park and head north along Washington Street. The Florida Jewish Museum is a great place to duck in if you want to get out of the sun. Otherwise, bring your lotion and enjoy the 3.5 km stretch of pristine sands. Drop into The Wolfsonian-FIU. This museum boasts an eclectic collection set in the heart of the city’s Art Deco District. Just up the road is the World Erotic Art Museum featuring sculptures, drawings, paintings, and photographs of erotic subject matter from throughout history. This is a fun stop to make before heading to dinner and an evening enjoying the famous South Beach nightlife. When the sun goes down, the streets near the waterfront buzz with activity as restaurant-goers dress their best and make for a night on the town. Enjoy a great meal with an ocean view and then let your inhibitions go as you dance late into the night at one of the area’s many bars and clubs. Experiencing the nightlife in South Beach is for sure one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Miami’s popularity grew rapidly in the early twentieth century as scores of tourists flocked to the warm climate and beautiful shoreline. To accommodate the influx of newcomers, developers looked to construct a wave of hotels and businesses catering to visitors. As was the style at the time, Art Deco became the go-to design motif both for its attractiveness and the relative cost savings associated with construction. Today you can see many of these buildings pressured in their full glory. The South Beach neighborhood is recognized as a US historic district. Officially, it contains some 960 buildings and runs between 6th Street in the south and Collins Park in the north. Start at the Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive at 10th Street. You can find information on the neighborhood, learn about preservation efforts, and discover the backstory behind many of the places you will see later. Among the numerous buildings to visit, make a point to visit the Cardozo Hotel, the Park Central Hotel, and the Carlyle. When the sun goes down and the neon turns on you’ll feel nostalgic for old Miami. Thanks to the great work over the years to preserve these historic buildings, visitors to South Beach can enjoy all the modern eccentricities alongside the beautiful architectural achievements. A stroll through the Art Deco District makes our list of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, successive generations fled the island for various personal, economic, and political reasons. Many Cuban exiles put down roots in Miami. Over time, a strong and proud Cuban community sprang up. Often outspoken when it comes to Cuban politics and US-Cuban relations, the community in Little Havana as it’s now known, is always lively. Visitors can enjoy Cuban culture and experience the bustling café culture along Southwest 8th Street (aka Calle Ocho). Start at the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame and branch out in either direction. Find yourself a place for a coffee or a game of dominos, or just enjoy the comings and goings in this bustling neighborhood. Each year, during the annual Carnaval Miami celebration, Little Havana hosts its own street festival also called Calle Ocho. Traditionally members of the neighborhood’s differing ethnic communities display colors or flags representing their cultural heritage. Diverse Latin and South American foods are on offer while music and merriment stretch late into the night. Without a doubt Calle Ocho is the event on the Little Havana social calendar. This is something you don’t want to miss if you happen to be in town. Experience the great melting pot that is Little Havana in all its glory and you will quickly understand how this is one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Downtown Miami is a lively place, particularly if the Heat are playing at American Airlines Arena. Situated on the waterfront near Bayfront Park is Bayside Marketplace, a sprawling yet cozy collection of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Hop on the Miami River Walk and it will eventually take you past Bayside Marketplace. If you’re lucky there will be some live music at the Bayfront Park Amphitheatre. Enjoy the view across Biscayne Bay before heading inside. If shopping is your thing, this is a great place to peruse the latest fashion brands all conveniently located in one place. The two-story open air shopping center wraps around Bayside Marina. Watch the yachts coming and going as you sip a latte or cool drink at the Mojito Bar or Lombardi’s Miami Italian Restaurant. If you’re looking to get out onto the water, consider booking a ride with Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures. The tour agency can help you arrange an adrenalin-filled speedboat ride around Biscayne Bay. Given easy access to the rest of downtown, you can quickly saddle over and catch at show at the Olympia Theater or visit the Miami History Museum. Though with so many top brands packed into Bayside Marketplace, you might not want to leave until you’ve searched up and down for the best bargains. Either way you go, this downtown attraction is one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Jungle Island is an eco-adventure and amusement park located on Miami’s Watson Island. See beautiful creatures from around the world including African penguins, blue and gold macaws, and American flamingos. Jungle Island also features warthogs, red kangaroos, gibbons, lemurs, and more. Tickets are available on the park’s official website. You can also find information about discounts for military families and children. Be sure to check the schedule of events for a detailed list of what’s on offer. Test your problem-solving abilities in the escape room or experience the thrill of skydiving without having to jump out of an airplane when you visit the wind tunnel. Jungle Island is easy to access from I-395 or via public transportation. The entire family can enjoy the day at Jungle Island as there is something for everyone. If you have time, venture over to the Miami Children's Museum where you can spark your little one’s creativity in the museum’s many different sections. Your little explorer can take the skills they’re learning in school and deploy them to solve puzzles or make new discoveries. When combined together, Jungle Island and the Miami Children’s Museum make for an unforgettable family outing. Witness the joy as parents and children both discover new and fascinating things about the world. If you ask us, a visit to Jungle Island easily earns a spot among the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
The Florida Everglades is a tropical wetlands region located due west from downtown Miami. Everglades National Park was established in 1934 and protects the southern twenty percent of this unique ecosystem. As the largest tropical wilderness in the United States and the largest wilderness area of any kind east of the Mississippi River, the Everglades is a national treasure. UNESCO recognized the park in 1976 as a World Heritage Site. The Everglades ecosystem is unlike any other tropical wetlands on Earth. Given the environment does not support a vast network of roads, entrances to Everglades National Park are not connected. Which entrance you choose will depend in part on where you’re coming from and what you want to see. The Shark Valley Visitor Center is convenient if you’re coming from downtown Miami. From points south near Homestead, the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is most accessible. Boating through Everglades National Park is a favorite thing to do. Make sure you have the proper registration and permits and observe all regulations in order to safeguard this precious resource. To get the most out of your visit, consider going on a guided tour or participating in one of the park’s ranger-led activities. These informative sessions will help you better understand and appreciate the true natural wonder that is Everglades National Park. Found nowhere else on Earth, it’s easy to understand why a visit to the Everglades is on our list of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Miami is a town with a youthful energy. Bucking Florida’s reputation as a destination for retirees, Miami exudes coolness and artistic flare. Among younger Miamians, however, the city’s Wynwood neighborhood stands out. Known for its trendy cafes and creative street art, Wynwood is a place to be. This is especially true on the second Saturday of every month when the streets fill with music, dance, and entertainment during Art Walk. Having transformed in recent years from a stogy former warehouse district, Wynwood is riding the wave of urban redevelopment helping to revitalized many American cities. Today there are more than 70 art spaces and museums, countless new and innovative restaurants, and dynamic startups eager to tap into a talent pool hungry for opportunity. Visit Wynwood Wall on Northwest 2nd Avenue where you can see amazing street art created by artists from around the world. Stop in at the Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE for an extensive collection of vintage photography, videos, and sculptures. The Rubell Family Collection hosts contemporary works by emerging artists in a converted warehouse space. Repurposing these locations has allowed for the creation of large exhibition halls well-suited to sizable installations and highly creative displays. When you visit Wynwood, you cannot help but feel surrounded by new and exciting things. This is why it’s one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
Held each year in February, the Miami International Boat Show is a massive industry trade show where visitors can see the latest tech and accessories aimed at recreational boaters and anglers in the United States. As the North American market is by far the largest in the world, the Miami International Boat Show is a big deal. If you’re even the least bit interested in boating or fishing, this is something you should certainly check out. As with other large industry trade shows, the Miami International Boat Show is always a spectacle. The biggest brands showcase their best products and roll out their newest innovations. It’s not every day you can see the latest and greatest all gathered together in one location. Shuttle bus service is available to bring guests from hotels in the city to the convention location on Virginia Key. You can easily spend an entire day going around to all the booths and covering the different crafts moored along the piers. If you’re considering attending, make sure to book your accommodations in advance. Consult the official website for a list of activities, programs, and demonstrations. Register ahead of time so you don’t miss the chance to test drive the latest gear or hear about trends in the industry. As the premier sales event for the North American boating industry, the Miami International Boat Show is one of the city’s top-12 ultimate things to do.
When you think of great US sporting cities, the usual suspects come to mind: New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. If asked, few people would list Miami. However, that’s what makes this such a great place to take in ballgame. Miami’s oft-derided ambivalence to its hometown franchises mean this is a great place to can catch your favorite teams when they come to town. Chances are good you can score tickets to Marlins or Panthers games. NBA games at American Airlines Arena are always popular. Look ahead on the calendar for the matchups when you’re in town and try to catch a game. Tickets are easy to snag on StubHub or other vendors. The long-anticipated arrival of David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF, which is set to officially kick-off Major League Soccer at the start of the 2020 season, is going to be the hottest ticket in town! Four top-flight teams all competing in the major sports leagues means there is almost always a game scheduled. Throw in the University of Miami Hurricanes and you’ve got yourself a potent combination of sporting franchises in a great market. Don’t pass up the opportunity to head to the park and see your favorite stars in action. Miami might not make the list of best sports cities in the US, but catching a game is absolutely one of the top-12 ultimate things to do in Miami.
America’s Magic City has lots going for it, not least because the weather in Miami is some of the best anywhere in the continental United States. Whether you’re someone who enjoys shopping or exploring new and innovative art spaces, there’s something for you in Miami. Easy access to fantastic beaches and world class sports make this one of American’s best destinations. Popular during the winter months as scores of tourists from northern states flock in for relief from the cold, Miami is a haven for many and permanent home for more still. No matter what your passion or excitement, you will find something to tickle your fancy in Miami. Come discover this amazing destination today!