23 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Miami, FL
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Miami is one of South Florida's premier vacation destinations, with beautiful beaches, great weather, history, culture, sports, and entertainment. Downtown Miami, separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Biscayne Bay and Miami Beach, is a modern metropolis and cultural treasure trove.
From the museums to the streets of Little Havana, you can always find plenty of things to do in Miami. Across the bay, Miami Beach, with its Art Deco District, fantastic stretch of beachfront, and fun vibe, is a must-see in the area. Nearby, Everglades National Park is one of several popular day trip destinations from Miami.
Plan your time and discover the best places to visit with our list of the top tourist attractions in Miami.
1. Miami Beach
Located on a barrier island and connected to the mainland by a series of bridges, Miami Beach is a mix of quiet neighborhoods, lively entertainment-focused areas, and long stretches of soft-sand beaches. The southernmost portion of the island is the historic and action-packed area known as South Beach, and this is where you'll find many of the top attractions and things to do.
One of the biggest attractions in Miami Beach is the Art Deco Historic District, with pastel buildings from the 1930s and early 1940s sporting classic neon signs. An expensive tourist district, this area features numerous beachfront restaurants, shops, hotels, and plenty of sunbathing opportunities.
The main street in this area is Ocean Drive, a section of road located along the oceanfront and home to some beautiful Art Deco buildings. Ocean Drive was closed to all but pedetrian traffic in May of 2020 but in 2022 opened to one-way vehicle traffic from 15th Street to 5th Street.
One block inland, running parallel with Ocean Drive, is Collins Avenue. Collins Avenue is actually State Road A1A and is the main street in Miami Beach, joining numerous neighborhoods.
If you are looking to stay in this area, see our selection of recommended luxury, mid-range, and budget hotels.
2. Art Deco Historic District
Even if you have no interest in the beach, the Art Deco Historic District is worth a trip out to Miami Beach. This architectural style, popular in the 1930s and 40s, dominates the trendy South Beach neighborhood.
These uniquely designed buildings, in a range of pastel colors and displaying large neon signs, were built following a devastating hurricane that struck in 1926. Many are hotels and restaurants, most of which have been beautifully restored. Along some of the main streets, awnings on the lower level of these buildings provide shade for outdoor dining areas. Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue are the two main streets through the area.
If you are interested in staying in one of these historic gems, many of the Art Deco buildings still function as hotels and have much more character than modern hotels. Some good options are the luxury Delano South Beach or National Hotel Miami Beach, or the more moderately priced Hotel Breakwater South Beach.
3. South Beach
Located at the southern end of Miami Beach is the always action-packed neighborhood of South Beach. This is what many people have in mind when they plan a beach vacation to Miami. The wide section of beach that fronts the ocean along Ocean Drive is one of the big attractions. Often full of people in summer, this is the most popular beach in Miami and one of the top beaches in Florida.
This is a place to see and be seen, but also a place to swim and enjoy the shallow waters, escape the heat, and soak up the sun. A paved walk is set well back from the beach, and in behind is Ocean Drive. Art Deco buildings line the streets and offer luxury hotel rooms and a good mix of dining options.
South Beach is home to several popular festivals and events held throughout the year. By day, it's a great place to wander around or hang out on the beach. At night it comes alive with dining and nightlife.
4. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
This National Historic Landmark, set on 28 acres, was the luxurious winter home of 20th-century industrialist, James Deering. Built in 1916, the mansion features 34 rooms arranged around a central courtyard.
It took more than 1,100 workers and craftsmen to complete the Vizcaya project, many of whom were brought over from Europe to ensure authenticity in design.
The Italian Renaissance-style villa is filled with an impressive collection of European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th centuries.
The grounds and gardens contain beautiful Italian and French fountains, pools, and sculptures. A breakwater at the base of the steps leading into Biscayne Bay is an ornately carved barge, featuring female figures.
Address: 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://vizcaya.org
5. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park, just a short drive from Miami, protects one of Florida's most unique natural features. These swamplands, covering about 1.5 million acres, are home to alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and birds. This whole area is essentially a shallow river flowing out to the ocean.
Within the park is an informative Visitors Center, as well as walking trails and boardwalks for wildlife viewing. One of the most popular walking trails in the park is the Anhinga Trail, which leaves from the Royal Palm Visitor Center. This trail is less than a mile long but leads through terrain where visitors are likely to see alligators and other animals. This trail is wheelchair accessible and non-strenuous.
One of the most enjoyable ways to experience the Everglades is on an airboat tour. These high-speed boat trips take visitors out into the marshes and streams to see alligators and other wildlife. The Miami Everglades Airboat Adventure with Transport half-day tour provides transport from your hotel to the park, includes a 30-minute airboat ride, a live alligator show at the Everglades Alligator Farm, and transport back to your hotel.
6. Bayside Marketplace
Bayside Marketplace is a large outdoor-style mall with more than 120 specialty and tourist shops, numerous cafes and restaurants, and daily live entertainment. Visitors will find some well-known chain stores, as well as many unique, one-of-a-kind places. The marketplace draws locals as well as tourists.
As may be evident in the name, the mall is located along Miami's waterfront, looking out over docks and boats. Many people come here simply to soak up the atmosphere. Tour boats leave from here, visiting locations around Biscayne Bay. There is also a water taxi service to Miami Beach and downtown hotels located in the area.
A brand new attraction has risen at Bayside Market: the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel. Towering 200 feet in the air, this giant Ferris wheel has 42 climate-controlled passenger gondolas plus one glass-floored VIP version. The views out over Biscayne Bay and Miami you'll see during your 15-minute ride are spectacular.
Address: 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/
7. Little Havana and Calle Ocho
Little Havana, the Cuban district of Miami, isn't known for its wealth of tourist attractions but more for its distinctive cultural scene. Restaurants and specialty food shops line the streets, and Latin music drifts through the air. Locals socialize in the open spaces.
Murals grace the walls of buildings, showing important Cuban figures and scenes of daily life. Calle Ocho is the main thoroughfare running through the district and home to much of the activity, but Little Havana spreads well beyond, into the surrounding streets and avenues. For people-watching, the area offers a great deal of entertainment. And, of course, this is the place to visit for Cuban cuisine or perhaps, a surprise to most visitors, a great haircut at one of the numerous barber shops.
The Calle Ocho Festival, held in March, is a celebration of Cuban culture and the largest of its kind in the world. Over the years this street festival has expanded to include more Latin American cultures and is now a great way to experience Latin American music and Caribbean cuisine.
8. Bayfront Park
Bayfront Park, on the east side of Biscayne Boulevard, is a 32-acre green space, adjacent to the Bayside Marketplace. The park has several interesting monuments and sculptures. One of the unique features is the electronically controlled Pepper Fountain.
Other highlights include the Challenger Memorial, commemorating the crew of the Challenger spacecraft; the Light Tower, an amphitheater used for musical performances of all kinds; and a children's playground. Locals often come here just to run or walk on the paved trails.
A waterfront trail extends from Bayfront Marketplace to the park past the FPL Solar Amphitheater. Near the park are other interesting attractions including the Freedom Tower, the FTX Arena, and Maurice A. Ferré Park.
Address: 301 North Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://www.bayfrontparkmiami.com/
9. Perez Art Museum
The Perez Art Museum, known locally as the PAMM, occupies a section of prime real estate on Miami's waterfront. Inside an architecturally stunning building designed by Herzog & de Mueron is housed artwork from the 20th and 21st centuries.
The museum has been celebrating art from local and international artists for over 25 years. In addition to the permanent collection, the PAMM hosts a regular procession of temporary exhibits. The interior of the building is almost a work of art in itself. Light, airy spaces along with incredible views out over Biscayne Bay invoke a sense of calm and introspection, helping to aid in your appreciation of the artwork. You'll find the permanent exhibits are primarily displayed on the first and second floors; the temporary exhibits are usually on the second floor.
The PAMM has a well-regarded on-site restaurant named Verde. Settle in at a table either inside or outside on the expansive patio and enjoy a light lunch while you soak up the fantastic views out over the water.
Save a few dollars on parking (flat rate of $15) by combining a visit here with a stop in at the Phillip and Patricia Museum of Science located right next door.
Address: 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida
Official site: https://www.pamm.org/
10. Miami Seaquarium
Located on the Rickenbacker Causeway on the way to Key Biscayne, the Miami Seaquarium is a good place to take the family for an afternoon of entertainment and education. This aquatic facility is home to a wide variety of sea creatures, including killer whales, dolphins, stingrays, seals, and penguins among many, many others.
The Seaquarium offers a variety of animal shows; however, the killer whale and dolphin shows are currently suspended as of writing. But don't despair, Salty the Sealion is still performing! If you'd like to get up close and personal, animal encounters are available for an additional fee. These include three options for interacting with dolphins, one with penguins, and the opportunity to swim with seals.
In addition to the shows and animal encounters, the Seaquarium has an extensive number of educational animal exhibits and an area devoted to marine conservation.
Note that a $10 fee is charged for parking in addition to the cost of entry to the Seaquarium.
Address: 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida
Official site: https://www.miamiseaquarium.com/
11. Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Ideal for a rainy day or if you are looking for something to do off the beach, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is jam-packed with interesting things for all ages.
The museum is divided into four areas: The aquarium is all about the ocean, with a focus on South Florida. The planetarium helps bring an understanding of the solar system through interactive displays and shows. In the North and West wings, other permanent and traveling exhibits help to explain the world we live in.
Across all areas, displays are interactive and fun, and the viewing areas in the aquarium are exceptional.
Address: 1101 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida
Official Site: https://www.frostscience.org/
12. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens
Miami is a green city. Lush tropical vegetation grows here with abandon, nourished by the frequent rain, warm temperatures, and sunny days. One of the best places to see the wonderful show that Mother Nature puts on is at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens. Originally founded in 1938, the entire organization is now run by passionate volunteers and is a first-class operation.
Extensive grounds are spread out over 83 acres, allowing you to walk for miles. If that sounds a bit daunting, take one of the 45 minute-long tram tours instead. The tours are led by a knowledgeable guide and provide a fascinating insight to the gardens. Even if you are only slightly interested in plants, you'll find something interesting in one of the 27 exhibits and collections.
Owing to the size of the gardens, it's important to plan out your visit. Most of the attractions are in the southwest area of the gardens, reached by walking straight to the tram stop area from the main entrance and then turning right. Along the way, look down at the pathway to see all manner of leaves imprinted in the cement. This pathway will take you past interesting viewpoints and the entrance to the Richard H. Simmons Rainforest area. Be sure to take a stroll through this area, where mist snakes along the pathway, and rain showers take place in among the plants.
Beyond the rainforest area is the Clinton Family Conservatory and the Wings of the Tropics exhibit. Enter the building, and find yourself in a wonderland of colorful butterflies and tropical flowers. Have your camera at the ready and try, and snap a picture of the stunning blue morpho butterfly.
Spread throughout the gardens are 11 sculptures, including two by the acclaimed glass artists Dale Chihuly. A good spot to grab a light lunch is the Glasshouse Café. Tables are spread among the greenery, and it's a pleasant spot to refresh and recharge.
Unless you've ventured further afield, you may find yourself walking back past one of the more unusual plant displays in the gardens: the Lougheed Spiny Forest of Madagascar. Large trees with spikes definitely discourage any touching! Nearby is a giant baobab tree dating from the mid 1930s, planted by the founder, David Fairchild.
Address: 10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami, Florida
Official site: https://fairchildgarden.org/
13. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Miami is fortunate in the fact that it has one of Florida's most beautiful state parks only a bridge ride away. Saved from development by Bill Baggs in the 1960s, this perfectly preserved wilderness is a perfect place for a family beach day trip. One of the main attractions is the 1.25-mile-long soft-sand beach, providing amazing views out over the Atlantic Ocean.
The park is long and relatively narrow, and where you park depends on what you'd like to do. If you just want to hit the beach, park near access #6. If you'd like to visit the beach and visit the historic lighthouse, park at access #7. Fishing more your thing? Park at the far end of the road in the parking lot by the washrooms, and walk out to the fishing docks or set up on the seawall.
The park is also a migratory bird hot spot. To have a chance at seeing birds, walk Robin's Birding Trail.
Address: 1200 South Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, Florida
14. Hobie Beach
One thing you learn pretty quickly about Miami is that it can be an expensive place. Road tolls, restaurant prices, park and attraction admissions – the costs can add up quite quickly. For a delightful beach spot that's gentle on the pocketbook, head to Hobie Beach.
It's easily located on the Rickenbacker Causeway, and parking here is, amazingly, free! Soft white sand and gentle waves (if any) make this one of the most accessible beaches in the area. Hobie Beach is dog friendly – pooches can run leash-free here on the sand and in the water.
Note that Hobie Beach exists in two locations. The first location you come to as you cross the causeway is the area that rents sailboats and is popular with the windsurfing and sailing crowd. The beach here is narrow and rocky. Farther along is the main beach area described above.
15. Zoo Miami
Zoo Miami houses more than 3,000 wild animals, including 40 endangered species. Unlike many traditional zoos, animals here are grouped with other species they would normally co-exist with peacefully in the wild, and kept in settings similar to their natural habitats.
One of the most enjoyable experiences at the zoo is feeding the giraffes. Kids will be amazed as these gentle giants reach down with their long necks to pluck a treat from their hands.
This is the only zoo in the continental United States located in a subtropical climate. More than 1,000 species of trees and plants can also be found on the grounds, including a large collection of orchids.
Children will find plenty of entertainment options. If they are bored with the animals, they can head over to the play areas and enjoy some splashing around at the water-themed play area.
Address: 1 Zoo Blvd, 12400 SW 152nd Street, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://www.zoomiami.org/
16. Deering Estate at Cutler
This former home of Charles Deering is a 444-acre estate, protecting globally endangered pine rockland habitat, as well as coastal tropical hardwood rockland hammocks, mangrove forests, salt marshes, and a coastal dune island.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Deering Estate at Cutler is home to the Richmond Cottage, which served as a hotel, as well as historical buildings dating from 1896 to 1922, and an American Indian burial ground dating from 1500.
Charles Deering was an art collector, who, along with his brother James, accumulated a great number of works by the Old Masters. Deering himself also painted, and some of his works are on display here. The Artist Village at the estate has become an important cultural center, featuring art and artists programs.
Address: 16701 SW 72nd Avenue, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://www.deeringestate.org/
17. Wynwood Walls Street Art
In the warehouse district of Wynwood, the formerly drab exterior warehouse walls have been transformed into colorful pieces of art. The Wynwood Walls, plastered in street art, or what most people think of as graffiti, have brought new life to this area.
Brought about by Tony Goldman in 2009, the district has attracted big names in the world of street art from across North America and around the world. Since it was started, more than 80,000 square feet of wall space has been graced with paintings in this unique artform.
The entire area is full of colorful street art. Wander around on your own, or for greater insight into the murals, sign up online for a guided tour. If you want to see famous name artists, and purchase prints, visit the Wynwood Walls Museum. Inside this gated area, you'll find 35 walls, retail shops, and galleries. This area used to be free, but now an admission fee is charged.
Official site: http://www.thewynwoodwalls.com
18. Miami Children's Museum
Always a fun outing for children, the Miami Children's Museum is housed in a colorful and creatively designed facility with more than 56,000 square feet of space. Educational and entertaining exhibits are designed to appeal to children's curiosity and creativity.
Fourteen themed galleries revolve around arts, culture, community, and communication, and four outdoor exhibits allow kids a chance to play and enjoy time outside. Some of the exhibits are definitely Miami themed: the ability to explore a cruise ship and the ability to explore the Port of Miami.
Address: 980 Macarthur Causeway, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://www.miamichildrensmuseum.org/
19. Key Biscayne and Crandon Park
South, beyond Miami Beach and over the Rickenbacker Causeway, is Key Biscayne, a small community with lovely beaches and beautiful parks. Of particular note is Crandon Park with an offshore reef that leaves the shoreline protected from big waves and perfect for swimming.
The park has a Family Amusement Center, making it particularly popular with families, and a Nature Center. There is generally ample parking, good facilities, chair rentals available, and lifeguards on duty.
On windy days, you may see kiteboarders ripping across the waves, being towed by their colorful kites.
20. Basketball Games at FTX Arena
The FTX Arena, formerly the American Airlines Arena, is the home of the NBA's Miami Heat. It is also the main venue for large concerts and other special events, including top name singers and performers. It can hold more than 19,000 people.
The structure itself, opened in 1999, has been awarded the Leed Green Building Certification for being an energy efficient building. The arena stands out prominently on Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami.
Address: 601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida
Official site: https://www.ftxarena.com/
21. Venetian Pool
If you become tired of the beach, or the wind is up, or you are just looking for freshwater to swim in, head to the historic Venetian Pool. Located in the beautiful city of Coral Gables, just south of Miami, the pool dates from the early 1920s. The water in the pools is as pure as it gets. Fed from an underground spring, the water is crystal clear and refreshing. Each day, the 820,000-gallon pool is drained and refilled by the spring.
The pool is a byproduct of a former quarrying operation that used the coral dug from here for the construction of homes in Coral Gables. The area surrounding the pool is like a scene from Venice, Italy. Bridges, towers, and small plazas surround the pool, giving it a very European look and feel, while caves, grottoes, and two waterfalls provide hours of enjoyment for children and adults alike.
The pool is open from the start of February through until the end of November each year. Ample free parking is available across the street in the public lot.
Address: 2702 de Soto Boulevard, Coral Gables, Florida
Official site: https://www.coralgables.com/venetianpool
22. Coral Castle
The Coral Castle is the result of one man's 28 years of carving, using his own home-made tools. This incredible creation, made of limestone, was built by Edward Leedskalnin between 1923 and 1951. He kept his methods private and would not allow anyone to watch him work, leaving many people to wonder how he did it.
Today, you can tour the property and see the most famous structure, a giant stone gate, which opens effortlessly with the touch of a finger, as well as carvings that include stone tables and chairs, unique figures, and other pieces.
Address: 28655 South Dixie Highway, Miami, Florida
Official site: http://coralcastle.com
23. Freedom Tower
One of the most striking buildings on Biscayne Boulevard, Freedom Tower displays a "wedding-cake" style. Built in 1925, it is one of the oldest skyscrapers in the southeastern United States, and served for many years as the headquarters of the Miami Daily News.
Its name comes from its role as the immigration-processing center for hundreds of thousands of Cuban refugees who arrived in the 1960s. Today, it stands as a tribute to Cuban immigration and is used, in part, as a contemporary art museum.
Address: 600 North Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida
Where to Stay in Miami for Sightseeing
Miami's main tourist area is Miami Beach, with its lovely soft-sand beaches, Art Deco buildings, and vibrant atmosphere. There are all kinds of hotels here, from small, quaint boutique hotels in landmark buildings to the large chain hotels. Most of the hotels have pools and are within easy walking distance of the ocean and a variety of great restaurants.
- With 600 feet of prime beachfront property and occupying an entire city block on Collins Ave, 1 Hotel South Beach is one of the trendiest luxury properties in town. The hotel has 426 rooms and suites, and many feature expansive views from floor-to-ceiling windows that face the Atlantic Ocean. The décor is maritime themed and makes use of reclaimed driftwood in furnishings. There are four swimming pools on-site, including the largest rooftop pool in South Beach. There are a number of restaurants with a healthy focus, and guests have access to rides in the hotel's Tesla vehicles within a three-mile radius. Pets are also welcome to stay.
- Right on the trendiest section of South Beach, The Setai, Miami Beach is a stunning, Asian-inspired luxury resort that is popular with couples on a romantic getaway. It's an all suite hotel, and these begin studio sized and go all the way up to a four-bedroom penthouse. Expect high-end decor like hand-crafted Duxiana beds and high thread-count, Italian sheets. There are also in-room espresso machines and rainfall showers in large baths. The Setai also boasts a host of amenities, including a posh spa, three swimming pools, and sun-loungers and umbrellas on the beach. There are also multiple restaurants on-site. Try Jaya for Asian-inspired fare and The Ocean Grill for international cuisine.
- Literally in the middle of the Miami skyline with views of the Miami River, Biscayne Bay, and downtown from the balconies attached to every room and suite, the just remodeled Kimpton EPIC Hotel is another top luxury sleep. The décor is urban contemporary, and we love the floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as the comfy beds with quality linens. The Kimpton is known for being super dog-friendly, and there is never a pet deposit to stay. Also noteworthy are two on-site restaurants: Area 31 with outdoor patio seating and Zuma on the ground floor. An on-site spa and fitness center and two swimming pools with cabanas that can be reserved complete the amenities picture.
- In the heart of the Brickell neighborhood in downtown Miami, the Four Seasons Hotel Miami is a popular choice for families seeking a luxury resort stay. The resort even doubles as a Latin American art gallery, hosting a multi-million-dollar collection that is exhibited throughout. Child-focused amenities here include a kids' club with organized activities and a children's section in one of the two rooftop swimming pools. Adults can check out a class at the on-site Equinox fitness center or book a massage at The Spa, both located on the hotel's fourth floor.
- If you want to be near South Beach but can't afford to pay a fortune, then try the boutique Urbanica The Meridian Hotel, which offers a more affordable, luxe experience. The hotel in the hip South of Fifth neighborhood in Miami Beach features minimalist design, with white and beige hues, and is known for its personalized service.
- Another upmarket, mid-range choice is the Marriott Stanton South Beach, which is right on the beach. Set at the southern side of South Beach's Ocean Drive, it is a kid-friendly property but can also work for couples on a budget. There are two swimming pools and a hot tub on-site, as well as a spa with a sauna and a modern gym. There are a few dining options as well, including a good restaurant fronting the sea.
- It is usually more affordable to stay in downtown Miami than Miami Beach, and these days the downtown area around Brickell, where the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton - Miami-Brickell Downtown is located has plenty to keep you occupied. The good-value hotel has a classy vibe and even features its own contemporary art collection. Other perks include a free breakfast and swimming pool.
- Even budget hotels in Miami Beach tend to be pricey unless you're visiting in the super low season. Try the Hotel Shelley for a quality budget sleep in an Art Deco building right on Collins Ave. The rooms have minimalist design and marble baths.
- The Element Miami International Airport is right by the airport, but Miami's airport is not inconveniently located to get around the city. This hotel offers renovated rooms, with small kitchens, and an outdoor pool. The free shuttle is handy for late or early flights.
Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Miami
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour: To see the sights of Miami at your own pace, it doesn't get any easier than a Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour. The three routes hit all the major destinations, including South Beach, Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, and Little Havana, with a total of 40 stops to choose from.
- Sightseeing, Cruise, and Everglades Tour: If you really want to make the most of your time in Miami, the most comprehensive and convenient way to see and experience the highlights is on a Miami Combo Tour: City Sightseeing, Biscayne Bay Cruise, and Everglades Airboat Ride. This tour checks off everything but the beach, and it's all wrapped up in a one-day tour. The trip includes a narrated coach tour through the city; a cruise on the beautiful, clear waters of Biscayne Bay; and an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades.
- Visit Key West: Take an organized Key West Day Trip to see the famous bridges that link the Keys, spend an afternoon wandering around Key West, or add on a glass-bottom boat tour, a snorkeling cruise, hop-on-hop-off tour of Key West, or parasailing. This 12-hour tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off at your Miami hotel, bus transportation to Key West, and plenty of free time to see the sights.