Miami is a charming city guaranteed to dazzle you with colorful architecture, year-round sunshine, and diverse international culture. Of course, Miami is also known for its sparkling white beaches, which snake up and down the coast. And while the beaches do live up to their expectations, they aren’t the only things that Miami has going for it.
Why do people love visiting Miami?
Miami remains a popular destination for tourists and travelers because of it’s
- Nightlife and party scene
- Art Deco architecture
- Sandy beaches
- Gastronomy scene
- Outdoor activities
- Great day trips
- Green parks
- Sunny, warm weather
Whether you’re headed there for a bachelorette weekend of partying or a week of sunshine and relaxation, Miami is the perfect destination for travelers. Here are 9 reasons to book your flight to the Magic City!
The Nightlife and Party Scene
Miami is one of America’s party capitals, with a seemingly endless number of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. But if you prefer something more laid back, don’t worry. Miami has something for everyone!
South Beach is the beating heart of Miami entertainment – during the day and at night. The beach is lined with massive dance clubs that attract international DJs, celebrities, and affluent clubgoers.
If you want to skip the VIP lines and bouncer checks, then Wynwood is another good option. This neighborhood is filled with cocktail bars and hip restaurants where you can eat and drink the night away.
Downtown Miami and Brickell can also be great places to spend the night. From rooftop bars on top of skyscrapers to chic hotel lobby bars, the city center is buzzing from happy hour time until the early morning.
And finally, you have Coconut Grove, the bohemian hangout for laid-back evenings. There are some great restaurants and waterfront bars if you’re looking to grab a drink without dealing with crowds of tourists.
The Art Deco Architecture
No matter where you walk in the city, you’ll inevitably see art deco architecture lining the streets. Miami has the highest concentration of art deco buildings in the entire world, with 960 buildings being located in the Miami Beach Architecture District in South Beach.
Many art deco buildings were designed by Florida architect Henry Hohauser. His most notable works included the Essex House Hotel, the Webster, and the Greystone Hotel. His style is marked by curved edges, stepped rooflines, and colorful neon lighting.
One of his most iconic buildings is the Colony Hotel on Ocean Drive. Although its nearly 100-year history is tainted by blood and violence, it’s now famous for being a Hollywood movie set. You might recognize the building from Scarface or Miami Vice.
Cardoza South Beach is another glitzy art deco hotel from the 1930s. While it underwent a multi-million dollar facelift in 2015, it still retains its historic charm and colorful architectural exterior.
Besides hotels, you can also admire the art deco Miami Beach Post Office, the Colony Theater, and the Base Museum.
The Sandy Beaches
Many people would argue that the best beaches can be found in Miami. If you’re looking for sun and surf, then you’ll have no problem finding a place to layout for the day. However, there are many different types of beaches for all kinds of travelers.
Dog-friendly beaches, party beaches, family-friendly beaches – you name it, Miami has it!
South Beach is probably the first beach that comes to mind when you think of Miami. This legendary strip of white sand and turquoise waters sits right on the edge of Ocean Drive. In addition to the art deco buildings on the block, you’ll also find high-end restaurants, boutique shops, and plenty of outdoor cafes.
North Beach is quieter, making it an excellent destination for families. It’s located next to the North Beach Oceanside Park, featuring walking trails, a dog park, and several picnic pavilions.
Crandon Beach Park is another idyllic spot to spend the day. It’s known to have some of the clearest and bluest waters in Miami, so it’s perfect for a lazy beach-going day.
If you’re hoping to forgo tan lines, then head to Haulover Beach, the only nudist beach in the city. It’s also a go-to destination for surfers and anglers, with a marina directly next to the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Gastronomy Scene
The cuisine in Miami is unlike anywhere else in the country. Although it is distinctly American, the food here is heavily influenced by European, South American, and Caribbean cultures.
Seafood is also present on almost every menu (after all – you’re right there on the Atlantic)!
Stone crab is a local favorite that is only served from October to March. Compared to other types of shellfish, stone crab is tender, juicy, and flaky. Many people believe it tastes like a cross between lobster and shrimp.
Other popular seafood dishes include ceviche, fried snapper, and mahi-mahi sandwiches.
But the king of all sandwiches in Miami is the Cuban. Created by Cuban immigrants in Florida, this mouthwatering lunch staple is made with roasted pork, sliced ham, swiss cheese, and freshly baked Cuban bread. For dessert, a slice of key lime pie is a must. Key limes are stronger and more aromatic compared to normal limes, giving the pie an extra tart kick to your tastebuds.
Not sure where to dine on these delectable dishes? Miami Beach has glamourous upscale establishments, Little Havana is the go-to for Caribbean food, and Coral Gables and Coconut Grove are known for their trendy and innovative restaurants.
The Outdoor Activities
After a day of relaxing on the beach, you might feel eager to get out and explore the great outdoors. Thankfully, there are tons of fun activities you can do to make the most of your time in Miami.
As you can probably guess, water sports are extremely popular. From sailing and jet skiing to kayaking or parasailing, Miami has many beaches, lakes, and rivers where you can spend a day on the water.
If you’d rather stay on land, then you can still explore the area on foot. There are several hiking trails through the Everglades National Park or Oleta River State Park.
Or you can rent a bike and peddle around the city (we recommend Ocean Drive for beach and water views!). Crandon Park is also a great destination for wildlife watching. Sea turtles, manatees, and over 200 types of birds are known to live in the area!
Thrill-seekers will also have their pick of exhilarating adventures to participate in. Take a tour of the everglades on the back of an airboat, soar about the city in a private helicopter tour, or free-fall 120 mph as you skydive out of a plane.
The Great Daytrips
You could easily spend weeks in Miami and not get bored. However, it’s worth venturing outside Miami city limits for a road trip to explore some fascinating islands and towns on the outskirts.
Palm Beach is Miami’s glitzy cousin. It’s dotted with billion-dollar villas, high-end restaurants, and miles of unspoiled coastline. You can also spend the day in nature at Jonathan Dickinson State Park or the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Preserve.
To the south of Miami is Key Largo, a paradise for scuba divers. The shallow waters and vibrant coral reef system are home to tropical fish, exotic marine life, and even a couple of shipwrecks!
Although it’s a little far for a day trip, Key West makes an excellent weekend getaway for those visiting Miami. If making the 3.5-hour trip by car is too much, you can also reach Key West by plane or boat.
During your visit, stop by the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory or Ernest Hemingway’s former home.
From Miami, you can also cross the international border to the Bahamas. Many people visit for a few nights, although you can also make a day trip to the islands for a couple of hours if you’re short on time. The ferry from Miami only takes around 3 hours each way.
The Green Parks
Miami may be known for its beaches, but it also has several parks where you can immerse yourself in nature. The most famous park is the Everglades National Park on the southern tip of the state.
You can try your hand at swamp-walking through the marshes (although hiking, canoeing, and cycling are also possible).
You can also take a trip to Oleta River State Park, the largest urban park in the entire state of Florida. It’s just 30 minutes from the city and boasts over 1,000 acres of beaches, marshes, and Australian pine forests.
Barnacle Historic State Park is a quiet local park in the middle of Coconut Grove. It sits right on the water and boasts panoramic views of Biscayne Bay. Margaret Pace Park in Edgewater also has beautiful bay views in addition to tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts.
Urban parks are also quite popular in the city center. Jose Marti Park in West Brickell/Little Havana has sports courts and a community center for kids and seniors. Bayfront Park is a lush outdoor space with walking paths and gardens (although it’s also adjacent to a shopping complex).
You can also visit Museum Park, which is conveniently located next to the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.
The Shopping Opportunities
Fashionistas rejoice! Miami is a shopper’s paradise with open-air shopping malls, giant retail complexes, and charming boutiques.
One of the most popular shopping areas is the pedestrian street in South Beach. In between the lush gardens and edgy art deco hotels, you’ll find ten blocks of trendy shops and fashion brands. It’s also where you’ll find the Lincoln Road Mall with all the big international brands you know and love.
If you get hungry, you can always stop by the Time Out Market to grab a bite to eat in between purchases.
For high-end designers, head to the Miami Design District. Not only will you find the hottest artists and art galleries, but you’ll also have brands like Gucci, Dior, Bvlgari, and Christian Louboutin.
If you’re in the market for one-of-a-kind finds, then Wynwood should be your first stop. Most of the shops here are local designers, although you’ll also find eclectic décor shops, record stores, and handcraft souvenir boutiques.
When the rain starts to pour (which is will in summer), then you can always retreat to an indoor shopping mall.
Dolphin Mall is the largest one in the city, with over 240 stores, restaurants, and daily events and entertainment. The Bal Harbour Shops is also popular for upscale designers, so you can stock up on your Chanel and Chloe handbags.
The Sunny Weather
Miami has a year-round tropical climate, which means humid summers, temperate winters, and many sunny days! In fact, you can expect sunny days and warm weather practically every month of the year! The weather rarely dips below 50 °F, even in the middle of winter.
However, June to November is hurricane season. And although hurricanes are unlikely, the summer can be rainy (although storms generally only last for a few minutes). Once they are over, the clouds break, and the sun starts shining again.
Summers can also be incredibly hot and humid, which shouldn’t be too big of a deal-breaker if you want to spend your days in the water.
If you’re planning a trip, the best time to visit is spring. The days are warm although not overly humid, which is great for exploring the city or parks nearby.
Winters are also relatively mild, although they can be swamped due to school holidays and Christmas breaks. However, this is the driest time of the year.
How Many Days Do I Need in Miami?
If it’s your first time in the Magic City, it’s recommended to spend at least three nights. This gives you time to check out the major sites at a comfortable pace. Beachgoers and holidaymakers might want to stay longer to have a few days of sun.
And if you’re planning to take a day trip to the Everglades or the Florida Keys, then you should also tack on an extra few days.
Is Miami Expensive?
Miami is one of the more expensive cities to visit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable accommodation or restaurants. Plan to visit off-season (summer or fall) if you want to save on costs.