Miami is filled with things to do so these 5 things to do in Miami are just a bite. For us, Miami has often been a place to stay for a couple of nights on our way to some direction and thus we have enjoyed a couple of things at a time. These activities we have listed can all be fitted effortlessly into 1,5-2 days in the city.
Admire the architecture
The first of the 5 things to do in Miami on our list is admiring architecture. We think this is a great way to combine our love for beautiful buildings and history of the urban environments. If you have a good guidebook, there’s no need for a guided tour and you can pace your own activities. Like stopping for some shopping, lunch or drinks.
The most famous area for architecture admiring is the Art Deco district in South Beach. A great way to be in the middle of everything, being part of it all is booking a night or two at Miami Beach, like we have. Once we have stayed at the world famous Colony Hotel that has served guests since 1935, a couple of nights at the beautiful Betsy Hotel and enjoyed the James Bond vibes at the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach. You can read more about our stay at the Fontainebleu here.
However, Miami is filled with awesome architecture of different eras, let this fine listing by Arch Daily be your guide for your first visit: Miami Architecture Guide: 10 Places to Visit on Your First Trip
Taste the World
We think one of the must 5 things to do in Miami is sampling the variety of cuisines available. It’s like having small vacations within a vacation, enjoying the world on your plate.
Sometimes we may have a traditional hotel brekkie, sometimes we crave for a hearty serving of Eggs Benedict or Mexican Huevos Rancheros for breakfast. And sometimes we find a place that sells amazing, buttery, hot arepas. This South Florida favourite has it’s roots in South America, especially Venezuela is said to be it’s place or origin. We could eat these any time of the day and that is perfectly ok, there is no etiquette for time of consuming them nor for the filling. Anything from avocado and fried eggs to pulled meat and melted cheese can go inside.
Fresh fruit & smoothies are always a good idea for a snack in Miami, but if we come across empanadas, the healthy thoughts vanish like a morning mist. With varieties ranging in origin from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Cuba and so many more, these half moon-shape pastries come in both savory and sweet fillings.
Fresh seafood is widely available in Miami, catch of the day very likely means exactly that and we have had some fantastic dishes by the Ocean. Our memories go back to zesty chevice with fresh lime & cilantro (Mikaela loves this), sesame seared Ahi Tuna, fish tacos with tasty Mahi Mahi, huge servings of Spanish seafood paella, exceptional jumbo lump crab cakes, perfectly fried snapper and juicy shrimps.
The classic American dishes are everywhere, but Caribbean and especially the Cuban cuisine is something we like to try out in Miami every time. Cubanos, the Cuban sandwiches with roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard & pickles are favorites of Pekka. But through the years we’ve tried a variety of dishes we can’t find at home. For appetizers croquetas with different fillings, plantain chips and crispy yucca are a fun choice.
Love The Beaches
Despite we add the beaches as one of the 5 Things to do in Miami, our idea of an ideal vacation is not one just laying on the beach. Firstly, we are too restless and feel like missing out on things. Secondly, we try not to burn our skins.
Swimming is fun for a while, wading in the waves and just pampering feet by walking in the soft sand as well. Not to forget dining with a sea view. Why not pack a picnic basket? Some beaches offer picnic areas, bike rental, kayak rental and volleyball nets.
What ever your connection to beach life, sea & sun is, make sure to enjoy the beaches in some way. Beach life is an essential part of the Miami experience. Learn about the different beaches here.
Enjoy Española Way in the Evening
We found this pedestrian-only street and entertainment area as we wandered off our hotel Courtyard Miami Beach in December 2019.
The City of Miami Beach completed the revitalization project of this area in May 2017 and is home to more than dozen restaurants & cafés that offer al fresco seating & stay open late. In the evening the fairy lights make this place a real eye candy and life here can get really entertaining. So, don’t skip the Ocean Drive, but make sure to add Española Way to your to do list.
Because of their unique vibe, our personal faves became the Havana 1957 and the Española Bar & Lounge Cigar Shop.
Take the Millionaire’s Row Cruise
Miami is the Cruising Capital of the World and we’ve sailed from the Port of Miami several times. You can see the mansions & high rises from the higher decks. Some houses are visible from the bridges leading from Miami to Miami Beach, the drive often seen in movies and tv-series like CSI Miami.
The Millionaire’s Row Cruise had been on our bucket list for quite some time. As planned our 2019 vacation we knew we’d have only 1,5 days in Miami before taking a cruise. We decided the 90-minute sightseeing cruise would be a perfect way to spend an afternoon. To make sure we would actually take the cruise, we booked the tickets online in advance (and actually saved some bucks doing that). You can’t choose a certain time, they’ll fit you in the first available cruise as you arrive.
Our cruise started at the Bayside Marketplace (this is where you swap your online tickets to actual boarding passes and get the start time for your cruise), which meant we combined a visit to this shopping & dining venue. As you can see in the photos, the weather was not the postcard perfect on Biscayne Bay, but we thought it was a perfect weather as too bright sunlight may have been a little annoying when gazing at the luxury houses.
The bilingual, fully narrated tour was definitely worth the money. Our guide led us through the history of the city & the skyline, the events, people, homes & houses.
Did you know that the islands outside Miami are artificial, all those prestigious neighborhoods and addresses are man made? These exclusive island addresses are the most expensive ones in the area. We learned that some homes can only be reached by a boat.
We heard stories of the rich & the famous who have lived here or have a home here now. Our guide told us about the wild parties, odd house guests, movie & music projects, goals and ideas. From Al Capone to David Beckham, from Ricky Martin to Jackie Chan, from Gloria Estefan to Shaquille O’Neale. Everyone loves the Biscayne Bay and the unique, tropical island vibe.
What are your favorites in Miami?
Share your tips for easy things to do in Miami when you have a limited time!