Top 10 Things to Do in Miami: How to Get a Feel for that Seaside Life and City Buzz all at Once

There’s no better place to escape the cold winter months than a quick getaway to Miami, Florida.

Not only can you sit back and soak up the sun for hours at a time, you can keep the whole family satisfied with an array of entertaining activities, indoor and out. You’ll soon be asking yourself how you can possibly pack in so many adventure filled days in such a short time.

The good news: anywhere is a good place to start.

Stroll through the beautifully landscaped Bayfront Park, catch a glimpse of some dolphin acrobatics up close at the Miami Seaquarium, or roll up your sleeves for some hands on family fun and endless learning at the Miami Children’s Museum.

Wherever you turn, you’re not far from a good time everyone can enjoy. So why wait? Check out these top 10 things to do in Miami. The fun starts here!

1. Check out Marine Life at the Miami Seaquarium

flickr/ LEONARDO DASILVA
flickr/ LEONARDO DASILVA

The Miami Seaquarium is one of the oldest aquariums in the United States.

The aquarium is home to not only large marine animals including dolphins, but also to sharks, sea turtles, fish, reptiles and birds as well. Several large whales have made a name for themselves over the years as a must see entertainment visit. Today, that title is held by Lolita the Killer Whale. Lolita is the world’s oldest captive orca whale who has been at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970.

Besides regular family visits, the aquarium hosts girl and boy scouts troops, camps, and school trips. Nearly 500,000 people visit the 38-acre facility each year. Visitors are welcome year round from 10am until 6pm.

Tickets can be purchased online to get a look at these magnificent creatures yourself, up close and personal.

2. Get to Know Exotic Animals from Around the World at the Miami Metro Zoo

flickr/ Valerie
flickr/ Valerie

The Miami Metro Zoo, or Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens is considered one of the oldest zoos in the state and the only tropical zoo in the continental United States.

The zoo is currently situated on the former Richmond Naval Air Station grounds. Over 750 acres in size, the zoo houses over 3,000 animals. Families can indulge in Dr. Wilde’s World, Lake Iguana, the Amazon Flooded Forest building, and grab a ride on the zoo’s monorail system. Animals represent Asia, Africa, Australia, the Amazon, as well as local animals hailing from the Florida Everglades.

Families will not only learn about the animals themselves, but each animal’s natural habitat that makes for unique living situations perfectly suitable for each animal.

3. Go for a Stroll at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

things to do in miami
wikimedia commons/ Averette

Take the perfect afternoon stroll at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove, Miami.

The large museum at the epicenter is representative of Tuscan Italian Renaissance and Mediterranean Revival architecture as well as Baroque influence. The gardens themselves include native plants perfectly manicured and sculptured into patterns and intricate designs with an air of royalty.

Cuban limestone stonework and fountain structures are hidden, tucked behind low hanging tree branches and swaying flora that make for a number of great photo opportunities and resting places.

4. Bring Your Picnic Basket in Tow on the Way to Bayfront Park

bayfront park
wikimedia commons/ Daderot

Get the best of many worlds when you visit the Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

Sure, after all that time along the water, maybe you’re ready for some downtime at a nice, grassy respite location. At Bayfront Park, not only are you surrounded by shady trees and grassy outlets perfect for a picnic, but also by the waterfront as well as tall skyscraper buildings located at either side of you, just a couple hundred feet away.

Constructed in 1924 by a Japanese architect known as Isamu Noguchi, Bayfront Park stretches 32 acres on Biscayne Bay. The park is easily accessible via public transportation with a stop at a Metromover station.

Each year on Independence Day, Bayfront hosts “America’s Birthday Bash.” More than 60,000 people participate in the annual festivities. Other large gatherings include Ultra Music Festival and a New Year’s Eve Party.

5. Get a New View of the City from the Metromover

metromover
flickr/ Ed Webster

If you’re seeing the city for the first time, you’ll definitely have a lot of ground to cover to make sure you see all the great things there are to see and do in Miami.

And while many of Miami’s hottest tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other, why not take advantage of the Metromover? The Metromover Miami is one of only three of a kind in the United States, yet it remains the most successful to date. Nearly 37,000 people use the free public transportation to get to the place they need to go every day, within Downtown Miami, Brickwell, Omni, and Park West city sections.

There are a total of 21 stops that stretch from the School Board station to the Financial District.

Essentially an extended loop, the Metromover reaches such tourist attractions as the American Airlines Arena, the Bayside Marketplace, and the Arsht Performing Arts Center. Further plans for construction may one day expand to the Port of Miami and South Beach.

6. Roll Up Your Sleeves at the Miami Children’s Museum

miami childrens museum
flickr/ Smart Destinations

Let the kids release some energy at the Miami Children’s Museum on Wood Island.

The 56,500-square foot museum, in addition to countless interactive exhibits, also houses an auditorium, parent/ teacher resource room, pre-school classrooms, and resources in bilingual, community, and cultural education. Special events include Sensory Saturday, especially for kids with autism, including classroom modifications like limited admission and sound and lighting adjustments.

Kids participate in activities like arts and crafts, and even yoga. Sensory Saturdays are held about once a month. Other classes include Mommy & Me Classes. Membership to the museum comes with special perks such as unlimited admission, discounted tickets for special events, and discounted tickets to 200 other children’s museum across the country as well as in Canada.

7. Let Loose at the American Airlines Arena

things to do in miami
wikimedia commons/ jjron

Get your game face on at Downtown Miami’s American Airlines Arena. The stadium hosts the Miami Heat, a member of the National Basketball Association.

In addition to basketball, the arena has hosted professional wrestling and UFC events as well as music concerts performed by Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, One Direction, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Drake.

The arena is easily accessible via the Metrorail, Metromover, and Metrobus.

8. Shop till Your Drop at Miami’s Dolphin Mall

fun things to do in miami
Dolphin Mall

Need to de-stress after an adventure filled but perhaps hectic family vacation? The answer is simple of course: some gold old fashioned retail therapy.

Dolphin Mall is a retail center situated in Sweetwater, Florida. Shoppers can indulge in a total of more than 240 vendors. The most popular stores include Old Navy, Neiman Marcus, Forever 21, Bloomingdale’s, Sam Ash, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ross Dress for Less, and Burlington Coat Factory.

The mall is designed to have an outdoor appeal similar to other large retail malls in South Florida. However, Dolphin Mall is broken down into three zones: Ramblas, Moda, and Playa. In close proximity to Florida International University, Dolphin Mall is a frequented meeting place. Besides retailers, the mall also includes a roller coaster and 28-screen cinema theater.

9. Snap Some Great Miami City Skyline Photos of the Miami Center

miami center
flickr/ Steven Martin

A standout skyscraper in downtown Miami, the Miami Center stands 34 stories and 484 feet tall.

Tenants include various offices including healthcare companies and high end lawyers. Although constructed in 1983, the Miami Center is often compared with newer neighboring buildings that have been erected in the last century.

It sits at the corner of Biscayne Boulevard and Southeast 3rd Street, near to the Central Business District and the Southeast Financial Center. From the Miami Beach perspective, the Miami Center remains an unobstructed component of the city’s skyline.

10. Discover Local Flare in Wynwood

things to do in miami
flickr/ Ines Hegedus-Garcia

Get a feel for local cultures in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, north of Downtown Miami.

Wynwood can further be broken down into areas like the Wynwood Fashion District and the Wynwood Art District. The Wynwood neighborhood has long been home to a large Puerto Rican population, sometimes giving it the nickname of “Little San Juan.” Since construction of the Florida East Coast Railway in 2005, the neighborhood began to take on a new atmosphere is a hub for artist, lounges, cafe and restaurants.

Today, art and fashion remain important elements of the neighborhood’s ambiance. The population today is considered diverse, with over half of local residents of hispanic descent, and about 20% each blacks and whites.

Wynwood is easily accessible via the Metrobus, Metromover’s School Board Station, and Miami Metrorail.

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No matter what has you coming to Miami in the first place, there are plenty of reasons to stick around for a while. And it turns out, Miami isn’t just for college springbreakers either.

In fact, the city has much more to offer than first meets the eye, for couples and families as well. So get out, explore the city, and go on an adventure you’ll by dying to tell family and friends about as soon as you return home.

Who knows, soon enough, you may be helping your cousin or best college friends plan their itinerary for things to do in Miami as well.

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