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Miami is often associated with its glitzy South Beach neighborhood, but the city has so much more to offer. Venturing into its diverse neighborhoods allows you to experience the real Miami.
Little Haiti reflects the rich Haitian culture that makes up a significant part of Miami's population. Take a stroll down NE 2nd Avenue to see artwork by Haitian artists and inhale smells from traditional eateries and bakeries. Don't miss the colorful murals along Little Haiti Cultural Complex that pay homage to Haitian history and folklore.
In Little Havana, you'll be transported to Cuba through the scent of hand-rolled cigars, plates of ropa vieja, and domino games at MÃ¡ximo GÃ³mez Park. Calle Ocho is the heart of the neighborhood, where locals sip Cuban coffee at Ball & Chain while live music spills onto the street. For a deeper cultural experience, time your visit with the annual Calle Ocho Festival in March.
Coconut Grove charms with its laidback, bohemian vibe. Meander along grand, banyan-lined streets past indie boutiques and cafes before relaxing at Dinner Key with postcard views of sailboats bobbing on Biscayne Bay. Don't miss a visit to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the extravagant 1916 estate of agricultural industrialist James Deering.
In up-and-coming Little River, the early 20th century factories have been transformed into breweries, creative event spaces, and hip food halls like 1-800-Lucky. The neighborhood gives you a taste of Miami's Caribbean roots with Haitian and Jamaican cuisine.
Wynwood was once an industrial warehouse district but is now famed for its eye-popping murals and graffiti. The Wynwood Walls feature ever-changing art by renowned street artists. Beyond the walls, edgy galleries and some of Miami's coolest bars, shops, and eateries await exploration.
Miami is so much more than palm trees and beaches. This cosmopolitan city also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene spanning music, theater, dance, visual arts, and more. Exploring Miami"s artistic offerings allows you to experience the pulse of the city and the diversity of its people.
Performing arts enthusiasts can take in critically-acclaimed theater productions at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. This state-of-the-art venue located downtown hosts Broadway tours, concerts, opera, and Miami City Ballet performances. For experimental, thought-provoking works, Actors" Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables is a must. You can also enjoy free musical performances in settings like the North Beach Bandshell and the New World Center SoundScape series.
Dance is an integral part of Miami"s cultural fabric. Follow the sounds of rumba music to Calle Ocho to see performers keeping Cuban folkloric traditions alive. For contemporary dance, the Miami City Ballet is recognized as one of the top companies in the country. You can even take free Flamenco or Salsa lessons at some studios to get your own feet moving.
Miami"s art galleries and museums give you insight into the works of local, national, and international artists. The Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) never fail to impress with rotating exhibits by both emerging and established talent. Wander the Miami Design District to browse high-end galleries and public art installations.
For a quintessentially Miami experience, spend an evening bar hopping in Wynwood and admiring the neighborhood"s famed outdoor murals and graffiti. The Wynwood Walls feature giant-scale pieces by renowned street artists that transform on each visit. Beyond that, you"ll find colorful works of art covering once-drab warehouses that reflect the city"s diversity.
The monthly Wynwood Art Walk offers a lively night out, with galleries and shops staying open late and food vendors lining the streets. Art Basel Miami Beach each December draws artists and art lovers from around the world for special exhibits and events.
One of the best ways to take in the magic of Miami is from above. The city's world-famous beaches, glitzy Downtown skyscrapers, and lush greenery blend into an unforgettable panorama when seen from the right rooftop perch.
Sip a mojito as you soak up 360-degree views of South Beach and beyond from Sugar at East Hotel. This 40th floor hotspot lets you look down on the colorful art deco buildings, buzzing Ocean Drive, and the turquoise Atlantic. Watch cruise ships sail by and admire Miami's ever-changing cityscape from this lofty, alfresco terrace.
For a bird's eye perspective of the bay, head to Loft 18 at the Epic Hotel. Sit out on the spacious deck and take in sweeping views of cruise ships, Fisher Island, and Downtown Miami across the shimmering blue water. Loft 18 is especially stunning at sunset when the sky ignites in pinks and oranges.
At Hyde Midtown's rooftop bar, your eyes are drawn west to the sleek skyscrapers of the financial district and Brickell. But glance east and you'll see verdant landscapes like Wynwood and the Design District. Savor creative cocktails against the backdrop of diverse city views that seem to stretch on forever.
Area 31 on the 16th floor of the Kimpton Epic Hotel offers unmatched vistas of the Miami River winding through the city. Gaze out at swooping yachts, swaying palms, and the ritzy condo towers of Brickell from the expansive outdoor terrace.
Even neighborhoods outside the city center provide lofty lookout points. Vista is a breezy, palm-fringed rooftop lounge atop the Citadel food hall in Little Haiti. Take in panoramas encompassing colorful murals, Caribbean eateries, street art, and historic homes.
No matter which aerie you choose, seeing Miami from above gives you an entirely new perspective on the magic and diversity of this world-class city. Rooftop revelry takes the Miami experience to new heights.
"I'll never forget watching the sunset over South Beach and the ocean from Sugar - the whole city lit up in pink and gold as music floated up from the streets below. Breathtaking!" - Alex from San Francisco
"Sipping an Old Fashioned on the deck at Loft 18, I was blown away by the awesome panorama of cruise ships sailing out of the Port of Miami right before my eyes." - Lucas from Berlin
Miami is now a top destination for street art, with entire neighborhoods splashed in candy-colored murals and thought-provoking graffiti. Joining a guided tour lets you dive deep into the city's vibrant street art scene and understand the stories behind the eye-catching works. Knowledgeable guides share insider info as you explore Miami's artistic hot spots.
Wynwood is renowned as the epicenter of Miami's street art revival. The Wynwood Walls feature giant murals by famed urban artists like Shepard Fairey that constantly change as new pieces go up. Beyond that, former warehouses sport electrifying murals and tags covering each inch. Wynwood Walls tours give you exclusive access to watch artists at work and learn about the vision behind their mind-bending designs.
Little Haiti tours unlock another side of Miami's street art culture. This historically Caribbean neighborhood sings with tropical hues and poignant tributes to Haitian history and folklore. Guides explain how murals became a vehicle for cultural expression and community pride. You'll gain insights into traditions like Vodou that inspired many striking works.
Little Havana tours highlight another dimension of Miami's artistic heritage. Neon wall art here visualizes nostalgia for Cuba through images of roosters, dominoes, and old American cars. Learn how street art keeps fading cultural touchstones alive even as the neighborhood changes.
Beyond guided tours, joining a workshop or street art class lets you experiment with spraying, stenciling, pasting, and painting to create your own Miami-style urban art. Some tours even provide a take-home canvas to proudly display your original street art creation.
"The Wynwood Walls tour gave me an insiders' perspective I never could have gotten on my own. Our guide explained how the murals reveal so much about Miami's diverse cultures." - Sofia, Denmark
"I loved learning to spray paint in Wynwood's graffiti park - now I have an awesome canvas with my own Miami-inspired street art to hang in my apartment!" - Lucas, UK
Escape the stress of the city and immerse yourself in nature without leaving Miami by seeking out hidden green spaces and urban oases. While Miami dazzles with its glitzy neighborhoods and electric energy, you can find moments of serenity in secret gardens, quiet parks, and lush botanical landscapes tucked into the urban jungle.
Matheson Hammock Park transports you from the heart of Coral Gables to a 630-acre wilderness sanctuary. Walk the scenic nature trail through a hardwood hammock, pause to admire rare West Indian tropical vegetation, and emerge at a picture-perfect atoll beach on Biscayne Bay. Rent a kayak and feel your worries drift away as you paddle the tranquil waters surrounded by mangroves.
At the Kampong, step into the secluded former estate of horticulturist Dr. David Fairchild. Meander gravel paths winding through lush groves dripping with orchids, exotic palms, and rare fruit trees from around the world. Fountains, gazebos and classical statues create a serene hideaway within the confines of the city. Sign up for a guided tour to fully appreciate the diversity within this living museum.
Virginia Key Beach Park protects one of the last unspoiled barrier islands in Biscayne Bay. Lie back on soft white sand dotted with sea grape trees for a peaceful beach escape without the crowds. The park"s wooded trails and bike paths offer shady escapes amidst a tangle of mangroves and seagrape. For the ultimate in relaxation, book a massage or yoga class at the Virginia Key Outdoor Center.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables encompasses 83 acres of lakes, sunken gardens, vine-draped pergolas and rare tropical species from around the world. Find a quiet bench beside a lily pond and practice mindfulness as butterflies flit by. The sprawling Sunken Garden overflows with palms, flowering trees, and orchids for a burst of color and fragrance. Linger in this urban refuge and feel your stress melt away.
Gliding across the River of Grass in an airboat offers a thrilling Everglades adventure unlike any other. Skimming over the shallow waters at exhilarating speeds gets your heart pumping as you venture deep into Florida's unique sub-tropical wilderness. Away from the crowded, touristy airboat rides, small-group eco-tours allow you to experience the magic of this fragile ecosystem up-close.
Captivating, knowledgeable guides expertly navigate remote channels through sawgrass prairies studded with cypress domes. They slow down to point out alligators basking on the banks, turtles sunning on logs, herons stalking prey, and elusive manatees grazing below the surface. You'll gain insights into the daily rhythms of Everglades wildlife that most visitors miss from the highways.
Up-close encounters with American alligators sunning themselves on the marsh banks are a highlight. Wallowing in the muddy waters, these massive reptiles are in their element, reflective of the untamed wildness of the Glades. Your airboat lets you view them in their natural habitat from a safe yet thrillingly close distance.
Gliding through sun-dappled rivers winding beneath shady cypress trees creates an otherworldly experience. Your airboat carries you into places only accessible by water, revealing a maze of waterways and isolated hammocks shrouded in mystery. During dry season when water levels drop, ancient Native American canoes hidden for centuries emerge, remnants of the Glades' indigenous history.
Venturing out at dawn or dusk increases your chances of witnessing unique wildlife behaviors. An early morning ride through ethereal fog drifting off the sawgrass transports you to another world. At sunset, flocks of ibises returning to rookeries blacken the burning sky. Night airboat tours reveal nocturnal species like owls and crocodiles illuminated in the spotlight.
While speeding through sawgrass prairies offers high-adrenaline fun, it's cruising slowly through hidden channels and marshes that provides for the most rewarding wildlife viewing opportunities. Avoiding crowded tourist traps for small ecotours with educated guides provides the most enriching experience.
Miami's diversity is reflected in its wealth of museums that spotlight different aspects of the region's rich history and heritage. Wandering these repositories of culture and knowledge allows you to dig deeper into the stories that shaped this cosmopolitan city.
HistoryMiami Museum brings Miami"s story to life through immersive exhibits and artifacts from indigenous cultures through the present day. Get a visceral understanding of Seminole life in a recreated chickee hut and learn about Miami"s beginnings as a frontier town. The museum captures defining moments like the arts boom in the 1980s and influx of Cuban immigrants. Stand on a replicated Freedom Tower balcony and listen to recordings of new arrivals recounting their emotional experiences.
At the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, journey through the Human Journey exhibit to gain insights into Miami"s early inhabitants. See relics of the Tequesta Indians and meet their descendant tribal members depicting long-ago lifestyles. Other exhibits highlight how Miami became a gateway between the Americas and the factors that shaped its development into a modern metropolis.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach offers a portal into medieval Europe without crossing the Atlantic. This monastery was built in Segovia, Spain in 1141 AD, dismantled brick-by-brick, and reconstructed here in 1952. Visitors can wander the imposing stone cloister surrounded by elaborate arches and detailed engravings preserved from centuries past. It's a window into religious life during the Middle Ages now improbably situated amidst tropical gardens and palms.
The HIV Story Project documents Miami"s dark chapter as the epicenter of the 1980s AIDS epidemic through wrenching first-person accounts. The sobering oral histories and exhibits emphasize the human toll of this crisis that sparked discrimination and claimed thousands of lives. It"s an evocative memorial to those affected and an appeal for greater compassion.
At the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, discover how a 1930s art deco bakery was transformed into studios for emerging local artists. Their works reflect Miami"s diverse neighborhoods and immigrant communities. Take a pottery or glass blowing class and create your own Miami-inspired art.
Miami"s culinary landscape reflects the city"s cultural melting pot of Caribbean, Latin American, and American influences. Indulging in the diverse cuisines showcases how food binds Miami"s immigrant communities.
The Cuban identity of Little Havana permeates the air through the scent of roasting pork and crackling chicharrones. Savor the quintessential Cuban sandwich at Enriqueta"s Sandwich Shop, where locals queue out the door. The pressed sandwich bursting with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, and pickles pairs perfectly with a cafecito cubano. At Azucar Ice Cream Company, handmade tropical flavors like guava and mamey transport you to Havana.
In Little Haiti, sample the complex flavors of Haitian cuisine at Chef Creole. Tear off a piece of the pikliz (spicy cabbage slaw) to add crunch to hearty platters of griot (fried pork) served with rice and beans. Wash it down with a glass of the traditional cola beverage PrÃ¨ke. Haitian patties stuffed with spiced chicken or beef make the perfect snack on the go.
The Peruvian ceviche bars and taquerias around Mary Brickell Village reflect Latin American migrations. At CVI.CHE 105, you can build your own ceviche bowl brimming with just-caught fish, citrus, sweet potato, and choclo corn. Pair it with a spirited Pisco cocktail like the Chilcano. Tacos and fresh aguas fresca beckon from Taquiza, where Mexico City street food staples get an upscale twist. The trompo tacos spun from the vertical rotisserie offer carnitas bliss.
In Little River, Jamaican flavors permeate hole-in-the-wall eateries like Lee"s Grocery and Tropical Grill. fiery jerk chicken and curry goat over rice satisfy comfort food cravings. Pick up some spicy beef or callaloo patties from Jamaican Steak House to snack on later. The neighborhood"s monthly Caribbean Street Festival celebrates the islands through music, crafts, and samplings of dishes like oxtail and conch fritters.
The Asian food halls of North Miami dish out dumplings, ramen, curries, banh mi, and more reflecting diverse backgrounds. At Fooq"s, slurp noodles at a ramen counter before wandering to stalls dishing out Filipino chicken adobo, spicy Szechuan, or Taiwanese boba tea.
Midtown"s Wynwood Yard Food Park gathers Miami"s ace chefs, mixologists, and food trucks under one open-air space. Sample avant garde dishes like alligator "wings" drizzled in mango habanero sauce. Wash it down with a matcha lemonade spiked with CBD oil. Later, dig into cheesy Venezuelan arepas or a classic American burger as live music plays. The yard embodies Miami"s anything-goes culinary spirit.