Miami is widely known for its eclectic nightlife. Similar to Las Vegas, Miami residents and tourists alike are heavily involved in the clubbing culture. Sure, the nightlife can be fun, but what if you're an early morning person or someone more interested in daytime adventures? What many travelers visiting Miami don't realize is that there's a huge amount of cool things to do during the day. Much of Miami's history and culture gets overshadowed by the vibrant late-night scene, but if you're willing to look a little deeper, you can have a rich experience at any hour.
Additionally, Miami is known for being crazy expensive. A night out can easily cost over $1,000! Again, travelers who want to go deeper can most definitely find things to do that are much more inexpensive or even free. While Miami gets its reputation for being fairly expensive, it also offers a lot of deals and steals. Tourism is huge and many businesses have to lower prices to be able to appeal to travelers.
If you're looking for daytime activities in and around Miami that won't break the bank, you've come to the right place! Here are the top picks that will save money while offering really cool experiences.
You can't visit Miami and not spend at least a day on South Beach! There are different streets that tend to draw different crowds. Anywhere north of 5th Street will most likely be a good spot to set up. On weekends, the beach can get insanely crowded, so get there early to get a good spot! The water is beautifully warm and crystal clear. It really can't get any more like a Floridian paradise.
Parking can also be crazy, but you're better off parking a few streets back (it'll run you around $10) and walking up to the beach. Once you're there, sightseeing is definitely the best part. Miami is so eclectic and you'll see everything on the beach, from famous movie stars to marathon runners!
You've probably seen the Wynwood Walls on Instagram, but maybe don't realize how cool they actually are in person. There are literally tons of different murals you can look at! If you like modern art, they've got it. If you're more into old-world creations, those are somehow spray-painted onto walls too. It's the perfect picture opportunity - how could you pass it up?
The Wynwood Walls are famous culturally as well as because of social media. For decades, they've been a hub in Miami where any aspiring artist can come. You don't have to be Picasso to let your art be seen! The area right around the walls is super fun and can take up a full day if you want to stay right in Wynwood.
If you've never seen the Art Deco strip right next to South Beach, this is a must-do! Although the original reasoning behind the Art Deco decor was to save money, it has become a historic part of Miami. You can go on a self-guided walking tour that will take somewhere around 2 hours if you want to see the majority of the sights. The Art Deco Welcome Center is located on 10th street (on Ocean Drive), so this is a great place to start.
The Welcome Center will provide a full set of maps and instructions to have a great tour. Many of the stops are also thriving hotel and nightlife scenes, such as The Clevelander, one of South Beach's most famous hotels and bars.
Any time of year, and almost any day of the week, Wynwood (the historic Art District) offers live, outdoor concerts that are generally free or very affordable. There's a whole range of music genres available in-concert, from acoustic to intense house music.
If you walk around Wynwood, you can not only see the walls but find a bunch of different small music venues. Many of these outdoor concert spots are right next to low-key festivals or markets that sell local goods and have food trucks with traditional Miami eats. If you're looking to have a relaxing afternoon, checking out the outdoor concerts in Wynwood can be a great activity!
Brickell is the business district of Miami, so the vibe is more fast-paced and urban rather than touristy. Regardless, the views of the bay are gorgeous! Surrounded by brand new high-rises, the Riverwalk goes all along the water and is not only runner friendly but extremely dog-friendly. There are even multiple dog parks along the way!
Any time of year, the weather is gorgeous, and if you're lucky there will be a slight ocean breeze. During the hot months, especially July and August, it's best to go in the morning. Heat exhaustion in Miami is common! Late afternoon is also a beautiful time to check out the walk.
Similar to any other large city in the U.S., sushi is super popular in Miami. There's literally a joint on every block, and they range from extremely extravagant to hole-in-the-wall, tiny restaurants that serve delicious rolls. One really cool (and less common) type of sushi restaurant in Miami is the all-you-can-eat buffet.
There's at least one buffet in each section of Miami, and most of them are relatively affordable. For somewhere around $30, you can get a full all-you-can-eat dinner, or $20 for lunch. The buffets offer a huge variety of every type of sushi you can think of, as well as classic Asian dishes if you want a bit of both.
Most hotels cost a pretty penny in Miami, even just for a day pass. Pool parties are all the rage, but you can be prepared to spend upwards of $100 if you want a day of sun. Luckily, the Confidante Hotel offers the occasional free pass day where you can use the pool and beach facilities.
If you've never been to South Beach, you probably don't realize how great of a perk this is! Having a beach chair is huge: you get a spot to leave your stuff and can order food and drinks from the hotel. Check online ahead of time to see when the Confidante offers this deal.
Located right on South Beach is The News Cafe, a famous cafe and restaurant. It originally started as an actual newsstand with coffee and food options, and while the news portion still exists, it has turned into one of Miami Beach's most famous restaurants.
The cafe is open 24 hours a day! At any hour, you can grab a snack and enjoy the outdoors in Miami. There's a whole range of food available, including breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pastas, and all types of desserts. It's such an easy stop that you have to give it a try if you're in Miami.
Many Miami locals don't even know that the Botanical Garden exists right within South Beach. The Garden is almost 3 acres of land. Admission is completely free, so you can go stroll around for a full day or just check out the flora and fauna for a half hour.
The Garden also offers a variety of cool activities, like artwork sessions for kids or weekly outdoor yoga. The Garden is open most days from 9-5 and does offer group tours for a small donation fee. You can grab a map on your way in that will detail exactly where each species of tree and flower is located, or you can browse around without worry and enjoy the peaceful scenery.
Although the Zoo isn't right in South Beach, it's popular with Miami residents because of the range of animals available. Not only are there the typical great cats, giraffes, and elephants, but there are other interesting animals like meerkats and hyenas.
Some of the exhibits are really cool and unique, like the alligator exhibit where you can see over 25 alligators swimming around just below or above you. The zoo is also revered because it offers so much room to each of the individual animals. For example, at the tiger exhibit, there are hundreds of feet for just two animals to roam. The larger animals actually have room to run, but keep in mind that this makes for a lot more walking for the guests!
Miami may be faced paced and intense, but believe it or not, there's a huge emphasis on physical wellness throughout the city. Pilates, spin, barre, and (of course) yoga are not only popular but trendy. Luckily, you can enjoy 100% free yoga at Bayfront Park overlooking the water!
Be prepared to get there early in order to grab a spot: classes can be incredibly full, sometimes over 50 people. For the most part, everyone ends up fitting since there's so much outdoor room, but you might be super far away from the instructor. Free yoga is available every other day, and on the off days, the park offers yoga by donation, which means you can leave $5-$10 to attend a class.
Crandon Park in Biscayne Bay is completely different from South Beach. It's much more relaxed and more of a typical beach atmosphere, devoid of the Miami lifestyle. Because the focus is on the beach, water sports are far more common here. Additionally, Crandon Park is on the tip of Biscayne Bay so it features panoramic views of the entire city.
You can go kayaking, boating, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, and if you hit it just right, the waves might be big enough for surfing. There are lots of other water accessories you can rent if you're looking for something more low-key. The water is always a gorgeous temperature and the skies are usually clear and sunny. It's an ideal vacation spot to really feel like you're in paradise.
Want to get the full, cultural experience in Miami? Little Havana is the place to be. There's authentic Cuban coffee (be careful, it's strong!), street stands selling fresh fruit, and enough salsa music to go around. It can be fun to people watch as well. The elderly generation flocks to play dominos on tables alongside the streets while the younger crowd hangs out at some of the many open-air bars, enjoys Cuban food, and shops.
Little Havana is a very different feel from the rest of Miami (you may actually think you're in Cuba instead of Florida) and has a really cool cultural aspect that you won't want to miss. It's a great stop for just an hour or to explore for a full day!
Located right in the tropical heart of Miami, Jungle Island isn't super well-known but offers tons of activities and attractions. You can head to the petting zoo to meet a huge variety of animals (including many Aussie species like kangaroos), check out the monkeys and parrots, watch a live animal show featuring alligators and python snakes, go down the many waterslides, swim at the private beach, and check out some cool, unique items at the gift store.
Admission is typically pricey, but luckily Jungle Island has taken to offering Groupons and other deals that make for an incredibly affordable full day. Virtually all of the attractions and shows are included in the ticket price, and you can get deals if you go after a certain time (depending on the day).
On Tuesdays, don't miss the opportunity to head to Wood Tavern for free tacos during happy hour. Located in Wynwood, it fits the eclectic, artsy vibe with an industrial inner design and mashed together outdoor area. It has cute lights strung up, trees making it cozy, and consistently great music.
Unlike many other happy hours with free food, the tacos at Wood Tavern are actually great! The beer is cold, the blended drinks are refreshing, and the people are usually very friendly. From 6-8 on Tuesdays, Wood Tavern is a perfect place to spend the evening at a low cost.
Many first time visitors to Miami have absolutely no idea how beautiful the Vizcaya Gardens are, but there isn't a more beautiful, shaded area to spend an afternoon! Located near Key Biscayne, the Estate is a summer home from the Victorian times, complete with massive gardens. It's right on the water and offers stunning views from all parts.
The gardens have many areas, including wooded parts, flower gardens, and multiple huge waterfalls. There's a gorgeous gazebo over the water where many couples choose to take their wedding photos. If you want to get some great pictures in during your trip, the Vizcaya Gardens will be perfect, or you can opt to take a tour and learn about the history of the Estate.
Another amazing, lesser-known spot is Miami's Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. When you walk in, you really will think you're in Ariel's Grotto! The water is crystal clear (and very clean!) and the design is so cool with palm trees, walking bridges, waterfalls and spouts, and multiple grottos. The pool is generally only known to locals so it tends to be on the quiet side any day of the week.
If you're feeling adventurous, take a few laps, hang out in one of the manmade caves, and revel in the history of it by reading the many facts on plaques throughout the property.
There's actually a real Buddhist Temple located in Homestead, just outside of downtown Miami. Even though you're in a very urban spot, it feels insanely mystical and like you're in the middle of nature. There's actual Temple cats sleeping on the shrines and all types of gorgeous flora and fauna in the garden that makes you feel like you're on a retreat.
Lots of meditations are offered through the day, including some in English, and they're completely free! Donations are always accepted but not expected. Throughout the year, the Temple hosts multiple festivals that you can plan ahead for through the website if you're traveling on those specific dates.
Want to have an up close and personal experience with real monkeys? The monkeys (and other smaller animals such as squirrels) actually run free while the humans walk through caged walkways. The idea is that the animals run free while the humans are caged, although only for protection! Natural animals inhabit the area together, so you have the opportunity to see basically any animal native to the land.
The monkeys love to be fed and will constantly ask for treats, which is a perk for a lot of guests. You can also go to really cool, interactive shows that are included in your ticket price. Base tickets are generally really reasonable, but there are sometimes even better deals offered on Groupon.
Head to Bayfront Marketplace for a day (or night) full of fun activities! There are many outdoor stands that sell local Miami products such as handmade jewelry, but there are also boutiques specific to the area and well-known national brand stores that line the area. The restaurant scene is large, with almost every cuisine offered, and the outdoor seating at many of the restaurants offer amazing views.
The market feels like a massive farmer's market during the day, and at night it's equally as fun. You can explore the nightlife (many of the restaurants amp up as the sun goes down) or continue to shop until the late hours since the stores stay open super late. There's live salsa bands, tours, and even inexpensive boat tours. Bayfront Marketplace is a great, super affordable way to spend a day or night!