How do you earn the title as the country’s Magic City? You have to have exquisite beaches, edgy art and contemporary design, a prominent food scene, and a clutch of luxury hotels that double as playgrounds for locals. If you want to know what to do in Miami, you don’t have to look to hard for an adventure.
Start your Miami tour by strolling (or sunbathing) on one of the city’s white sand beaches. Lummus Park Beach is the most popular in South Beach—it runs between 5th and 15th streets on Ocean Drive. Miami’s beaches may very well be one of the best places on earth for people-watching. If you’re looking for an uninterrupted sunset view, head to South Pointe Park, at the southernmost tip of South Beach.
Miami’s cocktail scene is blazing, and a single drink is made with the reverence of a five-course meal. Look for bartenders using garden-fresh ingredients, like the folks behind the Broken Shaker, a cocktail den where everything from carrots to bell peppers and dandelion roots could sprout up in your drink. Margaritas here, for example, are likely to be flavored with herbs and spices from the on-site garden.
If you want to get your lay of the land, a 90-minute walking tour hosted by the Miami Design Preservation League is one of many fun things to do in Miami. Tours leave from the Art Deco welcome center and highlight all the 800-plus buildings with pastel facades, chrome accents, and terrazzo floors in the historic district.
Assuming you’re in town between October and March, work up an appetite on your Miami tour for stone crab. At some point, every visitor and local must have a meal at Joe’s Stone Crab, which has been serving the local delicacy for more than a century. Unfortunately, the joint doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait. The most important thing to know about Joe’s? Save room for the key lime pie.
Then, check out one of Miami’s other favorite design neighborhoods: the Wynwood Arts District, which is home to more than 70 galleries, studios, and boutiques. During Art Basel, a weeklong event every December, curators, artists, and VIPs from around the world flock to this colorful destination for pop-up shops, installations, and events. Even after Art Basel passes, outdoor street art parks known as the Wynwood Walls can be enjoyed, for free, year-round.
While you can easily splurge like a celebrity on your Miami sightseeing (think: splurging on $60,000 diamond necklaces at the Bal Harbour Shops, a penthouse bungalow worth $10,000 a night), it’s easy to have an affordable weekend eating frito pies and admiring the surreal murals painted across Little Haiti.