Bayside Marina, Miami

Miami Travel Guide

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From the sizzling nightlife of South Beach to the authentic Cuban flavors of Little Havana, Miami offers one of the richest cultural experiences of any city in the United States. Its diverse neighborhoods house everything from world-famous street art to world-class restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, and cultural venues. Miami's colorful history is matched only by the vibrancy and verve of the modern global city it's continually blossoming into today. 

Miami has attracted the world's most daring and creative minds since its evolution from native Tequesta lands to the promising new frontier of railroad tycoon Henry Flagler in the late 1800s. A developing father of Florida, Flagler expanded his Florida East Coast Railway to Miami in 1896 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Miami is a destination for lovers of art, design, food, shopping, and even the great outdoors. Read on for Travel + Leisure's ultimate guide to the Magic City, covering everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip.

Time Zone 

Eastern Standard Time (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally; dates vary)

Best Time to Go

Spring is one of the best times to visit Miami. You'll find fewer crowds, pleasant temperatures, and plenty of outdoor events and activities to enjoy. Plus, April and May are the Miami Attraction & Museum Months, when you can score admission discounts and BOGO deals. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Carnaval Miami, Ultra Music Festival, Miami Fashion Week, and the Miami Open are other highlights of springtime in Miami.

While Miami's beaches are at their brightest in summer, the temperatures are sizzling and the weather is humid. Crowds are at their lowest, so it's a fine time to go if South Beach tops your to-do list, but limit your sun exposure and stay hydrated. If you enjoy spoiling yourself — top restaurants and hotels, spa treatments, the works — but want to get the best bang for your buck, August is the best month of the year to visit Miami: it's the only time when Miami Spa Months, Miami Spice Restaurant Months, and Miami Hotels Months overlap.

October and November are Miami's Entertainment Months, when you can explore Miami's diverse entertainment scene for less. Don't miss the world-famous Miami Book Fair held every November. Temperatures are cool to mild during South Florida's "winter," and the weather is drier, but this also means it's peak travel time and you'll find thicker crowds of tourists and higher prices. Each December sees Art Basel, an annual convergence of the world's artistic set; winter is also prime time to catch a Miami Heat game. Visit in February to check out the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, held every Presidents' Day weekend.

How to Get Around

Trains: Brightline connecting Miami to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and eventually Orlando (price varies);  Tri-Rail (price varies); Metromover map.

Metrorail: Metrorail is a 25-mile dual track that provides service to Miami International Airport (MIA) and runs from Kendall through South Miami, Coral Gables, and downtown Miami and other destinations.

Buses: Metrobus serves all major shopping, entertainment and cultural centers, as well as major hospitals and schools. Service is available from Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, West Miami-Dade, Broward County, Homestead, Florida City and the Middle Keys. 

Trolley: trolley (free) 

Taxis: USA Taxi, Super E-Z Taxi, Central Cab, Yellow Cab, KB Village Taxi; water taxi

Car service: various limo and chauffeur services available for hire; rideshare (Lyft, Uber)

Best Hotels

Miami Beach

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La Cote at the Fontainebleu Miami Beach
Credit: Courtesy of Fontainebleu Miami Beach

Fontainebleau

Address: 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Phone: (305) 535-3283
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One of Miami's most iconic hotels, the Fontainebleau sits atop a picturesque stretch of Miami Beach, so it's no wonder the luxurious oceanfront resort has attracted celebrities and A-listers of every ilk since opening its doors in 1954. Here, guests enjoy a brush with the Miami of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The Setai
Credit: Courtesy of The Setai

The Setai

Address: 2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 520-6000
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Immerse yourself in Art Deco luxury from the moment you enter the stunning lobby, breathe in the hotel's signature orange scent, and sip your welcome cocktail. Modern convenience with a hint of the hotel's historic past, beachfront location, and Jaya, the Asian-inspired gourmet restaurant, and exquisite service make this a Miami favorite.

The Betsy
Credit: Courtesy of The Betsy

The Betsy

Address: 1440 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 531-6100
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Another South Beach landmark, The Betsy is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Art Deco district. Guests have loved The Betsy's prime beachfront spot, along with its glamorous elegance, since its 1940s debut.

Acqualina Resort & Spa
Credit: Courtesy of Acqualina Resort & Spa

Acqualina Resort

Address: 17875 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
Phone: (305) 918-8000
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Located toward the northern end of the Miami Beach barrier island, you'll find one of the city's most luxurious spots: the 4.5-acre Acqualina Resort, which blends old-world Mediterranean charm with Miami's modern verve. Guests have their pick of three outdoor pools as well as a private beach club, fitness center, three on-site restaurants, and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

Moxy Miami South Beach

Address: 915 Washington Avenue, Miami, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 600-4292
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This February 2021 opening features a stylish, open-air concept with a design reminiscent of midcentury Havana, contemporary Mexico City, and modern Miami. Steps from the sand, the eight story hotel offers two pools, six dining spots, and nearby Moxy Beach Club.

Downtown Miami/Brickell

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SLS Brickell

Address: 1300 S Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33130
Phone: (305) 239-1300
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SLS Brickell Miami offers luxe yet down-to-earth, contemporary digs. Featuring rooms and common spaces designed by Philippe Starck, plus a distinctive colorful exterior, this Brickell high-rise hotel has two restaurants and a rooftop pool.

Mandarin Oriental, Miami

Address: 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 913-8288
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Head to Mandarin Oriental, Miami for a stay on tropical Brickell Key, located a short walk to the heart of the action in downtown Miami. At the hotel's private beach, a rare amenity in the Magic City, bask in the Florida sunshine while enjoying views of the city skyline and the waters of Key Biscayne.

EAST Miami

Address: 788 Brickell Plaza, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 712-7000
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A haven for foodies, design lovers, and shoppers, EAST Miami occupies a coveted spot in Miami's happening Brickell City Centre. Relax at any of the four pools (including a jacuzzi and polar plunge!) or the rooftop bar, which boasts killer views of downtown Miami. Plus, eats at EAST range from Uruguayan wood-fired flavors to Asian-inspired tapas. 

Little Havana

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Life House Hotel Little Havana Miami
Credit: Courtesy of Life House Hotels

Life House Little Havana

Address: 528 SW 9th Avenue, Miami, FL 33130
Phone: (866) 466-7534
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In a former life, Life House Little Havana was the 1920s Mission Revival home of an expeditionist, built to serve as his home base in the heart of the tropics. Today, a stay at Life House Little Havana feels a bit like transporting to the heyday of 1940s Cuba. Guests are also treated to displays of vintage Afrocuban ceramics and exotic Caribbean plants, plus a lush courtyard, library, and exotic guestrooms. 

Coconut Grove

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The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

Address:3300 SW 27th Avenue, Miami, FL 33133
Phone: (305) 644-4680
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One of the ritziest hotels in the Magic City, complete with marble bathrooms and open-air balconies, the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove is styled to echo "the city's golden age of glamour" and has rooms with both city and Biscayne Bay views plus a spa and three onsite dining options. Best of all, it's a designated Florida Green Lodging property.

Coral Gables

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Biltmore Hotel in Florida
Credit: Courtesy of The Biltmore

The Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables

Address: 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: (855) 311-6903
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Opened in 1926, the luxurious Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables sits on 150 sprawling acres and has long upheld a reputation as one of the most lavish stays in Miami. Now a National Historic Landmark, the history of the hotel is nearly as compelling as its indulgent amenities, from finely furnished rooms to a spa, 18-hole golf course, tennis club, gym, outdoor pool with private cabanas, and varied dining options.

The Rusty Pelican
Credit: Courtesy of The Rusty Pelican

Best Restaurants

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KYU (Asian)

Address: 251 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33127
Phone: (786) 577-0150
Website

KYU is modern Asian with a Miami flair, hidden away in trendy Wynwood. The menu is diverse, but fan favorites emerge from the wood-fired grill. (The eatery is also eco-conscious: "For every tree we burn, we replant five," their menu assures patrons.) Terrace dining available; reservations recommended.

Rabbit Paté plate at Ariete in Miami
Credit: Blue Shell Media

Ariete (New American)

Address: 3540 Main Highway, Miami, FL 33133
Phone: (305) 640-5862
Website

Soon after it hit the Coconut Grove scene in 2015, Ariete became an instant classic, known for its ever-evolving menu of modern, innovative cuisine. A hotbed for experimentation and culinary creativity, Ariete draws adventurous foodies and showcases Miami's food scene at its best. Reservations recommended. 

The Rusty Pelican (upscale American/seafood)

Address: 3201 Rickenbacker Causewaym Miami, FL 33149
Phone: (305) 361-3818
Website

This Key Biscayne landmark has delighted diners for decades yet remains as contemporary and relevant as ever. With a prime waterfront location, comfortable bar and lounge, and an esteemed chef at the helm, The Rusty Pelican remains a Miami classic. 

Mandolin Aegean Bistro (Greek/Turkish)

Address: 4312 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33137
Phone: (305) 749-9140
Website

Behind a pair of blue gates in Miami's Design District, you'll find Mandolin Aegean Bistro nestled in a restored 1930s house, complete with patio seating. "Inspired by the tavernas of Aegean coastal towns," Mandolin was opened by a husband-and-wife team and quickly gained a reputation for its fresh, flavorful dishes.

Greenstreet Café (American)

Address: 3468 Main Highway, Miami, FL 33133
Phone: (305) 444-0244
Website

A Coconut Grove institution, Greenstreet Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and ranks among the best outdoor dining in Miami thanks to its lounge-style environment. It's one of Miami's best spots to see and be seen, yet its classic comfort food is refreshingly unstuffy.

Red Rooster Overtown (American)

Address: 920 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33136
Phone: (305) 640-9880
Website

New to the scene but an instant hit, Red Rooster in historic Overtown promises to both share the story of Overtown — which they're making good on by hiring staff from within the community and buying from local purveyors — and "celebrate the roots of American cuisine." The restaurant serves a creative spin on comfort food in a historic and culturally enriching setting. 

Joe's Stone Crab (seafood/American)

Address: 11 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 673-0365
Website

A longstanding institution, Joe's Stone Crab is one of the most famous restaurants in Miami. Stone crabs, a seasonal catch, are one of Florida's iconic dishes; Joe's Stone Crab is at least partially responsible for their enduring popularity. An outdoor dining option, Joe's Backyard, was introduced in the wake of COVID. Limited reservations available through Resy; walk-ins seated on a first come, first serve basis. 

Versailles (Cuban)

Address: 3555 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33145
Phone: (305) 344-0240
Website

Located in Little Havana, Versailles is Miami's classic Cuban spot. Expect authentic eats like memorably melty medianoches and the best café con leche you've ever sipped. Still a family-run business today, Versailles has been the unofficial town square of Miami's sizable Cuban population since its 1971 debut.

Azabu Miami Beach (Japanese)

Address: 161 Ocean Drive, Miami, FL 33139
Phone: (786) 276-0520
Website

Michelin-starred Azabu Miami Beach, inside the Marriott Stanton South Beach, was created to reflect a spirit of omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality. Diners are treated to cuisine straight from Japan. Try to score a seat at The Den, a hidden sushi counter inside. Reservations recommended.

Time Out Market Miami (food court)

Address: 1601 Drexel Avenue, Miami, FL 33139
Phone: (786) 753-5388
Website

If you're not sure what you're in the mood for but are open to explore, head to the Time Out Market Miami in South Beach to enjoy a curated food hall experience. There are 18 eateries, a demo kitchen, and three bars to choose from, all spread across 18,000 square feet of space. 

Lummus park in the morning, South Beach, Miami
Credit: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Things to Do

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South Beach

If you don't post snaps from South Beach, did you even go to Miami? In addition to soaking up the sun on the world-famous beaches, set aside time to wander and marvel at the area's iconic Art Deco architecture and charming pastel buildings.

Wynnwood Walls in Miami
Credit: Kobra, Courtesy of Wynwood Walls

Wynwood Walls

Address: 2520 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33127
Phone: (305) 531-4411
Website

Another classic Miami activity, wandering the Wynwood Walls is a must on any visit to the Magic City. The sprawling outdoor museum features work by world-famous street artists and promises a colorful, photo-worthy adventure. 

Knaus Berry Farm

Address: 15980 SW 248th Street, Homestead, FL 33031
Phone: (305) 247-0668
Website

If it's a weekend in the wintertime and you're wondering where all the locals are, here's a hint: they're standing in line for cinnamon rolls at Knaus Berry Farm, a family-owned landmark since 1956. While in Homestead, you should also head to Robert Is Here Fruit Stand for a fresh fruit shake. 

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Coconut Grove Miami
Credit: Courtesy of Miami CVB

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Address: 3251 S Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33129
Phone: (305) 250-9133
Website

A National Historic Landmark, Vizcaya was constructed in 1916 to serve as a winter escape for industrialist James Deering. Visitors can explore its 34 lavish rooms and 10 acres of formal gardens. 

Miami Seaquarium

Address: 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149
Phone: (305) 361-5705
Website

One of the most popular attractions in South Florida, Miami Seaquarium is packed with marine life encounters and family-friendly fun. Book an experience at Dolphin Harbor to meet these marvelous marine mammals up close.

Zoo Miami

Address: 12400 SW 152nd Street, Miami, FL 33177
Phone: (305) 255-5551
Website

As the largest (and oldest) zoological garden in Florida and the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States, it's easy to see why Zoo Miami is one of the top zoos in the country. With thousands of animals calling it home — from African elephants to Bengal tigers — there's a lot to see, and you can ride the tram or monorail to cover more ground. 

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Address: 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: (305) 667-1651
Website

This 83-acre botanic garden is a Miami gem, home to extensive collections of rare tropical plants and flowering trees. Strolling these scenic acres provides an oasis of calm away from the beach and Miami's bustle.

Española Way

Between 14th and 15th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Website

For a touch of history and culture plus a delightfully bohemian flair, head to the quaint Española Way, reminiscent of a charming Mediterranean village. Built in the 1920s as a haven for artists and creative types, Española Way recently underwent a $2.5 million revitalization and is now pedestrian-only, sparking a renaissance that's attracting visitors and locals alike.

South Pointe Park

Address: 1 Washington Avenue, Miami, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 673-7730
Website

South Pointe Park, located at the southern tip of Miami Beach, is a prime place to take in the beauty of Miami. Stroll to the end of the 450-foot pier or enjoy the park's walking trails, picnic and BBQ areas, cafe, and mini water playground and jungle gym for the kids. 

Oleta River State Park

Address: 3400 NE 163rd Street, Miami, FL 33160
Phone: (305) 919-1846
Website

Oleta River State Park is only half an hour from downtown Miami, but it feels worlds away. For a break from the urban hustle and bustle, head to this thousand-acre park to enjoy 15 miles of off-road bike trails, kayaking in dense mangrove forests, and fishing, swimming, and picnicking. 

Two people kayaking in Biscayne National Park
Credit: Courtesy of Miami CVB

Biscayne and Everglades National Parks

Miami is the only city in the United States with two national parks making up its borders: Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park, where you can head to Shark Valley Visitor Center for tram tours, bicycle rentals, and more. Get a fix of the great outdoors on your visit to Miami.

Bal Harbour Shops in Miami
Credit: Courtesy of Miami CVB

Best Shopping

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Aventura Mall

Address: 19501 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL  33180
Phone: (305) 935-1110
Website

It would be a shopping sin to skip Aventura Mall on a visit to Miami. After a recent $214 million expansion, it's now one of the largest shopping centers in the United States. Aside from the hundreds of tenants (spanning every retailer you can think of), there's a giant food hall and a slew of world-renowned art installations to enjoy.

Brickell City Center shops in Miami
Credit: Courtesy of Miami CVB

Brickell City Centre

Address: 701 S Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (786) 465-6514
Website

Brickell City Centre offers an indoor-outdoor shopping, dining, and lifestyle experience in a modern, multi-level, and infinitely inspiring artsy environment (as it should, after $1 billion worth of investment). You'd be hard-pressed to grow bored as you shop its 500,000 square feet of premium retail.

Dadeland Mall

Address: 7535 N Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156
Phone: (305) 665-6226
Website

Dadeland Mall is the classic Miami shopping destination, offering a classic mall experience in true Miami fashion: with hundreds of top retailers covering 1.4 million square feet.

Lincoln Road Shopping District

Address: 622 Lincoln Road, Miami, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 532-2513
Website

Head to the Lincoln Road pedestrian thoroughfare for restaurants, culture, classic Art Deco architecture, and some of the city's best shopping. You'll find one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries, and trendy shops to peruse. With Lincoln Road's easy transition from day to night, you might want to plan a full day here. 

Bal Harbour Shops in Miami
Credit: Courtesy of Miami CVB

Bal Harbour Shops

Address: 9700 Collins Avenue, Miami, FL 33154
Phone: (305) 866-0311
Website

Luxury shoppers will find their happy place at Bal Harbour Shops. Anchored by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, the open-air shopping center is home to designer boutiques and big names such as Chanel, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, and Prada, all nestled in a tropical garden setting.

The Falls

Address: 8888 SW 136th Street, Miami, FL 33176
Phone: (305) 255-4571
Website

A popular destination for families, The Falls offers an al fresco experience complemented by lush tropical greenery and — you guessed it — waterfalls. The relaxing sound of rushing water throughout the shopping center makes for a laid-back shopping day in Miami.

Wynwood / Miami Design District

Address: 3002 NW Second Avenue, MIami, FL 33127
Phone(305) 573-5311
Website

If you're in the market for antiques, home goods, trendy threads, art, or luxury fashion from designer labels, head to Wynwood and its burgeoning neighbor to the north, the Miami Design District. It's one of the most happening areas of Miami, and your open-air shopping experience is complemented by the area's many famous murals.

Miracle Mile

Address: 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: (305) 444-3210

You can find it all on Miracle Mile, from jewelry to home furnishings, art, and apparel. Browse their galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and live theater set along tree-lined streets 

Neighborhoods to Know

South Beach: Though it occupies just under two square miles on the tip of Miami Beach, South Beach is what comes to most people's minds when they think of Miami. One of the most lively spots in the city, South Beach is famous for its beaches, outdoor cafes, Art Deco architecture, and sizzling nightlife.

Surfside / Bal Harbour: Surfside and its northern neighbor, Bal Harbour Village, are upscale residential areas with shops, hotels, boutiques, and restaurants in a lush tropical setting. Though it's located on the same barrier island as Miami Beach, the area is significantly quieter and more laid-back.

Little Havana: Declared a "national treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Little Havana became the vibrant neighborhood it is today when it began welcoming thousands of immigrants — many of them Cuban exiles — at the turn of the 19th century. Today, its rich Latin culture is well preserved, with soulful Calle Ocho its heart.

Little Haiti: On track to become Miami's newest hotspot, Little Haiti offers a colorful dose of the Caribbean and a thriving art scene. Home to many immigrants from Haiti and other islands, Little Haiti's French-Creole culture can be enjoyed in its restaurants, galleries, theaters, and shops.

Wynwood: One of Miami's hottest hoods in recent years, Wynwood is the place to see and be seen, especially among the younger set. Hundreds of colorful murals — which are in fact large-scale works by some of the world's most famous street artists — helped to make the area famous, so get your Instagram ready, but there are also art galleries, funky boutiques, and bars and restaurants galore.

Miami Design District: Just north of trendy Wynwood, the Miami Design District occupies 18 square blocks and has exploded in popularity, now housing every luxury brand you can think of as well as galleries, restaurants (many of them led by celebrity chefs), and a variety of public art installations.

Downtown Miami/Brickell: While downtown Miami and Brickell make up the Miami skyline with their smattering of skyscrapers, housing both residential and office spaces, the appeal isn't solely to locals and the business crowd: there's a lot for visitors to enjoy, too. Head downtown for a taste of Miami's museums, retail, cultural and event venues, and top-notch hotels and restaurants.

Historic Overtown: Miami's historic Overtown district is also one of its oldest. The neighborhood housed the African American workers who built and serviced Miami's infrastructure as it exploded from the ground at the turn of the 20th century. Today, it's home to vibrant culture and ample soul-food spots.

Coral Gables: Located southwest of downtown, Coral Gables is a ritzy section of Miami characterized by Mediterranean architecture and streets shaded by massive banyans. It recently underwent a streetscape revitalization to make its downtown more pedestrian-friendly. 

Coconut Grove: If you're looking for a lavish vibe at a more relaxed pace plus ample green space and a touch of the eccentric, you'll find it in Coconut Grove. Head to the Grove to enjoy shopping, culture, and a picturesque waterfront, all with a bit of bohemian flair.

Weather

Miami is located in the tropics, so no matter the time of year, expect warm temperatures and sunshine. Spring is mild with little rain and temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. Miami summers are hot and humid with brief light rain showers almost daily. Temperatures gradually fall in autumn, and winters are mild and dry. Hurricanes are possible between June and November during the Atlantic hurricane season.

The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month. Average annual precipitation is 30.01 inches.

January 61 - 77
February 63 - 79
March 66 - 81
April 69 - 84
May 73 - 87
June 76 - 89
July 77 - 91
August 78 - 91
September 77 - 89
October 74 - 86
November 69 - 82
December 64 - 79

Apps to Download

MIA Airport Official: detailed directions, restaurant and shopping recommendations, walking time estimates, flight tracking, baggage carousel updates, Mobile Passport Control, and chat assistance
iPhone | Android

Wynwood Tour Guide: navigating Wynwood's works of art
iPhone

ParkMe Miami Beach: parking payment, available parking spots
iPhone | Android

GO Miami-Dade Transit: public transportation tracker (Metrorail, Metrobus, and Metromover)
iPhone | Android

City of Miami Trolley: real-time trolley tracking and route planning
iPhone | Android

Ride Freebee: free on-demand electric shuttle service in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, Brickell, Pinecrest, Doral and parts of Miami Beach; local deals
iPhone | Android

CitiBike Miami: bikeshare rentals around Miami
iPhone | Android