33 Best Sights in Miami and Miami Beach, Florida

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Key Biscayne Fodor's choice
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
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Thanks to inviting beaches, sunsets, and a tranquil lighthouse, this park at Key Biscayne's southern tip is worth the drive. In fact, the 1-mile stretch of pure beachfront has been named several times in Dr. Beach's revered America's Top 10 Beaches list. It has 18 picnic pavilions available as daily rentals, two cafés that serve light lunches (including several Cuban specialties), and plenty of space to plant the umbrellas and chairs that you can rent. The walking and bicycle paths provide wonderful views of Miami's dramatic skyline. From the southern end of the park you can see a handful of houses rising over the bay on wooden stilts, the remnants of Stiltsville, built in the 1940s and now protected by the Stiltsville Trust. The nonprofit group was established in 2003 to preserve the structures, which showcase the park's rich history. Bill Baggs also has bicycle rentals, a playground, fishing piers, and guided tours of the Cape Florida Lighthouse, South Florida's oldest structure. The lighthouse was erected in 1845 to replace an earlier one damaged in an 1836 battle with the Seminole tribe. Free tours are offered at the restored cottage and lighthouse Thursday to Monday at 10 am and 1 pm. Be there a half hour beforehand. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: solitude; sunset; walking.

Brickell Key Park

Fodor's choice

On the southern tip of the mostly residential Brickell Key (a tiny man-made island), this little slice of heaven is home to some of the most breathtaking views in Miami. The quaint park, which has a few benches and a small playground, faces Key Biscayne with jaw-dropping views of Brickell's skyline and the glistening Biscayne Bay.  Take a stroll on the walking path around the island. It's exactly 1 mile, making for a short and sweet excursion with memorable views.

Domino Park

Fodor's choice

Watch a slice of Old Havana come to life in Miami's Little Havana. At Domino Park, officially known as Máximo Gómez Park, guayabera-clad seniors bask in the sun and play dominoes while onlookers share neighborhood gossip and political opinions.  There is a little office at the park with a window where you can get information on Little Havana; the office also stores the dominoes for the older gents who play regularly, but it's BYOD (bring your own dominoes) for everyone else.

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Haulover Park

Fodor's choice

The popular clothing-optional beach at this county park is embraced by naturists of all ages, shapes, and sizes; there are even sections primarily frequented by families, singles, and gays. Nevertheless, Haulover's beachfront has more claims to fame than its casual attitude toward swimwear—it's also the best beach in the area for bodyboarding and surfing as it gets what passes for impressive swells in these parts. Once you park in the North Lot, you'll walk through a short tunnel covered with trees and natural habitat until you emerge on the unpretentious beach, where nudity is rarely met by gawkers. There are volleyball nets and plenty of beach chair and umbrella rentals to protect your birthday suit from too much exposure—to the sun, that is. The sections of beach requiring swimwear are popular, too, given the park's ample parking and relaxed atmosphere. Lifeguards stand watch. More active types might want to check out the kite rentals or charter-fishing excursions. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: nudists; surfing; swimming; walking.

HistoryMiami Museum

Fodor's choice

Discover a treasure trove of colorful stories about the region's history. Exhibits celebrate the city's multicultural heritage, including an old Miami streetcar and unique items chronicling the migration of Cubans to Miami. Truth be told, the museum is not wildly popular with tourists; however, the museum's tours certainly are. You can take a wide range of walking, boat, coach, bike, gallery, and eco-history tours with varying prices, including culture walks through Little Haiti, informative and exciting Little Havana Arts and Culture Walks, and an evening of storytelling during the Moon Over Miami tour led by HistoryMiami historian Dr. Paul George, where you'll float through Downtown on the Miami River, learning all about Miami's early history circa the Tequesta tribe's days.

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Lincoln Road Mall

South Beach Fodor's choice

Lincoln Road has some of Miami's best people-watching. The eclectic interiors of myriad fabulous restaurants, colorful boutiques, art galleries, lounges, and cafés are often upstaged by the bustling outdoor scene. It's here, amid many alfresco dining enclaves, that you can pass the hours easily. Indeed, Lincoln Road is fun, lively, and friendly for everyone—old, young, gay, and straight—and their dogs. A few of the shops are owner-operated boutiques with a smart variety of clothing, furnishings, jewelry, and decorative elements, but more often you'll find typical chain stores.

Two landmarks worth checking out at the eastern end of Lincoln Road are the massive 1940s keystone building at No. 420, which has a 1945 Leo Birchansky mural in the lobby, and the 1921 mission-style Miami Beach Community Church at Drexel Avenue. The Lincoln Theatre ( 541–545 Lincoln Road, at Pennsylvania Avenue) is a classical four-story art deco gem with friezes that now houses an H&M.

Pérez Art Museum Miami

Downtown Fodor's choice

This über-high-design architectural masterpiece on Biscayne Bay is a sight to behold. Double-story, cylindrical hanging gardens sway from high atop the museum, anchored to stylish wooden trusses that help create this gotta-see-it-to-believe-it indoor-outdoor museum. Large sculptures, Asian-inspired gardens, sexy white benches, and steel frames surround the property. Inside, the 120,000-square-foot space houses multicultural art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Most of the interior space is devoted to temporary exhibitions, which have included the likes of Ai Weiwei: According to What? and Grids: A Selection of Paintings by Lynne Golob Gelfman. Even if you aren't a "museum type," come check out this magnum opus over lunch at Verde, the museum's sensational waterfront restaurant and bar.

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Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Fodor's choice

Equal parts style and science, this hypermodern, $300 million–plus museum along Biscayne Bay is totally worth forgoing time at the beach. The high-design museum transitions the indoors and outdoors over multiple levels and an impressive 250,000 square feet, crowned by a see-through, shark-filled, 500,000-gallon aquarium. Beyond exhibitions dedicated to oceans, engineering, and the Everglades, look forward to one of the most sophisticated planetariums in the country, which uses 16-million-color 8K projection.

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Rubell Museum

Fodor's choice

Fans of edgy art will appreciate the Rubell Museum (formerly the Rubell Family Collection). Mera and Don Rubell have accumulated work by artists from the 1970s to the present, including Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, and Keith Haring. New thematic and topical exhibitions debut annually, during Art Basel in December. (For example, a previous exhibition, Still Human, delved into the impact of the digital revolution on the human condition.) Admission always includes a complimentary audio tour; however, true art lovers should opt for a complimentary guided tour of the collection, offered Wednesday through Saturday at 3 pm. Stop in for lunch at the on-site restaurant, Leku, serving Basque cuisine that's just as beautiful as the museum's art.

South Beach

South Beach Fodor's choice

Hugging the turquoise waters along Ocean Drive from 5th to 15th Streets, this is one of the most popular beaches in America, known for its colorful lifeguard towers and social sunbathers. With the influx of luxe hotels and hot spots from 1st to 5th and 16th to 25th Streets, the stand-and-pose scene is now bigger than ever, stretching yet another dozen-plus blocks. The white sandy stretch fills up quickly on the weekends with a blend of European tourists, young hipsters, and sun-drenched locals. Separating the shore from the traffic of Ocean Drive is palm-fringed Lummus Park, with its volleyball nets and winding bike path. There are access points every few streets, including 14th Street, 12th Street, and so on. Locals hang out on the 3rd Street beach, in an area called SoFi (South of Fifth). Dogs are not allowed on the beach. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: partiers; sunrise; swimming; walking.

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Ocean Dr. from 5th to 15th Sts., then Collins Ave. to 25th St., Miami Beach, Florida, 33139, USA
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Rate Includes: Free

South Pointe Park

Fodor's choice

At the southern tip of Miami Beach is a beautifully manicured park where locals and visitors alike stroll along a palm-fringed waterfront promenade. Sunbathers lounge in hammocks, runners zoom through trails, kids enjoy a small water playground, and socialites dine al fresco at Smith & Wollensky. At the end of the promenade is access to South Beach as well as the South Pointe Park Pier, an observation deck that gives a wide angle view of the beach.

The Bass

Fodor's choice

Special exhibitions join a diverse collection of international contemporary art at this museum whose original 1930s art deco building was designed by Russell Pancoast and constructed entirely of Florida keystone (material with a coral base). A years-long, $12 million expansion by noted architects Arata Isozaki and David Gauld, completed in 2017, increased internal space nearly 50% and added four new galleries. Most of the exhibitions are temporary, but works on permanent display include Chess Tables, a sculpture by Jim Drain, and Miami Mountain, a sculpture by Ugo Rondinone. Visit for free the third Thursday and last Sunday of every month.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Coconut Grove Fodor's choice

Of the 10,000 people living in Miami between 1912 and 1916, about 1,000 of them were gainfully employed by Chicago industrialist James Deering to build this European-inspired residence that resembles a tropical version of Versailles. Once comprising 180 acres, this National Historic Landmark now occupies a 30-acre tract that includes a rockland hammock (native forest) and more than 10 acres of formal gardens with fountains overlooking Biscayne Bay. The house, open to the public, contains 70 rooms, 34 of which are filled with paintings, sculpture, antique furniture, and other fine and decorative arts. The collection spans 2,000 years and represents the Renaissance, baroque, rococo, and neoclassical periods. The 90-minute self-guided Discover Vizcaya Audio Tour is available in multiple languages for an additional $5. Moonlight tours, offered on evenings that are nearest the full moon, provide a magical look at the gardens; call for reservations.

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Wynwood Walls

Fodor's choice

Between Northeast 25th and 26th Streets on Northwest 2nd Avenue, the Wynwood Walls are a cutting-edge enclave of modern urban murals, reflecting diversity in graffiti and street art. More than 50 well-known and lesser-known artists have transformed 80,000 square feet of warehouse walls into an outdoor museum of sorts (bring your camera). The popularity of the walls spawned the neighboring Wynwood Doors and Garden, an industrial space replete with metal roll-down gates also used as blank canvases, complemented by a garden with singular pieces of art and an eye-popping indoor gallery.

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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Culture vultures and other artsy types are drawn to this stunning performing arts center, which includes the 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House, the 2,200-seat John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, the black-box Carnival Studio Theater, and the outdoor Parker and Vann Thomson Plaza for the Arts. Throughout the year, you'll find top-notch performances by local and national touring groups, including Broadway hits like Wicked and Hamilton, intimate music concerts, and showstopping ballet. Think of it as a sliver of savoir faire to temper Miami's often-over-the-top vibe. The massive development was designed by architect César Pelli. Complimentary one-hour tours of the Arsht Center, highlighting the architecture and its public art, are offered every Saturday and Monday at noon. Arrive early for your performance to dine at BRAVA, where a prix-fixe menu allows you to enjoy three courses with plenty of time to make it to your seats for the show.

Art Deco Welcome Center and Museum

South Beach

Run by the Miami Design Preservation League, the center provides information about the buildings in the district. There's also an official Art Deco Museum within the center, as well as a gift shop that sells art deco memorabilia and posters from the 1930s through '50s, as well as books on Miami's history. Several tours also start here, including a self-guided audio tour and regular morning walking tours at 10:30 daily (excluding Tuesday and Wednesday).

1001 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, Florida, 33139, USA
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Rate Includes: Tours from $35

BaseCamp Miami

Think of this immersive art park as the grounds of a family-friendly music festival that never ends. Local bands and DJs take the stage while visitors dance as they please before moseying over to food trucks, several lounge areas, a playground, and rotating works of art that have seen the likes of Art Basel and Burning Man. During the day you'll find pop-up shops and food vendors, and in the evening BaseCamp becomes a relaxed hangout with a full liquor bar that specializes in tequila flights.

Crandon Park

This relaxing oasis in northern Key Biscayne offers renowned tennis facilities, a great golf course, a family amusement center, and 2 miles of beach dotted with palm trees. The park is divided by Key Biscayne's main road, with tennis and golf on the bay side, the beaches on the ocean side. Families really enjoy the beaches here—the sand is soft, there are no riptides, there's a great view of the Atlantic, and parking is both inexpensive and plentiful. Nevertheless, on weekends be prepared for a long hike from your car to the beach. There are bathrooms, outdoor showers, plenty of picnic tables, and concession stands. Kiteboard rentals and lessons are offered from the northern-end water-sports concessions, as are kayak rentals. Ecotours and nature trails showcase the myriad ecosystems of Key Biscayne, including mangroves, coastal hammock, and seagrass beds. Bird-watching is great at the southern end of the park. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: swimming; walking.

Cuban Memorial Boulevard

Four blocks in the heart of Little Havana are filled with monuments to Cuba's freedom fighters. South of Calle Ocho (8th Street), Southwest 13th Avenue becomes a ceiba tree–lined parkway known as Cuban Memorial Boulevard, divided at the center by a narrow grassy mall with a walking path through the various memorials. Among them is the Eternal Torch of the Brigade 2506, blazing with an endless flame and commemorating those who were killed in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. Another is a bas-relief map of Cuba depicting each of its municipios. There's also a bronze statue in honor of Nestor (Tony) Izquierdo, who participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion and served in Nicaragua's Somozan forces.

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S.W. 13th Ave. between S.W. 8th and S.W. 12th sts., Florida, 33135, USA

Española Way

There's a bohemian feel to this street lined with Mediterranean-revival buildings constructed in 1925 and inspired by New York's Greenwich Village. Al Capone's gambling syndicate ran its operations upstairs at what is now The Clay Hotel, a value-conscious boutique hotel. At a nightclub here in the 1930s, future bandleader Desi Arnaz strapped on a conga drum and started beating out a rumba rhythm. Visit this quaint pedestrian-only way nowadays and find a number of personality-driven restaurants and bars. Weekly programming includes the likes of salsa dancing, flamenco dancing, and opera performances.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

With 83 acres of lakes, sunken gardens, a 560-foot vine pergola, orchids, bellflowers, coral trees, bougainvillea, rare palms, and flowering trees, Fairchild is the largest tropical botanical garden in the continental United States. The tram tour highlights the best of South Florida and exotic flora; then you can set off exploring on your own. The 2-acre Simons Rainforest, which is complete with a waterfall and a stream, showcases tropical plants from around the world. The conservatory contains rare tropical plants, including the Burmese Amherstia nobilis, flowering annually with orchidlike pink flowers. The Keys Coastal Habitat, created in a marsh and mangrove area in 1995 with assistance from the Tropical Audubon Society, provides food and shelter to resident and migratory birds. 

Fredric Snitzer Gallery

The gallery of this longtime figure in the Miami arts scene highlights emerging and mid-career artists, providing them that tipping point needed for national and international exposure and recognition. It maintains its warehouse roots, letting the art speak for itself amid the raw walls and ample natural light. Though a commercial gallery, the selection is highly curated. Rotating monthly exhibitions are usually thematic, with works by one of its represented artists, including Hernan Bas, Alice Aycock, Enrique Martínez Celaya, and Jon Pylypchuk. For the art novice, the team, including Snitzer himself, is readily available and willing to share their knowledge.

Holocaust Memorial

A bronze sculpture depicts refugees clinging to a giant bronze arm that reaches out of the ground and 42 feet into the air. Enter the surrounding courtyard to see a memorial wall and hear the music that seems to give voice to the 6 million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. It's easy to understand why Kenneth Treister's dramatic memorial is in Miami Beach: the city's community of Holocaust survivors was once the second largest in the country.

Matheson Hammock Park

Kids love the gentle waves and warm (albeit often murky) waters of this beach in Coral Gables suburbia, near the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. But the beach is only part of the draw—the park includes a boardwalk trail, a playground, and a golf course. Plus, the park is a prime spot for kiteboarding. The man-made lagoon, or "atoll pool," is perfect for inexperienced swimmers, and it's one of the best places in mainland Miami for a picnic. Most tourists don't make the trek here; this park caters more to locals who don't want to travel all the way to Miami Beach. The park also offers a full-service marina. Amenities: parking (fee); toilets. Best for: swimming.

Miami Children's Museum

This Arquitectonica-designed museum, both imaginative and geometric in appearance, is directly across the MacArthur Causeway from Jungle Island. Twelve galleries house hundreds of interactive, bilingual exhibits. Children can scan plastic groceries in the supermarket, scramble through a giant sandcastle, climb a rock wall, learn about the Everglades, and combine rhythms in the world-music studio.

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Miami Seaquarium

This classic family attraction promotes environmental education and raises conservation awareness yet stages shows with sea lions, dolphins, and other marine animals (including killer whales). Discovery Bay, an endangered-mangrove habitat, is home to sea turtles, alligators, herons, egrets, and ibis. You can also visit a shark pool, a tropical reef aquarium, and West Indian and Florida manatees. A popular interactive attraction is the Stingray Touch Tank, where you can touch and feed cownose rays and southern stingrays. Another big draw is the Dolphin Interaction program, including the quite intensive Dolphin Odyssey ($219) experience and the lighter shallow-water Dolphin Encounter ($159).

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Oleta River State Park

Tucked away in North Miami Beach, this urban park is a ready-made family getaway. Nature lovers will find it easy to embrace the 1,128 acres of subtropical beauty along Biscayne Bay. Swim in the calm bay waters and bicycle, canoe, kayak, and bask among egrets, manatees, bald eagles, and fiddler crabs. Dozens of picnic tables, along with 10 covered pavilions, dot the stunning natural habitat, which was restored with red mangroves to revitalize the ecosystem and draw endangered birds, like the roseate spoonbill. There's a playground for tots, a mangrove island accessible only by boat, 15 miles of mountain-bike trails, a half-mile exercise track, concessions, and outdoor showers. Amenities: food and drink; parking (fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: solitude; sunrise; sunset; walking.

Simpson Park

This 8-acre nature preserve on the edge of Miami's busiest urban neighborhood is one of the last remnants of Brickell's natural tropical hardwood hammock. It conserves 162 plant species, most of which are native to the area, such as the strangler fig and gumbo-limbo tree. The park features lovely bike and walking trails, as well as a recreation center and plenty of intriguing historical plaques along the way.

The Biltmore

Bouncing back stunningly from its dark days as an army hospital, this hotel has become the jewel of Coral Gables—a dazzling architectural gem with a colorful past. First opened in 1926, it was a hot spot for the rich and glamorous of the Jazz Age until it was converted to an army–air force regional hospital in 1942. Following World War II, the Veterans Administration continued to operate the hospital until 1968. The Biltmore then lay vacant for nearly 20 years before it underwent extensive renovations and reopened as a luxury hotel in 1987. Its 16-story tower, like the Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami, is a replica of Seville's Giralda tower. The magnificent pool is reportedly the largest hotel pool in the continental United States.  Because it functions as a full-service hotel, your ticket in—if you aren't staying here—is to patronize one of the hotel's several restaurants or bars. Try to get a courtyard table for the Sunday champagne brunch, a local legend.

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse

Make sure a visit to Wynwood includes a stop at The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse. Martin Margulies's collection of vintage and contemporary photography, videos, and installation art in a 45,000-square-foot space makes for eye-popping viewing. Admission proceeds go to Lotus Village, a local facility for unhoused individuals and families.