As the southernmost major city in the United States, Miami is a culturally rich and diversified place — in fact, it’s one of America’s most thoroughly bilingual cities, with Spanish spoken fluently across the entire region.
The only thing more diverse than Miami’s cultural influences is all the activities and attractions available. If food is your thing, there are hundreds of great restaurants, bistros, and more serving unique and delicious meals. And if you’re the type who enjoys outdoor escapades and events, there’s plenty to see and do.
Best of all, the dull cold-weather months are possibly the best time to visit. Winter is when it’s finally cool enough to enjoy non-water-related outdoor activities in Miami. And since the city is so far south, you can still enjoy a few trips to the beach.
Whether you’re the adventurous type or you want to stick to tried-and-true convention, these are some of the top things to see, eat, and experience in Miami.
Frost Museum of Science
A state-of-the-art attraction in a brand-new facility with cutting-edge exhibits, Frost Science is a stimulating place to begin your Miami experience. The museum occupies four separate buildings, including an aquarium and a planetarium, with several interactive exhibits. It provides one of the best, most exciting ways to connect with the inner workings of the world around us.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum is Miami’s number one attraction, and for good reason: it’s stunningly beautiful. An Italian Renaissance-style villa surrounded by beautiful gardens in Coconut Grove, it houses an incredible collection of European antiques and decorative works from hundreds of years ago. The house is a work of art on its own, with amazing interior design and construction. With its bayfront terrace and lush gardens, it’s as picturesque as Miami gets.
Cauley Square Historic Village
If you’re on the lookout for affordable Miami activities, you’ll love the Cauley Square Historic Village, which is free to enter and explore. Located just southwest of Miami, it’s a well-preserved railroad town that was established in the early 1900s. The buildings themselves are pretty much what you’d expect in any old-time frontier town, but their lush Florida surroundings are very different. With stunning gardens, regular musical performances, and several gift shops and restaurants, this is a unique glimpse into history that you won’t want to miss.
Perez Art Museum Miami
Located in downtown Miami, Perez Art Museum Miami (or PAMM) offers a massive collection of contemporary art for your viewing pleasure. About 91% of Americans enjoy art, making PAMM the perfect destination for almost every Miami visitor. The artwork is primarily of American origin, and it dates back no earlier than the 20th century. If you don’t feel like browsing on your own, 45-minute public tours are conducted several times each day.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery
The Ancient Spanish Monastery was constructed in the 12th century, but it wasn’t originally built in Florida. It was built in Segovia, Spain and brought to America in pieces after being purchased by a newspaper magnate in the early 1900s. It was then assembled in the 1950s, where it has been the location of film shoots, glamorous weddings, and weekly Catholic mass ever since. If you have any interest in architecture, this is one sight you’ll want to see for yourself.
Cuban Cuisine at Versailles Restaurant
The recognized hot spot for Miami’s Cuban community, Versailles boasts authentic Cuban coffee, toasted sandwiches, pastelitos, and more. The connected bakery offers a wide array of Cuban-influenced desserts, including ice cream, key lime pie, and mini flans. If you only try one new restaurant during your stay in Miami, Versailles is a strong contender.
Sugar Factory’s King Kong Sundae
Approximately 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar desserts are produced in the United States each year and a surprising amount of that ends up in each King Kong Sundae from Sugar Factory. In addition to 28 scoops of ice cream, these sundaes boast cookies, candy, sprinkles, and even sparklers to round out the display. Be sure to bring a few friends along to help you finish it!
Cinnamon Rolls at Knaus Berry Farm
Located among the fruit orchards and fields of the Knaus Berry Farm, the family-owned and operated bakery offers some of the best treats you’ll ever taste. Their homemade pineapple upside-down cakes and fruit milkshakes are tantalizing enough, but their cinnamon rolls are to die for. And considering the long lines of people that are typically waiting to buy one, that’s a widely agreed-upon opinion.
Komodo’s Rainbow Baked Alaska
Among the many amazing desserts in Miami is the Rainbow Baked Alaska, a signature desert from Komodo. This colorful delight is made with funfetti cake, strawberry ice cream, cotton candy, and meringue, with a topping of white chocolate Rice Krispies and Fruity Pebbles. This picture-worthy dish is then set on fire when it gets to your table. This remarkable treat makes Komodo one restaurant you will not want to miss.
Unicorn Cruffin at B Bistro
If you want a memorable breakfast stop before you pack up and head out of Miami, look no further than B Bistro. While you’re there, ask for their signature Unicorn Cruffin, a delightful pastry decorated with purple icing and a little unicorn horn and ears peaking out of the top.
And there you have it: some of the most memorable locations (and foods) that Miami has to offer. Hopefully this article has inspired you for how to plan your Miami adventure.