Writer: Meghan Palmer
There’s a reason over 14 million tourists visit Miami every year: white sand beaches, bustling nightlife, cutting-edge design, and a vibrant Latino culture. In many ways, Miami is a catch-all destination with something to do for every type of traveler, and the tropical climate makes it suitable to visit year-round.
Most people will go the obvious route when visiting Miami — partying on South Beach, shopping on Lincoln Road, a mojito on the water. But the best way to experience this multifaceted city is by diving a little deeper, seeking out authentic experiences that allow you to discover what makes this city so special. Here are five ideas to get you started.
Get lost in an immersive exhibit
While you can stumble into any Miami neighborhood gallery to get a taste of the local art scene, the best of Miami’s cutting-edge art world is at ARTECHOUSE. This isn’t your average immersive exhibit, it’s the nation’s first multi-sensory, genre-pushing destination where artists represent a new age in art, science, and technology. With constantly evolving exhibits, there’s always something new to see here, and it’s central South Beach location makes it easy to access no matter where you’re staying.
Cruise around in style
From Millionaires’ Row to the high-end boutiques of Collins Avenue and the Design District, Miami is a city of opulence. Rather than ogling the beachside mansions on foot, spend an afternoon cruising around like a well-heeled local on a Lamborghini Huracan Spyder Tour. Not only will you have the chance to see some of Miami’s coolest spots — South Beach, Star Island, and Venetian Islands — but you’ll also get the rare opportunity to be behind the wheel of a supercar boasting a zero to 60 miles per hour acceleration in just three seconds.
Dance the night away
Nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” for its high population of Hispanic and Latino residents, you’d be remiss not to dive into the culture and vibrant nightlife scene during your visit. Instead of waiting in line for a nightclub, opt for Salsa Lessons and Mojitos in South Beach. Start at the Mojito Room, where you’ll savor the popular Cuban cocktail that was brought to the US by way of Miami. After that, get moving with Salsa and bachata lessons from a local expert dancer before hitting the dance floor to show off your new moves, accompanied by a live band. Stick around afterward for cabaret performances and a dance floor that is on fire until sunrise.
Discover the flavors and culture of Little Havana
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the vibrant Cuban heart of the city: Little Havana. After Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, Cubans flocked to Miami looking for a temporary home that soon became permanent, earning it the nickname “Magic City” for its seemingly overnight population boom. Get acquainted with the neighborhood on a Little Havana Food and Culture Tour. With a local as your guide, you’ll visit all of the notable haunts: sampling sugarcane juice and small bites; stopping by locally-owned art galleries; and visiting the Bay of Pigs monument. Most importantly, you’ll meet first-generation Cuban Americans who call Miami home, learning about the rich history and cultural impact that continues to shape the city.
Explore one of Miami’s most happening neighborhoods
Arguably the most photographed neighborhood in Miami, Wynwood is known for its colorful murals, craft breweries, and funky art galleries. While most visitors typically pop by the Wynwood Walls — a former manufacturing district that’s now considered the largest open-air museum in the world — to snap a few photos and move along, there is so much more to be discovered. Embark on a Wynwood Food and Art Tour to go deeper. After admiring the works of famous street artists at Wynwood Walls, you’ll learn more about different graffiti styles at the Peter Tunney Gallery as your guide explains the history of how this fascinating neighborhood came to be. Along the way, you’ll pause to sample the diverse local restaurant scene, from Spanish to French to Jamaican.