This pastel paradise of swaying palm trees, pristine sandy beaches, and Latin flair has beckoned travelers for centuries who yearn for fun in the Sunshine State. There’s just something about Miami – its history, its culture, its people – that makes the city one of the most enticing destinations in the country.
What’s in this Guide
- Plan Your Trip
- Booking Advice
- Local Lingo
- Where to Go & What to Do
- 10 Instagrammable Spots
- Set the Mood
Plan Your Trip
When to visit
There’s no bad time to visit Miami with year-round temperatures averaging 76 degrees paired with plenty of events and activities happening each month. For some travelers, there are some months that may be better than others. The rainy season runs May to September and hurricane season runs June to November, but traveling during hurricane season shouldn’t take your trip off course. September is the most active month for hurricanes and May is the least active, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. If you’re worried about traveling during hurricane season, consider buying travel insurance. The humidity in July and August may be stifling for some, but it’s the low season and there are plenty of places to stay cool in Miami.
How to get to the city from the airport
There are three airports in the region (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport are north of Miami), but the most popular and convenient is Miami International Airport. While public transport abounds -options include the Airport Flyer (Route 150) express bus to Miami Beach and Metrobuses that go to Coral Gables and Coconut Grove.
While these are helpful for many travelers, most will want to rent a car to explore beyond the neighborhood they’re staying in. You can also take the free MIA Mover to the MIA Rental Car Center where there are more than a dozen rental car companies to choose from. If you’re staying in Miami Beach, taxis and rideshares may be sufficient. Taxis aren’t cheap with the initial fare starting at $4.50 and steadily rising from there at $2.40 for each mile, plus $0.40 per minute idling in traffic.
Good to know
- Miami is one of the most diverse cities in the US. This beach destination is also LGBTQ+ friendly with travel services catering to the needs of LGBTQ+ travelers, including the LGBT Visitor Center in South Beach.
- If you haven’t rented a car and you’re not staying on Miami Beach, public transportation can be slow. Rideshares are great options because they are cheaper than metered taxis and payment can be done through the app.
- Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen—they don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing.
- Check out free weekly publications like Miami New Times and Time Out Miami to keep up to date on what to see and do.
- The Go Miami Pass offers discounts at dozens of area attractions.
- A 6% sales tax and a 1% county tax are applied to the price of goods purchased in Miami.
On-the-ground costs in Miami can be pricey. Tipping is expected at restaurants and bars (around 15-25%) and when riding in taxis and rideshares.
English might be the official language, but more than 100 languages are spoken in Miami; Spanish is widely spoken. Plus, the 305 has a different way of talking than the rest of Florida and the US. Here’s how to sound like a local:
305: Locals use the telephone area code to refer to their hometown.
Bro: Affectionate way to address your friend of any gender, but also used to emphasize the point you’re making.
Bottles: As in bottle service at a club.
Chanks: Short for chanclas, refers to flip flops.
Dale: (dah-LAY) Can mean a variety of things, from “let’s go!” to “I agree.” Usually a way to show excitement, made famous by a 305 pop star.
Pero like: Meaning “but, like” it’s a way to go back on what you just said.
Que bolá: What’s up?
Super: From super hungry to super tired, super replaces the word very.
Supposably: It’s really the word supposedly, but Miamians pronounce it supposably.
Where to go & what to do
Miami is big. It’s the seventh largest metropolis in the US. Miami is laid out in a grid divided into four quadrants (northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest) with streets, terraces, and lanes running east-west and everything else (avenues, roads, courts, place, etc.) run north-south. The axis between north and south is Flagler Street and the axis between east and west is Miami Avenue. Getting oriented may seem tricky at first, but breaking it down by neighborhood can help.
Founded by the Tequesta Indians, the land where Miami is was taken by the Spanish in the 16th century. Scores of Cubans arrived in the mid- and late-20th century and the Latinx community is now the largest group of folks living in Miami.
There is much to see and do in Miami’s neighborhoods and adjacent cities in Miami-Dade County. Get Cuban coffee and Cuban sandwiches at Versailles in Little Havana. Scout seasonal stone crabs at Joe’s Stone Crab on Miami Beach. Enjoy extraordinary arts and entertainment, including strolling the Art Deco district and visiting Miami’s many contemporary art museums. Or embrace those tropical nights inside the Magic City’s finest clubs…or not (check out our anti-club club guide for ideas for a legendary night out that’s anything but anti-social). Likely, you’ll need more than one visit to experience it all.
Located off 21st Street on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, Collins Park is a hip micro-neighborhood with massive appeal. The Bass Museum presents temporary exhibitions of international contemporary art as well as pieces from its permanent art collection. It also includes pieces from the private collection of businessman John Bass like The Coronation of the Virgin, an altarpiece by Sandro Botticelli and Domenico Ghirlandaio, the only known collaboration of the two artists.
The legendary performance venue The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater is here. The famed stage where Jackie Gleason once hosted his eponymous show now hosts touring Broadway shows, concerts and more. The charming area is populated with restaurants, bars and hotels. The 52-room Streamline Moderne-style hotel features rooftop bar-restaurant Layla, which serves Middle Eastern fare, tech-forward amenities powered by the hotel’s app and a relaxing pool deck just three blocks from the ocean.
Laid back, quirky and fun, Coconut Grove is a historic neighborhood nestled along Biscayne Bay offers an eclectic mix of old Florida and fashion-forward frenzy. Many of its tree-lined streets offer beloved local hangouts like GreenStreet Cafe, a charming sidewalk cafe where locals, politicians, journalists and artists nosh on brunch and catch up over cocktails; Cocowalk, a multi-level cluster of boutique shops and restaurants; and Mary’s Cafe & Coin Laundry, a laundromat that serves sandwiches, smoothies, pastelitos and cafécito 24/7.
Wynwood, a 50-block arts district north of downtown Miami, has transformed from a warehouse district into one of Miami’s most creative communities thanks to its popular Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Doors, which highlight graffiti and street art. The neighborhood is home to many galleries and art spaces like the Rubell Museum, a contemporary art collection of Mera and Don Rubell and their son Jason that has grown from a family collection of one artwork to 7,200 pieces from 1,000 artists. It is also home to Bakehouse Art Complex, a not-for-profit incubator for artistic creativity founded by artists for artists in 1985, and the Museum of Graffiti, the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to graffiti art. Take a break from admiring art by drinking and dining at the area’s many hot hangouts like FREEHOLD, a trio of bars, palatial courtyard and stage, a cafe, and New York City-inspired pizza joint. You could also try out Gramps, a laid back bar with “many drinks various prices” that serves as a venue for concerts, comedy and merriment.
Top 10 most Instagrammable places in Miami
- Miami Design District
- Wynwood Walls
- Pérez Art Museum Miami
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- Calle Ocho
- Fairchild Tropical Gardens
- MiMo District
- Miami Marine Stadium
- Ocean Drive
- Brickell/Downtown Miami Views
Set the mood
Miami is the backdrop for an eclectic group of films set in Miami. Get a taste of the city before you experience the real thing by watching these films.
- 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
- The Birdcage (1996)
- Blow (2001)
- The Bodyguard (1992)
- Casino Royale (2006)
- Miami Rhapsody (1995)
- The Miami Story (1954)
- Miami Vice (2006)
- Scarface (1983)
- There’s Something About Mary (1988)
Feeling that Miami vibe? Here’s a playlist of tunes for planning your trip.