10 best things to do in Miami Right now. Get out and explore the Magic City with our guide to the best things to do in Miami, from attractions to museums and more
Locals and tourists can agree that the best things to do in Miami extend beyond lounging on the sand—though it goes without saying that spending some time on the best Miami beaches is fundamental to life in the 305. In the wintertime particularly, Miami is better known for its thriving cultural scene led by events like Art Basel and neighborhoods such as Wynwood, which every year turns over a brand new facade with the spate of fresh murals that debut during Miami Art Week.
And lest we miss out on one of the most important aspects of life in the Magic City—eating!—it’s worth mentioning the booming culinary scene and the host of award-winning Miami restaurants that abound, many of whom we’ve invited to join us at Time Out Market Miami. In between sunbathing, swimming, and sipping cocktails, check off these essential Miami experiences. By the way, this list is curated, as always, but isn’t ranked—we just couldn’t choose favorites.
10 BEST THINGS TO DO IN MIAMI RIGHT NOW
Best things to do in Miami
1. Stroll the magnificent Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
What is it? Miami’s number one attraction is a surreal Italian Renaissance-style villa in the middle of lush, laid-back Coconut Grove. Its meticulously landscaped gardens, sprawling bayfront terrace, and, well, the house itself, make up a total of 43 acres.
Why go? Vizcaya makes for the most fetching photo backdrop in the city (just ask the quinceañeras and brides roaming about) and its inimitable collection of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries is truly breathtaking. Need to up your social game? Vizcaya is home to some of Miami’s most Instagrammable floors and staircases.
Don’t miss: Vizcaya’s event calendar is packed with free activities that are accessible year-round.
What is it? Find a slice of old-world Europe right in the middle of South Beach. Española Way is a charming, pedestrian strip lined with shops, restaurants and cozy, bilevel hotels that transport you to far-flung places.
Why go? Much larger Lincoln Road may have overshadowed it at one point, but the bustling tourist corridor is attracting more locals than ever before with its sidewalk eateries and free outdoor programming. Experience Paris’ café culture at enduring favorite A La Folie Café, serving up hard-to-find French classics. Drink your way down the tree-lined street’s mix of open-air bars and restaurants, stopping to take in the live music and unique people-watching, and get away from Miami without the need to go very far.
Don’t miss: One of lockdown’s best home chefs, Ben Murray, opens Vietnamese sandwich shop Benh Mi this winter while boutique hotel Esmé Miami Beach, which features food and drink concepts from the team behind Lost Boy, is set to debut in the spring.
3. Tap into your inner nerd at Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
What is it? Spanning across a massive 250,000 square feet, the new Frost Science (an upgrade from its previous Coconut Grove location) occupies four buildings—the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium, and the North and West Wings—features year-round exhibits and is a delight for curious minds of all ages.
Why go? Frost Science is as state-of-the-art as it gets, featuring interactive opportunities, a 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream aquarium that houses all sorts of sea creatures, and a planetarium dome that hosts biweekly laser light shows.
Don’t miss: “Power of Science” is the first permanent exhibit to launch since the museum first opened. Exploring four scientific frontiers—oceans, the environment, the human body and the cosmos—the interactive experience takes visitors through transformative research being conducted by the University of Miami staff.
4. Soak up the tropical vibes at the Broken Shaker
What is it? The bar that started it all. Without the Broken Shaker, we’d still be ordering vodka-sodas and flavoring our drinks with cranberry juice.
Why go? For the tropi-cool vibes you can only get hanging poolside at Miami’s OG cocktail bar. We’d usually recommend a punch (they’re seasonal and a boozy bang-for-your-buck) but these are weird times we’re living in and sharing is not caring. Try one of the specials instead.
Don’t miss: Stay for dinner at the homey 27 Restaurant, where longtime chef Jimmy Lebron dabbles in Israeli, Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisines.
5. Shop and people watch down Lincoln Road
What is it? Designed by iconic architectural guru Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, Lincoln Road Mall was once dubbed the “Fifth Avenue of the South,” though it’s now commonly referred to as “Lincoln.” Endless sidewalk cafés, lounges and cultural venues—such as the Colony Theatre—stretch along its length from Washington Avenue to Alton Road.
Why go? The Herzog & de Meuron–designed 1111 Lincoln Road is quite possibly the world’s most glamorous parking garage and houses upscale retail on the ground level. But there’s more than several blocks of stores and boutiques to browse and shop for hours.
Don’t miss: From musicians on golf carts and site-specific theater performances to self-guided tours of the vegetation along the promenade, it’s a season full of outdoor activities and socially distant events all along Lincoln Road.
6. Explore the lush grounds at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
What is it? One of South Florida’s natural jewels, this 83-acre garden, named after renowned botanist and Miami resident David Fairchild, is filled with tropical splendor: a lush rainforest with a stream, sunken garden, dramatic vistas, an enormous vine pergola and a museum of plant exploration.
Why go? It’s about the easiest, most scenic place to socially distance right now. And there are plenty of shady corners that provide respite from the summer heat.
Don’t miss: The botanical beauty ups its programming through the winter season, hosting date nights for couples, dog-friendly events, holiday markets and other outdoor activities. Check their website for the latest.
7. Sip vino at Margot at Nikki Beach
What is it? This delightful natural wine bar from the Bar Lab team pops up at Nikki Beach temporarily, giving folks a taste of its forthcoming Downtown spot in an outdoor, socially distant setting.
Why go? Experience the vino trend of the moment with South Beach as your backdrop. Lit by rows of bistro lights, the magical Margot is on the sand and mere steps from the ocean. The wine selection ain’t bad either. The curated list features reds, whites, rosés and sparkling’s produced following strict natty wine guidelines in different corners of the world. New to the movement? Tap your server to guide you through the offerings, though anything you land on will be great.
Don’t miss: Order up some food to soak up the booze. Bar Lab’s executive chef, Jimmy Lebron, crafted a menu with wine-friendly items like the vuelve a la vida shrimp ceviche, pan con tomaté and tahini olive spread with crudité.
What is it? At the tip of serene, secluded Key Biscayne is this 400-acre state park with beach access, picnic tables, bike trails, and watersport rentals.
Why go? A great place for families with accessible parking close to the sand, Bill Baggs is home to South Florida’s only lighthouse. Take the kids and let them climb the 109 steps to the top of the lookout.
Don’t miss: Boater’s Grill is one of Miami’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away at a far corner of the park, the waterfront spot provides free docking for small vessels and serves moderately priced breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What is it? Built by James Deering’s similarly well-off brother Charles as his own sophisticated winter estate, the vast property encompasses several buildings, a mangrove boardwalk and a significant archeological discovery.
Why go? Outdoorsy types will appreciate the guided nature walks and birding opportunities. Plus, the estate boasts a fossil pit of 50,000-year-old animal bones and 10,000-year-old human remains; the latter are Paleo-Indians.
Don’t miss: Talk about a backdrop! Deering Estate opens its doors early on select days for sunrise photography sessions.
10. Flood your IG feed with works from the Bass
What is it? What began in 1964 as a small, private collection of contemporary art is now an internationally recognized institution with hundreds of pieces within its multiple halls. The 1930s Art Deco building also has meeting areas and classrooms for family-friendly programming, though some of that is on hold for now.
Why go? The Bass’s permanent collections, as well as its traveling exhibitions, comprise art people actually want to see—and Instagram (the real reason we go to museums these days, right?). Think large-scale works made up of found objects that probe us and a site-specific work of LED signs that make you feel at home.
Don’t miss: Spend some time on the lawn exploring the museum’s public art, including Jim Drain’s chess table and Ugo Rondinone’s unmissable Miami Mountain.