Top 10 sites in Miami, FL — The Top Ten Traveler
It’s easy to fall in love with Miami. When you are hanging out on one of the beaches in Miami Beach, looking at the wide-open ocean in front of you, feeling the sun all over your skin, you know you want to stay here forever. The Hispanic influence, the tropical trees, and the unique Art-deco style of Ocean Dr. make Miami so exotic and inviting. Miami combines the perfect vacation spot of Beaches and parties, with historical sites, monuments and stories. It doesn’t matter if you stay on the beach or downtown, there’s a lot to see and to do here. So here are the best things to do in Miami:
Ocean Dr. and South Beach
The main reason to come to Miami is having a relaxing and fun time on the beach. Many people would say that Miami Beach has the best beaches in the land, and once you get here you will understand why.
Miami Beach is divided into 3 areas: North Beach, Mid Beach, and South Beach. The latter is where you want to be. The hotels might be more expensive in this area, but it’s worth it. Ocean drive is the main road with the beautiful Art-deco buildings, which are a Miami Beach icon. In these buildings, you will find restaurants, lounges, bars, and clubs. The beaches along Ocean dr. are the more popular ones, and some hotels give you free beach access with chairs and parasol.
Tip: I stayed at San Juan Hotel Miami Beach. It is a smaller hotel, not on the first line of the water, but with convenient rooms and free access to the beach on 17th street, only a 5-minute walk.
Go to a pool party
Are you team beach-side or poolside? it doesn’t really matter because Miami’s pool parties are crazy fun for everyone. Many of the big hotels in Miami beach host pool parties, with music going from Hip Hop to EDM. Some of the parties are part of weekly lines and others are bigger events with world-famous DJs. Depends on your style and preferences, find your best spot, and spend a few hours at a party. It will be fun, especially if you get bottomless mimosas.
Lincoln Road is an open street mall in Miami beach, going from East to West. It is located between 16th st. and 17th st., along 10 blocks from Washington Ave to Alton Rd. During the day Lincoln mall has a laidback atmosphere and you can stroll between cafes, restaurants, and shopping. Lots of shopping. When day turns into night, the music from the restaurants gets louder, and Happy Hour specials make the people much happier. For more information on the stores and restaurants, check out the Lincoln Rd. official site.
Tip: Don’t miss Miami’s Time Out Market for a great culinary experience, on 1601 Drexel Ave, just one block from Lincoln Rd.
Wynwood Walls is my favorite place in Miami. This is a huge outdoor street-art park, with more than 40 murals, covering over 80,000 sq ft (7500 sqm) of walls. Artists from all around the world come here to create their art, and the crazy thing about it — every piece is only temporary. Each mural stays for a few months and then another artist gets the wall for their new work. It makes every visit here different and surprising.
Take a walk also in the streets of the neighborhood around Wynwood Walls, where the walls are painted with unofficial graffiti and street-art. The restaurants are known for their creativity, and the stores cover the full range from thrift shops to designers’ boutiques.
As you walk into Española way you feel like you jump back in time. This pedestrian street, starting on Washington Ave in Miami Beach, is full of Spanish restaurants, with a Cigar shop and a wine shop, all in peach-colored Spanish-style buildings. This is a great place for a casual, easygoing, and delicious dinner, before going out to one of the bars in Ocean dr.
Little Havana is the Cuban heart of Miami and Calle Ocho (8th street) is the heart of the neighborhood. This is the place that accepted the thousands of Cubans who escaped Cuba after Castro took over in 1959. Today this is the social, cultural, and political center of American-Cubans.
Calle Ocho is the place for Cuban restaurants with live music and delicious food. You can’t miss a great Cuban fried rice and sweet plantains. Pay attention to the stars on the floor — a tribute to Cuban and Hispanic artists like Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan. Check out Domino park to see the local seniors play Domino and hang out. Other points of interest are the Bay of Pigs museum and monument, Tower Theater, Plaza de la Cubanidad, and more. Guided walking tours with lunch included are available from Get Yout Guide.
This two-floors open shopping center is the perfect touristic experience for visitors in Miami. Located on Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami, you get a beautiful view of the marina and the city skyscrapers. There are 120 stores, from big brands like Gap and Disney to small Kiosks that sell souvenirs. When you get hungry, take a break in one of the restaurants on the water, or in the big Hard Rock Cafe, and enjoy the view and the breeze. You can also take a cruise in the bay, ride a speedboat or go on a party boat from here.
Miami Beach is not exactly the place you would expect to see a holocaust memorial. However, the memorial that was built here in the late 1980s, is one of the most powerful Holocaust memorials I have been to. It was initiated by the Holocaust Memorial Committee, a non-profit that was established by local Holocaust survivors. The memorial is a big hand going up high to the sky with figures of men and women trying to climb on it. It is surrounded by the memorial wall, with names of the family members of the local community who were perished in the holocaust. This is an emotional experience, that doesn’t necessarily fit with the Miami vibes, but I think it’s a must-visit site.
Tip: If you are interested in the history of the Jewish community of Florida, check out the Jewish Museum of Florida. It is located at 301 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, in two buildings that formerly were synagogues.
The Venetian pool
Located in Coral Gables, only 15 minutes drive from Downtown Miami, the Venetian pool is one of the popular attractions of Miami. It was built in the 1920s as a swimming pool for the rich and famous, with gondolas in the water. Nowadays it’s open to the public and it’s a charming place. Even though the gondolas are not here anymore, the Italian-style central building and the trees all around, create a calm environment, even when it’s full. The water in the pool is coming from an underground aquifer and in the spring and summer seasons, it is replenished daily. The entrance fee is $10-$20 depends on age and season. For more information check out the Venetian Pool website.
Wilzig Erotic-Art Museum
Located in Miami Beach, this museum might surprise you. While it is presenting more than 4000 pieces of sex-related objects (let your imagination go wild), it is not only a museum. It is a one-of-its-kind library and research center dedicated to the history of erotic art. The collections include paintings, images, and sculptors from all around the world, and some made by world-famous artists, like Rembrandt, Picasso, Dali, and others.
Tip: Not the place to bring your kids to.
It’s better to visit Miami between November and May. When it’s winter in most of the northern hemisphere, Miami still has a perfect hot climate. From June to November it is Hurricane season, with lots of rain. Plan your trip accordingly.
If you are looking for a great shopping experience, head to Dolphin Mall outlet. it is on the west side of the city, about 20 minutes cab ride. You can find over 250 stores and restaurants and it’s easy to spend the whole day there.
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Originally published at https://www.thetoptentraveler.com on June 17, 2020.