Offering plenty of flavors, glam and a year-round climate between 65–90 degrees, no wonder Miami’s the Sunshine State’s premier destination. So how does one spend a day in Miami? To start, explore more than just South Beach!

That aside, a Miami day stay should be as relaxing or as event-filled as you wish. Grab your summer clothes and let’s get jiggy with it. Oh wait…well, you know what I mean.

Explore Wynwood (Walls)

Colorful murals and street art abounds at the Wynwood Walls in Miami.

What used to be a neighborhood of mostly windowless warehouses is now one of Miami’s most vibrant scenes. The Wynwood Arts District offers over 70 galleries and a handful of museums—but none more frequented than the Wynwood Walls. Spend a sunny day in Miami strolling the 80,000 square feet outdoor museum featuring rotating street murals from artists around the world. The neighborhood itself has an eclectic, recycled charm with many of the district’s galleries, restaurants and bars operating in the old warehouses.

After you get done strolling the walls, Wynwood also makes for a worthwhile (and manageable) brewery tour. Start in any order you like as Concrete Beach, Wynwood Brewing, J. Wakefield and Veza Sur are all in close proximity to each other. 

Grab Cocktails at The Broken Shaker

A crowded patio on a clear sunny day at Broken Shaker-Miami, Florida
The Broken Shaker originally started in Miami but has since successfully branched out to Chicago, L.A. and NYC. Its appeal is hard to ignore; a delightful blend of craft cocktail bar, hostel and overall tropical oasis. While many of the guests are staying on the property, every Miami local knows it’s the place to be if you want to hang out poolside with a killer drink in hand. Each day debuts a new cocktail or punch, showcasing the skills of the day’s bartender.

Tour Miami By Bike

Sometimes the best way to see a city isn’t by car (or bar). Get a half-day bicycle rental for some serious exploring or rent an hourly ride through the city’s bike-share system and cruise Miami Beach and Miami Shores, voted two of the most bike-friendly communities in the U.S. in 2017.

Find Your Sand Scene

You’ve made it to Miami, but the trip isn’t complete without a beach moment. With 35 miles of beach stretching from Key Biscayne to Sunny Isles, there’s a beach for everyone.

    • Ocean Drive and 7th Street – Recommended for young crowds seeking a spring break vibe or just a lot of frozen libations.
    • Key Biscayne – A family-friendly beach featuring shaded shelters, playgrounds and even a dog park.
    • 79th Street Beach – The beaches on the north end of Miami are often quieter and the place to go for a zen beach day.
  • Haulover Beach – If you forget your suit or simply need to get away from the conformity of clothing, Miami’s 99-acre nude beach delights. 

Grab Lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab

All Miami day trips deserve a visit to the city’s oldest restaurant, Joe’s Stone Crab. A Miami Beach staple since it opened in 1913, Joe’s usually has a wait, but especially during stone crab season (from Oct 15th–May 15th). Joe’s doesn’t take reservations, but the wait is worth it.

Or you could order off a very similar takeout menu next door at Joe’s Take Away before heading to South Pointe Park for a picnic overlooking where Biscayne Bay meets the ocean.

Get In Touch With Nature at Oleta River State Park

Need more nature than a beach towel can offer? Head to Oleta River State Park and paddle your way through the mangroves with a kayak, paddleboard or canoe rental. Guided tours are also available if Lewis & Clark’n it isn’t your thing.

Spend the Day Exploring the Everglades

Clear skies over the water at Everglades National Park in Miami, FLLooking for more of a swampy setting? Venture southwest of the city and you’ll find the largest national park in Florida in the Everglades. With 1.5 million acres of alligators, white-tailed deer, Florida panthers (the inspiration for Miami’s hockey team), and a variety of birdlife, you’re sure to get your nature fix. An adventure to the Everglades could involve taking the tram, biking through the 15-mile scenic Shark Valley or picking up the pace and speeding through the swamp on an airboat ride. Just get out there!

Retail Therapy

If shopping is your vice, you’re in the right place. Miami offers many malls with stores for every budget and shopper. Start the splurge at Bal Harbour Shops, Merrick Park, Aventura Mall, or Brickell City Centre. Budget shoppers will find themselves in heaven at the Florida City Outlets or Dolphin Mall where designer outlet stores are a dime a dozen.

Tour Little Havana

Good ole cuban sandwich in Little Havana, Miami, FL
You can’t spend a day in Miami without devouring some Cuban food. Miami is a melting pot of cultures, but Little Havana is a Cuban’s home away from home. Find old men playing dominoes in the park as they sip café Cubano and tell stories of life in Cuba or gaze at murals and cafes reminiscent of Havana.

Save room for ice cream at Azucar. My vote is for the Abuela Maria, made with cream cheese and guava. When you’ve wolfed it down in a dash of pure ecstasy, pause a few moments before heading to Ball & Chain to dance it all off. Live salsa and jazz start at noon!

Pamper Yourself With a Spa Day

Whether you’re here for work or play, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself. Some local favorites include Lapis at Fontainebleau, The Confidante, Mandarin Oriental, Carillon Miami, or a Miami classic — The Standard. If you’re visiting in July or August, get a spa treatment for as little as $109 as a part of Miami Spa Month.

Museum Hop

A look out from the Perez Art Museum Miami and Frost Science Museum
Two of Miami’s most well-known museums happen to be so close to each other that they share a parking garage. Downtown across from the Port of Miami on the water, you’ll find the Perez Art Museum Miami, aka the PAMM, featuring rotating exhibits and artwork from all over the world. Next door is the Frost Science Museum featuring five floors of interactive exhibits, sea creatures, and a three-story aquarium. If you get hungry, eat lunch on the waterfront at Verde, located within the PAMM. The zucchini blossom pizza won’t disappoint.

Spend the Day Food Hall Hopping

Miami has hopped onto the food hall trend in a big way. Eight food halls were announced in 2017, six of which are now open to the public.

    • St Roch Market – A New Orleans transplant located in the Design District features 12 stations with dishes ranging from all-vegan Chef Chloe to Peruvian sushi from Itamae and outstanding cold brew coffee from Sabal Coffee.
    • La Centrale – A massive three-story 40,000 square-foot Italian food hall divided into sections: Carne, Pizza e Pasta, Caffe, Pesce, Stagionale, and Gelateria. There’s also a cocktail bar, wine bar and a market where you can buy everything to cook for yourself.
    • 1-800-Lucky – An Asian-themed food hall complete with a karaoke room available for rentals. 1-800 Lucky has some of the city’s best ramen, dumplings, poke bowls, banh mi sandwiches, fried rice, and sushi.
    • Casa Tua Cucina – Stemming from the popular South Beach restaurant of the same name, guests can enjoy the Italian delicacies freshly made in a fast-casual setting. Not too casual though — this food hall is on the first floor of a Saks department store.
    • Jackson Hall – Jackson Hall strays from the typical carb-loading food-hall deliciousness, instead serving fresh fare inspired by The Wynwood Yard community garden through five healthy concepts, including one with elixirs to help cure ailments. They even have their own own hydroponic farm!
    • Grandview Public Market – Home to 15 chef-driven concepts, you’ll find tacos, poke, bao buns, fresh veggies, steaks, and stellar java. Home goods are available for purchase and classes are taught on anything from fermenting and pickling your vegetables to making your garden more productive.

Drink Locally Made Tropical Wine at Schnebly’s Winery 

Have a penchant for non-traditional wine? Head toward Miami’s farm region for a taste of Schnebly’s tropical wine. Schnebly only uses what the local fields yield, which means unique varietals like guava, mango. carambola, passion fruit and lychee. Onsite there’s a large farmhouse that’s been converted into a restaurant serving fresh local seafood. Guests are also welcome to bring their own picnics and set up a spot in the gardens or vast acreage of the property.

People Watch on Lincoln Road and Espanola Way

If you’re looking for casual and the beach isn’t your thing, both Lincoln Road and Espanola Way are both great pedestrian-only boulevards filled with cafes, shops, restaurants, and of course, people. Find your vantage point, inch up your shades and lose track of time as you take in the bustle.

Take a Dip at Venetian Pool

The Venetian in Coral Gables, Miami - one of Miami's most-visited attractions.Built in 1923 from an abandoned quarry pit, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables isn’t like other public pools. The only swimming pool included in the National Register of Historic Places used to be a hotspot for early-’20s celebrities, back when the pool was part of the Venetian Casino. A few renovations over the last century have kept the pool dazzling. Framed by two lookout towers and waterfalls, as well as a cave grotto nestled within — a stop at the Venetian complements any Miami daycay. 

What are some of your favorite things to do in Miami? Frequent the HotelsByDay blog for more city daycation guides and travel tips.

Photo Credits 

Featured image: Miami Blues” by Vladimir Kud is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Wynwood” by MCC_Indianapolis is licensed under CC By-NC 2.0

“Broken Shaker” courtesy of Alex Markow via Drink Miami

“Everglades” by Robert Engberg is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Little Havana” by Amber Bond

“Museum Hop” by Amber Bond

“Take a Dip at Venetian Pool” by Amber Bond

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Amber Love Bond

Amber is a Miami-based freelance food and travel writer. She is a co-owner of MIAbites, a popular food blog, and she also contributes to Eater Miami, HuffPost, Time Out and more. When she's not in a coffee shop writing, you can find her at the opening of every restaurant, sipping cocktails at Miami's coolest bars, or hanging out on the beach with her laptop in tow. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @amber__love.
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