Discovering Miami in one day is impossible, but here you’ll find the best Miami tips to experience the entire Miami and South beach vibe in one day.
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More is more
When I think of Miami, the first thing that comes to mind is ocean, beaches and giant cocktails. Miami beach and South beach are very popular beach holiday destinations in the United States. But what makes them so special? Well, there’s a unique culture that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. I call it the culture of more is more. The more show, the better!
Although I am a bigger fan of less is more, it’s really worth to experience this unique vibe.
Miami has a lot more to offer besides the beaches and high show level. In the last couple of years many trendy and hip areas have emerged in the city. In those new neighbourhoods art and multiculturalism play a major role. So fine dining, exclusive shopping, visiting museums are all activities that you can certainly integrate into your Miami itinerary.
If you are looking for a more peaceful destination in Florida to have a beach vacation, then I would definitely suggest the stunning beaches of Sanibel Island.
Read more about Sanibel Island
How to spend one perfect day in Miami?
Miami was starting point of our USA Deep South road trip. Since I visited Miami before, I chose not to stay at this destination for too long. However, I didn’t want to deprive Jan of his first Miami experience, so we stayed here for 2 nights and 1 full day. Because of that short period of time, we visited some well-known sights that can’t be missing from your Miami itinerary.
Read more about our USA Deep South road trip itinerary
Best things to do in Miami
We started our day downtown Miami more precisely in the Wynwood area. This neighborhood, which we both visited for the first time, is mainly known for its colorful streets full of beautiful street art. I felt just like in an open air museum and didn’t know where to look first. The most famous attraction within Wynwood are the well known Wynwood walls. But you can also find stunning murals all over the neighbourhood. Don’t spend too much time in Wynwood walls so you have enough time to explore the surroundings.
Wynwood as we know it, has only been around since 2009. It is a bustling, creative neighborhood full of unique art galleries, local shops and the trendiest bars and eateries.
Strolling through Wynwood, we discovered Vivelo by accident, a brand new bicycle shop. My attention was immediately drawn to the beautiful pastel-colored bicycle in front of the door. I quickly slipped into the shop, so Jan couldn’t help but follow me.
These are really the bikes to turn heads on Ocean Drive. We were introduced to the manager and he saw how much I loved his bicycle collection. Unfortunately I couldn’t take one home. But as a the first official visitor I can give you a discount code of no less than 100 USD.
2. 11th street diner
On our way to South beach we came across the 11th street diner at the intersection of Washington Avenue and 11st, in the middle of the Art Deco district. This typical fifties diner immediately caught my eye. I was super curious about the interior and really wanted to take a look inside.
We decided to have lunch here. And that was an excellent idea. Just like the exterior, the interior was completely decorated with retro elements. The lunch was excellent as well. I would definitely recommended this diner if you want to taste the local cuisine at a democratic price in a typical American setting.
3. South Beach
After a delicious lunch, we enjoyed an afternoon of beach fun on South Beach. The southernmost beach in Miami along the Atlantic Ocean.
The long, white strip of sandy beach is right on Ocean drive and is one of the best known tourist attractions in Miami. You can probably already guess that is was super busy when we arrived. We were lucky to find a spot next to one of the famous art deco rescuer towers.
Lying on the beach for a long time isn’t for me. I get bored very easily. But there is always something going on on South Beach. If you are not bombarded with aerial advertising you can also do some people watching.
The perfect spot to do people watching without shame is the cycling and pedestrian zone between the beach and Ocean Drive. In SOBE (south beach) it’s all about seeing and being seen. Sporty men like to show off their bare, sunburnt, muscular torsos. And the women are not embarrassed to show some skin and curves as well. What struck me most was that it is not about perfection, but about self-confidence. The more self-confident you are while strolling Ocean Drive, the more succes you’ll have. If you don’t like crowed beaches, don’t worry because you can find some quiet beaches in Miami as well.
The best time to enjoy this spot in all peace and quiet is during a South beach sunrise walk.
4. Art Deco District
The Art Deco district, of which Ocean Drive is a part, is one of the most photographed places in the world. And I completely understand why. Here you can find the largest concentration of buildings from this architectural movement.
From the bicycle and pedestrian zone on Ocean drive we had the best view of the beautiful pastel-colored buildings. Unfortunately, Ocean Drive is very touristy and not car-free, so taking empty photos at that time of the day was impossible. But on the other hand, the crowds do contribute to the unique SOBE vibe.
On Ocean Drive you can also visit the home of deceased fashion designer Gianni Versace. If you’ve watched the assassination of Gianni Versace series on Netflix, you probably know that this talented fashion legend has been shot in front of his house. It goes without saying that this spot is a well-known tourist attraction.
5. Giant cocktails during sunset
During our walk along Ocean Drive and the beautiful Art Deco buildings, we decided to have an aperitif in one of the many bars. Everywhere you see people slurping a giant cocktail and of course we wanted to try that. But when I saw the price, I was rather put off.
When our waitress happily announced that it was happy hour and that we therefore received 2 large cocktails for the price of 1, I accepted the offer with great pleasure. But apparently all bars have happy hour all the time. So you almost always get 2 cocktails for the price of 1. We also ordered a snack and there we were on Ocean Drive with a giant Mojito and some delicious calamari. We weren’t going anywhere soon.
In the meantime, the evening fell and hip beachwear made way for provocative evening wear. We mainly participated in seeing instead of being seen. And I have to say, we loved it. The most expensive and unique cars drove slowly on to Ocean Drive. The passengers watched if the bystanders had seen them. If not, they quickly yelled, blowed the horn or blasted loud music. Everything to drawn attention to their stunning cars. While on the sidewalk a real fashion show took place with the most crazy outfits first.
6. Ocean drive at night
When it was dark, I enjoyed Ocean drive even more. Whether this feeling was caused by the giant mojito or not, I don’t know. But the colorful neon lighting of the many art deco hotels and the lively exotic atmosphere completely enchanted me. I suddenly felt like diving into Miami’s nightlife and dance until the early hours. Unfortunately or perhaps a good thing, my rational thinking won over my “desire” and we wisely decided to go to the hotel so that we could leave for our road trip the next morning without a hangover.
Where to stay in Miami?
We stayed in the Hyde Midtown Miami hotel for 2 nights. This was not a sponsored stay. Yes, we also still pay for our stays like every other tourist. But I would like to give this tip, because in Miami certainly the areas around South Beach and Miami Beach, the accommodations are very pricey. If you are looking for something more within the city, you can really find gems for a good price. Just like this hotel with beautiful suites and a rooftop swimming pool. If you would like to stay in a unique accommodation that radiates the Miami vibe, then I would definitely recommend staying in one of the best Art Deco hotels in Miami Beach.
Other fun activities you could add to your Miami itinerary
Of course there are many other activities to add to your Miami itinerary. These are still on our bucket list for our next visit to Miami
- Design District
- Museum of Contemporary art
- Bass Museum of Art
- Perez Art Museum
- Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
- spend a day in Little Havana
- Driving from Miami to Key West
- Airboat tour in the Everglades
Read more about our experiences with Everglades airboat tours
If you’d like to explore Miami in an original and unique way, then you should definitely check out the offers of Getyourguide below.
Despite the little time we spent in Miami, we enjoyed this city immensely and we definitely want to recommend this destination.
What activities in this Miami itinerary would you wanna do? Let me know in the comments below.
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