From South Beach to the Wynwood Walls, this is the ultimate Miami travel guide!
Looking for a quick getaway filled with beautiful tropical beaches, palm trees, and plenty of sunny days? Well, you came to the right place because this is the ultimate Miami travel guide! Miami has a hot, Latin vibe that attracts over 15 million visitors a year. Famous for its food, vibrant culture, and trendy parties, Miami offers endless opportunities for fun, entertainment, and dining in and around the city. I personally have traveled to Miami more times than I can count and it’s one of my favorite destinations in the US!
Keeping reading this Miami travel guide for tips on where to stay, where to eat & drink, and top things to do in Miami.
How to get to Miami
When booking a flight to Miami, your best choice is to either fly into Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Both airports offer a wide range of flight options in and out of South Florida.
1. Fort Lauderdale International Airport
Fort Lauderdale International Airport has a lot of airlines offering affordable tickets, so if you are traveling on a budget and looking for cheap flights, it’s the perfect airport for you to get into South Florida. However, its location is about 45 minutes north of Miami (depending on traffic), so you’ll end up paying more for ground transportation.
2. Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport is just 8 miles northwest of downtown Miami and is the main airport serving the Miami area. If you are traveling from an international destination, you should consider MIA, as it offers more flights for international travelers. While it’s quite closer than FLL and you’ll pay less for ground transportation, flight tickets can be more expensive as it is located in a bigger city.
Looking for flights to Miami? You can find the cheapest airfare here.
As for ground transportation to and from the airport, I highly recommend going with Uber instead of taxi cabs. Getting an Uber is your best choice as it is more convenient and inexpensive.
Where To Stay In Miami
While Miami offers several types of accommodation for all budgets all over the city, the most popular place to stay is in Miami Beach. And I am willing to bet that if you want to be close to the beach that’s where you’ll want to stay too. Here are two options for the perfect getaway in Miami.
1. Marriott Stanton South Beach
The Marriott Stanton South Beach is my go-to hotel while staying in Miami. I have probably stayed there 5 times which should tell you how much I love it. My favorite thing about the Marriott is that it’s a beachfront hotel with an amazing pool. You’ll find that a lot of hotels in Miami are on the older side with really small rooms. That’s definitely not the case here. The Marriott is modern with a resort-like feel and spacious rooms. It’s located on what I call the more quiet part of Ocean Drive, but still walking distance to plenty of restaurants and South Beach attractions.
2. Essex House
The Essex House is an Art Deco hotel located right in the heart of South Beach. I stayed there once during a birthday trip to Miami and had a wonderful experience. The best thing about this hotel is hands down the location, location, location. You’ll find countless restaurants, bars, and shops within 1-minute walking distance. This boutique hotel offers cozy (aka small) rooms with a small pool in their courtyard. But that’s okay because if you’re looking for a swim the beach is a block away.
You can find the best deals for these hotels and others in Miami using Priceline .
What To Do In Miami
Exploring the Magic City is such a treat but the many activities can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some of the must-visit, top things to do in Miami with my Miami Travel Guide.
Shopping on Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road is Miami’s most well-known shopping area. It’s a pedestrian-only avenue filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes that includes the iconic Miami Art Deco architecture. You can easily spend a few hours here shopping, eating or just people watching. This area has been a lifesaver for me on several occasions when I forgot to pack something or the temperature has been cooler than I anticipated and needed to pick up a sweater.
To get a taste of Miami’s art world, make sure you visit the Wynwood Walls, located just minutes from Downtown Miami. The collection of giant walls on six buildings serve as a blank canvas for famous artists from across the globe. It is a creative and unique area where you can enjoy a variety of amazing art, from graffiti quote and abstract paintings to life-sized murals and stunning sculptures. It is definitely an Instagram famous location.
Wynwood Walls offers daily official walking tours you can sign up for, to learn more about the ever-changing murals and the legendary artists featured on Wynwood Walls. If you happen to be visiting during the second Saturday of the month, you can experience the Wynwood Art Walk, a monthly event that offers amazing late-night street party, art festivals, and awesome food. If you’re looking for more of an off-the-beaten-path experience, book a walking or bike tour with Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide to explore the other murals and graffiti scene of Wynwood.
Ocean Drive and Beach
A Miami Beach vacation guide would not be complete without mentioning Ocean Drive. Ocean drive is one of the most famous boulevards in Miami. The oceanfront street is lined with Art Deco buildings, classic cars, beautiful hotels, busy restaurants, boutique beach shops, and glittering nightclubs. Just walking down the street offers an amazing experience, both day and night.
You can enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in the morning, do some people-watching while drinking an oversized margarita at a restaurant, or dance all night at one of the nightclubs. There’s something for everyone. I personally love to cross the street and head straight to the beach. There are several activities to indulge in like kayaking, surfing, beach volleyball, or jet skiing. Be sure to check out of all the colorful lifeguard house throughout the beach!
Rent A Bike And Explore The Boardwalk
The Miami Beach Boardwalk is a must-see for a truly perfect a getaway to Miami. The beautiful, scenic pathway stretches a couple of miles starting on 23rd street on the south side and goes up to 46th street. You can rent a bike to explore the boardwalk, and enjoy stunning views of several lavish hotels and condos on one side and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean on the other. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can take a break from your bike ride to rest or have lunch.
Where To Eat & Drink In Miami
There is no shortage of places to wine and dine in Miami. The hardest part is deciding where to go. The restaurants and bars outlined in this Miami travel guide are some of the top spots you should visit. And if you’re looking for even more options, the Wandering Redhead shares a super comprehensive list and more Miami travel tips.
The day I was exploring Wynwood Walls was such a hot day in Miami. I worked up an appetite and was dying to get out of the heat. Lucky for me I came across Wynwood Diner, a hip and swanky restaurant with a quirky diner menu that serves breakfast all day and long weekend brunch. They served me a great Eggs Benedict with the most delicious cocktails. The best part of this place is the garden outdoor patio. The ambiance is beautiful with lanterns and little-painted bird cages hanging from trees. Even on a stifling hot day, I was able to sit out there comfortably under the shady canopy and circular fans.
Rooftop Bar at 1 Hotel
The Rooftop Bar at 1 Hotel is situated 18 stories above Miami Beach on the roof terrace of the luxurious hotel, 1 Hotel South Beach. It is one of those places where you walk in and just feel happy. From the all-white furniture, palm trees, and amazing 30,000 square foot pool the ambiance of this place is just phenomenal. They even have frosè on tap. Fancy! If you go in the late afternoon you can enjoy a stunning sunset with amazing views of the ocean and the Miami skyline in every direction you look.
Sugar is located on the 40th-floor rooftop of the luxury downtown Miami hotel, EAST, Miami, is a sleek rooftop bar and garden with a wild décor and menu. It offers Asian-themed cocktails like the Lychee Blossom, which is a mixture of vodka, sake, and lychee, as well as a lineup of beertails. I just had to try their mojito because it is my ultimate favorite drink! You can enjoy panoramic 360-views of the city skyline and its surrounding waterways while sipping one of these cocktails or dining on tapas like lamb kebabs and curry Korean chicken wings. It’s definitely a laid-back but fun atmosphere.
The Broken Shaker
The Broken Shaker which was Miami’s first pop-up cocktail lounge, before it came to stay at the Freehand Hotel, is an award-winning American hotel bar. The Daily Meal ranked it as the No. 1 bar in America in its list of The Top 150 Bars in America 2018 .
It has a romantic vibe and homey atmosphere, where you can enjoy yummy ginger beers and handcrafted cocktails made from a mixture of syrups, elixirs, spices, garden herbs and other exotic ingredients. If you’re looking for the best hand-crafted cocktails in Miami, this is the spot. Comfy lounge chairs and a lush outside patio make this the perfect bar for kicking back and having a drink (and a bite to eat too).
I heard so much about Bodega before my trip to Miami. People told me it was one of the top things to do in Miami. There was definitely a lot of hype about it. From the outside Bodega looks like a small, neighborhood taco spot. Nothing too special at first glance.
But step inside and you’ll find a restaurant serving authentic tacos, other Mexican street food and frozen margaritas-all coming from a taco truck cemented to the floor. It’s the perfect setting is for a casual lunch or drinks after an evening stroll. Now you must be wondering what all the hype is all about. Well, walk to the back because you’ll never guess lies behind the blue door. Okay I’ll tell you…one of the best party spots in Miami! Yes, Bodega is a speakeasy. A pretty damn fun one too!
Suggested Reading: For more awesome things to do in Florida, be sure to check out Best Cities for Florida Road Trip
Disclaimer: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting This Wanderlust Heart!
If you loved this guide, pin it for later!
Have you ever visited Miami before? Is it somewhere you’d love to visit? I’d love to hear if you found this Miami travel guide blog helpful!