Miami Travel Guide

USA  #5 in Best Places to Visit in January
Credit

Courtesy of Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61

Miami Area Map

Neighborhoods

Experts say Miami's neighborhoods are one of the reasons travelers flock to the city every year. Each part of the city has its own unique charisma. Downtown is located on the eastern edge of the city along the Biscayne Bay and serves as the main hub of the city. For a crash course in Miami's diverse neighborhoods, sign up for a guided tour.

Primarily a business and finance district, downtown Miami sparkles with glass skyscrapers that mirror the water of the neighboring Biscayne Bay. Writers don't describe this as the most picturesque part of Miami, but the area contains several attractions of interest, including AmericanAirlines Arena, HistoryMiami and the recently established Maurice A. Ferré Park, which is home to Perez Art Museum and the home of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. There are also spots along the Biscayne where you can charter a boat and jet around the bay.

Reviewers say Miami's Design District, located a bit north of downtown, is the equivalent to New York City's SoHo. The eclectic mix of galleries, boutiques, lounges, restaurants and clubs fill the neighborhood, making it a stronghold for artists, architects and interior designers. South of the Design District, Wynwood is the neighborhood experiencing the biggest renaissance in the city. Now you can find famous street art, like the Wynwood Walls, and trendy eateries popping up on every corner. 

Writers say the neighborhood known as Little Havana is like a replica of Cuba's capital city and is filled with a huge contingent of Cuban immigrants. Sitting west of downtown Miami, the area is filled with Spanish conversation (traffic signs are in both English and Spanish), ethnic restaurants and shops selling Cuban wares, cigars included.

For a more isolated and serene Miami experience, take a trip to residential Key Biscayne, a quiet island to the southeast of downtown Miami. Visitors can take the Rickenbacker Causeway to reach Key Biscayne. With ritzy resorts, pretty public beaches and the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, experts especially recommend Key Biscayne to families. You can also find spots for water sports like windsurfing and Jet Skiing along the island's shores.

Visitors say the Coral Gables neighborhood, which is located at the southwestern edge of the city, has a distinctly European feel, with Mediterranean-style architecture, fountains and plazas. The high-end shopping along the Miracle Mile, upscale restaurants, shops and hotel accommodations also give Coral Gables a very posh feel.

Located along the coast to the south of downtown Miami, Coconut Grove used to be a bohemian neighborhood, filled with the city's creative set. In more recent years, gentrification attempts have brought in more chain restaurants and stores – many of which can be found along CocoWalk. Be sure to check out some of the arts theaters that are also located here, including the Momentum Dance Company and the Miami Conservatory of Music. Thanks to its location near the University of Miami, this is also a big area for nightlife.

Miami is a big city, so it's best to keep safety in mind at all times, even when you're in your hotel. Always carry a map (or have one downloaded on your phone) and stay away from unfamiliar areas at night. As in any large city, keep an eye on your personal items at all times, especially if you're out on the town. Do not carry wallets in back pockets and keep a firm grasp on any purses or bags you may have with you. Like in most major cities, Miami does feature a few transients who generally panhandle in the more touristy parts of town. Some experts recommend avoiding the downtown area at night. While it's a bustling part of town during the day, it empties out after hours and can get somewhat seedy.

Miami weather can also be cause for concern. Keep an eye on the forecast for hurricane or tropical storm warnings. If you do happen to experience a hurricane, stay indoors and listen to the radio or television for up-to-date emergency information. After the storm has passed, avoid downed power lines and flooded streets. Experts also advise caution when walking around, since debris such as broken glass can be hard to spot.

Explore More of Miami

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

Holly JohnsonJanuary 16, 2020

50 Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

From relaxing weekend getaways to epic adventures, these honeymoon trips will help couples create memories to last a lifetime.

Kyle McCarthyJanuary 8, 2020

The Cheapest Days to Fly: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Times to Travel

Use these tips and tricks to get the best deal on your next flight.

Lyn MettlerDecember 23, 2019

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019