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Free Things To Do in Miami
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Travelers go to Miami mainly for Miami Beach and they go to Miami Beach mainly for South Beach, the region's unrivaled crown jewel, which visitors say they can't get enough of. Here, the art deco history of the city meets the bright lights and vibrant nightlife of the younger generation.
There's something for everyone in Miami Beach – and a lot of it. White sand, an eclectic dining scene, prime shopping, luxurious spas and world-class nightlife are all staples in Miami Beach. Just make sure to bring plenty of loot – Miami Beach can be done on a budget, but you'll severely limit your options and it won't be nearly as fun.
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Located to the immediate west of downtown Miami, Little Havana is the symbolic and cultural capital for Cuban-Americans in Miami. The neighborhood brings in droves of visitors with its vibrant atmosphere and excellent food.
Calle Ocho (8th Street) is the center of activity here. Maximo Gomez Park, also known as Domino Park, is located at the corner of Calle Ocho and 15th Avenue and is a pleasant place to hang out and take in a game of dominoes or chess. Travelers recommend El Pub for its authentic Cuban food and cheap prices and also enjoyed the Versailles restaurant. For a departure from the neighborhood's signature flavors, consider Lung Yai Thai Tapas. Every March, the Calle Ocho Music Festival takes over Miami for a week, drawing thousands of attendees for a massive street festival celebrating Carnaval with tons of music, food and dancing.
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This open-air street art installation – one of the largest in the world – is one of the reasons a formerly run-down neighborhood found new life as the art hub of Miami.
Founded in 2009 as a way to jump-start revitalization in the neighborhood lying between downtown and the Design District, the Wynwood Walls acts as an outdoor art museum covering more than 80,000 square feet of abandoned warehouse walls. The walls garnered such a positive response from the community that a year later the lot adjacent became known as the Wynwood Doors, where metal roll-down gates transformed into even more canvas space. The walls and doors are saturated with bright, eclectic street art and whimsical graffiti. Since its start, more than 50 artists from 16 countries have brought the walls to life.
- #8View all Photos#8 in MiamiEntertainment and Nightlife, Museums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and Nightlife, Museums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Coalescing the stories of Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center serves as a stalwart for traditional Cuban culture. The museum houses pre-revolution Cuban art, from 1800 to the 1960s, as well as modern Cuban artists. As a performing arts center, the Cubaocho showcases Cuban music and dance. What's more, the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center doubles as a store, as many of the items you see in the museum are for sale.
Past travelers suggested stopping by the attraction for a drink (they offer mojitos to go) and maybe a cigar. In the evening, live music serenades visitors while they dance or take in the curated Cuban art, which recent visitors raved about. Many of the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center's recent travelers stopped by on a walking tour of Little Havana, but Cubaocho warrants a visit in and of itself.
- #12View all Photos#12 in MiamiFree, Cafes, Neighborhood/Area, ShoppingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Cafes, Neighborhood/Area, ShoppingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
From its position in the heart of downtown Miami, Brickell City Centre helps pump style through the trendy city's veins. The open complex spans three city blocks and four stories, housing roughly 100 different retail, restaurant and cinema options for visitors to pass the time. Despite being an open area, the Climate Ribbon installation that towers over the outdoor walkways works to lower the temperatures while maintaining Miami's glamorous style. Because of this, many reviewers said it's a nice place to go for a stroll.
The complex offers almost exclusively high-end stores, which means that window-shopping may be the only option for some travelers. Despite the price restrictions, you don't have to spend money to enjoy the Brickell City Centre. Many recent visitors recommend simply exploring the attractive space. The area's culinary options also receive praise from recent travelers, especially the Italian-inspired Casa Tua.
- #14View all PhotosfreeDolphin Mall#14 in MiamiFree, Cafes, ShoppingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Cafes, ShoppingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Dolphin Mall attracts shoppers from all around Miami with its range of retail outlets and restaurants. The mall's position near the Miami International Airport makes it an excellent option for travelers with delayed flights, as well as anyone who forgot their socks or sunglasses and wants to avoid downtown prices.
Recent shoppers say the store options are great and also exalt the food court at the Dolphin Mall, which they say sports a range of eateries sure to appeal to every appetite. The wide selection of eateries mimics the diversity of retail options, which include H&M, Bose and Marshalls. Travelers with kids appreciate the mall's family-friendly options like Dave & Buster's and a movie theater.
- #15View all PhotosfreeBayfront Park#15 in MiamiFree, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
In a city of skyscrapers, Bayfront Park provides a welcome green space in downtown Miami. What's more, the park boasts a waterfront location on Biscayne Bay. Over the past century, the city expanded Bayfront Park's offerings to meet the requests of Miamians. Nowadays, the park hosts many events, such as yoga, movie nights and salsa classes, all of which are free. Bayfront Park also hosts a handful of paid events, including a flying trapeze school and concerts.
Recent visitors were impressed by the park's amphitheater and pavilion, which are where the concerts and yoga take place, respectively. They also enjoyed Bayfront Park's panoramic views of the bay. Many suggested walking here before or after a visit to Bayside Marketplace. However, some visitors noted that vagabonds tend to populate the area, meaning it may be unsafe after dark.
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Situated between Bayfront Park, Miamarina and the PortMiami cruise ship terminal, the Bayside Marketplace is a hub for tourists who want to shop, dine and people-watch.
It's a one-stop shop to grab all sorts of Miami souvenirs, and with more than 150 shops and eateries, there's something for everyone. Popular shops and restaurants include Gap, Victoria's Secret, Five Guys, Starbucks and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. It's popular with passengers waiting to board their cruise ship or those returning from vacation and visitors who want to watch the yachts pull in and depart from the marina. The marketplace also features live music from local bands every afternoon and evening and is home to tour boat operators like the Thriller Miami speedboat adventures.
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The Miami Design District fuels the fashion-forward Florida city with various luxury brand stores, including Gucci, Flight Club and Prada. If you're not here to shop, you'll find an abundance of art and architecture. Recent visitors praised the expansive art galleries that populate the area, while public displays, which include murals and statues, provide mind-bending photo backdrops. Travelers also enjoyed window-shopping as they strolled by the high-end stores. Many compared the area to Rodeo Drive. If you'd like a little help navigating the area, book one of the city's top tours, many of which stop in the area.
What's more, a variety of upscale restaurants call the Miami Design District home, which makes the area an excellent option for an elegant meal. The district sits about 3 miles north of downtown Miami, while Miami Beach floats just across Biscayne Bay. The Biscayne route on the city's trolley system stops in the center of the Miami Design District, and bus routes Nos. 3, 9 and 93 also offer stops in or nearby the district. For more information, visit the district's website.
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