Miami, the Magic City of Florida. It’s a city that is absolutely worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. Its reputation precedes itself. You’ve probably heard of the beaches and the nightlife, but there’s a lot more going on in Magic City that’s less discussed in travel guides.
After all, do you really want to do what everyone else is already doing? That’s probably a dumb question considering Miami’s world-famous South Beach, but there’s plenty more to see and do here when you visit.
Here’s a list of other great Miami attractions for families, traveling friends, couples, and solo adventurers.
Jungle Island is indisputably one of Miami’s best-kept secrets for the outdoorsy. The island, which is located on Winston Island off of South Beach, is a bird sanctuary, a wildlife habitat for exotic animals, and a gorgeous botanical garden, all in one location. You can feed the animals and even take a skydiving simulation.
There’s a lot of great art in Miami, and Coral Castle may just be the most captivating work. An outdoor sculpture created by the genius artist Edward Leedskalnin, Coral Castle was erected between 1923 and 1951. Leedskalnin apparently did all the work himself in this 28-year span.
He wouldn’t let anyone see what he was doing or how he was accomplishing it, but when the sculpture was complete, it was an instant masterpiece and must-see attraction. The Castle is made up of separate pieces of coral, including a gate, chairs, benches, and tables, as well as other unique sculptures and figures on the grounds.
Little Havana and Calle Ocho
Miami has a long history of Cuban and Hispanic confluence, and there’s no better way to experience that culture than in Little Havana.
In Little Havana, you’ll find street artists working to recapture Cuban history, hear Latin music floating through the air, and smell the best Cuban cuisine wafting from restaurants out into the street. Calle Ocho is considered the main hub of all this excitement, but Little Havana has also spread to the surrounding areas, giving you no limit to what Cuban-inspired culture you might find within these streets.
American Airlines Arena
This sleek sports and entertainment venue hosts up to 20,000 spectators for a variety of events. Located near Miami’s Overtown neighborhood overlooking Biscayne Bay, the arena also boasts the Waterfront Theater, Florida’s largest theater devoted to musicals and concert performances.
Most notably, American Airlines Arena is the home of the Miami Heat basketball team, If you’re a sports fan, it’s well worth your time to attend a game. The Heat is routinely one of the NBA’s most successful teams. They consistently draw top odds in the Southeast Division and have claimed the division championship in two of the last three seasons.
Everglades National Park
For the really adventurous who want a more immersive wildlife experience than Jungle Island, the Everglades National Park is a can’t miss destination. The swamplands that make up the park stretch across 1.5 million acres, carving a breathtaking natural habitat for birds, alligators, snakes, and crocodiles.
The park features walking paths and boardwalks for safe wildlife viewing, but if you really want to get into the action you have to take an airboat tour. This experience is unlike any other you’ll find in the Southeastern US and it’s the best way to see alligators up close.
Miami is home to several world-class museums, each offering unique experiences and exhibits.
Families will enjoy the Miami Children’s Museum, a facility boasting 14 themed galleries that help you learn about culture, art, and community. For those interested in art, history, and the culture of Miami, there’s the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Vizcaya was the winter getaway mansion for Chicago industrialist James Deering. The architecture and beauty of the home make it a perfect backdrop for weddings and parties, but can also be enjoyed on a midday stroll through the gardens.
Keeping it in the Deering family is James’s brother Charles, namesake former owner of Deering Estate at Cutler. The estate features exhibits of Charles Cutler’s personal art collection and is home to the Artist Village.