When most people think of the things you must do in Miami, very specific images and sounds tend to come to mind: gorgeous, tropical beaches; toned, sun-kissed bodies; alluring Latin rhythms; and lively, upscale parties that attract the likes of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull. It’s no wonder Miami is often referred to as Magic City.
But Miami is much more than a tropical party town. Many of the best things to do there will find you eschewing the glitz and glamour, renting a car, and discovering the true heart and soul of this multi-faceted metropolis. These are the 5 things you must do in Miami.
Joe’s Stone Crab
The city of Miami is an oceanside paradise and as such, has access to some of the freshest and tastiest seafood in the country. One of the best places in the city to try some is Joe’s Stone Crab. This popular eatery, which dates back to 1913, has evolved into a casual but classy spot on South Beach.
Joe’s Stone Crab’s popularity stems from its magnificent menu, which includes items like oysters, conch fritters, king crab legs, ginger salmon, stone crab claws, and panko-crusted grouper. There’s no way you can go wrong here. Just bring your appetite and you’re all set!
If you drive your car rental in Miami over to Watson Island between downtown Miami and South Beach, you’ll find Jungle Island. Jungle Island is an eco-adventure park that is the perfect place for a family outing. The park takes advantage of Miami’s tropical climate and consists of a jungle that is home to hundreds of unique animals from all over the world.
Children and adults alike will delight in seeing the park’s twin orangutans, lemurs, sloths, and over 300 birds. Jungle Island also offers private tours and fun activities like rock climbing, zip lining, and a SuperFlight free flight experience. Coming to Jungle Island is one of many things you must do in Miami!
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
As you’re riding around in your rental car in Miami and exploring the city’s many exciting wonders, you’d be remiss if you didn’t stop by the gorgeous Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This unique villa is located on Biscayne Bay in the Coconut Grove neighborhood. The estate is known for its Mediterranean Revival architecture with Baroque elements.
Be sure to check out the estate’s native woodland landscape and their magnificent Italian Renaissance gardens. Don’t forget to explore the complex’s history in its museum. The museum boasts over seventy rooms that contain European decorative art and furnishings from the 15th to 19th centuries. The estate is also a fixture in popular culture and has been featured in films such as Iron Man 3, Bad Boys II, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Miami boasts an electric and cosmopolitan culture, and the heart of its Cuban community is the Little Havana neighborhood. Located just west of downtown, the area is noted for its Latin American art galleries and clubs that blare Latin beats and rhythms.
Take a walk through Miami’s cultural history on Little Havana’s famed Calle Ocho. While you’re there, immerse yourself in the culture of the Cuban immigrants who settled the street decades ago. Grab some croquetas and ropa vieja at Versailles Restaurant and catch a movie at the historic Tower Theater. You’ll leave knowing exactly why visiting Little Havana is one of the top things you must do in Miami.
Animal lovers who visit south Florida should carve out some time to visit Zoo Miami. It is the only sub-tropical zoo in the continental U.S. and is also the oldest and largest in Florida. The climate in south Florida allows the zoo to house animals from tropical locations like Asia, Australia, and Africa.
The zoo prides itself on grouping their animals with other animals they live harmoniously with. Three thousand animals from 500 different species can be found here, including 40 endangered species. They include colorful varieties of tropical frog, tigers, flamingoes, eagles, African and Asian elephants, African lions, various primates, rhinos, crocodiles, snakes, and tortoises. Visiting the zoo is an adventure for the whole family and one of the best things to do in Miami.
The time you spend in Miami is time you will never forget. Sunbathe on the beaches and party at some trendy nightclubs. Also make sure to take a few days, rent a vehicle in Miami, and experience the real Magic City for yourself. You’ll be so glad you did.