Just the name of the city evokes many images and sounds: the rumba playing in
the background, the smell of sweet fried plantains or braised pork, or the
strong kick of its coffee. Then again, it's hard to talk about Miami, Fla.,
without mentioning South Beach – and not just for the golden beaches or the
turquoise waters. Miami is, after all, a place to see and to be seen.
Florida may be known for its spectacular tourist destinations, but Miami in
particular stands out. It's diverse culture, natural beauty, near-perfect
weather and its entertainment and nightlife options make Miami a city to put on
your bucket list – if you haven't visited there already. The best part? No
matter how early you get up or how late you stay awake, there is always
something to do. And that shows in the number of visitors who visited there in
2012. Miami-Dade County had close to 14 million overnight visitors that year,
according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. So, pour yourself
a mojito, sit back, and check out this list of 15 fun things to do the next time
you're in Miami.
15) Arcade Odyssey
Gamers are everywhere these days, and it is getting far easier to get out of
the house and enjoy yourself if you are one. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer
places to go in order to enjoy games, and that makes it hard to really see the
appeal. Back before home consoles like the Nintendo and Atari were common
household items, players had to go to arcades. You would spend five or ten
dollars in tokens and off you'd go to play, trying to get a spot on your
favorite machine to beat the high score.
Luckily, while some arcades are in the decline, there is a wonderful place to
visit in Miami that will fill all those gaming needs. Arcade Odyssey is located
on 12045 SW 117 Avenue, in a friendly neighborhood. It offers plenty of party
events, or if you're just there for a day or two, you can take a crack at the
many pinball games, some of the classics like Ms. Pacman or air hockey, or even
a few imported games that can usually only be found in Japan. Whether you desire
casual gaming or wish to arrange a tournament, this is the place for you.
The owner, a Mr. R M is especially helpful and friendly. A man just as
passionate about gaming as much as any of his players, he is happy to work with
the customers for any of their needs and to organize exact the experience that
will make them happy. Easily approachable and on first name basis with several
regular customers, he will do his best to make sure everyone leaves with a good
impression of this little gaming community.
While not directly in Miami, the Coral Castle is located in Homestead, only
about a 20 minute drive from the city. It is well worth a short detour too, as
it is a marvel of beauty and ingenious engineering. The location is comprised of
more than 1,100 tons of coral rock and it was all carved by just one man: Ed Leedskalnin. This amazing feat took three decades to complete. He refused to let
anyone watch him work while he created the caste and did not allow any help,
either. Some even seem to believe that because of this, the castle could have
been constructed by the use of paranormal powers. This rumor only enhances the
mood of the location, and based on the beauty of it, the tale is not that hard
28655 South Dixie Highway in Homestead is where this magical sight can be
found, and the prices are cheap. The entry is free for children six years old
and younger, $5 for children between 7 and 12, and $9.95 for anyone 13 or older.
13) Zoo Miami
Family groups and animal lovers need places to visit that will be warm and
inviting to them. Zoo Miami is a great location for such people. It can be found
at 1 Zoo Boulevard 12400 SW 152 Street and has several discounts for seniors,
military personnel, and groups.
The whole zoo feels like a safari in the wild since the animals are not kept
in cages, but rather roam freely in environments where they have plenty of
space. The climate and weather of Miami allows animals from Africa, Australia,
and Asia to all reside in the same location. The animals are kept to
environments that are as similar to their native lands as possible, including
the plants and soil. Some animals that could even live together harmoniously are
given the same space to interact in, grouped together by their geographical
In order to accommodate all the space the different animals need, the zoo is
720 acres. It requires a lot of walking so it's good for exercise. However, if
you want to have a more convenient way of travel, there are carts and bicycles
available to rent for an additional charge. They might be hard to get a hold of
on busy days though, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes, just in case.
12) Miami Museum of Science
A place of entertainment for offers children and adults alike, the Miami
Museum of Science is full of both fun and an educational experience. It's a
great place to visit for a vacation and easily makes this list as a must see.
Science comprises of many different fields of study and this museum strives to
have as many of exhibits for those fields as possible. It has a whole
planetarium with several shows every day featuring surround sound and lasers as
it explains the universe and everything it comprises of. As a special treat, the
first Friday of every month has a show completely free of cost.
There are also exhibits for music, reclamation of the desert, Newton's
theories, wildlife, and fossils. It is also open every day of the year, for the
exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tickets are only $15 for adults or $11
for students, children 4-12, and senior citizens. Children that are three or
younger are admitted for free. Miami Museum of Science is at the easy to find
location of 3280 South Miami Avenue.
Exhibit About Coral Reefs:
11) Jungle Island
Love animals and seeing shows about them? Well then Jungle Island at 1111
Parrot Jungle Trl is one of the places to visit that should be put on the list
for you. Open every day of the year from 10AM to 5PM, you can go and visit any
time that you could possibly wish to. There is a wide variety of animals at the
zoo, including different types of birds, monkeys, reptiles and large cats. There
are even ligers there, a cross between a tiger and lion. For that alone, it
should be worth going.
The prices are a little steep however, ranging from $40 to $30 for adults and
children respectively. Active military duty members are admitted completely free
though, and their family members also receive a 15 percent discount as well.
This is important to note if you are vacationing with anyone in the military.
Make sure he or she brings their ID, and you'll get in much cheaper. Tickets are
also given discounts if bought online instead of at the door. The discounts are
all at varying prices, though the average is about 10 percent off for most of
Also on the list for animal lovers is the Seaquarium at 4400 Rickenbacker
Cswy. The location offers visitors an educational experience that is far from
boring. The exhibits that are featured there have several animals that include
sea turtles, seals, star fish, seahorses as well as sea lions, and a manatee.
They also have shows with dolphins and killer whales, though the schedules
change from day to day so it can be a slight bit of a hassle if you do not go
Price of admission is about in the middle ground, only $30 per adult and $23
for children 3-12. If you are visiting from another part of Florida though, you
may wish to consider the annual pass that is only $10 more and will let you in
all year long. No other discounts are available at the door though, but if you
are a Florida resident, it's not a bad price for multiple visits. There are
discounts online, but they seem to be date related. Some autumn months have a 30
percent discount, while some weekends have up to 50 percent off. Sadly, there is
no calendar that lets you know when the discounts are. Instead they come in as
advertisements over the website, so planning can be a bit tricky if you don't
know what to look for.
The everglades is one of the more peculiar National Parks in the United
States, but it is definitely still a must see for places to visit. It has about
1.5 million acres of land that is mostly comprised of swamps, sub-tropical
jungles, wet grasslands, rivers, and saw-grass prairies. Since the area is so
large, many different animals can be found there. The common ones are crocodiles
and alligators, as well as other predators like panthers or different kinds of
snakes. It is also home to much more docile animals like different species of
birds, reptiles, and some small mammals.
Great Egret in a Cypress Grove:
The park is wild and free, and there is practically no cost to explore the
lands. Weekly permits to access the area are only $10 for an entire vehicle of
people, and a yearly pass is only double that at $20. Visitors can canoe along
the waters and explore via man-made pathways for walking or cycling. Click on
the map below to enlarge:
There are many entrances to get into the Everglades National Park, but the
main one is in Homestead at 40001 State Rd. This is a very short distance from
Miami. There are a few other entrances sprinkled about that are a little farther
away or closer.
8) Carnaval Miami
If you going to be looking for places to visit in Florida around spring time
in early March, than Carnaval Miami is something you might definitely want to
hit up. The non-profit organization was originally founded in 1975 a group of
teenagers that were all friends in high school, and it lasts even to today. Its
goal is to help children in the surrounding area with several different needs,
but especially in the educational department.
To do so, it sets up a hot street
party for people to enjoy, along with concerts and festivals. If you aren't
going in the spring for the main event however, there are other times of the
year as well. Halloween also has its own block party, with events like costume
contests and dances.
Carnival Miami 5K and 8K Run:
Carnaval Miami is a great place to go for fun where you know you can be safe
while you are having fun, and more than that, know that you are helping children
have better prospects in their lives. In fact, the more you party; theoretically
the better things could go for them in the charities. So what are you waiting
for? Go out and party for the kids and for yourself too.
2014 Poster for Carnival Miami:
7) Fruit & Spice Park
24801 SW 187th Avenue is where you can find the Fruit & Spice Park. Like its
name implies, it is a small park that is 30 acres in size. Within the area are
various gardens filled with different kinds of delicious fruits, veggies, nuts
and other healthy but yummy treats. It is also a location with a bit of history
to it, with different stores and buildings that were built in the 1950's and are
still decorated the way they were in the beginning. An old school building
stands in the park, along with different gifts shops and stores to buy treats
for you or loved ones.
The prices for tickets are very cheap at only $5 per person, while anyone six
years old or younger will get in for free. Along with the cheap admission, free
tours are given to guests three times a day at 11AM, 1:30PM, and 3PM.
Along with tours and treats, there are also two festivals that occur at the
location. These are the Redland Natural Arts Festival in January and the Asian
Arts Festival in March.
Inside the Fruit and Spice Park's Boutique:
6) The Forge
The Forge is a restaurant and wine cellar that is located at 432 Forty-First
Street Miami Beach. It also serves as a night club with a colorful history
behind it. Opened almost one hundred years ago in the 1920's, there is a long
history of both socially elite celebrities and powerful members of organized
crime patronizing this restaurant. An alleged shooting happened at the location
in 1977. Richard Schwartz was accused of shooting the man he was drinking with,
Craig Teriaca. The shooting was reported to have happened at the bar, over a
simple $10 bill. Ironically enough, the shooter was killed only a few months
later, though not at the Forge.
It's a bit of a pricey place to go however, which is to be expected, so only
go if you're willing to spend a decent amount of money. It is no doubt best if
everyone is paying for themselves, or if one single person is treating, make it
small and private affair.
There is a legend that Al Capone is living in the wine cellar, but as there
are tours down there, it’s a doubtful rumor. Still, it's a fun one to talk
5) Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
If you want a place that feels like it is right out of a fairy tale novel,
you can find the Vizcaya Museum at 3251 S Miami Avenue. It's an easy to find
location, since the number one public transportation of Miami, the Metrorail,
stops very close by to it. Construction started in 1914 and was finished two
years later. The building has long stood the test of time with elegance and
beauty, and is still mainly furnished the same was it was at the beginning of
the last century, with only a few additions put in, like a telephone. Overall
though, it still is home to many arts and antiques that date back as far as the
4) Marlins Park
If sports fans are looking for a place to visit, then Marlins Park at 501
Marlins Way NW 16th Avenue is certainly worth a stop by. This is the current
home of the Major League Baseball team, the Miami Marlins. This open ceiling
stadium with a retractable roof was first opened in 2012, and has a seating
capacity of exactly 37,442 people. It's the third-smallest official stadium,
though it is considered a large improvement over the last stadium, which started
as an area for football and had to double up for baseball. The new stadium does
double duty as well though, offering the occasional soccer games for the fans
during the winter.
The stadium and its staff are very friendly to guests, offering parties for
groups and letting special messages be displayed during games at certain times.
The website they have is also quite full of information that includes game
prices and seating arrangements. There are even special considerations for the
vision and hearing impaired, with assisted listening devices and Braille signs
that will help them enjoy the games too.
3) Downtown Miami
For the partying type, downtown Miami is the place to go. With restaurants,
stores, and clubs along the many roads and strips, it's impossible not to find
something fun to do. There are various different prices at the many locations,
so it's very easy to find something exactly within your price range with a
little scoping out. Even walking up and down the streets can be fun, with many
events spilling out onto the sidewalks at night and some even ending up as
impromptu street parties.
One of the best clubs in the Miami area is Club Space, which is open until
11AM for the truly hard core clubbers who want to enjoy as much of the night as
they are able to. Other smaller clubs dot along the area, several of them with
their own themes and events in order to try to stand out and grab your
attention. It's a case where their competition works for you, because you have
your pick of where you want to go and many offering unique experiences. For a
wild night out with friends, this is easily a place that is a definite must for
places to visit.
2) Gusman Center for the Performing Arts
174 E Flagler St is where you can find the Gusman Center for the Performing
Arts. Built near the middle of the 1920's, it started as a silent film theater
but has since grown to be so much more. Featured events here include movies,
live plays, and musical concerts. The lobby is also available to rent for
ceremonies such as graduations, or even sometimes parties.
Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center:
Described as a hidden
gem in the city of Miami, it's well worth checking out for a great night of
entertainment and fun.
1) South Beach
South Beach has probably the most to do in all of Miami, which is why it's at
the number one spot for places to visit. Vibrant, colorful and crowded with all
sorts of things to do, it is easily the capital of the city. Like any beach,
surfing is very popular there along with beach shops, swimming and volleyball.
Classes are offered for many water sports, and are taught right on the beach, so
if you are planning a long time stay, it's certainly something to look into.
South Beach During Spring Break:
Like downtown Miami, there are several clubs and places to eat, along with
parties to enjoy. A leisurely stroll on the beach with a significant other is
perfect because the beach itself stretches on for miles. Several mall-like
shopping districts are around the area and give you a perfect chance for
shopping. You can pick up souvenirs or gifts for friends, letting you remember
your trip to the beach for the years to come.
Ocean Avenue, South Beach, Miami:
There is also an interesting museum for adults-only at South Beach, the World
Erotic Art Museum, which has a good deal of artwork on, well, you can guess.
It's supposed to be very tasteful.
Florida has a lot to offer anyone who wants to come and see the state, but
Miami is certainly one of the cities that will give tourists the most bang for
their buck. It has several different locations that offer various different
attractions for several vacationers. No matter who goes and what they are after,
they can easily have fun within their vacation time and budget. From sand to
museums, clubs or family fun, history or more recently built attractions; it is
certainly the place to be.
With outstanding weather all year long and the welcoming nature of the city,
anyone can come and enjoy themselves and leave with fond memories of the trip
and stay there. With so much to offer, it almost seems a shame not to go and
stay for a while in order to experience all that you can. So pack your bags and
make sure you're dressed for the warm weather. Prepare to work up a sweat from
all the exciting fun you can have on your stay in Miami, and when you go, make
sure that you keep this list in mind for a guide of the places that are just
must hits for anyone and everyone.