7 Fun Things to Do in Miami Before or After a Cruise
If your cruise sets sail from PortMiami, arrive a few days early or stay a few days later and enjoy these 7 fun things to do in the Magic City.
1. South Beach (“American Riviera”)
This is Miami’s “hot spot” where the rich and famous, artists and eccentrics and multitudes of tourists cavort. Known around the world as the “American Riviera”, this area is also called “SoBe” by the locals. Here you can stroll on the boardwalk, sunbathe on the beach, taste the flavors of the Caribbean, marvel at the architecture of the Art Deco period and / or shop, shop and shop more.
2. Coconut grove
For a more relaxed atmosphere, spend some time in Coconut Grove. This area is the oldest community in Miami and has retained its bohemian charm that many of us know from the movies. It’s a pedestrian-friendly location with parks, cafes, galleries, and boutiques.
3. The Everglades
No trip to Miami would be complete without visiting Everglades National Park. This wetland comprises 1.5 million acres of mangroves, sawgrass marshland, pine forests, and wildlife. I recommend an airboat tour as the most immersive way to experience this ecosystem. You’ll see alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and possibly a manatee and Florida panther – all in their natural habitat.
4. Little Havana
A trip to Miami must include a visit to Little Havana, the city’s historic Cuban neighborhood that continues to thrive in the 21st century. The best local cuisine in the region is prepared using generations of family recipes. Cuban sandwiches, flan, guava pastelitos and rich coffee are waiting for you. While enjoying landmarks like Maximo Gomez Domino Park and El Credito Cigar Factory, visit Little Havana for food only!
5. Wynwood Arts District
Saved from the city’s collapse, this part of Miami is now the city’s top arts scene (and known worldwide). A well thought-out renovation has transformed storage and factory spaces into over 70 art galleries. Also, take the time to stroll through the open-air street art installation, the largest in the world.
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6. St. Bernard Monastery of Clairvaux
Visit this old Spanish monastery for a quiet reflection in the hustle and bustle of Miami. It was built in Spain in 1133 AD; served as a monastery for 700 years; and finally shipped to America in parts in 1925. As the “largest puzzle in the world”, the building began (after it was reassembled) as a tourist attraction in the United States. Today it is an active church with a congregation and doors open to visitors. The architecture and grounds are well worth a quick trip to the north side of Miami.
7. Hop-on hop-off tours
If you’d rather freestyle your visit to Miami, the best option is a hop-on hop-off bus ticket. They have routes all over the city with regular timetables at the top attractions. Some are even double-deckers, with the top “floor” open for better sightseeing. When purchasing your pass, ask the guidebooks for maps, information, or recommendations. Remember, the best tip for exploring a place while traveling is to ask the locals.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie writer – AngelaMinor.com