The downtown area of Miami is a unique place where culture and people’s history collide with industry and leisure. You’ll enjoy yourself fully in the vibrant commercial center, which features historical landmarks, a frost museum of science, and art galleries that have helped define Downtown’s historic places.
Whether you’re a local, visiting Miami for a day, or spending the night before a cruise, our downtown Miami guide will tell you all you need to know about this metropolis’ heart.
Downtown Miami is located near the water at PortMiami, making it the perfect place to enjoy urban activities like dining, shopping, and exploring museums. You’ll save time and aggravation by staying at one of the finest hotels in the region!
Miami Beach is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and with our Luxury Rentals Miami Beach, you’ll have access to them. So whether you’re looking for a private Miami villa rental to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life or a party-ready pad to enjoy all night long, we have the perfect rental for you.
Is Downtown Miami worth visiting?
In Miami, Florida, the city’s center will blow you away. Downtown Miami has an Atlantic Ocean breeze waterfront lined with marinas natural and artificial off-shore islands, and all backed by architecturally impressive high-rise towers plus the odd palm tree or two.
Though Downtown Miami may be the oldest section of the metropolis and its undisputed historical heart, nothing is old-fashioned or outdated. Not only is it a significant business district, but it’s also home to some of the best museums and cultural institutions around. You can find everything from a rooftop swimming pool and restaurants to theaters to shopping all in one place. Instead, downtown Miami has kept up with the times. It is a modern, culturally rich neighborhood full of theater, museums, galleries, event venues, and a surplus of world-class bars and restaurants.
Whether you’re into water-sports, enjoy a boat tours cruise, or perusing contemporary art exhibitions like Perez Art Museum, or Frost Science Museum, you’ll find it in Downtown Miami.
What is Downtown Miami known for?
Greater Miami is recognized for its gorgeous beaches and towering palm trees. Still, the cityscape of glittering skyscrapers over Biscayne Bay draws attention to its urban core. As the region’s financial, dining, arts, and entertainment center, Downtown Miami and the adjacent Brickell city centre district is a hot spot for international finance, cuisine, culture, and fun things that no visitor should miss.
Despite its contemporary appearance, this neighborhood is firmly rooted in the past and grew along the banks of what is now known as the Miami Oleta River state park during South Florida’s first development boom. The DuPont Building (Miami’s only Art Deco skyscraper) and the Freedom Tower are examples of early 20th-century buildings that stand here today.
Learn about Miami’s History – HistoryMiami Museum
The Miami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate in downtown Miami, safeguards and shares Miami stories to foster learning, Ancient Spanish Monastery, stimulate a feeling of place, and encourage community engagement. History Miami Museum of art strives to help people understand the importance of history in shaping Miami’s future through exhibits, artistic projects, city visits, education, research, collections, and publications. The mission of the Miami Museum is to bring people together by telling stories about Miami’s communities, people, places, and events.
Take a boat trip around Downtown Miami anytime, and you’ll be in for a real treat. Sail over Biscayne Bay or into the Atlantic for breathtaking panoramic views of the DT Miami cityscape from aboard a boat at the downtown docks.
Choose from a variety of party boats with drinks and DJs that sail for four hours, cruises that come with paddle boarding and kayaking, more relaxed trips with stops for snorkeling and swimming, or luxurious champagne sunset sails.
If you take a cruise around Downtown Miami, you’ll most likely want to do it again because of how great it feels to be on the water.
Shop, Dine, and Party at the Bayside – Bayside Marketplace
It’s like going to Little Havana and not eating a Cuban sandwich if you don’t go shopping in the downtown area. So the ideal place for a bit of retail therapy Downtown is the two-story Bayside.
Bayside Marketplace is the perfect place to enjoy a scenic shopping and dining experience. The complex, located on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami, overlooks a stunning waterfront lined with palm trees and boats.
The third largest shopping mall two-story is jam-packed with high-end stores selling everything from designer sneakers to mementos. If you’re looking for a place to have some drinks or an iced coffee, 305 Daiquiri Bar is an open-air theater and perfect. Dragon’s Breath has fantastic ice cream if you want something sweet. If you’re feeling Argentinian steak, The Knife serves excellent food with fried fish sandwiches. Lastly, Tradewinds is the place to go if grilled fish sounds good to you!
There’s an abundant amount to do at the Bayside Marketplace that you’ll want to spend an entire day here.
Paddleboard in Virginia Key
If you feel like you’re miles away from nature when surrounded by high rises and gridlocked roads Downtown, head out to Virginia Key. Those who love nature will find an eco-adventure paradise with a mangrove-lined bay and crystal clear water containing plentiful wildlife. The best way to explore this 863-acre barrier island is by water, either with a paddle-board or kayak. You may hire these from the Virginia Key Outdoor Center, which also offers guided paddle-board yoga sessions, full-moon kayaking excursions, fishing trips, and manatee sightings. If you visit from November to mid-April, go for an evening paddle and witness the underwater fireworks display created by the bioluminescent plankton.
Learn to fly at Bayfront Park
When you think of a park, the first thing that springs to mind is a grove of trees, grassy ground dotted with benches, and maybe a few swings. And when Downtown Miami constructed its first multi-purpose park overlooking Biscayne Bay with panoramic views of the turquoise water and golden sand beaches, it had a new goal in mind. Bayfront Park is a 32-acre oasis with rock gardens, waterfalls, marble play areas, 40-foot contemporary art museum park sculptures, a sandy beach, and two music venues in the city’s eastern suburbs. But, that isn’t even the best part: Bayfront also has a daily schedule of outdoor activities, including yoga, pilates, and – for the more daring – flying trapeze lessons. You’ll swing, soar, and somersault in the air before swinging off the trapeze upside down into your instructor’s outstretched arms.
Hobie Island Beach Park
Suppose you’re looking for a place to take in the fresh sea air. Look no further than Hobie Island Beach Park. Even though it’s not the best beach for lying out and getting a tan, it’s an excellent spot to watch windsurfers do their thing.
Ready to give it a shot? You can! There are board rental shops by the beach for both participants and spectators. Plus, they have parasols and chairs too.
This is the place to go if you’re looking for a breathtaking view of the Downtown Miami skyline.
Miami Seaplane Skyline Tour
Take the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami downtown and fly over Virginia Key west on a seaplane for a thrilling thirty-minute trip around the coast.
Start your journey by taking off from the water as the plane goes down to Coconut Grove. Then, fly past Downtown Miami and complete a circumference around Dodge Island. There’s no better way to see the DT Miami cityscape from above than with an airplane view. It’s fantastic.
Catch a Miami Heat Game
If you’re in Downtown Miami, you won’t be able to miss the American Airlines Arena. With a 3,400-square-foot space and 19,600 seats overlooking Biscayne Bay, this oceanfront basketball arena is the home to three-time NBA winners, the Miami Heat. Seeing the Miami Heat play at home during the NBA season is an exhilarating experience, even if you’re not a basketball fan. In addition, the American Airlines Arena host around 80 music venue and other sporting events each year, including the WWE Smackdown when the Miami Heat isn’t in town. This year’s lineup includes Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, and Celine Dion.
Windsurf Past the City
Hobie Beach is famous among Miami’s veteran windsurfers with wilder waves and smaller crowds. Located away from the city’s usual sun-seeking attractions, this beach is a go-to spot for locals walking their dogs. However, it’s not only for experts: for over 20 years, a much-loved windsurfing store has offered beginning classes on the premises. Hobie is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in Miami, but it’s also the perfect place to bring your four-legged friend. You’ll see many dogs enjoy fetch and playing Ball here. If you’re not into windsurfing, this is still a great spot to relax on the sand, read a book or watch the sunset. And if you are into surfing, there are plenty of other great surf spots in South Florida.
A Show at a 1920S Movie Palace – Olympia Theatre
In a neighborhood celebrating the ultra-modern, it’s not always easy to find architecture that dates back to the 1920s Downtown. The South Florida history example, the Olympia Theatre – A Moorish architectural building that served as Florida’s earliest silent movie theater palace – was on the brink of closure. However, in 2010, a group made an excellent effort to bring the dilapidated 1926 oldest building back to its original condition. The starry blue ceiling, a night sky motif, and gold walls carved with green and pink decoration create an opera house-style grandeur and elegance inside, with velvet-red seats, gold walls etched in green and pink ornamentation, and a midnight-blue dome sparkling with 246 stars.
Ride the Skyviews Miami Wheel
Discover why Miami is known as The Magic City during fascinating guided walking tours of the city’s top attractions. Enjoy spectacular nighttime views from the sea on a boat trip, then see the city from above on Miami’s observation wheel. Take in the beautiful panoramic views of Miami’s skyline at nightfall from the Skyviews Observation Wheel. See Bayside Marketplace and other local landmarks aglow against the evening sky. At the same time, you stay warm in Miami Beach vacation rentals and comfortable inside your climate-controlled gondola, nearly 200 feet above the ground.
Practice your salsa moves at the InterContinental Miami
On Friday nights, the most recognized landmark hotel on Miami’s waterfront hosts Latin bands at its Bluewater Rooftop Café, a sleek poolside bar with unobstructed bay views. The best news? InterContinental Chicago invites the city’s top professional dancers and instructors to demonstrate spinning, checking, combing, and armpit looping for free. There is no cover charge or formal dress code; arrive prepared to dance!
However, as with much of the neighborhood, that has altered. If you’re ever in Downtown Miami, be sure to experience the nightlife by visiting one of the best dance clubs or restaurants. However, there’s more to do than eat and drink. Downtown is teeming with outstanding museums and locations to unwind or enjoy stunning vistas. Downtown may not have the prestige of other Miami neighborhoods like South Beach or Wynwood, but that only makes it more worth your while to explore for a day.