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Looking for a fun one day in Miami itinerary? This jam-packed guide takes you through the best things to do in Miami from morning until night! It includes what to see, where to eat and drink and what you should skip. Since you only have 24 hours you don’t want to waste time on tourist traps. Find out what attractions are worth visiting and where the locals hang.
If you are making Miami a stop during a road trip, read this guide to East Coast road trips first.
Visiting in winter? Here’s the most festive things to do in Miami at Christmas.
Fun One Day Miami Itinerary
Morning Miami Itinerary: Coconut Grove, Museums and Art
There’s no way to see everything Miami has to offer in only 24 hours, but layover travelers can certainly enjoy a full day of sightseeing and once-in-a-lifetime adventures in this bustling destination.
Travelers will need to think about pacing themselves to make sure they can get as much out of the city as possible, and there’s no better way to gear up for a full day of activities than spending the morning in Coconut Grove.
Coconut Grove is a unique enclave in Miami of boutiques, restaurants, and hotels that are far enough away from the hustle and bustle of downtown without putting travelers too far out of the way.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
After breakfast, either take a walk on the pedestrian-only Ocean Drive for some iconic Miami people watching and art deco architecture or indulge in a more opulent Miami attraction – the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens at 3251 S Miami Ave.
Built in the 1900s, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens property was originally a winter villa for a wealthy businessman named James Deering.
Today it’s filled with artwork from the 15th and 19th centuries that the public can explore on their own or catch a guided, 45-minute tour.
Moving toward downtown, there’s the HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum that offers a variety of exhibitions related to Miami history.
Miami Design District
For travelers spending time north of downtown, there’s plenty to explore in the Miami Design District.
The District offers high-end shopping opportunities, stunning architecture, public art installations, galleries, and world-class dining.
There’s even a Dior cafe!
Just south of the District are Miami’s famous Wynwood Walls, a former warehouse district that was transformed into a massive outdoor art exhibit featuring colorful murals.
A 1-hour golf buggy tour through Wynwood Walls allows travelers to sit back and enjoy the art.
Art fans shouldn’t miss this off their one day in Miami itinerary.
If you need a snack, pick up some baked goods at Zak the Bakery or tacos at Coyo.
As the morning winds down, head to Bayside Marketplace to grab lunch and get ready for the afternoon ahead.
Bayside Marketplace is a large, outdoor mall that has more than 150 shops, cafes, and restaurants in downtown Miami.
Don’t get too distracted by all the marketplace has to offer, though.
There are lots of exciting tour boats that depart from the area, so be sure to save time to hit the water during the afternoon.
Bayfront Park is also close, there you can see the bronze statue dedicated to the only woman who founded a city in the US, Julia DeForest Tuttle.
Afternoon: Beaches, Watersports and Brickell
With only 24 hours in Miami, travelers should be sure to hop on the water to enjoy the afternoon – a typical Miami pastime, and a great way to admire the city skyline.
Luckily, Miami has plenty of boat tours and water activities that depart from Bayside Marketplace.
Boat Tour in Miami
Sightseers can grab a front-row seat to admire some of Miami’s finest waterfront homes, Venetian Islands, and South Beach.
The City Cruise to Millionaire’s Homes & Venetian Islands boat tour takes sightseers around the Biscayne Bay to soak in the gorgeous Florida sunshine and admire the city from afar.
There are also opportunities for day travelers to blaze their own trail across Biscayne Bay with a 60-minute jet ski rental, or join a 2.5-hour Jet Ski City Tour, which is perfect for small groups eager to enjoy a beautiful day on the water.
Adrenaline junkies traveling with a group shouldn’t miss parasailing 400 feet above Biscayne Bay.
The one-hour boat ride into the bay offers travelers the perfect chance to unwind from a busy morning before sailing through the Miami sky.
Relax at the Venetian Pool
For travelers who are after a more mellow afternoon, take a short drive inland to the Venetian Pool for a relaxing escape from South Beach.
The tranquil public pool is surrounded by beautiful architecture and waterfalls.
Miami Bus Tour – Hop On and Off at the Top Attractions
To see as much of the city as possible, hop on a half-day bus tour and 90-minute boat tour through some of Miami’s most famous attractions.
The narrated tour teaches guests about Miami’s rich history as they enjoy picturesque views of the city.
Then head to the water to visit Island Queen Millionaire’s Row in Biscayne Bay.
At some point in the afternoon, try to swing by Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, the city’s waterfront historic district and swanky downtown shopping destination.
It’s full of shiny high rises and bars.
You could easily slink into the night here, hitting up the rooftop bars such as Sugar and area31 for sundown drinks.
You’ll experience a totally different vibe from Brickell by day and Brickell by night and if you plan to party here, dress to kill.
Things to do at Night in Miami
For travelers who didn’t have a chance to enjoy the water during the day, there’s always the option to kick the evening off with a 1.5-hour sunset cruise through Biscayne Bay and South Beach.
The tour sails past attractions such as Star Island, known for Al Capone’s Mansion.
Best Maimi Cocktail Bars
For party-goers, a day in Miami isn’t complete without indulging in a bit of the local nightlife.
For those looking to stick to the mainland, go grab a round of drinks at one of Miami’s many famous cocktail bars.
The award-winning Broken Shaker is a favorite among locals and travelers alike.
Sip on craft cocktails poolside or in the rustic bar backyard while soaking in the memories made during the day exploring Miami.
For a truly Florida cocktail experience, don’t skip The Sylvester, a downtown Miami bar that draws much of its inspiration from the Sunshine State.
The bar brings in elements of both old and new Miami for a truly unique atmosphere and fun, Florida-themed menu items.
Food is also served here.
Dine at South Beach’s Sunset Harbor
Pop over to South Beach’s Sunset Harbor, dubbed Miami’s best dining neighborhood by The Miami Herald.
With dozens of restaurants ranging from super-casual to upscale, there are plenty of options to choose from even for the pickiest of eaters.
After dinner, it’s time to get out and explore some of Miami’s glamorous nightlife destinations.
The iconic Ball & Chain bar and lounge is a staple of the Little Havana neighborhood.
The Ball & Chain has managed to hold on to its 1930s roots along with great Cuban food and drinks.
Next, satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream at Azucar on Calle Ocho (1503 SW 8th St).
Catch a Game or a Show
The 20,000-seat multipurpose sports and entertainment arena, the FTX Arena is where you will see the 2006, 2012 and 2013 NBA champions Miami HEAT play basketball.
Party in Miami
There’s also the outdoor bar, El Patio, in the eclectic Wynwood neighborhood just north of downtown Miami for a fun night in one of Miami’s more artsy areas.
Partying in your 20s? Consider 1-800-Lucky.
For a truly over-the-top night of clubbing, head to E11even.
It’s a nightclub, performance venue, strip club, and rooftop restaurant rolled into one downtown location.
Or for a more lowkey evening, watch sports and enjoy happy hour at Sandbar.
Finish off the night admiring the nighttime Miami skyline at a glitzy rooftop bar, like Area 31.
Located in the heart of Miami, Area 31 brings guests to the top of the Kimpton EPIC Hotel, surrounded by stunning skyscrapers and unforgettable nighttime views.
There’s also Sugar in Brickell, the highest rooftop bar in Miami on the 40th floor of hotel EAST Miami near Biscayne Bay.
The rooftop terrace is decorated in tiki-style and offers a menu of refreshing cocktails.
Miami: Things to Avoid
With only 24 hours in Miami to explore the city, there isn’t much time to waste.
Don’t fall into the usual tourist traps, including…
Spending the Day Getting a Sunburn on South Beach
While it’s an iconic spring break and Memorial Day getaway destination, South Beach isn’t for travelers who want to explore the more unique side of Miami.
For those who simply must dip their toes in the sand, head up to the quieter North Beach area where parking is easy and the neighborhoods are quaint and historic.
There’s also Virginia Key, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, or Key Biscayne for plenty of beach opportunities.
Read next: Memorial Day Weekend in Miami.
An Expensive Show at the Adrienne Arsht Center
Though the venue is stunning, spending an entire evening at the theater likely isn’t the best use of time or money.
Hoping to get a Taste of Cuba in Little Havana
Little Havana, once a culturally rich area of Miami, has become largely overrun with tourists and big businesses moving in.
Though there are still some of its Cuban roots showing, it may not live up to everyone’s expectations.
For travelers on the hunt for a diverse Miami neighborhood, consider instead Little Haiti.
Skipping a Chance to Hit the Open Water
While there’s certainly plenty to do on land, the best parts about Miami are experienced on the water.
Even a short cruise around Biscayne Bay gives sightseers a new perspective on one of the country’s most exciting cities.
Expect 12 Hours of Sunshine
Miami is sunny but it does get its fair share of downpours but the good news is that the rain tends to stop after a short period and the sun dries everything out pretty quickly.
Hurricane season is June through to November.
As with many locations in the states, spring is said to the the best time to visit for mild weather.
Where to Stay in Miami
- For friends: Moxy South Beach for a fun, modern hotel with killer views (below) and rooftop pool
- For couples: Marseilles Beachfront Hotel Art Deco boutique hotel with pool cabanas
- For families: The Betsy Hotel, South Beach, hotel on Ocean Drive, kids love the pool
Parking in Miami
Like most US cities, parking is at a premium rate in Miami so it is advised to the leave car if you are staying a beach or city hotel.
Hotel parking rates tend to be around $40 per night.
Download a parking app like PayByPhone or SpotHero to help you find street parking or parking lots.
Drinking and driving is not tolerated in Miami and there have been sobriety tests around the city for big events.
If your group needs a car at night, designate a driver or use ride shares such as Uber or Lyft.
Getting Around Miami
You can get around Downtown, Miami Beach and Brickell using public transport such as the bus, rail or Metromover and trolleys but crowds can create long wait times.
Download the transit tracker before you arrive to the 305.
Alternatively, consider e-scooters or e-bikes for Downtown.
If you are visiting Miami for the first time and fancy a tour that saves your feet, there is a hop on a half-day bus tour with a multi-language audio guide.
Arriving in Miami
Miami has three train options.
Here is a map of Miami with all of the attractions, hotels, bars and restaurants discussed in this itinerary.
Pin to your Miami vacation board