7 Insider Tips to Have the Best Miami Experience Ever
These must-stops definitely justify The Magic City's nickname.
With non-stop nightlife, pristine beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping, jaw-dropping art and architecture, and a diverse restaurant scene, Miami has a little bit of everything. With endless fun things to do, though, planning a trip here can get a bit overwhelming. That's why we tapped some top travel experts for their insider knowledge of The Magic City—to share some must-know tips that ensure a memorable getaway.
First thing's first: the best time of year to visit Miami is between mid-November and mid-May when the heat and humidity are far less oppressive. That's not to say summer is out of the question, but the weather between late fall and early spring is most ideal for exploring the city's attractions on foot. According to Tim White, CEO and founder of MilePro, you don't even need to rent a car while you're in Miami.
"Like any big city, Miami traffic is simply the stuff of nightmares," he explains. "You'll easily lose a few hours per day just driving from place to place. Instead, walk as much as you can, rent an e-bike, and use public transportation. You'll get to see all the great nooks and crannies of Miami this way, too."
Have an intimate dinner at El Secreto.
Henley Vazquez, the co-founder of the travel agency Fora, highly recommends scoring a reservation at El Secreto, a new speakeasy-style omakase experience located behind the Faena Theater. The indulgent 15-course meals are prepared by James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui—and with only six seats, you're guaranteed a super intimate dining experience. The menu changes at the chef's whims, but you can expect mouthwatering freshly caught seafood from around the world (like sustainable bluefin tuna from Baja) and unique vegetable dishes. After checking in 30 minutes prior to your reservation, you'll get the full VIP treatment with a welcome drink before being escorted to your seat.
Spots fill up quickly, especially on weekends, so book your reservation for El Secreto early.
Take a dip at the Venetian Pool.
Beat the what on a steamy day by venturing to the Venetian Pool—which is located just a 20-minute ride from Miami in Coral Gables—says Axel Hernborg, CEO of the travel site Tripplo.
Built in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, the 820,000-gallon pool contains spring water from an underground aquifer. It's not only the largest freshwater pool in the U.S., but it features scenic waterfalls, cave-like grottos, and stone bridges, and is bordered by towering palm trees and massive lookout towers with a view. Did we mention that admission rates for non-residents are only $15 per adult and $10 per child ages 3 to 12?
After going for a swim, grab some casual lunch fare at the onsite café.
Spend an afternoon exploring Wynwood.
"To have the best Miami experience, you should definitely visit Wynwood," says Dymphe Mensink a travel blogger at Dymabroad. "All throughout this neighborhood, you can find beautiful street art, including many colorful murals. There are also many hip restaurants, contemporary art galleries, and chic boutiques."
If you're not sure where to begin, Mensink recommends taking advantage of one of the many themed tours around Wynwood—for instance, there are food and art tours that focus specifically on culinary or cultural sites.
While you're there, The True Wilderness founder Fred Hoffman suggests checking out the Wynwood Walls—an outdoor gallery featuring street artwork from all over the world.
READ THIS NEXT: The 7 Best Girls Trip Destinations in the U.S.
Embark on a scuba adventure.
"I would recommend going to Emerald Reef," he adds. "This is Miami's largest natural reef and is a great location to see lobsters, turtles, angelfish, and nurse sharks. The reef is only about 10 to 20 feet of water, so it's perfect for anyone at the novice skill level."
Stroll around The Underline.
The Underline is a new project transforming the land underneath the southern part of Miami's Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail, and public art destination that will be complete in 2025. But phase 1 is already done and well worth a visit, says Mensink. The newly built Brickell Backyard features biking and walking paths, an outdoor gym, a basketball and soccer court, nature and butterfly gardens, and many gathering spaces to eat and hang out.
Pack a picnic, hop on a bicycle, and after exploring the scenic paths, spread out with a book, deck of cards, or some board games for a relaxing riverfront lunch.
READ THIS NEXT: 10 U.S. Islands to Add to Your Bucket List—No Passport Required.
Crush some authentic tacos at Taquiza.
Miami may be known for ceviche and Cuban sandos, but a little-known secret is that this city also boasts some pretty phenomenal Mexican food, too.
Nick Mueller, Director of Operations of HawaiianIslands.com, recommends visiting the local favorite Taquiza for some tasty, authentic tacos and top-notch people watching.
"Known for its quick, no-nonsense service, consistently great food, and low prices, it's difficult to have a bad experience at Taquiza," he says.
One thing that sets Taquiza apart is that all the chips and tortillas are made in-house by hand-pressing stone-ground organic blue corn. Choose from traditional options like steak, shrimp, and carnitas pork, as well as more unique offerings for adventurous eaters like vegan chorizo, beer-braised beef tongue, and adobo-seasoned toasted grasshopper.
Tour The Everglades.
"The Everglades is a must-see when visiting Miami," says Hoffman. "This huge national park is home to many different animals, including alligators, turtles, and birds."
Hoffman and Miller suggest taking a private tour by airboat to get up and close and personal with the wildlife. But if that's not your thing, there's plenty more to do at this national park—from hiking and bird watching along the Anhinga Trail to kayaking around the Ten Thousand Islands and taking ranger-guided canoe tours.
For more travel tips, check out The 10 Best U.S. Cities Every Traveler Should See.