Last Updated on November 20, 2023

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Guest Post By Tina At Hey Mickey Travel

Welcome to Miami, or as locals call it the Magic City!  In this post, we’ll look at the best free and cheap things to do in Miami. 

Miami is a beautiful city that captivates visitors with its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and exciting nightlife.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation under the warm sun, immersing yourself in diverse neighborhoods, indulging in delectable cuisine, exploring natural wonders, or experiencing a thrilling cruise adventure, Miami has plenty of activities to try.  

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey and find the best free things in the city through the neighborhoods, and showcase its natural beauty.

We’ll also recommend must-try culinary delights, highlight its dynamic entertainment scene, and even provide tips for embarking on an unforgettable cruise.

So, grab your sunscreen and get ready to soak up the sun and immerse yourself in the wonders of Miami.


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Exploring Miami’s Neighborhoods

One of my favorite things about Miami is its cultural diversity.

Miami is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and character.

From the iconic South Beach to the vibrant streets of Little Havana and the artistic hub of Wynwood, exploring Miami’s neighborhoods is an exciting way to immerse yourself in the city’s culture.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the must-visit neighborhoods and all the free and cheap things to do in Miami.

1. South Beach

South Beach, often referred to as SoBe, is synonymous with Miami’s glamorous and vibrant atmosphere.

Famous for its beautiful whites sand beaches and palm trees, art deco architecture, South Pointe Park, and its lively nightlife, South Beach is a must-visit destination and one of our favorite spots to visit.

If you’re looking for a perfect place to relax on the beach, South Beach is your best choice!

2. Ocean Drive

Stroll down Ocean Drive, the iconic palm-lined street that runs parallel to the beach.

Marvel at the colorful art deco buildings that line the street, which have become a symbol of Miami’s architectural style. 

Just a few blocks away from Ocean Drive, is Lummus Park which features a variety of amenities including an open space playground, and paved paths and bike trails for biking and walking.

We love being on Ocean Drive!  It is quintessential Miami!


3. Lincoln Road Mall

Visit Lincoln Road Mall, a pedestrian-only shopping center street filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Enjoy outdoor dining, browse through boutiques, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this great spot for gatherings and events.

Street scene in Art Deco District with a vintage car parked at the side of the road

4. Art Deco Historic District

Explore the Art Deco District, a treasure trove of pastel-hued buildings that date back to the 1930s.

Take a guided tour or simply wander around to admire the unique architectural details that make this area so captivating.



street scene in Little Havana Miami with traffic lights and people walking in the street

5. Little Havana

If you are looking for a cultural experience, immerse yourself in the vibrant Cuban culture that thrives in the heart of Little Havana.

This neighborhood is my absolute favorite in Miami.  It is a colorful mosaic of sights, sounds, and flavors that transport you to Havana, Cuba.

Going on a self-guided tour is also a great option in exploring the neighborhood of Little Havana.

6. Calle Ocho

Head to Calle Ocho, the neighborhood’s main street, and experience the lively atmosphere.

Take a walk along the street, listen to the rhythms of salsa music pouring out of cafes, and admire the colorful murals adorning the walls.

7. Authentic Cuban Food

Indulge in authentic Cuban cuisine at one of the many restaurants in Little Havana.

Try classic dishes such as Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and pastelitos, and savor the rich flavors and unique spices that define Cuban cooking.

8. Cultural Landmarks

Visit cultural landmarks like Domino Park, where locals gather to play dominoes and socialize, and the famous Tower Theater, a historic cinema that showcases Latin American films and cultural events.

It is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Miami.

A mural art with portrait of Audrey Hepburn in a wall at Wynwood Arts District Miami

9. Wynwood Arts District 

Once a warehouse district, Wynwood has transformed into a Miami design district and a thriving neighborhood that celebrates street art and creativity.

It is also considered as one of the best outdoor museums because of its vibrant and colorful arts scene.

10. Wynwood Walls

Marvel at the vibrant street art that adorns the walls of Wynwood.

The Wynwood Walls, a curated outdoor art museum, features larger-than-life murals created by renowned artists from around the world.

We have gotten some fantastic pictures at the Wynwood Walls!

11. Art Galleries and Studios

Explore the numerous art galleries and studios that line the streets of Wynwood.

From contemporary art to avant-garde installations, there is an abundance of artistic expressions to discover.

The best part is, everything has free admission so you can get to enjoy these arts without spending much.

12. Art Walk

Plan your visit to coincide with the monthly Art Walk, held on the second Saturday of every month.

During this event, galleries and street vendors come alive, and the neighborhood buzzes with live music, food trucks, and art enthusiasts. 

My whole family loved taking part in this dynamic festival.

✓ Exploring Miami’s neighborhoods is like embarking on a cultural journey, where every street corner holds a new discovery.

Whether you’re admiring the art deco architecture in South Beach, immersing yourself in Cuban traditions in Little Havana, strolling down at the bayside marketplace, or getting lost in the vibrant street art of Wynwood, each neighborhood offers a unique experience that adds to the vibrant tapestry of Miami’s diverse culture.

Also, consider visiting the Miami-Dade County neighborhood where the famous Coconut Grove is located.



Beautiful sunrise in South Beach Miami

Enjoying Miami’s Natural Beauty

While Miami is renowned for its lively urban atmosphere, it also boasts a breathtaking natural beauty that captivates visitors and locals alike.

From pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters to expansive parks and unique ecosystems, Miami offers a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Let’s explore some of the best ways to immerse yourself in Miami’s natural wonders.

Photo credit – Unsplash by Ilse Orsel

a group of people standing on a pier next to a body of water in Biscayne National Park Miami

13. Biscayne National Park

Just a short drive from Miami, Biscayne National Park beckons nature enthusiasts with its aquatic paradise.

This national park encompasses stunning coral reefs, vibrant marine life, and a permanent collection of picturesque islands and offers a magnificent view of Biscayne Bay.

Just a few walks away, you’ll also find Bayfront Park, an urban public park in Downtown Miami where you can go for a stroll.

Bayfront Park is a great place where free events are held such as Christmas, New Year, free concerts, and free yoga class for fitness enthusisasts.

14. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Strap on your snorkeling gear or dive into the depths with scuba equipment to explore the colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Discover a mesmerizing world underwater, swimming alongside tropical fish, turtles, and even dolphins.

Snorkeling has become one of the favorites and fun things to do when visiting this place and its surrounding area. 

15. Boat Tours

There’s no better way to fully experience the beauty of Biscayne National Park than embarking on a boat tour.

Cruise through the crystalline waters, marvel at the mangrove forests and visit the park’s islands, such as Boca Chita Key and Elliott Key.

These islands offer opportunities for picnicking, swimming, and basking in the serenity of nature.


Check & Book the Best Miami Boat Tour 👈



Embark on an exhilarating airboat tour to glide through the sawgrass prairies and spot iconic wildlife, such as alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species in Everglades National Park

16. Everglades National Park

Just a short drive west of Miami, you’ll find the remarkable Everglades National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

This unique ecosystem is home to a diverse array of wildlife and captivating landscapes.

17. Airboat Tours

Embark on an exhilarating airboat tour to glide through the sawgrass prairies and spot iconic wildlife, such as alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species.

Expert guides provide fascinating insights into the park’s ecosystem and its importance for conservation.


Book the Best Everglades Airboat Safari 👈

18. Hiking, Biking, and Kayaking

Discover the Everglades up close by exploring its network of trails.

Lace up your hiking boots, rent a bicycle, or paddle a kayak through the mangroves, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of this unique wilderness.

19. Wildlife Observation

The Everglades is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

Take a leisurely walk on designated boardwalks, such as the Anhinga Trail, to observe alligators, herons, and other fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

Don’t forget your camera to capture these unforgettable moments.

✓ Whether you’re snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs in Biscayne National Park or immersing yourself in the captivating wilderness of the Everglades, Miami offers a remarkable array of natural beauty to explore.

These protected areas allow you to connect with nature, witness unique ecosystems, and create cherished memories of your time in Miami’s awe-inspiring outdoor playground.

Photo credit – Unsplash by Daniel Lee

a group of people in a kitchen preparing food in Miami Design District

Dining And Cuisine

Miami’s culinary scene is a reflection of its vibrant and diverse culture, where a fusion of flavors from around the world creates a gastronomic paradise. 

If you are a vacation foodie like my family is, you will love savoring traditional Cuban cuisine and indulging in fresh seafood delights. 

Miami offers a mouthwatering array of dining experiences. Here are some culinary highlights to tantalize your taste buds.

20. Cuban Cuisine

Miami’s strong Cuban influence is evident in its culinary offerings.

Don’t miss the chance to try authentic Cuban dishes that are packed with flavor and history.

Cuban Sandwich

Sink your teeth into a classic Cuban sandwich, layered with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread.

This iconic sandwich perfectly represents the fusion of flavors found in Miami’s Cuban cuisine.

Empanadas and Pastelitos

Sample delicious empanadas, savory turnovers filled with seasoned meats, cheese, or vegetables.

For a sweet treat, bite into a flaky pastelito, a Cuban pastry filled with guava or cream cheese.

Popular Cuban Restaurants

Visit renowned Cuban restaurants like Versailles and La Carreta, where you can indulge in traditional Cuban dishes in an authentic setting.

These establishments are not just delicious and the best places to eat but cultural landmarks that have played a significant role in Miami’s culinary history.



21. Seafood Delights

Situated along the coast, Miami is a seafood lover’s paradise.

Fresh catches from the Atlantic ocean grace the menus of numerous restaurants, ensuring a delightful dining experience.

Stone Crabs

Treat yourself to the world-famous stone crabs, a delicacy unique to South Florida.

These succulent crab claws are served chilled with a tangy mustard sauce, offering a taste of luxury and freshness.

Local Seafood Restaurants

Explore popular seafood spots like Joe’s Stone Crab, a Miami institution known for its delectable stone crabs and other seafood specialties.

Garcia’s Seafood Grille is another local favorite, serving up fresh fish and shellfish in a casual waterfront setting.

Miami's multicultural diversity is also reflected in its international culinary scene

22. Fusion and International Cuisine

Miami’s multicultural diversity is also reflected in its international culinary scene. The city embraces a variety of global flavors, offering an eclectic mix of fusion cuisine.


Upscale Dining

Discover upscale dining experiences that fuse different culinary traditions.

Neighborhoods like Brickell and Coral Gables are home to renowned restaurants that blend international flavors, creating innovative and memorable dishes.

Latin American Influence 

Celebrate Miami’s Latin American influence by exploring restaurants that showcase flavors from countries such as Peru, Argentina, and Colombia.

Indulge in ceviche, tender grilled meats, or traditional arepas, and experience the richness of Latin American cuisine.


Food Festivals 

Keep an eye out for food festivals and events that showcase the city’s culinary diversity.

Miami hosts numerous food festivals throughout the year, where you can sample dishes from various cuisines and experience the vibrant food culture firsthand.

✓ Miami’s dining scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, blending traditional recipes with innovative techniques.

Whether you’re savoring the bold and authentic tastes of Cuban cuisine, relishing the freshness of local seafood, or indulging in the fusion creations of talented chefs, Miami promises a culinary journey that will satisfy even the most discerning palates.

night scene in Ocean Drive Miami

Entertainment And Nightlife

Miami is renowned for its electrifying entertainment and vibrant nightlife, offering a multitude of options to satisfy every preference.

From world-class performances and cultural events to iconic nightclubs and live music venues, the city comes alive after the sun sets.

Here are some highlights of Miami’s entertainment and nightlife scene.

23. Art And Culture


Museums And Galleries

Another one of the best free and cheap things to do in Miami is immersing yourself in the thriving art scene by visiting the renowned Miami museums and galleries.

The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) showcases contemporary and modern art, while the Frost Museum of Science offers permanent exhibits and planetarium shows.

Also, check out the Institute of Contemporary Arts and discover different artworks by modern local artists in North Miami with free entry and admission.

Explore the Wynwood Walls to witness impressive street art installations that have transformed the neighborhood into an outdoor gallery.

Art Festivals And Events

Check the calendar for art festivals and events that celebrate Miami’s vibrant culture.

The annual Art Basel Miami Beach draws art enthusiasts from around the world, featuring a showcase of contemporary art, installations, and performances.

Other events like the Miami Art Week and Wynwood Art Walk offer opportunities to experience the city’s creative energy.

EDM summer college music festival in Miami  (Photo credit) – Unsplash by Karina lago

24. Nightlife Hotspots


South Beach 

South Beach is synonymous with Miami’s nightlife scene, offering an array of world-famous clubs and lounges.

LIV at the Fontainebleau is an iconic hotspot known for its lavish parties and celebrity appearances.

STORY and Nikki Beach are also popular venues that guarantee an unforgettable night out.


Downtown Miami

Venture into Downtown Miami to discover trendy clubs and rooftop bars with stunning cityscape views.

E11even Miami is a 24/7 ultra club that combines live entertainment, DJs, and aerial performances for a unique experience.

For a sophisticated rooftop setting, head to Area 31 or Sugar at EAST Miami.


Live Music Venues

Miami boasts a lively live music scene, catering to a wide range of tastes.

The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater hosts renowned musicians and bands, while the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts presents Broadway shows, classical concerts, and ballet performances.

Smaller venues like Churchill’s Pub and Ball & Chain offer intimate settings for live music enthusiasts.

Miami’s entertainment and nightlife scene never disappoints!

Whether you’re immersing yourself in the city’s rich art and cultural offerings, dancing the night away at world-class clubs, or embarking on a cruise adventure from the bustling port, Miami ensures that every evening is filled with excitement and unforgettable experiences.

Sailing boats moored in the Biscayne Bay with the Miami skyline background

25. Cruising Out Of Miami


Miami’s Cruise Port

Miami is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, offering convenient access to various cruise lines and itineraries.

Consider embarking on a cruise adventure from Miami to explore the stunning destinations of the Caribbean, the Bahamas, or even Central and South America.

Cruises are great options for adult-only excursions but more and more are catering to families.

Many cruise lines, including Disney Cruise Line, even have stops at their own private islands. 


Pre- And Post-Cruise Activities

When our family cruises, we love to cruise out of Miami. 

This gives us a great excuse to extend our trip and get a Miami experience by planning pre- or post-cruise activities. 

You can easily explore the city’s attractions, enjoy a beach day, or indulge in shopping at vibrant districts like Brickell City Centre and Lincoln Road Mall.

Additionally, visit popular landmarks such as the iconic Art Deco Historic District in South Beach or the historic Vizcaya Museum and Miami Botanical Gardens.

To make it more fun, stop by at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum just nearby at the Zoo Miami.



Free & cheap things to do in Miami

Conclusion: Free And Cheap Things To Do In Miami


As we conclude our guide to Miami, we hope you are inspired to explore this vibrant city and create a list of free and cheap things to do that make the most of your visit.

Miami offers a kaleidoscope of experiences, from strolling along the iconic South Beach, savoring authentic Cuban cuisine in Little Havana, admiring street art in the Wynwood Arts District, to immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. 

The city’s diverse neighborhoods, cultural attractions, and lively nightlife ensure there is never a dull moment.

And for those seeking an extraordinary adventure, embarking on a cruise from Miami opens up a world of possibilities.

So, whether you’re a sun seeker, a culture enthusiast, a foodie, or an adventurer, Miami invites you to discover its magic and create memories with these free and cheap things to do. 



Tina Tolbert is the owner of Hey Mickey Travel and a
Travel Agent helping hundreds of people book and plan their vacations
each year.  She has lots of family in Florida and vacations in the state
several times a year.



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