If you are cruising out of Miami, you might be planning a pre-cruise or post cruise hotel stay in the area. With so much to do and see in this most popular cruise port in the world, we have put together our list of the Best Things to Do in Miami on a Cruise to help you make the most of your time.
Best Things to Do in Miami on a Cruise
Visit the Downtown Area
With amazing skyline views and ocean vistas, you will certainly want to explore Miami. For free, you can hop on the Metromover to explore Downtown. During your travels, making sure to check out the Freedom Tower, the most iconic landmark in Downtown Miami. You also won’t want to miss the American Airlines Arena and the Bayside Marketplace. Located on Biscayne Bay, the Bayside Marketplace offers shopping, international cuisine, and local performers. The adjacent Bayfront Park is a nice spot to relax as well.
If you have the time, a visit to the Perez Art Museum is well worth it. This is arguably the best contemporary art museum in South Florida. There is also the family-friendly Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which features an aquarium and a planetarium. Both of these museums are located in the Maurice A. Ferré Park.
Further, the neighboring Brickell District can be reached via a short walk over the bridge. This modern and trendy area features upscale dining, shopping, and one of our favorite hotels, EAST Miami.
While there is plenty to do in the Downtown area, a trip to this historic and culturally diverse city would not be complete without exploring a bit more.
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Immerse Yourself in the Culture of Little Havana
Since we can no longer cruise to Cuba from Miami, why not experience the uniquely Cuban culture of Little Havana. This Miami neighborhood is home to many Cuban immigrants. A stroll down Calle Ocho will give you some insight into the culture and traditions of its inhabitants.
The Cuban coffee, the cigar rollers, the elders playing dominoes, Latin beats, and authentic eats are just some of the sights and sounds you will encounter while visiting Little Havana. Get transported to another time and place.
While in the neighborhood, check out the Walk of Fame (featuring celebrities like Gloria Estefan) and Domino Park. Also, don’t miss the Tower Theater which is one of Miami’s oldest cultural landmarks. If you want to indulge in some authentic cuisine, you might want to take a food tour that allows you to sample some of the best local flavors.
Related Post: Top Things to Do in Havana, Cuba
View the Beauty of Coral Gables
Tree-lined streets, magnificent fountains, and stunning architecture give Coral Gables the nickname “The City Beautiful”. This pedestrian friendly neighborhood of Miami is home to Miracle Mile. This shopper’s paradise features high end retail stores, art galleries, world renowned restaurants, and much more.
If that isn’t enough, Coral Gables is also home to the Biltmore Hotel, home of the GableStage live theater, and many other luxury residences.
Further, you might want to take a dip in the Venetian Pool during your visit to Coral Gables. Originally opened in 1924, the Pool is now a historic landmark featuring stone bridges, waterfalls, grottos, and lookouts. This oasis was once the hangout spot for the rich and famous and remains open to this day for all to enjoy.
Explore the History of Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove is the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood of Miami. This neighborhood offers a relaxed vibe and picturesque views of Biscayne Bay. The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, former estate of businessman James Deering, is a tranquil retreat filled with history and art that is a must see during your visit to Miami.
This early 20th century estate is steeped in history, unique architecture, and elegant gardens to explore at your leisure or with a guide. During your visit to this once private residence, you can view the main house to marvel at the diverse collections representing many cultures and periods of art.
The gardens are another true work of art. The landscape design, subtropical plants, and architectural masterpieces make these gardens one of the most elaborate in the United States.
While in Coconut Grove, you might want to head to Coco Walk as well, another shopper’s paradise. This tranquil area of Coconut Grove houses high end boutiques, along with plenty of dining and entertainment options.
Related Post: 5 Reasons to Visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Experience the Wynwood Art District
Wynwood, a trendy up and coming area just north of Downtown Miami, is home to one of the largest street art collections in the world. With over 70 art galleries and eclectic shops and bars, this once largely industrial area has been turned into a street museum canvasing the works of artists.
Most famous in this Miami neighborhood are the Wynwood Walls, a giant set of outdoor murals. Began in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman, the Wynwood Walls are a commitment to graffiti and street art which he believed to be an under appreciated form of art. Experiencing these vibrant masterpieces is must when visiting Miami.
Go Wild for Wildlife
Everglades National Park, located about an hour away from Miami, is a vast ecosystem with an abundance of wildlife. Get up close and personal with some alligators in an exhilarating airboat ride through these rivers of grass with a guided narration. This makes for the perfect post cruise excursion for those looking to kill some time before heading back to the airport.
Jungle Island is also another popular wildlife attraction in Miami. From tortoises and penguins to kangaroos and orangutans, there are plenty of animal exhibits for the whole family to enjoy. Not to mention, there are entertaining animal shows and Miami’s only private beach exclusively for the use of park guests.
Other wildlife attractions in the area include the Miami Zoo, the Miami Seaquarium, and the Monkey Jungle. With so many options, exploring the wild side of Miami makes our list of the best things to do in Miami on a cruise.
Related Post: Cruise Planning Guide
Spend the Day and Night in South Beach
South Beach, often referred to as SoBe, is the most happening neighborhood in Miami Beach both day and night. With beautiful beaches, Art Deco architecture, high end shopping, fine dining, and nightclubs, there is something for everyone in South Beach.
While visiting, you will want to capture the beauty of Ocean Drive, the amazing beaches, and the unique retro lifeguard stands. You can also stop by South Pointe Park for beautiful ocean vistas and great views of the cruise ships.
Whether you want to shop, grab a bite to eat, or simply people watch, you will want to check out Lincoln Road while in South Beach as well. If you are into architecture, perhaps you might want to take an Art Deco Walking Tour.
Whatever you choose to do while in South Beach, you are sure to have a great time. And, be sure to keep an eye out for celebrity sightings!
For easy access to all of these sites and more, consider Big Bus Miami for hop on hop off transportation throughout the city. Complete with narration, 20+ stops, and luggage storage service after a cruise, this bus tour is a great way to see all the Miami sites in a limited amount of time.
Have you visited any of these Miami landmarks? What are your best things to do in Miami on a cruise? Drop us an anchor below to share your perfect pre-cruise or post cruise day in this city.