Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Downtown Miami, FL

  • Published 2023/03/14

Downtown Miami is where culture and history meet industry and entertainment.

You’ll find great joy in the bustling business district, with historical landmarks, museums, and art centers that helped shape downtown’s heritage.

One of the many reasons people flock to the area is its impressive views of Miami’s skyline.

It’s also where you’ll see a collection of historical monuments and landmarks that commemorate significant events in American history.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the best things to do in Downtown Miami, FL:

Explore the Perez Art Museum

Exterior of Perez Art Museum

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Discover a vast collection of modern, contemporary, and international art highlighting the city of Miami at the Perez Art Museum.

Tour the museum halls and look at permanent collections, exhibitions, outdoor spaces, sculptures, and architectural elements.

Interior of Perez Art Museum

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Visit the Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer Sculpture Garden and enjoy life-sized art from renowned artists like Anthony Caro, Edgar Negret, Jedd Novatt, and more.

Check out sculptures from George Segel’s collection, Abraham’s Farewell to Ishmael (1987), on display for the first time since its restoration.

You can also view the “Marisol and Warhol Take New York” exhibit, featuring early artistic practices between 1960 and 1968.

Aerial view of Perez Art Museum

Felix Mizioznikov /

Visit the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Aerial view of Patricia Frost Museum of Science

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Spanning 250,000 square feet, the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science takes guests on an educational journey from the human cell to outer space.

Explore the campus-like setting and go on an unforgettable journey to learn about the process of science and innovation.

Swing by the Miami Aquarium and explore three levels of South Florida’s aquatic ecosystems and beyond.

Shark tank in Patricia Frost Museum of Science

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Take a trip through the watery worlds of South Florida, marvel at the sight of mangrove forests and coral reefs, and get face-to-face with hundreds of animals.

Next, swing by the 250-seat Planetarium and go on an exciting visual joyride under the dome screen, with 16-million color projection and surround sound.

Hurtle through space, weave through the coral reef, explore the inner workings of a DNA strand, and get the whole ultra-real immersive experience.

Exhibit in Patricia Frost Museum of Science

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Swing by the Bayside Marketplace

Bright lights of Bayside Marketplace during the night

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If there’s one place in Downtown Miami to enjoy good food and shop, it’s the Bayside Marketplace.

Enjoy a slice of pizza or a gelato cup as you stroll around the marketplace.

Swing by restaurant favorites like Five Guys, Hard Rock Cafe, Chili’s, etc.

Hard rock cafe at Bayside Marketplace

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You’ll also find dozens of shops lining the Bayside Marketplace, such as Skechers, Victoria’s Secret, and Foot Locker.

There are also services like water tours from Miami Aqua Tours, South Florida Travel and Tours, and Thomas Flyer Fishing for those looking to explore South Florida’s waterways.

Night scene at Bayside Marketplace

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Hang Out at Bayfront Park

Aerial view of Bayfront Park

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Built in 1986 with only a single pavilion and green space, Bayfront Park is Greater Miami’s first public gathering space.

Today, you can explore many fun outdoor activities in the park.

Check out several infrastructures and monuments that shaped Bayfront Park’s image.

People sitting on benches overlooking the waters at Bayfront Park

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Take a good look at Biscayne Bay as you enjoy the fresh air, or walk around the tropical garden and check out the waterfall from 1926.

Take a picture of famous monuments like the Challenger Memorial, Light Tower, and Slide Mantra.

The renowned 20th-century sculptor Isamu Noguchi created all of these monuments.

Bayfront Park is also a popular place to catch live music and other events, particularly at the FPL Solar Amphitheater and the Tina Hills Pavilion.

Learn about Miami’s History and Cultural Heritage at HistoryMiami Museum

Exterior of HistoryMiami Museum

Pietro, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Miami’s humble beginnings through exhibits and educational tours at HistoryMiami Museum.

Explore over 37,000 three-dimensional artifacts dating back the prehistoric times up to the 20th century.

Check out the museum’s permanent exhibit, Tropical Dreams: A People’s History of South Florida, and unravel 10,000 years of South Florida history.

Swing by the Whitman Family Gallery and discover the story of the Whitmans.

The grounds of HistoryMiami Museum

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They were a pioneering Miami Beach family who contributed to the city’s marine recreation, horticulture, and commercial real estate ventures.

Experience an interactive exhibit at the History and Ourselves show.

Discover artifacts and archival items like a Cuban refugee raft, a Seminole dugout canoe, and a rare Spitz Projector.

The museum also hosts dozens of temporary exhibits, giving guests something new every visit.

Travel Back in Time at Dino Safari

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime at Dino Safari and experience living in Jurassic World.

Get up close and personal with over 20 giant moving dinosaurs during your walk-through expedition.

Watch out for earthquakes and battling dinosaurs throughout the tour.

If you think that’s all there is to it, wait until you need to save a baby dinosaur during the trip!

You’ll also learn about the evolution of dinosaurs, their habitats, and their behaviors.

Check out fossils, interactive games, cutting-edge research, and varieties of advanced animatronic dinosaurs.

Check Out the Freedom Tower

Exterior of Miami's Freedom Tower

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Beef up your Instagram game by checking out Miami’s Freedom Tower.

Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the Freedom Tower is arguably the best spot to catch scenic views of the Miami Skyline.

Inside the tower, you’ll find several community offices belonging to the Miami Book Fair, Museum of Art and Design, MDC Liver Arts, and more.

The top part of the Freedom Tower

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The tower also houses one of Miami’s oldest news publications.

It’s a cultural symbol of the city’s goal of urbanization.

Besides great views, tourists also feel a sense of freedom as they walk on the tower grounds, thanks to the building’s symbolism and impeccable architecture.

Relax at Maurice A. Ferre Park

View of Miami buildings from Maurice A. Ferre Park

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Miami is riddled with recreational parks, but if you’re looking to sit back and relax, go to Maurice A. Ferre Park.

Take a stroll or jog around the 21-acre public urban area, or enjoy other fun outdoor activities.

As you walk along the longest waterfront baywalk in Miami, you’ll see a slew of public museums to draw your eye.

Visit the Plaza of the Spanish Navy and stop by the monument honoring the Spanish expedition that arrived in the Americas in 1492.

You can also visit other landmarks near the park, such as the American Airlines Arena, Bayside Marketplace, and the Perez Art Museum.

Walk around the Underline

Name sign of the Underline

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When you’re at the Underline on 1st Avenue, you’ll do anything but sit around.

The ten-mile Underline features a River Room that connects to the Miami River Greenway.

Walk on the native grass and check out the pollinator plants as you stroll around with your furry friends.

A person walking along the Underline

Johnny Michael /

Play a half-court basketball game or mini-pitch soccer at the Urban Gym, which also features a running track and fitness equipment.

Gather your friends at the Promenade for snacks and a round of board games.

You can also check out the Oolite Room if you’re looking for a meditative space to relax and free your mind.

It also features a natural stone canyon from Miami’s Rock Ridge and four butterfly gardens.

Basketball area at the Underline

Johnny Michael /

Strike a Pose at the Social Hub

Strike a pose at the Social Hub and take hundreds of Instagrammable photos you’ll never forget.

Explore the 3,500-square foot multi-use photo studio and content creation lab in Brickell City Center.

The Social Hub is Miami’s go-to spot for professional photoshoots, music video shoots, and TikTok transitions.

All studios come equipped with staged settings, props, and LED ring lights to make your experience hassle-free and enjoyable.

The Social Hub also has dressing rooms perfect for your outfit changes while creating the best content for your feed.

Look for the Miami Circle National Historic Landmark

Daytime view of Miami Circle National Historic Landmark

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Located at the mouth of the Miami River is the Miami Circle Historic Landmark, discovered in 1998.

After excavating a construction site of two high-rise buildings, the archaeologist Dr. Robert S. Carr discovered the circle, which also led to black earth midden deposits.

History plaque of Miami Circle National Historic Landmark

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also included in the discovery were artifacts from the Glades culture and Tequesta in the forms of shell, stone, bone, and pottery.

It was later revealed that the artifacts belonged to a perfect circle with a diameter of 36 feet.

They also discovered 24 more holes during the excavation, all perfect circles.

Watch the Changing Colors of the Miami Tower

The colorful lights of the Miami Tower

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Anyone who’s ever been to Miami will tell you to catch the Miami Tower light up at night.

The iconic tower is famous on the Miami skyline for its lighting scheme that changes color, using hundreds of large 1000W metal halide fixtures.

Sometime after construction, they changed the tower’s light source to LED lights, allowing the building to produce light shows.

The 47-story office building is also home to some of the city’s most influential firms.

Check out the tower’s Sky Lobby Terrace on the 11th floor, with an al fresco dining area, reflection pool, and panoramic views of Downtown Miami.

Ride the Skyviews Miami Wheel

Daytime view of Skyviews Miami Wheel

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Board the Skyviews Miami Wheel and get unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park, and Downtown Miami.

Book one of 42 climate-controlled gondolas and enjoy a quiet ride on the Ferris wheel while taking photos to commemorate your trip.

Close view of the Skyviews Miami Wheel


The tickets also come with a bonus of buzz booth selfie photos.

If you want to take your Ferris wheel experience to the next level, book a first-class VIP luxury Gondola.

Enjoy the view in style with leather Ferrari-style bucket seats and a glass-bottom floor.

Aerial view of Skyviews Miami Wheel at night

Felix Mizioznikov /

Discover Your Love for the Arts with Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Since 2017, Van Gogh’s exhibit has toured the globe.

You can find it in Downtown Miami.

Step into a painting in the Immersive Room, and marvel at a 20,000-square-foot light and sound spectacular with two-story projections of Van Gogh’s iconic works.

The VR Experience lets you walk alongside Van Gogh while embarking on a journey to the inspirations behind his works like Vincent’s Bedroom and Starry Night Over the Rhone.

Know more about Vincent Van Gogh with cutting-edge technology and exquisite storytelling.

You can even make your own paintings, hang them up, and experience what it’s like to be Van Gogh for a day.

Snap a Photo of the Torch of Friendship

Aerial view of the Torch of Friendship

Felix Mizioznikov /

Downtown Miami is filled with Instagram-worthy places, one of which is the Torch of Friendship.

Built in 1960, the monument honors the immigrants traveling from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Front view of the Torch of Friendship

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The torch signifies the city’s enduring friendship with Latin America.

You’ll notice the monument’s most intricate details as you get close, like the stone-plated pillar and the burning torch holding the Great Seal of the United States.

The pillar includes a curved wall with a rededication of the monument in honor of John F. Kennedy.

Watch a Heat Game at the Miami-Dade Arena

Exterior of the Miami-Dade Arena

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Located in the heart of downtown Miami, the Miami-Dade Arena is a premier venue that attracts sports and entertainment enthusiasts worldwide.

The arena is home to the NBA’s Miami Heat while also being a regular host to various concerts, shows, and other events throughout the year.

With a seating capacity of over 19,600, it’s no surprise that the arena is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Its state-of-the-art facilities are designed to provide an unparalleled experience for visitors, from comfortable seating to high-quality sound systems.

Aerial view of the Miami-Dade Arena

Felix Mizioznikov /

Catching a game or concert here is an unforgettable experience you won’t want to miss.

The arena is a great destination, especially when you watch a Heat game, as the atmosphere is like no other. Miami Heat fans are passionate about their team, creating an electrifying atmosphere that will make you feel part of the action.

So whether you’re a die-hard basketball fan or simply looking for fun entertainment in Miami, check out the Miami-Dade Arena.

Witness the Breathtaking Views at Miami River Greenway

The trail of Miami River Greenway

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For those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Miami while getting some exercise, the Miami River Greenway is the perfect destination.

This scenic pedestrian and bike path runs along the Miami River for 32 miles, providing great views of the city skyline and surrounding waterways.

You can go walking, jogging, or cycling on the greenway, all while getting a peaceful respite right in the middle of the city.

It’s also a great way to explore downtown Miami while considering its natural surroundings.

Along the trail, visitors will find plenty of places to stop and rest and several opportunities for photography and sightseeing.

Watch a Live Performance at the James L. Knight Center

Aerial view of the James L. Knight Center

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Located in the heart of downtown Miami, the James L. Knight Center is a world-class performing arts venue that provides elegance and exceptional acoustics.

This premier center is renowned for its stunning design; it hosts various events, including concerts, theatrical productions, and other yearly performances.

The center is a popular destination for people looking to experience unforgettable performances in an intimate setting.

Interior of the James L. Knight Center

Gpaz0827, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The center features high-tech facilities to enhance the audience’s experience while providing performers with everything they need to deliver outstanding shows.

With its prime location and reputation for excellence, the James L. Knight Center is a can’t-miss destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Miami’s vibrant arts scene.

So whether you’re interested in classical music or contemporary theater, check out this iconic Miami institution.

Watch Retro Films at Nite Owl Theater

Step back in time and experience the magic of cinema at the Nite Owl Theater, a one-of-a-kind movie theater that will delight film enthusiasts of all ages.

This retro-style theater boasts a unique atmosphere and features a mix of classic films, cult favorites, and other cinematic gems that will entice history buffs and people who love to watch classic flicks.

Whether you’re looking for an evening of nostalgia or simply want to enjoy a good movie in a unique setting, the Nite Owl Theater is the perfect destination.

With its vintage vibe, this theater has become a beloved institution among locals and visitors.

Of course, you can also watch the latest blockbusters and enjoy a range of snacks to make your movie-watching experience even more enjoyable.

So go ahead—step into the past and experience the magic of cinema at the Nite Owl Theater.

Enjoy the Scenery at Fort Dallas Park

Immerse yourself in Miami’s fascinating history at Fort Dallas Park, a beautiful and historic park in downtown Miami.

Dating back to 1897, this park is home to the remains of an old military fort that played an essential role in shaping the city’s development.

Today, visitors can explore the fort’s ruins and other historic structures and landmarks that offer a glimpse into Miami’s past.

The park also boasts stunning views of the beautiful Biscayne Bay, making it a popular destination for picnics, walks, and other outdoor activities.

Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for a peaceful spot to relax and soak up some sun, Fort Dallas Park is the perfect destination.

With its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, this park truly has something for everyone.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to do in Downtown Miami, and a few days’ vacation won’t cut it.

You’ll want to stay longer than that to experience everything to do, see, eat, and drink in Downtown Miami.

Let the adventure begin, and book your trip today!

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