15 Best Things to Do in North Miami Beach

North Beach, Miami Beach
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If you can’t find North Beach, Miami Beach, in the dictionary as a synonym for leisure, then it might as well be listed there.

This chill residential neighborhood in Miami Beach runs from 60th street uptown to Surfside.

Along the way, you’ll find buildings styled in eye-catching Miami Modernism (MiMo) architecture.

Head down to the beach and see unspoiled sand and the sea.

It’s quite a surprise to see only a handful of people on a Miami beach, but North Beach is full of surprises.

You’ll find several world-class destinations in North Beach, from the North Beach Oceanside Park, the Normandy Shores Golf Club, to the North Beach Bandshell.

Otherwise, you can simply content yourself with a stroll along North Beach’s winding streets, occasionally stooping to admire the striking design of the MiMo buildings.

Do you want to know more about North Beach, Miami?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Revisit European History at the Ancient Spanish Monastery

Inside the halls of the ancient spanish monastery.
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Tucked in North Beach is this magnificent piece of European history and medieval architecture, the Ancient Spanish Monastery.

This landmark has become one of Florida’s famous Heritage sites, amassing a long and enduring history before turning into one of South Florida’s foremost monuments.

Construction of the monastery began in 1133 AD in Sacramenia, a municipality in Segovia in northern Spain.

The building took eight years to finish.

Exterior of the ancient spanish monastery with trees and plants surrounding it.
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This span places the monastery's origins nearly 360 years before Columbus embarked for the New World.

The builders used more than 35,000 stones to construct the monastery, with many of these stones weighing a ton and a half.

Its cloister is also the oldest building in the western hemisphere.

Entrance archway of the ancient spanish monastery.
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In 1925, the tycoon William Randolph Hearst bought the monastery, planning to move it to the United States.

It took him a long time to complete the process.

Today, the monastery is a perfect wedding destination.

It’s also great for special events like quinces, proms, first communions, and family reunions.

Shop ‘til You Drop at the Aventura Mall

Exterior of the aventura mall building with cars parked on the front parking lot.
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You might not expect a mall to be a premier vacation destination, but the third-largest shopping mall in America might change your mind.

The newly renovated Aventura Mall in North Beach is home to top-shelf stores like Bloomingdales, Fendi, Prada, Chanel, Adidas, and more.

Open area inside the aventura mall with trees surrounding it.
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If you want to eat, then you can have your pick of various big-name restaurants, such as Tap 42, Le Pain Quotidien, Pubbelly Sushi, and Genuine Pizza, among others.

The Aventura Mall also features a free slide that’s open to anyone at least 44 inches tall.

You’ll just have to climb a nine-story flight of stairs to reach the summit of the slide, take a deep breath, and then just take the 15-second high-speed plunge.

Dangling lights from the roof inside the aventura mall.
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Get Pampered at the Carillion Miami Wellness Resort Spa

This vast facility is Miami Beach’s largest wellness center.

If you want to receive maximum pampering, this is the place for you.

The Spa promises a full array of relaxing treatment experiences.

For example, the full pampering set lists a steam room, a Jacuzzi, and a Finnish sauna, among its many features.

You can even climb to the rooftop to take a dip in the pool there.

It’s easy to lose track of time and spend an entire day here.

The spa also offers conventional treatment options such as massages, facials, and body treatments.

Otherwise, you can opt for their selection of Asian-inspired healing and medicinal practices.

Take Selfies at the Fulford-by-the-Sea Monument

Entrance to the Fulford-by-the-Sea Monument during the day.
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1925, the Fulford-by-the-Sea Company built this historic fountain in North Beach, Miami.

This monument was one of the largest fountains built in South Florida during the 1920s, and it was supposed to be only one of four.

Originally, the company wanted to build three more fountains at other access points, but nature and the economy intervened.

Arch entrance of the Fulford-by-the-Sea monument and its white colored walls.
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1926, the Great Miami Hurricane struck, coinciding with the end of the Florida land boom, forcing the company to cancel their plans.

Today, the fountain has become a Dade Historical Site, and you can see its image on the city logo of North Miami Beach.

The National Register of Historic Places listed the fountain in 2010, under the name Fulford by the Sea Monument.

Why not cap off your visit to North Beach with groupfies by the fountain?

Fluford-by-the-sea monument name plate with the rededication date.
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Practice Your Swing at the Normandy Shores Golf Club

There’s nothing like swinging a hole-in-one under the Miami sun.

If you want to get that rush, head over to the Normandy Shores Golf Club, whose packages and golf courses should challenge your skills amid the serenity of nature.

You’re missing out if you haven’t played here yet.

The golf course and clubhouse date back to 1941, making them true pieces of history, too.

Moreover, some of the world’s most famous golfers played here, including Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, and Peter Thompson.

Why miss the chance to stand on the same green as these legends of the sport?

Take a Walk along the Oleta River State Park

Trees framing the entrance of oleta river state park.
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The 1,043-acre Oleta River State Park sits on Biscayne Bay, enticing amateur explorers and nature-lovers who want to spend the day biking, kayaking, or paddle-boarding.

With all the nature around, you might feel that you’re far away from civilization, but it’s actually right behind you.

An empty boat parked near the river of oleta state park.
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Leave behind the hassle of ordinary life by taking a short walk to this Florida State Park.

You can explore the mangroves, take a swim, or enjoy a nice picnic with your family.

The Oleta River State Park is open year-round, from 8 a.m. to sundown.

You can even rent onsite cabins.

Empty grounds of the oleta river state park, on a sunny day.
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Visit a Classic Miami Beach Tiki Bar at Shuckers

You can find Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill on the 79th Street Causeway in North Bay Village.

If you want to see what a vintage Miami Beach tiki bar looks like, then you won’t go wrong at Shuckers.

You’ll feel like you’ve taken a trip to the far tropics after setting foot on the dockside restaurant.

Likewise, you’ll get zapped with the lively energy emanating from the crowd inside.

The place offers pitchers of ice-cold beer and tasty food like fried fish sandwiches and key lime pie.

It’s a hidden gem in North Beach, which already has a lot of those.

Enjoy Live Music at the North Beach Bandshell

Exterior of the north beach bandshell building with trees behind it.
Phillip Pessar from Miami, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This open-air amphitheater sits right beside the beach at the North Shore Historic District and hosts performances from famous international or local musicians.

It also stands near the Biscayne House of Refuge, the oldest structure in Miami Beach.

Since its construction in 1961, this MiMo-style theater has earned a reputation as a top gathering spot for the North Beach community.

Sign post of the north shore bandshell on clean cut grass.
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The venue has hosted performances from Diplo to Bambino and hosted music festivals like the GroundUp Music Festival.

In 2016, the Bandshell received the “Best Venue” Honor from the New Times Best of Miami.

It’s a terrific place, able to seat 1,350 people in general admission and 800 for reserved seats.

All it asks is you don’t bring outside food or drinks because they sell food in the bandshell property.

Grab Seaside Dinner at The Strand

All that traveling and pampering will make you work up an appetite.

When your stomach starts grumbling, duck inside The Strand Bar & Grill at the Carillon.

You’d want to sate your hunger by eating delicious meals inside this swanky dining room.

It also opens out to an outdoor area that sits high above the gently rolling ocean.

The terrific kitchen staff prepares a fresh and appetizing menu for your satisfaction.

During lunch, you can have your fit of savory seafood and meat dishes.

Likewise, the place cooks up a mean pasta that satisfies your appetite completely.

Explore the Outdoors at Greynolds Park

Empty greynolds park grounds with an american flag pole.
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Before Greynolds Park became a North Beach attraction, it once hosted a rock quarry.

The operators deeded the land to Dade County, and it became the third park to belong in the county park system.

It opened to the public in 1936.

One of this park’s main attractions are the limestone rock structures decorating the grounds.

A gray fox standing on green grass at greynolds park.
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The Civilian Conservation Corps built these structures during the Great Depression, while they also built many of the country’s famous national and state parks.

Go a short walk to reach East Greynolds Park, where you’ll find a fishing dock, canoe and kayak launch, and the dog park.

You can also go camping at Camp Greynolds, which features an overnight campground with cabins, a bathhouse, and a mess hall.

A sports net in the middle of the empty greynolds park.
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Sink Your Teeth into Buenos Aires Empanadas

Since a considerable Argentinean community lives in North Beach, you could expect to find various spots that offer prime Argentinean food.

For instance, if you ask a local where to find the best Spanish pastries in Miami, they’ll point you toward the Buenos Aires Bakery.

Visit the bakery in the morning and you’ll see an army of locals and tourists lining up to grab a box of these delicious pastries.

You can also go there during lunch to have a full meal, and then enjoy a hot cup of coffee before going somewhere else.

You may have to wait in line, but the wait is worth it.

See Masterpieces at the MOCA North Miami

Tall palm trees outside the MOCA building.
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you feel like standing around and admiring collections of great art, then you’ve come to the right place.

For over 40 years, North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has devoted itself to making masterpieces of contemporary art accessible to everyone.

Their staff also helps visitors learn about the historical influences that informed the creation of these masterworks.

During your visit, you’ll find permanent collections and rotating exhibitions.

If you visit on the last Friday of the month, you can also attend the museum’s Jazz&MOCA night, where you can “pay what you wish.”

Try Mouthwatering Italian Food at Café Prima Pasta

In 1993, the Cea family from Argentina opened a small 28-seat restaurant.

Today, this little restaurant has become a restaurant of local renown, having expanded into four busy dining rooms and serving scrumptious Italian cuisine as if you were family.

If you want the feeling of an NYC trattoria in North Beach, then get down here as soon as you can.

Sink your teeth into their starters that whet your appetite with bursts of flavor.

After that, their unforgettable homemade pasta will take over and leave you a satisfied diner.

Wash all of it down with fine Italian wines, of course.

Check Out Classic Cars at the Dezer Collection

A red car displayed inside the Dezer collection building.
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The Dezer Collection is the largest collection of eclectic transportation in the world.

If you were ever curious about the vehicles featured in Hollywood movies, then this collection should answer all your questions.

After all, this museum displays the automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, bikes, and classic cars used in Hollywood films.

Vintage cars display inside the Dezer collection building.
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For example, you can check out the cars in James Bond and Batman flicks.

Likewise, the museum also hosts the world’s largest Vespa collection in private hands.

During your visit, you’ll enter two buildings.

Building A displays classic cars, military vehicles, and motorcycles.

On the other hand, Building B features the supercars and Hollywood vehicles collection.

A wooden and red colored vintage car displayed inside the Dezer collections building.
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Spend the Day at the North Beach Oceanside Park

Aerial view of the beautiful northbeach oceanside park.
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A hidden oasis in the heart of North Beach is the Oceanside Park, located between 78th Street and 87th Street.

It’s a gem of a park, opening out to a swathe of unspoiled beach with all the room you need to relax and sunbathe while listening to the rhythmic crash of the waves.

This park is also terrific for group adventures or solo walks.

It’s one of the biggest parks in Miami Beach, making it a perfect venue for family reunions.

You’ll have plenty of picnic tables and grills where you can cook and enjoy lunch under the shade of old-growth sea grape trees.

For solo travelers, the winding paths and shaded areas offer a combination of activity and relaxation.

Likewise, the park also hosts outdoor fitness challenge courses, where you have to power workout stations scattered around the park.

Otherwise, simply read a book under the trees.

Final Thoughts

The state of Florida will never run out of beachside attractions and historical landmarks, and Miami’s North Beach is just one example.

Take your pick of the parks, beaches, and historical sites this neighborhood has to offer.

Go ahead.

Book your North Beach trip today!