15 Best Things to Do in South Beach, Miami

South Beach, FL
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Why go to South Beach, Florida, instead of the other beaches in America?

Its gorgeous ocean views and sandy shores near downtown will entertain you without leaving the convenience of city establishments and commercial businesses.

Found in the southern part of Miami Beach, this neighborhood houses residential areas, businesses, and lots of exciting destinations to explore.

But South Beach wasn’t a well-visited tourist destination in the past.

It was a coconut farm in 1870 before businesspeople came into the area and began investing in oceanfront development.

South Beach has become a powerhouse destination, especially in the summer, as tourists flock to its famous beaches, vibrant nightlife, modern museums, and architectural masterpieces.

Discover the 15 best things to do in South Beach, FL.

Get a Glimpse of Ocean Drive

Sunset over Ocean Drive
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If you’re traveling to see remarkable sights, you shouldn’t sleep on Ocean Drive.

Beginning from South Pointe Drive, this road strip is celebrated for its incredible view, especially at night.

You’ll see the moment when bright, vibrant lights attached to buildings turn on to create a stunning mirage of colorful lights and busy cars passing by.

Night scene at Ocean Drive
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The buildings along this road are also renowned for their Art Deco styles, featuring hard-edged designs and metal accents.

Ocean Drive is a famous location that has already appeared in popular media such as Scarface and Dexter.

Your visit to South Beach will be incomplete without a drive down this legendary road, so check it out.

Neon lights of Ocean Drive buildings
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See a Show at the New World Center

Exterior of New World Center
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On its own, the New World Center is a postmodern-style architectural masterpiece by world-famous architect Frank Gehry.

Combined with high-tech visual and audio equipment, intimate seating, and talented musicians, the New World Center evolves into a premium musical experience.

A music concert at New World Center
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Opened in 2011, this concert hall sometimes offers free films and public showings, which reportedly led to a better sense of local community among residents.

If you’d like to hear top performances from talented musicians, the New World Center is a great place to start.

You’ll find this concert hall north of Lincoln Road, so check it out!

People watching a show at New World Center
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Play Sports at Flamingo Park

Concrete grounds of Flamingo Park
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In the middle of South Beach, you’ll find Flamingo Park, where you can spend your whole day playing recreational sports at their facilities.

From their swimming pool, tennis field, and basketball court to a baseball stadium, soccer field, and even a place for dogs, Flamingo Park has space for popular athletic and recreational activities.

The field of Flamingo Park
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It’s perfect for anyone looking to let out their playful side since most of the places in this park encourages you to try a sport.

Their facilities are well-maintained with friendly staff, so you have no reason to skip it.

A paved pathway at Flamingo Park
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Check Out the World Erotic Art Museum

Name sign of World Erotic Art Museum
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This museum, situated along Washington Avenue, has a unique central theme—fine erotic art.

This unusual theme has made it one of the most exciting museums in the state and the only woman-founded museum that focuses on erotica.

Naomi Wilzig established the museum in 2005.

Entrance doors of World Erotic Art Museum
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She wanted to share her collection with the public, a product of her cultural interest and curiosity.

Despite following a single theme, the works in this museum come in diverse mediums and come from a range of well-known artists and rising stars.

You can browse Wilzig’s massive collection of over 400 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and more.

Give it a chance, and you might learn something new!

Admire the Art in the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Exterior of Jewish Museum of Florida
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Established in 1995, this museum puts the spotlight on all things Jewish with themes involving Jewish history, culture, and traditions.

You could trace the settlement of the Jewish people in the area back to 1763.

They nourished and developed their identity as a united community.

Their exhibits teach guests how the Jewish community influenced Florida and how the city influenced them.

Explore over 100,000 pieces of art and artifacts, ranging from photos, oral recordings, religious objects, old books, textiles, etc.

Visit this museum nestled along Washington Avenue, and learn more about the Jewish community.

Visit the Art Deco Museum and Welcome Center

View of Art Deco Museum from across the road
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The Art Deco Welcome Center is an impressive piece of 20th-century architecture.

Located along Ocean Drive, the Miami Design Preservation League developed this place to complement their Historic District, which features a line of iconic buildings in the neighborhood.

You can learn about three specific styles from the 20th century: Art Deco, Mediterranean, and Miami Modern.

Exterior of Art Deco Museum
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It’s a go-to location for architectural enthusiasts and those who want to look at unique buildings.

Read self-guided brochures to give you a better understanding of the buildings.

They also have a gift shop where you can purchase vintage items, Art Deco-related memorabilia, and other souvenirs.

Don’t miss this architectural gem!

Relax at Nikki Beach Miami

Night scene at Nikki Beach Miami
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Nikki Beach Miami is one of the best spots in South Beach.

With chic decor, seaside location, and quintessential palm trees, Nikki Beach Miami presents itself as a tropical oasis.

Feel the soft, fine sand at your feet and smell the fresh air as you dine on one of their classic wooden tables under a large parasol.

During the day, its vibe will lean toward leisure and relaxation, while at night, the beach transforms into party central with DJs and classic lighting.

If you want to experience South Beach at its finest, head to Nikki Beach.

Take Pictures in South Pointe Park

View from South Pointe Park's pier
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The South Pointe Park is a spacious urban park where you can roam around with a calming, panoramic view of the beach and the ocean.

The park was once a stable for police horses, but the development of urban buildings forced the government to turn it into a public park in 1984.

Besides the beach, you can visit the South Pointe Park Lighthouse.

The unique South Pointe Park lighthouse
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It's a fresh, unique, and modern take on the traditional lighthouse.

There are also nearby restaurants, dessert concessions, and a dog park.

Visit the South Pointe Park, located on Washington Avenue, for a calm day of leisure and relaxation.

Scenic sunset from South Pointe Park
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Explore the Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Entrance gate of Miami Beach Botanical Garden
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Expect a wide assortment of beautiful plants and flora inside the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

Home to over 100 species of plants, flowers, and greenery, this garden offers an endless parade of pleasing sights and aesthetic backdrops.

Colorful chairs under Miami Beach Botanical Garden's palm trees
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Besides its vibrant verdure, Miami Beach Botanical Garden also houses stunning fountains, ponds, and a few of Miami’s wildlife.

You can bring home a piece of the garden because they sell an array of native plants, flowers, succulents, and many others in their garden center.

If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry because they also sell products that don’t need nurturing, such as jewelry, totes, t-shirts, and other souvenirs that will remind you of this lush garden.

A wooden bench overlooking Miami Beach Botanical Garden's pond
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Feel the Vibes at Mango’s Tropical Cafe

Sign of Mango’s Tropical Cafe
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Mango’s Tropical Cafe is one of the iconic nightlife spots in South Beach, Florida.

Feast on their delicious tropical-themed menu while watching live entertainment amid vibrant, flashing lights and decorations.

Exterior of Mango’s Tropical Cafe
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Their performances vary from live bands and dance performances to intriguing magic shows.

You can also partake in salsa lessons and dance parties if you get lucky!

Expect a fun-filled night out in Mango’s Tropical Cafe, situated along Ocean Drive.

Roam the Bass Museum of Art

Exterior of Bass Museum of Art
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South Beach is home to many unique museums, such as the Bass along Collins Avenue.

Built in 1964, the Bass came from the private collection of John and Johanna Bass, from whom the museum gets its name.

It features a collection of contemporary art, as seen from the artwork on display and even within the museum’s design and decoration.

The exhibits here are in the contemporary style, which often aims to make the audience think and reflect instead of focusing on the artwork's technique and beauty.

Some examples are the giant light bulb installation art, a white room with pink gloves, and various types of live performance art.

Ride a Boat with Miami Boat Charters

Cruising the waters of Miami
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A trip to South Beach would not be complete without an engaging cruise tour around Miami.

Climb aboard their yachts and discover life beyond the beach into the water territories of Miami, from marine wildlife and ocean waves to nearby islands and famous hotspots.

You can choose from various tour options, such as four-hour or eight-hour day tours.

Otherwise, you can splurge on the more expensive, luxurious experiences.

Either way, you will get a chance to ride one of their boats and experience another side of South Beach and Miami.

This place is along Alton Road, on the left side of South Beach.

Watch a Game at Abe Holtz Stadium

Aerial view of Abel holtz stadium
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Abe Holtz Stadium, located next to Flamingo Park, is an enclosed, public track and field where guests can freely run and exercise to finish their daily dose of necessary workouts.

There’s plenty of space in their track and fields!

It’s also constantly well-lit with well-maintained toilets and friendly staff.

You could also watch your favorite team from the bleachers.

Even on vacation, don't forget your workout routine!

Head to the Abe Holtz Stadium and burn some of your unspent energy.

Take a Walk along Espanola Way

Night scene at Espanola Way
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Developed in the 1920s, the Espanola Way is a historic street filled with romantic ambiance as lights twinkle overhead, lighting up quirky restaurants, local shops, and sometimes, live performances.

The buildings in this narrow street resemble three styles: Mediterranean, Spanish, and French.

It’s a beautiful place to walk through, and with shops closely lined up on both sidewalks, you can choose firsthand which restaurant best fits your taste and current mood.

Welcome sign of Espanola Way
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There’s also a variety of cuisine on the streets, from Spanish and Mediterranean to Italian, Japanese, and Vietnamese types of food.

Strolling through Espanola Way is a wonder that you shouldn’t miss.

Head to 5th Street, near Sugar Factory Express, to find this golden street!

Tourists walking along Espanola Way
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Test the Waters at BouYah Watersports

Head to BouYah Watersports and try their diverse offers for a more explosive, fun activity.

They have all the makings of a thrilling, water-focused adventure in South Beach.

From kayaks, paddleboards, and banana boats to parasailing and guided jet skis, BouYah Watersports can give you that heart-pumping adrenaline rush.

Don’t worry about safety because their agency guarantees top-quality equipment, clean records, and friendly, professional staff.

Head to Alton Road, Pier A, to experience their exciting ventures.

Final Thoughts

South Beach boasts a superb blend of modernity and an island where you can see the contrast of pristine beaches with cool, towering buildings.

Whether you want to relax or have an exciting time, South Beach has attractions that can cater to your next mood.

There are plenty of options to try in South Beach, Florida, from scenic beaches, historical hotspots and unique museums to lively nightlife and water activities.