After living in Miami for about 5 years and accepting a constant stream of out-of-town visitors, I have gotten very good at giving “Welcome to the 305” tours. I can no longer count on one hand how many times I’ve helped guests put together solid agendas for their trips, to make sure they see the best that Miami has to offer.
So to put this research to good use, I decided to finally write down these recommendations for all the internet to enjoy. Now that I think about it, it might also save me time later on when I have future friends coming to visit – now I can just share a link!
So, if you ask me what I would do in Miami over a long weekend, here are my recommendations for how to see the Best of Miami in 3 Days. In the comments, please also add in your ideas of what else could be included in the list.
How to see the Best of Miami in 3 Days:
- City Sightseeing Bus Tour: While a tour bus might not seem like the most “authentic” experience in Miami, I always recommend it to my out of town guests as a great intro to the city. The City Sightseeing bus picks up in a ton of locations and will take you around town to see all the highlights of the city. It’s a great way to get your bearings of the layout of the town, which is also helpful when you are driving around later! Add to that the awesome guides, who give fun tidbits about the city and it makes for an awesome first day! I recommend that you start on the first bus of the day, so you can hop off around lunch for some Cuban food and still make it through all of the loops in time for dinner!
- Peruvian Dinner at Lima in the Atton: I always recommend exploring Brickell in the evening since the day-time business traffic is a major pain. Most of my out-of-town guests have never had Peruvian before, so I always add it to the list and this new restaurant will defintely impress! They offer an amazing menu of Peruvian-infusion dishes and a spectacular list of Chilean wines – talk about an awesome first night in Miami!
- Drinks and Dancing at Ball & Chain: To dance off some of those calories from dinner and get a truly authentic night out in Little Havana, I recommend you head down the road to Ball & Chain on Calle Ocho. They have slightly different themes and drink specials each night of the week, but I can vouch for the fact that you will have an amazing time! I’ve gone for ladies night, karaoke, salsa lessons…and I’ve always had such a fun experience. If you are celebrating something special (even if its just your trip!), you should defintely order the Celebration Pineapple. Do it, you will be happy you did!
- Shopping, Bus Tour Part 2 or Beach Day: I’m not going to lie, the weather in Miami can be VERY unpredictable. For that reason, I always try and give some flexible options during the day in case we need a rain plan.
- Shopping: Miami is known for its amazing shopping! There are more malls than I can even name, so in case of rain, you can always head to your closest mall and do some major retail therapy! I recommend The Falls and Dolphin Mall.
- Bus Tour Part 2: If you aren’t sure about the weather, you can always opt for a 2nd day of the City Sightseeing bus tour (they sell the tickets with a 2-day option) so you can finish any of the routes you didn’t get to enjoy on day 1. They offer free ponchos in case it does start to rain and you can head downstairs to the covered portion while still getting to see the city.
- Beach Day: If you know the weather will be nice, head out to enjoy what Miami is best known for – our beaches! If you want the typical Miami experience, just ask your Uber driver to take you to South Beach, but if you want something more relaxed, then I recommend that you head to Key Biscayne. Make sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen!
- Barton G: In my opinion, this is THE Miami interactive dining experience. I’m not exaggerating when I say this will be a truly unforgettable evening and you will probably fill up all the memory you have left on your phone with all the photos you will be taking at Barton G. So as you are planning for your trip, make sure you keep things in mind:
- Make reservations in advance: Make sure you give them a call or visit OpenTable to make a reservation for your party!
- Come hungry: In order to get the full experience, you need to try all 3 courses: appetizers, entree, and dessert! I promise you will regret it if you don’t save room for dessert at the end of the meal, it is defintely my favor!
- Just for drinks too: Even if you just want to swing by for drinks (which are also photo-worthy!), Barton G has a fabulous bar that usually has some space if you want to sit and enjoy conversation and cocktails.
- Barú Brickell: After living in Miami for over 5 years and exploring my fair share of bars/dance clubs, I can say with total confidence that Barú Latin is a “must-go” place for a night of dancing and latin music. It is a perfect representation of the diverse and colorful nightlife in Miami. I have plenty more nice things to say about this place, which you can read about HERE.
- Visit the Vizcaya or Beach Day: Again, providing a few options that could be moved around depending on the day (or of the hour, since our weather changes insanely fast).
- Visit the Vizcaya: Created as James Deering’s subtropical winter home in the 1910s, the Vizcaya is now a National Historic Landmark and I will be a major highlight to your trip! The views of the water are spectacular and you can explore both inside the home as well as outside in the gardens.
- Beach Day: See what I wrote above, its the same 🙂
- Sunset Boat Ride with Tropical Sailing: In my humble opinion, this is THE best way to end on the last night of your visit to Miami. However, you really should book this excursion based on which night you think will have the least chance of rain – take whatever night you can get, it’s that good! The cruise leaves from Bayside Marketplace (which is also a great place to pick up any souvenirs) and takes you on a lovely ride through the bay to watch the sunset, before returning to the sparkling lights of the city. Get your camera ready, because the photo ops are endless!
- Tapas at Happy Wine: When you get off the boat ride around 8PM, I suggest you head over to Happy Wine for some tasty tapas and lovely wine to absorb everything you’ve seen and done in Miami during your trip! The location in Coconut Grove is my go-to, but you can also find a Happy Wine in Calle Ocho – both are fantastic! This restaurant is always a favorite of my out-of-town guests because it combines a relaxed environment with delectable food and they always like picking out the wine from the racks on the wall! Extra trip: When you are planning out your trip, keep in mind that on most weeks, that have live music from Wednesday-Saturday nights!
While this might sound like a lot, you really do need to try and pack your days in order to even scrape the surface of all that Miami has to offer. Obviously, each person might have different preferences on what type of adventures they like to take, but hopefully this list will give you a nice starting point as you are making your plans!
Always happy to take other recommendations, so please add them in the comments below. Gracias!