15 Fantastic Free Events in Miami

As the veritable playground for billionaire types, Miami might not seem like the cheapest place for entertainment, but beyond the glitter and glam of VIP rooms and velvet ropes there are lots of events in Magic City that are absolutely free. Just bring your own snacks, a blanket and drink of choice for a cheap but fun night (or day) out.

15. Blackbird Ordinary

Blackbird Ordinary is a laid-back bar in downtown Miami and a favorite watering hole for locals who live or work in the neighborhood. People come for the chill atmosphere and cocktails with fresh muddled herbs straight from the giant wall gardens on the terrace. The outdoor area is a great place to relax with friends over some after work drinks or to get your dance groove on with DJs spinning electronica. They don’t have big acts, but they do frequently host FREE concerts featuring indie bands like Rob Riggs, Pase Rock, and Gerry Co. Concerts typically start at 10 pm, making it the perfect pre-clubbing spot before heading to the downtown clubs like Steam or E11even.

Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary
Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary

14. Museum of Contemporary Art

Situated in the heart of North Miami at 770 NE 125th St., the Museum of Contemporary Art is a great place to take a break from partying under the hot Miami sun and get some culture of the international postmodern variety. Cool off in the AC and peruse their exhibitions of Ars Memoria, which features favorites from MoCA’s permanent collection. Even better, view the sublime sculptures of Polish artist Jerry Kedziora. Best of all, they have free live jazz or folk music starting at 8 pm every last Friday of the month. Ocean Drive might have cocktails served in giant fish bowls and an all night party scene, but for a serene respite from party central, MoCA is the perfect antidote. Built in 1996 in a postmodern design by Charles Gwathmey, the museum also has art programs for the little ones throughout the year to inspire future artists.

Photo by: Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Photo by: Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

13. Free Yoga in the Park

Miami might attract people from all over the world for its legendary upscale debauchery, but if you need a break from the all night party scene, head to the Tina Hills Pavilion at Bayfront Park for a free yoga class. Starting at 6 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, get ready for some downward dogs and sun salutations in front of the beautiful views of Biscayne Bay. It doesn’t get much better than free yoga in paradise. If you happen to be in Miami Beach, Green Monkey Yoga hosts a free yoga class in Collins Park every Monday at 6 pm. All you need is a yoga mat, some water, and an hour to unwind and stretch stiff muscles. After a yoga class, you’ll be ready to take on Miami with full force.

Photo by: Green Monkey
Photo by: Green Monkey

12. Perez Art Museum

With its spectacular postmodern addition that was added in 2013, the highly anticipated Perez Art Museum is finally open and with rave reviews. Located downtown off Biscayne Boulevard, the museum boasts an eclectic collection of 20th and 21st century art that captures the essences of Latin America and the cosmopolitan influence of Miami. They offer free admission every second Saturday of the month, a great time to get out of the heat and discover the diverse cultures of local and international artists in the ongoing and seasonal exhibitions. If you have kids, even better because the art classes are perfect for inspiring potential artists of the future. The new building is also a hit with its shaded veranda and three-story structure situated on a platform below a relaxing canopy perfect for outdoor events and receptions.

mariakraynova / Shutterstock.com
mariakraynova / Shutterstock.com

11. Free Metromover

Serving the Downtown/Brickell area, the free Metromover stops at all the popular tourist destinations for locals and visitors. With a series of three one-way loops that arrive every five to 10 minutes, hop on and off to hotspots like the Performing Arts Center for a ballet performance, Broadway show or to the American Airlines Arena for a concert or Miami Heat game. It also stops at Bayside Marketplace, a nice spot for upscale dining and the Miami Herald building. A popular route to follow is a quick bike ride over the Venetian Causeway along the bike path, which will lead you right to the Metro. That way, you can easily get to all the downtown spots without the hassle of overpriced parking fees. Plus, it’s got WiFi in case you need to do some research on the go.

Metromover, Miami

10. King Mango Strut

A beloved Coconut Grove tradition for over three decades, the King Mango Strut is a lively parade that starts at Commodore Plaza and Main Highway in South Miami. Every December, locals and tourists kick off high season with street side cocktails and food truck snacks while cheering on the girls competing in the Little Miss Mango Pageant. With live music, free drinks, and dancing in the street, the King Mango Strut puts the nut back in Coconut Grove. The parade also features local artists selling their wares and bands playing jazz, blues, and rock. And of course, it’s not an event in Miami without a DJ. December is also a great time for outdoor events because with the crisp air, it’s the perfect time to take your stylish jacket out for a walk.

Photo by: Bob B. Brown via Flickr
Photo by: Bob B. Brown via Flickr

9. Wolfsonian

If you happen to be in the art deco district in Miami Beach, cool off at the Wolfsonian Museum at 10th and Washington Ave. Even better than the cold AC is the free admission every Friday after 6 pm. The FIU museum, library, and research center features rotating exhibitions of internationally renowned artists and historical artifacts, depending on the season. The space is an art lover’s delight, but the Wolfsonian’s strong suit is the building itself. Founded in 1996, the Mediterranean revival building was formerly the Washington Storage Company in the 20s and still has its original, well-preserved exterior and vintage elevator. With its peacock feather sculpture and detailing over a fountain, it’s an elevator ride that will transport you to the 1920s.

Photo by: Wolfsonian-FIU
Photo by: Wolfsonian-FIU

8. Fire on the 4th Festival

Time to get out the sparklers and flag t-shirts because every 4th of July, the city of Miami hosts their Fire on the Fourth Festival. Starting at 73rd and Collins Ave and then all the way to South Point, take advantage of free beach yoga, DJs spinning your favorite Top 40 dance jams, and free concerts at Ocean Drive. Miami’s favorite food trucks will also make an appearance, including the famed gourmet grilled cheese at Ms. Cheezious and Cuban comfort food at Latin Burger. Then after sunset around 9 pm, pack up your beach blanket, champagne, and snacks, and settle in for the spectacular fireworks show on the beach. Linger a little longer and drink bubbly under the stars with your family and friends.

Fireworks on a Beach

7. Wynwood Art Walk

In the last five years or so, Wynwood, the trendy Design District in Midtown Miami, has put the city on the map as one of the hottest places for contemporary art and design. Every second Saturday of the month at the Art Walk, shops and galleries open their doors for an evening of art, drinks, and dancing in the street. New bars and restaurants are constantly popping up in the neighborhood but don’t forget about the football field off of 2nd Ave full of food trucks with all types of homemade junk food. A local favorite is gourmet ice cream pops dipped in chocolate. If you keep walking down the avenue, you’ll know it when you see it. After your fill of refreshments, the Wynwood Walls is a must see. The outdoor space features street art by Lady Pink and Shepard Fairey among others, plus local DJs spinning dance jams all night.

Photo by: Wynwood Art Walk
Photo by: Wynwood Art Walk

6. Carnaval on the Mile

Locals and tourists flock to Miracle Mile in Coral Gables for upscale dining, bridal boutiques, and European style cafes in the lively village-like area of South Miami. Every March, the city hosts the Carnaval on the Mile, an epic street fair with live music and local artists. With over 120 artists and 40 performers playing funk, rock and folk jams, head to Coral Gables for a day of free fun and entertainment for the whole family. Kids and pets are also welcomed and should be well entertained with art activities and even a Canine Café. What a glorious, and free, way to kick off the end of high season.

Photo by: Carnaval On The Mile
Photo by: Carnaval On The Mile

5. Art Deco Weekend

For history buffs and vintage design aficionados, Art Deco Weekend is a little slice of heaven on Ocean Drive. Every January, step back in time and take in the live swing music and large tents filled with well-preserved furniture and knickknacks from the 20s and 30s. Thanks to the Miami Design Preservation League, the event has been a Miami tradition for decades. After perusing art deco treasures from back in the day, head down the strip between 13th St and 5th and immerse yourself in the heart of the action. Keep walking and you’ll find lots of food trucks selling comfort food from around the world, plus local artists and designers selling accessories, clothing, and unique artwork. For the interior designer with discerning taste, the Art Deco Weekend is a chance to update your space with some classic pieces.

Victor Maschek / Shutterstock.com
Victor Maschek / Shutterstock.com

4. Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum

Situated on the FIU Campus, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum always offers free admission. On a rainy day or one of the many sweltering Miami afternoons, find serenity in the cold AC and the 2008 postmodern building designed by internationally renowned architect Yann Weymouth. The huge three-story glass atrium and suspended staircase should get you in an artsy, intellectual mood. And then there’s the art, which consists of artists that capture the heart of the diversity of Latin American culture, including photographs from around the world and postmodern art inspired by remote locations in Cuba.

Photo by: The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
Photo by: The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

3. Beachwalk

A Miami vacation isn’t complete until you’ve tried fresh coconut juice right off the tree. If you walk along the Beachwalk, an oceanfront foot and bike path starting at Niki Beach in South Point, you will find locals selling coconuts from shopping carts for a buck or two. The path goes all the way to 23rd St where it turns into a foot only path on a wooden boardwalk. Sunset is the perfect time to meander along for people-watching, an after work run, or a pre-dinner stroll. Take the path all the way to South Point Park and watch the cruise ships embarking from Port Miami to the new pier. Along the way, stop off in Lummus Park to take in Ocean Drive and its iconic Art Deco hotels. For a day in paradise, the Beachwalk is a great place to start.

Photo by: David Berkowitz via Flickr
Photo by: David Berkowitz via Flickr

2. Free Movies at New World Center Lawn

For the cheapest date in Miami Beach, head to the New World Symphony park on Washington Ave near Lincoln Rd, the popular shopping district in South Beach. Starting in October, the peak tourist season, Citibank hosts its free Soundscape Cinema series featuring new releases and classic movies on the symphony’s 7,000 square foot projection wall. Sit back in a comfy lawn chair, cozy up with friends on a blanket, and break open that bottle of vintage red to enjoy a movie under the nighttime stars. For a schedule of upcoming movies, visit http://www.mbculture.com/scroll.aspx?id=81 for updates.

Photo by: The Miami Foundation
Photo by: The Miami Foundation

1. Botanical Gardens

After a day of shopping or sunbathing, enjoy a break from the asphalt jungle and hustle of the city at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden in South Beach. Across the street from the Convention Center at 2000 Convention Center Drive, the 2.6-acre green space was designed by landscape architect Raymond Jungles. Under the shade of palms and flowering trees, explore the edible garden filled with herbs and the many orchid varieties near the fishpond. The garden also features a gazebo in the woods and a small Japanese style garden, a serene place to get centered and hide out from the sweltering Miami sun.

Photo by: Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr
Photo by: Daniel X. O’Neil via Flickr

The Miami Nightclub Guide: 13 Clubs for Serious Partiers

Time to get out your dancing shoes and war paint because Miami is party central. In fact, this town is famous for it. Get out your gold bling, come hither heels, and perfume because South Beach is the place to be seen and this party is just getting started.

13. Blackbird Ordinary

Miami is famous for its legendary nightlife. By day it’s all about sun and fun at the beach and by night, it’s an all night party till the sun comes up. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pace yourself and Blackbird Ordinary in downtown Miami is a good place to start. With their fresh herb-infused cocktails and an impressive herb wall garden in the courtyard, it’s a chill spot for the entourage to gather. After loosening up with a few cocktails, head over to the Fillmore and rock out.

Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary
Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary

12. Fillmore

From Jay-Z and Brit Floyd to Brandon Flowers and David Grey, Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theatre on Washington Ave. has a world-class line up. Although it’s not considered a historic building because of its substantial renovations to the interior, the façade is classic art deco from the 60s and it’s Jackie Gleason television series heyday. Depending on the act, tickets range from $25 to $150 with mezzanine and balcony seating. Shows usually run till midnight, leaving plenty of time for more late night clubbing.

Photo by: The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Green Theater
Photo by: The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Green Theater

11. Gramps

Put on your best hipster outfit and sense of irony, and then head to Gramps, a local indoor/outdoor watering hole in Wynwood, the Design District. While sipping on an herb-infused artisanal cocktail (or beer for the budget conscious), you’ll look cool while drinking away the stress of the day. Even better, they have two happy hours so it can fit any income bracket or tourist schedule. Gather your friends, munch on free chicken wings, and keep cool on hot summer nights with some bubbly, because the night is young and you never know where you might end up.

Photo by: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr
Photo by: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr

10. Mac’s Club Deuce

Before heading to the late night clubs, dip into Mac’s Club Deuce at 14th St. and Washington Ave. for a taste of historic South Beach circa 1950s. Ask any bartender and they will tell you that the place hasn’t changed, not even the décor, since the Jackie Gleason days. With its pool table and rustic interior, it’s like traveling back in time to a classic dive bar. The crowd is also predictable. Besides the constant influx of wandering tourists who can’t handle the giant martinis on Ocean drive, you’ll always find a few local bar flies to keep things interesting. Look for the legendary Keith Richards type in flag jeans and a fringed leather jacket. He’s usually parked at the bar for their happy hour specials. As the Miamians say, only in South Beach.

Photo by: Mac's Club Deuce
Photo by: Mac’s Club Deuce

9. Kill Your Idol

Across from Club Deuce is the hipster dive bar Kill Your Idol. Situated on Washington Ave and 15th St., the place has all the hipster standards like kitschy décor, cheap drinks, and a stripper pole upstairs just in case. It’s the ideal place to hit up for a few pre-clubbing drinks and to catch a few tunes of local DJs or an amateur garage band. And if you get alcohol-induced munchies, they have some pretty slutty sandwiches or pizza next door at Lost Weekend. If it’s past midnight, you’ll run into some interesting local characters hell bent on late night debauchery and mayhem.

Photo by: Zanda
Photo by: Zanda

8. Spazio at Segafredo Brickell

If you want a taste of the upscale Latin expat crowd, head to Spazio behind Brickell’s Segafredo. After a few drinks at the trendy, late night café, duck into the back room that opens up to a neon light dance floor, and after a few shots, work the liquid courage and get your dance on. The dance floor gets bumping around 1 am, after people loosen up with an hour or two of bottle service. At Spazio you’ll find all the beautiful Latin exports who are typically self-made Miamians hustlin real estate, restaurants, or law. In Miami, it’s all about working hard and playing hard. Here’s to the playing part. Salute, mi amigos.

Photo by: Spazio Nightclub
Photo by: Spazio Nightclub

7. Grand Central

Miami doesn’t have that many concert venues, which is why locals and well informed tourists revere Grand Central. People come for indie bands like Phantogram, Icona Pop, and Cat Power to enjoy the smaller, less corporate vibe than its Fillmore neighbor in South Beach. This trendy venue is a quick ride over the bridge to 697 N. Miami Ave in downtown Miami. The retrofitted train station from the old days will dazzle history buffs and architect aficionados. Once inside it’s got a light show, side table VIP section, outdoor area, and large dance floor. Go ahead and channel your inner rock star. You know you want to.

nightclub dj

6. Mansion

If you’ve still got some steam to blow after a show at Grand Central, head back over the bridge to Mansion at 12th St. and Washington Ave. in South Beach. You’ll feel like a rock star with bottle service and velvet chaise lounges plus the scantily clad models, porn stars, and celebrities slinking around every corner. Come with your Saturday night clubbing formal wear because they have a strict no sneakers or shorts policy. Come for the music, stay for the insanity. Over-priced and decadent, this is the place to be seen in Sobe.

Photo by: Phillip Pessar via Flickr
Photo by: Phillip Pessar via Flickr

5. Radio

If you’ve had your fill of intimidating bouncers and velvet ropes of the VIP, head to Radio at 814 1st St in South Point. It’s a small venue but with that coziness comes a laid back clubbing atmosphere that makes it a great place to dance. Plus, there’s no dress code so you’ll fit right in with shorts and flip-flops, although most people show up in their club wear. The music line up is a fun mix of old school hip hop favorites from the 90s and Top 40, which inspires a full dance floor by midnight. The dancing, reasonably priced drinks, and relaxed atmosphere is a welcome break from the red carpet gauntlets of the bigger Miami nightclubs like Live or Mansion.

Photo by: Radio South Beach
Photo by: Radio South Beach

4. Steam

Steam has the best of both worlds. In some ways it’s like Radio and minus the VIP hierarchy of Miami nightclubs. But it’s still just as classy and posh as Mansion and Story but on a smaller scale. Plus, if you get there before 11 pm there’s no cover. They also have a unique, interactive circus vibe with odd-looking characters in costumes mingling with the crowd. Bottle service also has a little extra spice with party enthusiasts in black burlesque gear bringing bottles of Grey Goose back and forth. Fist pumping electronica will keep your dancing feet happy till the early hours of the morning. But don’t blow off all your steam because there are still a few more stops along the way.

Photo by: Humans Alike Miami
Photo by: Humans Alike Miami

3. Story Nightclub

With its magical, neon-lit ambiance, Story Nightclub at 136 Collins Ave. radiates upscale debauchery. Get swept away in an all-night party wonderland with semi nude go-go dancers, a state-of-the-art light show, and world class DJs. Rock star access is also an fun excess with bottle service and plush couches. But with fist pumping music and a bumping dance floor, there probably won’t be much time for sitting. Don’t forget your sunglasses, because it will most likely be sunrise when you stumble out of this place.

Photo by: STORY Miami
Photo by: STORY Miami

2. Cameo

Cameo has been a nightclub fixture in South Beach for decades. In fact, the original façade is featured in Miami Vice with Don Johnson creeping down a much rougher Washington Ave of the 80s. Today it’s a melting pot of all things decadent and excessive, because as they say in South Beach, you only live once. Time to live it up and enter a twerking contest or at least watch, because why not? And don’t forget the pole dancing, VIP and bottle service, light shows, and hip hop DJs. Leave your virtues at home because it’s going to be a long night of legendary debauch.

Photo by: Cameo Nightclub
Photo by: Cameo Nightclub

1. LIV

LIV Nightclub is so Miami. It’s trendy, wonderfully decadent, and unapologetically over the top. If you roll up in a Hummer-escalade limo or two-seater Lambo, you’ll fit right in. This massive palace is party central and at the top of the nightclub food chain. In other words, now is not the time to think about your budget. In fact, it’s the upscale fortress of excess. Hot women, bubbly, music all night, celebrities, and VIP. It’s the kind of night legends are made of. When you step outside with the sun coming up, the walk of fame will be well worth it.

Photo by: LIV Miami
Photo by: LIV Miami

7 Chicken Masters of the South

Like so many have said, there’s no chicken quite like mama’s chicken. But when mama is a master chef of the South…or just a belle who knows how to cook poultry like no other, the other stuff doesn’t even begin to compare. That is, until you head to these fine dining establishments and put her version to shame…not that you’d ever admit it. These master fryers know how to season, cook, serve, sauce, prep, and create chicken like we’ve never seen before. Add in an incredible smell and taste and it’s all uphill from there. In fact, they’re recipes are so tasty, folks rave about them from states away. Whether they’re from the South, or just happened to stumble upon some deliciousness while traveling. Never underestimate the power of a good piece of chicken. And, in our very tasty opinion, here are the seven best places to find them.

7. Busy Bee Café – Atlanta, Georgia

For a city known for its soul food, making a memorable plate of fried chicken is an incredible feat. It’s also one that Busy Bee prides itself on. Since the 40s, they’ve been serving up crispy and tasty chicken. Their secret? Brining the meat for 12 full hours, add a specialty flavored flour, then cook it in peanut oil. Order yours with their signature gravy, and bask it in sides like collard greens or broccoli and cheese casserole. Yum!

Photo by: Busy Bee Cafe-ATL
Photo by: Busy Bee Cafe-ATL

6. Raising Cane’s – Baton Rouge, Louisiana

If you’re looking for a restaurant that does one thing, and does it well, you’re in luck. Raising Cane’s offers home-fried chicken with the convenience of fast food. Their meals come in varying sizes, offering eaters chicken strips, french fries, coleslaw, and Texas toast. As well as their signature Cane’s sauce – a delicious addition to their hot, flavorful meals. Stop by one of their many franchised locations for a quick take on tasty dinners.

Photo by: Shoshanah via Flickr
Photo by: Shoshanah via Flickr

5. Martha Lou’s Kitchen – Charleston, South Carolina

Martha Lou is one example of its namesake working behind the scenes – Martha herself, along with her daughter, Debra, are chicken masterminds. And they’ve been perfecting their method for more than 30 years. Visitors can stop by their pink restaurant – virtually everything is coated in the color – for an added dose of “mama’s kitchen” charm. Fan favorite sides include okra stew and their signature pepper lima beans.

Photo by: Martha Lou's Kitchen
Photo by: Martha Lou’s Kitchen

4. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Miami Beach, FL

There’s a reason Yardbird is winning so many awards and public mentions – their chicken is delicious. Order it alone, with biscuits, or go for the full-meal deal and get their chow-chow cheddar waffles and watermelon (our mouths are watering already), which is topped off with hot honey, and bourbon maple syrup for the waffles. Chicken loving heaven. Oh, and did we mention each meal is plated perfectly, too? Sign us up!

Photo by: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Photo by: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

3. Barbecue Inn – Houston, Texas

Self-proclaimed Southern hospitality specialists, Barbecue Inn has been dishing up chicken since the 40s. That’s four generations of incredible cooks who have passed their secrets down the line. Eaters can even choose from Southern versions, all white, or all dark meat when ordering their meal. Guests agree that the taste is virtually unbeatable, and that the crisp alone is worth the trip; chicken is served grease-free.

Photo by: Stephan Rushmore via Road Food
Photo by: Stephan Rushmore via Road Food

2. Beasley’s Chicken + Honey – Raleigh, North Carolina

One of the newer joints around, Beasley’s uses modern methods to reinvent an old favorite. Rather than traditional free-fry, they opt for the help of pressure fryers. It might sound new, but the taste is just as delicious as the old school ways. (Likely less messy, too.) Each piece is then topped with a thin drizzle of honey to bring out the Southern flare. Eaters also recommend a side of buttermilk biscuits to take in the whole honey-loving effect.

Photo by: Beasley's Chicken + Honey
Photo by: Beasley’s Chicken + Honey

1. Gus’s Fried Chicken – Mason, Tennessee

We don’t know who Gus is or how he got so good at frying up birds, but we’ll let him cook for us any day. The original was started in Tennessee back in 1953 and the chicken was so good, places elsewhere just couldn’t wait to get their hands – or mouth – on it. Today there’s locations all over where you can order their crispy, spicy chicken that so many have grown to love.

Photo by: Evan Blaser via Flickr
Photo by: Evan Blaser via Flickr

12 Things to See and do in Miami

Miami is known for its late night parties, swanky hotels, congested traffic and some pretty epic beaches, but there is more to Miami than just your typical big city sights. Discover a warehouse district turned into a street art haven, stroll through one of the best botanic gardens in the world or get your shopping on at the unique pedestrian only outdoor mall. Relax on the beach while palm trees sway in the wind, take a thrilling ride through the Everglades or simply try the best Cuban cigar this city has to offer. Miami is a city full of high energy with a rocking atmosphere and here are the top 12 things you must see and do here.

1. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

One of Miami’s famous landmarks is often very busy with tourists but because of its greatness it must be on our list of things to see while visiting the city. We do recommend coming in the morning or at sunset to avoid most of the tourists and to get some incredible photos. Built from 1914-1923 this incredible 34-room mansion is surrounded by pristine gardens and landscape. The architecture, decor and art within the mansion are enough to take your breath away but it’s the grounds that most people flock to. Secret gardens full of stairs, hiding spots, mazes, bridges, fountains, turrets and flowers will have you enchanted for hours and we haven’t even got to the water yet. Located right on Biscayne Bay the mansion has impressive views but perhaps the most impressive is the barge located in the bay that is carved out of Florida limestone and is adorned with decorative sculpture.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

2. Visit Little Havana

A visit to Little Havana is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Miami. Cruise through this section of Miami with its old-world charm, interesting architecture and carefree lifestyle that residents have adopted. Visit one of the many independent restaurants for some authentic Cuban food or stop by Versailles coffee window for the best Cuban coffee in town. Walk the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame where famous artists and Latin personalities are honored. If you happen to be there during the Calle Ocho festival get ready to experience an amazing street festival with a carnival like feel. Don’t forget to stop in at a cigar store for a traditional experience in Little Havana; we just happen to have the perfect suggestion coming up for you next.

Kamira / Shutterstock.com
Kamira / Shutterstock.com

3. Little Havana Cigar Factory

Step through the door to Little Havana Cigar Factory and you are transported back in time to the 1950’s. There is no better place to buy cigars in Miami than this place. Not only is the store incredibly well-kept, clean, organized and fairly priced; the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. With comfortable leather couches, decor straight from the 50’s, incredible Cuban coffee and great music, you’ll find yourself easily spending an hour or two here. Choose to smoke your cigar in the factory while you chat with staff or other customers or take a few to go; either way Little Havana Cigar Factory is the absolute best place to visit for any cigar aficionado.

Little Havana Cigar Factory

4. Everglades National Park

What’s a trip to Miami without venturing out to the Everglades? Located only a short car ride away from downtown Miami you will find the edge of the Everglades famous for the extremely high alligator population and the thrilling air boat rides throughout these waters; Everglades National Park is enormous and deserves to be explored. Choose to book with an air boat tour and ride through the swampy waters in search of the fascinating beasts we call alligators or head to one of the visitor centers where you can learn more about the land and grab a map for walking or biking trails. Discover the habitat of manatees, eagles, alligators and a variety of birds and develop a connection to this unique environment that protects over 1.5 million acres.

Everglades National Park

5. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens

Located just outside Miami is a haven for any garden lover, flower photography or for the one who just loves to explore nature. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens is a magnificent display of plants, flowers and wildlife. The lush tropical flowers bloom in the bright sun; while the iguanas dart in and out of your path as you explore this paradise. Start off by taking the tram tour where the expert guide will give you an overview of the garden, history and mission of Fairchild. After that, explore the gardens on your own and delight in the brightly colored flowers that hang off the overhead vines, stroll along a stream with cascading waterfalls or go back in time to discover ancient plants from the dinosaur age. Head into the wings of tropic conservatory where butterflies and humming birds fly freely around you. Choose to dine overlooking the lake or butterfly exhibit; or bring your own picnic and enjoy the grounds.

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens

6. Hit the Beach

What better way to take a day off from all this excitement than to hit the beach for a little rest and relaxation. Miami has you covered for all your beach needs whether you’re looking for windsurfing lessons, a quiet place for the kids to play or a vibrant bustling beach with plenty of atmosphere. Head to Hobie Beach, which is more like an inlet and rent a windsurfing board if you’re up for some excitement. For a quiet beach where the kids can play in both the sand and the water head to Matheson Hammock Park Beach where a spring fed lagoon offers extremely calm waters. For the avid shell collector Bal Harbour Beach is where you can find thousands of colorful shells lining the sandy shores. And for a serious party like atmosphere with plenty of beats pumping and high energy head to Crandon Park Beach. These are just a few of the amazing beaches Miami has to offer so suit up and make sure to visit more than one.

Miami Beach

7. Wynwood Walls

Where else is it legal to cover a warehouse with graffiti? Not only that, but where else is that celebrated and encouraged? Welcome to Wynwood Walls, Miami. Back in 2009 the Wynwood warehouse district was just a bunch of old warehouses with no windows in an unkempt neighborhood. Since then Tony Goldman has transformed this neighborhood into an artist’s dream. Street art now covers every warehouse building, the roll up doors and the insides have been transformed into galleries. Walk around and see the amazing 3-D murals that run the length of the walls, appreciate the beauty of the style of art we call graffiti and don’t forget to stop in at Partner Coffee for a delicious cup of joe. The amazing life size pieces of art will truly take your breath away in this unique stop in the city of Miami.

Max Herman / Shutterstock.com
Max Herman / Shutterstock.com

8. Spend a day in South Beach

If a party is what you’re after on your trip to Miami; South Beach is where you must head. Swank hotels, posh nightclubs and elegant restaurants coupled with beautiful people on every stretch of the beach is the best way to sum up this part of the city. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe on the soft sand, frolic in the clear blue ocean or people watch, this is the place to be. Explore the museums, markets and shopping that are all nearby or grab a drink and relax on the sand. Party into the wee hours of the morning at high end clubs with famous DJ’s or attend one of the many festivals that take place here. A word of warning; prepare yourself for traffic and construction; something the locals have just learned to live with as it never seems to end. Whatever you are looking to do, South Beach is sure to offer it.

fotomak / Shutterstock.com
fotomak / Shutterstock.com

9. Lincoln Road Mall

Ready for a little shopping or some major people watching? Head to Lincoln Road Mall; the pedestrian-only promenade located between West Avenue and Washington Avenue. Here you will find shops that range from high end designers to unique one of a kind stores, numerous sidewalk cafes and restaurants, galleries and a lively atmosphere. During the day make your way down the street making sure to check out any events that may be taking place such as the local farmers market, antique show or live music. Grab a coffee on a patio and watch people stroll by. After the sun sets the entertainment doesn’t stop in this mall. Check out one of many bars or restaurants that offer happy hour, incredible cuisine and twinkling white lights. Enjoy the antics of the street performers, listen to some great beats and enjoy the colorful atmosphere of Lincoln Road Mall.

Kamira / Shutterstock.com
Kamira / Shutterstock.com

10. Art Deco Drive/Ocean Drive

It wouldn’t be a visit to Miami without a walk or drive down Ocean Drive and through the Art Deco District. The hurricane that ripped through in the 1920’s flattened the coastline in this particular area and gave artists and architects a brand new landscape to work with and thus creating this strip of incredible art deco buildings. The Art Deco Welcome Center is a great place to stop on your tour as they have many brochures, books and self-guided tours on this area. Stroll along the streets and discover porthole windows, glass blocks and shiny chrome that will delight your eyes.  Be on the lookout for hotels such as Park Central, Waldorf Tower and the wedding cake-like Beacon Hotel.  Perhaps the most infamous hotel in this area is Casa Casaurina; previous home to Gianni Versace who was shot to death on the steps of this house. Grab a beverage, a snack and snap some amazing pictures of this quite famous district.

Ocean Drive Art Deco

11. Biscayne Bay Cruise

Step out of the hustle and bustle that is often found in Miami and hop aboard the Biscayne Bay Cruise for a relaxing couple of hours. Sit back, relax and prepare to take in the sights. This 90 minute cruise will take you by Millionaire’s Row where celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal and Gloria Estefan have houses. Catch a glimpse of the home where Scarface was filmed and the former home of Al Capone. Enjoy the engaging tour operators who guide you in both English and Spanish and learn more about how the “other half” lives in Miami’s richest Islands. Head out during dusk to capture some great photos of the downtown Miami skyline and the Port of Miami. Meals and drinks are not provided and we do suggest booking early on weekends as these cruises fill up. Insider tip from a local; try the food from the local marina you leave from; often run by shrimpers you won’t better fish anywhere in the city.

Biscayne Bay

12. Venetian Pool

Just as you think we had finished up with the best of Miami; we have one last hidden gem for you. Located just twenty minutes from the Miami International Airport lies an old rock quarry that has been transformed into a beautiful pool. An oasis of tranquility; this pool is overflowing with waterfalls, caves and gorgeous surrounding scenery. Fed by spring water from an underground aquifer, the water is consistently a cooler temperature and takes some time getting used to, but once you’re lying on your back in the fresh water, staring up at the palm trees as they gently sway and feeling the cool mist of the waterfall; the water doesn’t seem that cold anymore. Leave early for the airport and spend a couple hours at The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables; you can thank us later.

Venetian Pool

10 Cool Facts About Miami Beach

Miami Beach is one of the hottest vacation spots in the country. What most people don’t realize is that there’s a lot more to this unique city than sunshine and bikinis. There are 10 cool facts about Miami Beach that just might surprise you.

1. A Great Place To Star Gaze

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Many celebrities visit Miami Beach every day. This may be because it’s not only just a few miles from South Beach, but it is a little less than two hours from the luxurious city of Palm Beach.

2. Home To The World’s Largest Art Deco Architecture

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There are more than 800 buildings that feature Art Deco Architecture in Miami Beach. This makes it the largest collection of this type of architecture in the entire world. The historic districts of Espanola Way, Collins/Washington Avenues, Flamingo Park, and Museum make up the National Register Art Deco District.

3. Bordered By Two National Parks

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Miami Beach is surrounded by both the Biscayne National Park and the Everglades National Park. It’s the only city in the United States that has two different national parks as part of its borders. Both parks offer a wide array of activities for visitors to partake in including wildlife watching and canoeing.

4. The Best Place To Cruise

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For those that want to take a cruise, Miami Beach is the place to be. Miami contains the largest cruise ship port in the entire world. Many cruise ships go in and out of this port on a daily basis.

5. Lots Of Buried Treasure To Be Found

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For those who visit Miami Beach, lost treasure awaits. Pirates such as Blackbeard and Gasparilla supposedly left many treasures behind in the nearby ocean. A lot of gold and silver have been found both on and off the land by those who have visited Miami Beach.

6. The Island Is Man-Made

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Miami Beach is one of the few man-made islands in the United States. It was once a desolate coconut grove plantation. Years back, most people would have never guessed that it would now be the popular tourist destination that it is today.

7. Diversity Wherever You Look

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Miami Beach is a very diverse place. It is estimated that there are at least 150 ethnicities as well as over 60 different languages spoken there. When visiting Miami Beach it doesn’t matter what race you are or what language you speak, you will probably find someone who is the same race and speaks the same language as you. There are many different cultural venues to visit in the area as well.

8. Vizcaya Museum

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The Vizcaya Museum calls Miami Beach home. It has an exquisite orchid collection and has artwork displays that are over 2,000 years old. More than 170,000 visitors come to the Vizcaya Museum each year.

9. A Cosmopolitan Flair

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Miami Beach has a cosmopolitan side to it. There are many restaurants that are rated world-class as well as booming modeling and recording industries. Many individuals have made a name for themselves in there. Actresses Cristy Joy and Robin Sherwood were both born in Miami Beach.

10. The Home Of Suntan Lotion

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The inventor of suntan lotion was from Miami Beach. He was a pharmacist named Benjamin Green and came up with the useful concoction in 1944. Now visitors of Miami Beach can safely protect themselves from the sun thanks to Benjamin Green’s invention.

Party Time: 10 Best Spring Break Destinations

Spring break is a rite of passage. Each year, tens of thousands of college students flee their dorms and head for sunnier locales. They are planning to blow off some steam – leaving classes, teachers, and homework far behind. It is the perfect time to hang out with friends, do a little partying, and just relax and recharge after a long winter. The biggest choice these college students want to make is where to go for Spring Break.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? Las Vegas offers a wide variety of activities from amusement park rides to the Eiffel Tower or a gondola ride on a Venice Canal. For those looking to try their hand at gambling, each hotel has its own casino. There are a wide variety of nightclubs and shows to visit in the evening as well.

Las Vegas

2. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is a great Spring Break location. It is renowned for its extreme outdoor sports and pristine beaches. Spend an afternoon relaxing on Lover’s Beach. In the evenings, there is always a party during the week of Spring Break in one of the glamorous hotels.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3. Nassau, Bahamas

Consider taking a cruise to Nassau, where the nightlife is vibrant and varied. Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas with plenty of beaches, culture, and, of course, drinks (with umbrellas!). Under the Caribbean moon there are plenty of nightclubs where the rum is cheap and the music is loud. After an evening of partying, spend the day relaxing on one of the many pristine beaches.

Nassau, Bahamas

4. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay enjoys a reputation as a Spring Break hotspot. Each March, Montego Bay hosts the Brit-Jam. This party blends American and English music with the music and culture of Jamaica for a unique party experience. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, splashing in the waves or simply recovering from the previous night’s party.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

5. Acapulco, Mexico

There is always a party in Acapulco. During the day, enjoy one of Acapulco’s many pool parties. In the evening, it is time to head out to one of the many nightclubs. Acapulco combines plenty of stunning beaches with countless clubs, making it a top pick for Spring Breakers. Be sure to stop by Palladium, a club on the cliffs that offers breathtaking views of Acapulco Bay.

Acapulco, Mexico

6. South Padre Island, Texas

The Lone Star state has become an up and coming hotspot for college students enjoying Spring Break. South Padre Island offers white sandy beaches, blue oceans, and plenty of Spring Break parties. It’s also easily accessible to students who live in Texas – or one of the other states in the Southeastern United States.

South Padre Island, Texas

7. Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach is known as the Spring Break Capital of the World. It is easy to see why with MTV sending camera crews to film the festivities and choosing it as the best party. They roll kegs of beers out on to the beach, so they can party in the sun or under the moonlight.

Panama City Beach, Florida
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8. Miami Beach, Florida

No, the South Beach Diet is not beer, tequila, rum and repeat. Here in Miami’s South Beach, there is a variety of nightclubs and entertainment. During the day, the beaches of Miami seem to go on for miles. With its Cuban influenced flavors the food is outstanding. Dance the night away in Miami!

Miami Beach

9. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana offers a variety of inclusive resorts that provide a wide array of activities for students. From lazing on the beach to snorkeling to parties at the clubs, there’s no shortage of things to do here. Only in Punta Cana can you take the president’s crown. If you are able to drink more of the country’s beer (Presidente), than the president, you get his crown. The number to beat? 42 and counting.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

10. Cancun, Mexico

Cancun offers pristine beaches, sparkling water, and of course plenty of parties. In the evening, choose between a club with a water slide and one that offers bungee jumping. Under the Mexican moon, the party never ends!

Cancun, Mexico