South Beach is the epicenter of Miami’s sun, ocean and charm, with stunning beaches, exclusive boutiques, trendy nightclubs and world-class restaurants by celebrity chefs. In addition, there are well-preserved Art Deco buildings along Ocean Avenue and numerous famous cultural venues, including several museums and galleries, not to mention the annual Art Basel fair held here.
It’s entirely possible – and not at all tempting – to come to Miami and spend your entire time on the pristine beach. But for those keen to explore the city, perhaps there are endless opportunities that await you beyond the historic tourist attractions. If you want to add some lesser-known attractions to your Miami itinerary, we’ve picked 20 unique spots for you.
Immerse yourself in the world of eroticism.
It may not be the most family-friendly attraction, but if you don’t have kids in South Beach, then the World Erotic Art Museum is sure to give you a few hours of quirky exploration and discovery. Filled with historical artifacts and information about ancient sexual practices and the role of sex in different cultures, the museum is a veritable temple of erotic art.
Visit the historic district
Miami’s historic district is undoubtedly one of South Beach’s crown jewels. The Art Deco District Welcome Center attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year who are eager to explore this charming neighborhood. There are more than 800 Art Deco buildings within a square mile of the Welcome Center’s official self-guided walking tour.
Location: 1001 Ocean Avenue
Appreciating the essence of modern art
There are many excellent cultural venues in Miami’s South Beach, the best of which is The Bass Museum. Founded in 1964, the museum has a diverse collection of contemporary art, both permanent and temporary, all offering a unique insight into today’s modern art trends. In addition, there is a colorful array of public art exhibits that can be viewed on the museum’s lawn.
Let your hair strut its stuff in an upscale nightclub.
In Miami, you’d be hard pressed to find an entertainment venue as detail-oriented as Barsecco. This sumptuous restaurant and lounge dazzles diners with its breezy vaulted terrace, where eclectic seating, drooping vines and reclaimed barn wood combine to create a stylish and sensual atmosphere. The venue’s interior décor and low lighting exude chic modern luxury, and the drinks menu is a treat with exotic cocktails, beer, spirits, wine and champagne. The restaurant’s food selection is just as tempting, with top-notch music that will keep you tapping your toes late into the night.
Get the real Miami feel.
Miami’s food culture is rich and aspiring foodies can take a mouth-watering culinary journey to sample some of Miami’s most delicious dishes and cuisine. Miami Food Tours is a long-established company that runs small group tours throughout the city, including the South Beach area, giving you the opportunity to sample the cuisine of celebrity chefs and discover handmade cuisine in off-the-beaten-path restaurants. The guides know the neighborhoods you’re exploring well, from casual dining spots to street food to fine dining. We also offer private guided tours.
Let the kids indulge themselves in a fun-filled country park.
Combining all of the park’s amenities with South Pointe’s famous sandy shores, South Pointe Park is a very popular recreational destination that receives many visitors throughout the year. At this 17-acre county park, you’ll find a children’s playground with water features, a fishing pier, a restaurant, and a 20-foot-wide walking trail that’s a favorite for joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers, or anyone who takes a leisurely stroll. The park also hosts several summer festivals and other outdoor activities.
Pick up some local liquor at the craft beer market.
Miami has a vibrant craft beer market, and within this thriving local industry, Boxelder Craft Beer Market is an independent, family-owned brewpub and taproom located in the heart of the Wynwood District, not far west of South Beach.Boxelder offers a large selection of American craft and Belgian beers, as well as a large selection of other products, and Boxelder regularly hosts events including food and beer tastings, guest speakers and more.
Listen to top DJs on a fun-filled night
Another nightlife spot in South Beach is Kill Your Idol, which opened in 2012 with the intention of providing a much-needed alternative to the South Beach destination – and it did. From the life-sized Bruce Lee statue that serves as a striking focal point of the bar, to the top-notch DJs who perform here, this first-class music bar will give you a night to remember.
Discover the side of you that loves books.
The bookstore has a unique vibe, and in Miami, the best bookstore for the literary genre is Books & Books, which opened its second location in 1989 at the Lincoln Road Mall in downtown South Beach, located in the historic Sterling Building, incorporating its love of art, design, fashion, and architecture through an extensive and diverse collection of books and a large magazine collection featuring international titles and locally published periodicals.
Enjoy the South Beach breeze ruffling your hair.
Cycling is a very popular form of exercise in South Beach, with tourists and locals alike keen to get some exercise while enjoying the idyllic scenery and feeling the wind rustling their hair – at the same time. Happily, Miami has an award-winning bike sharing and rental system – called the Citi Bike program – available in South Beach and several other places in the city where visitors can simply “grab and go” by downloading a free app. Each bike is solar-powered, rugged and locked into a network of 24/7 docking stations. The bike can then be dropped off at any stop at any time.
Beer in hand, pedal to the metal.
Pedal Pub is a leader in the experiential travel industry, offering pilot-driven pedicab tours in Miami. They have partnered with world-renowned bike manufacturer Fietscafe (the original party bike) to ensure that every bike is of the highest quality and meets the highest safety standards for all riders.Pedal Pub provides an opportunity for community members and visitors alike to socialize with friends, participate in light-hearted activities, and tour the community and city in exciting, unique ways that create real and meaningful memories through a positive, team-building experience.
A quick drive west of South Beach is Jungle Island, a magical tropical-themed attraction with a wide variety of exotic animals, including lemurs from Madagascar, the world’s only tame green bean fir, parrots, a pair of twin orangutans and more. There are also regular shows, a children’s play area where kids can relax, and thrilling skydiving experiences, zip lines and escape rooms.