Miami is more than just perfect weather, pristine beaches, and great nightlife, it’s also a busy, multi-cultural metropolis with lots to offer visitors.
Explore all that Miami has to offer on a budget. In addition to our pick of the best free things to do in Miami listed below, be sure to check out discount passes to top Miami attractions.
Miami Design District’s Art and Design Night
Check out a Miami Art Walk: On the second Saturday of each month, the 100-plus galleries and showrooms in Miami Design District keep their doors open from 7 pm-10 pm for the Design District Art Walk.
The event is a great opportunity to see the work of some of the best up-and-coming local artists.
Make a night of it: Surrounding restaurants and bars get involved too, putting on entertainment and providing refreshments.
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to Little Havana.
This vibrant, south-of-downtown neighborhood is packed with art galleries, unique shops, and busy restaurants and bars.
Explore the area: Head to Maximo Gomez Park (known as Domino Park by the locals) for a real flavor of Hispanic culture, to watch men playing dominoes outdoors, smoking cigars and arguing about politics. Look out for the huge mural depicting the Summit of the Americas in 1993.
Fan of Latin cinema? Another highlight is the Little Havana Paseo de las Estrellas (Walk of the Stars), which is a Latin American version of the Hollywood Walk of the Stars, commemorating Latin American actors, writers, artists and musicians.
Cutural Fridays (Viernes Culturales) are monthly events in Little Havana showcasing local musicians and outdoor art exhibitions, and there is no admission fee.
Free Sky Ride
The Metromover is a free, driverless sky train that links several of Miami’s downtown hotels with the Metrorail.
Stop off at any of the 20 stops such as the decorative Freedom Tower or the Miami-Dade Cultural Center (home of Miami Art Museum). The cars arrive every 90 seconds during peak times and every three minutes off-peak. A digital display in the center of the platform tells you where each car is heading.
Insider tip: avoid the Metromover during busy commuting times.
Miami Art Museum
Experience Miami’s Museum Scene: Head to the Miami Art Museum between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month, when it’s free for families with children.
It’s a great opportunity to create art, enjoy exhibitions and learn something new with your kids. An organized family tour takes place at 2 p.m. If you are in Miami during spring, try to get to the Miami Art Museum Family Festival, when the Miami-Dade Cultural Plaza is filled with art activities, entertainment, and games.
Miami is known for its beaches and South Beach has something for everyone. Lummus Park Beach is a great place to spend an afternoon of people watching. If you have kids to entertain, South Pointe Park has a playground and splash fountain, and is the ideal setting for a picnic. If you want to escape the crowds for an hour or two, Miami Beach Botanical Garden has 4-1/2 acres filled with subtropical plants, right in the center of South Beach.
Wander around the beautiful Art Deco hotels and houses, such as Casa Casuarina, the former home and murder site of fashion designer the late Gianni Versace. Follow the Art Deco District Walking Tour to make sure you do not miss any of these carefully preserved buildings.
Many of the South Beach Museums offer free admission on certain days, including the Holocaust Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum, and the Jewish Museum of Florida.
South Pointe Park
This beach paradise combines the best of natural fun and man-made adventure. Sit back and soak up the sun while the kids splash in the waves, or stroll the pier as a family.
There’s a specific area for younger kids (the adorable Tot Lot), an interactive water fountain/sculpture, a dog park, and plenty of bike paths.
This free access park is a great place to spend the day with family.
Gables Art Walk
Art lovers won’t want to miss this opportunity to explore some of Miami’s most inspiring art galleries along Ponce de Leon Boulevard.
On the first Friday of every month, visitors can stroll through open galleries between 7-10 pm to peruse a diverse selection of artistic projects.
As a bonus, some galleries offer complimentary wine! There’s even a free trolley to take you between galleries.
Located in Coral Gables, this historic hotel offers free tours on Sunday afternoons. Learn about the heritage of this glorious hotel, a luxury locale that at one time hosted famous figures like Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, and even Al Capone.
Although the hotel is still operational today, there’s plenty of the structure and grounds that you can explore without paying for a room.
Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design
Another popular destination for art lovers. Located in the historic Freedom Tower (itself a really cool site to see), this free museum features rotating exhibitions of contemporary art by both local and international artists.
While exhibits change over quite often, they consistently represent artists with an international and multicultural aesthetic (evocative of Miami’s own diverse cultural landscape). Spanning a multitude of genres and forms, these exhibits are sure to delight and inspire.
This somber museum is always free to the public, so you can visit whenever it fits into your itinerary. The Holocaust Memorial features a wall containing the names of concentration camp victims, a moving photographic mural, and many additional informative exhibits.
They also offer a number of educational programs and special events, so it’s a great place to go to expose your kids to this important part of history.
Enjoy a bit of rum every now and then? Travelling with friends? Then why not tour the famous Casa Bacardi, home to the world famous brand of rum?
Daily tours are free and available to guests 21 and older. Explore the history and heritage of this long-running company, founded in 1862 in Santiago de Cuba.
Take a tour behind the scenes to see how rum is produced, sample a few select products, and browse a charming history of their advertising campaigns.
Biscayne National Park Family Fun Fest
If you’re visiting Miami with the whole family, stop by this educational and fun Family Fun Fest. Held on the second Sunday of every month from December through April, this interactive outdoor program is free to all.
Hands-on activities and nature interactions are only some of the many options open to your kids at this fun event. If you happen to miss the Fest, then Biscayne National Park is well worth exploring on its own merits!
To see the best Miami has to offer on a budget, be sure to check out a Go Orlando® Card, which includes admission tickets to top Miami attractions for one low price.
Editor’s note: blog post was originally published on 7/8/2011