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How to enjoy Miami like a local: Ten things to do

Here are ten things to do to experience Miami like a local.

South Florida has become one of the most popular places to visit, not only for Americans but for people from all around the world. If you are planning to travel to this iconic area, it can be tempting to stick to tourist activities. However, you could miss out on many of the great things that make this city so interesting. Instead, consider copying the locals to see the other side of the city. Enjoying Miami like a local involves exploring the diverse culture, vibrant neighborhoods, delicious cuisine, and beautiful beaches. Here are 10 things to do to experience Miami like a local:

Relax at South Beach
Of course, visiting the beach is going to be high on any local Floridian’s list of weekend activities. When you visit, make sure you spend at least one day soaking up the sun at South Beach, Miami’s most famous beach. Join the locals for a game of volleyball, take a dip in the turquoise waters, or simply relax on the sandy shores. If you want to stay nearby, look for apartments in Miami that offer short-term rental stays.

Indulge in Cuban cuisine
If you want to explore South Florida like a local, it’s essential to experience the flavors of Miami’s Cuban culture by dining at local Cuban restaurants. Don’t miss trying classic dishes like Cuban sandwiches, picadillos, and pastelitos. The best place to try Cuban food is of course, in Little Havana, which brings us to our next suggestion.

Visit Little Havana
One great way to experience Miami as the locals do is to immerse yourself in Miami’s Cuban heritage. Set aside time in your itinerary to explore Little Havana. Walk along Calle Ocho (8th Street), visit Maximo Gomez Park (also known as Domino Park), and stop by local cafes for a cafecito (Cuban coffee) and a game of dominoes. These are all great ways to explore Miami and experience a new culture without having to leave the United States.

Explore the cultural scene
One aspect of Miami that many tourists might not expect is the vibrant cultural scene. However, locals know better. The cultural treasures of Miami include historical museums, natural treasures, greenspaces, performing arts, and more. The Frost Science Museum and Miami Children’s Museum are great places to take kids when the weather is too hot or rainy for outdoor play.

Kayak in Oleta River State Park
Getting out into nature for some relaxation and adventure is a favorite pastime of Floridians. Whether it’s fishing, snorkeling, or paddling, water activities are especially good here. One way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore nature is at Oleta River State Park. For the best view of the water, rent a kayak and paddle through mangrove forests, spot wildlife, and enjoy the scenic views of Biscayne Bay.

Experience art deco architecture
If you’re in the mood for some culture or art, consider enjoying Florida’s great weather while experiencing the famous art deco in the city. Take a stroll along Ocean Drive in the historic Art Deco District of South Beach to enjoy this beautiful area. Admire the colorful pastel buildings, neon lights, and unique architectural designs that define Miami’s iconic skyline.

Attend a local event or festival
Locals are sure to be out enjoying the atmosphere and excitement anytime there’s a festival or other event in town. Miami hosts numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year. From Art Basel Miami Beach to the Calle Ocho Festival and the Miami International Film Festival, there’s always something happening in the city. Before you visit, take some time to research and see if there are any events scheduled during your time there.

Explore the Everglades
Another great way to get out of the city and enjoy nature is by visiting a local national park. For example, take a day trip to Everglades National Park, located just a short drive from Miami. Embark on an airboat tour through the Everglades, spot alligators and other wildlife, and learn about this unique ecosystem. You can also take a boat tour through Florida Bay to spot dolphins, ride the Shark Valley Tram, or even go on a “swamp tromp” with a park ranger.

Shop at local markets
Local Floridians love shopping at local markets, and so will you. Visit local farmer’s markets, craft fairs, and pedestrian malls for a taste of Miami’s shopping scene. Here, you can browse through fresh produce, artisanal goods, clothing, and unique souvenirs. Sample unusual food items, buy a treasure for someone back home, grab some new fashions for your visit, or just enjoy looking.

Catch a live music performance
One essential activity you must do while in South Florida is to enjoy some live music. Experience Miami’s vibrant music scene by catching a live performance at one of the city’s many music venues. From Latin jazz and reggae to electronic dance music, Miami offers diverse musical genres to enjoy like a local. And if you’re in the mood for something more theatrical, catch a Broadway musical or a production of Shakespeare in the park.

While it’s tempting to visit Miami as a tourist, if you want to really learn to know this great city, you should try at least a few of the activities the locals enjoy, as well. There’s more to Miami than spring break and beaches, and by immersing yourself in these experiences, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for Miami’s culture, history, and natural beauty. You might even have a better time!