When you’re thinking of how to spend a day in Miami, you have to consider everything that the metropolis of Florida has to offer the best.
I remember visiting Miami was one of my biggest dreams as a teenager. This city has always fascinated me, probably because of the movies and the music videos I’ve seen.
When you say Miami, you think about fun, Art Deco buildings, high temperatures, palm trees, and some of the best beaches in North America.
Miami is the cultural and industrial center of Florida, but also a world-renowned tourist city. Surprisingly, Miami even won the title of the cleanest city in America in 2008, when Forbes magazine made this ranking.PIN IT FOR LATER
Although it’s a U.S. metropolis, it’s possible to hear people speaking more Spanish than English when you visit Miami.
This is due to the majority of the Hispanic population and the flow of tourists from South America.
So, if you are not very familiar with the Spanish language, maybe you should learn a few basic expressions while planning your perfect holiday or perhaps only one day in Miami.
What I use every time I travel:
- To book hotels: Booking.com
- To book tours: GetYourGuide.com
My first visit to Miami was in October 2014. Although it was the beginning of autumn, that time is very proper for getting a good tan in the South of Florida state.
The Sunshine State is known for having sweltering summer days. Because of the excessive humidity, the air becomes almost unbreathable.
So, the tourists prefer to go to this part of the U.S. in the fall or spring when the climate is much more permissive.
I’m trying to say that you should consider spending 1 day in Miami in one of these two seasons mentioned.
Where to stay in Miami
Even if you only spend one day in Miami, you still need good accommodation. There are plenty of hotels in Miami to suit every budget. But my recommendation is to find accommodation in Miami Beach, where the atmosphere is a permanent vacation.
In Miami Beach, most of the hotels on Ocean Drive have ocean views. If your budget is a little tight, don’t neglect hotels on Lincoln Road or Collins Avenue.
- budget: Viajero Miami – hostel & hotel, restaurant, free Wifi, close to the beach
- mid-range: Avalon Hotel – great location on Ocean Drive, beachfront, restaurant, Art Deco building, good breakfast
- high budget: Faena Hotel Miami Beach – oceanfront, pool, restaurant, private parking, great breakfast
Our 1 day Miami Itinerary
First, let me tell you a little bit about our experience before I start talking about the perfect 1 day Miami itinerary. We left from Norfolk, Virginia. The first stop was in Orlando, Florida, where we spent two days.
From Norfolk to Orlando, we traveled 1 215 km in about 12 hours, crossing five states on the East Coast of the United States: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
We had an excellent road trip, in which we made the transition from fall temperatures to summer temperatures. Just as if we’d gone a few months back in time.
I love this kind of trip, even though it can be very long and exhausting. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover new places and the significant differences between them.
READ MORE: 3 days in Miami- best itinerary.
We checked into the Kent Hotel, on Collins Avenue, in South Beach.
Miami Beach is a place where you’ll find everything that you could wish on a perfect vacation: some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, palm trees, nightclubs and bars from where you can hear Latin rhythms, restaurants with Cuban cuisine, shops of all kinds and hotels in Art Deco architecture style.
The most famous avenues in Miami Beach are Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Washington Avenue.
There are plenty of amazing things to do in Miami for one day. Of course, you could spend even a week in Miami without getting bored.
This article will only talk about how to spend a day In Miami, although we stayed here for three days. In one of the three days, we managed to see the best of what this city has to offer.
We chose a mini-tour that you can easily find in the offers of the street vendors on Washington Avenue or flyers at the hotel reception where you are staying.
We chose a coach tour, with the route South Beach-Coral Gables-Downtown Miami, followed by a boat tour in Biscayne Bay.
The entire cost was $55/ person, but it certainly is worth every penny. The coach took us right from the hotel, so walking to a meeting point wasn’t necessary.
The departure was at 9 am, and the bus tour lasted about 3-4 hours. In the afternoon, we boarded the boat and had a mini cruise on Biscayne Bay.
The guide spoke English and Spanish, giving us all the information we needed to know about the islands: Fisher Island, Star Island, Palm Island, Hibiscus Island, and Flagler Memorial Island.
How to spend a day in Miami
Take a walk on Ocean Drive
Start your 1 day Miami itinerary with a nice walk on the most famous street in the city. Ocean Drive is the street near the beach, with the coolest nightclubs in Miami.
The area is very well known for having the most extensive collection of Art Deco architecture in the world. It’s basically the Art Deco district of Miami
The term Art Deco comes from Decorative Arts and stands out through the geometric shapes, the simplified lines, solid and pure colors, and the smooth surfaces.
The trend first appeared before the First World War.
The most representative buildings having this kind of style on Ocean Drive are the Colony Hotel (the most photographed hotel with this kind of architecture) and the Casuarina Beach House (ex-residence of the famous designer Gianni Versace, who had also been killed here in July 1997).
Although the guide provides transparent information about the essential buildings in the area, I recommend you to go for a walk and admire them.
You don’t want to miss this when you visit Miami in a day.
Visit Little Havana | How to spend a day in Miami
Little Havana is a colorful, vibrant neighborhood that perfectly imitates the Cuban lifestyle and that is, as the name suggests, a miniature Havana.
In Little Havana, I discovered how they manufacture cigars inside an authentic mini-factory.
As you will see in the pictures below, the owner of this factory, who has become some local celebrity, spends his entire day sitting in a chair, smoking in front of his store, to let the visitors take a picture with him.
⇒ Book your Half-Day Open-Top Bus
Calle Ocho is a famous street in Little Havana. In this place, you can admire the art galleries, the colorful murals, the fruit stands, and the older man playing dominoes as they discuss politics while they enjoy their Cuban coffee.
Short trip to Coral Gables
Add Coral Gables to your Miami one day itinerary. This little town is also known as The City Beautiful, and is a gorgeous small city, Miami’s neighbor.
What are the strengths of this town?
The most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen in my entire life, swooping giant banyan trees, which in addition to their decorative role, their huge crown ensures efficient shading for the streets.
⇒ Also read: The beauty of Coral Gables, Florida in 20 photos
Coral Gables also has its famous boulevard. On Miracle Mile, you will find delicate fabrics inside small boutiques and specialty stores for brides or evening gowns.
The name coral comes from the coral stone used for building some of the houses in the area. The use of this rock is now prohibited by law.
Coral Gables is also the home of one of the most beautiful pools in the world. The Venetian Pool is a public one with turquoise water and a charming ambiance.
The walls of the Pool are also made of coral rock.
Go on a city cruise
It was by far my favorite thing to do on my 1 day Miami itinerary. Even though the weather was not on our side and crept a few raindrops here and there, the overall experience was more than worth it.
The mini-cruise lasts 90 minutes, but I would have to admit that I wished to spend more time on the boat, admiring the luxurious villas owned by millionaire people and their gorgeous yachts placed under the Floridian palm trees.Book your city cruise here
Each boat owned by the Island Queen Cruises Company has two decks: one on the ground floor, fully enclosed and air-conditioned, and one on the first floor, with a protective awning.
We have tried both of them, not because we wanted to, but because the weather forced us.
When the rain started, we had to take shelter on the ground floor. The cruises have several hours of departure, the first starting at 10.30 am and the last at 7 pm.
So you get to enjoy it at any time of the day you want, cooler mornings or in the evening, watching the sunset.
My favorite islands
- Fisher Island is not connected by bridge to Miami Beach or Miami, so access is possible only by private boat or ferry boat. From the tour guide, I learned that the average price for one apartment on this island is around 40 million dollars!!! In addition to ultra-modern apartments, the island also has its own private school. Locals include celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey.
- Star Island is an artificial island-shaped oval. Here reside many celebrities: Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Elizabeth Taylor, Paulina Rubio, Philip Frost, Madonna, Thalia, etc. Star Island is the main attraction of the boat tour.
Port of Miami
Miami is the cruise capital of the world. Eleven of the leading liner companies have departures from Miami.
From here, you can get to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Key West, South Africa, and other remote areas on the planet. A cruise can last from a few days to 6 months or even a year.
I met a very nice old lady who told me that she would cruise worldwide for six months. How much money do you think it cost her? $100 000!!! I was genuinely amazed.
But there are cruises for all budgets, so you don’t have to worry. I didn’t manage to go on such a cruise so far, but it certainly is on my bucket list.
And I promise to myself it will happen sooner or later.
⇒ Find the best hotels in Miami.
Miami skyline is the third most impressive in the United States, following New York and Chicago.
The tallest building in Miami will be the Panorama Tower, with 251 m. The construction will be completed in 2017.
Currently, the first position is occupied by Four Seasons Hotel & Tower, finished in 2003 and has 240 m. Next are Southeast Financial Center and One Thousand Museum.
Miami’s skyline impressed me a lot, being a panorama not to be missed on the first visit to the city.
Of course, there are different ways of how to spend a day in Miami. You may not like a boat trip, for example, and want to add other activities to your one day in Miami itinerary. Therefore, here are other activities and places to visit:
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is one of the largest wetlands in the world, and of course, the place where you get to see the American crocodile and the Florida panther. In general, Everglades is known for its fantastic wildlife.
If you decide to visit Everglades, you must take an airboat tour in which you will have the chance to explore the area and even hold a baby alligator in your arms.
Book your Everglades airboat tour
Wynwood Walls is a neighborhood near Downtown Miami. It is an open-air art museum but simultaneously one of the most Instagrammable places in Miami.
The reason is the infinite possibilities of taking beautiful pictures. Here you will find a collection of giant murals with different themes.
There is so much exciting graffiti with well-known characters and quotes. It looks a lot like Baco do Batman in Sao Paulo.
A 30 minutes private helicopter tour
A helicopter ride over Miami and Miami Beach can be a great choice, especially if you only have one day in Miami.
In this way, you can enjoy the whole city in an original version, from a height. The helicopter tour, although relatively short, is pure adrenaline.
Take a ride on Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel
If the helicopter tour doesn’t fit your budget, then you might as well admire the city from the Miami Observation Wheel.
The wheel was opened in 2020 and is 60 meters tall. A rotation takes 12-15 minutes. It’s probably one of the best things to do in Miami for one day, especially since it’s such a new attraction.
For the first visit to Miami, I had available two more days. In these two days, I did other things that you will discover, one by one, in the following articles.
Miami certainly deserves much more space on my blog.
Book your tour here
Things to know before you choose to spend one day in Miami
How to get to Miami
- by plane – Many European cities have direct flights to Miami International Airport. Therefore, coming to Miami by plane could be your best option. It’s located only 9 minutes away from Downtown Miami and 15 minutes from Miami Beach.
- by car – In my opinion, this is the most comfortable choice. Not only because you can stop wherever you want on your way to Miami, but also because you can use the car to get around in the city, you can rent a car in the US for as low as $40/ day.
- by train – It’s probably one of the best options if you can’t drive or come from another city in the US. The Amtrak train station is close to downtown Miami. You can find more about the cost and the schedule on the Amtrak website.
What is the best time to spend a day in Miami?
Miami is the best during spring, more precisely, from the end of February until the beginning of June. The temperatures are perfect in that period.
On the other hand, autumn could be a great time to visit the city because it’s pretty similar to spring in Florida.
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how to spend a day in Miami