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24 Hours in Miami: Unforgettable Hotspots & Hidden Gems in Miami

by Roslie L.
Published: Updated:
View of waterfront attraction with tour boat and ferris wheel

A lucky visitor to Miami could easily spend a few days or even a few weeks exploring this metropolitan area. However, if you’re a bit stuck for time and only have 24 hours in Miami, fear not! We have compiled the ultimate one-day itinerary for Miami so that you get to experience everything that Miami has to offer in just 24 hours. 

So, whether you’re in Miami for a quick layover before continuing on your adventures, enjoying the area before hopping on a cruise, or just happen to have 24 hours to kill in this incredible city, then this is the itinerary for you. 

Ready to plan your 24 hours in Miami? From iconic hotspots to the best-hidden gems in Miami, here is your guide to one unforgettable day in the Magic City.

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Best Time to Visit Miami

If you’re looking to get active outdoors, the cooler winter months are the best time to visit Miami. It’s one of the country’s warmest winter destinations, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees F.

Ocean Drive Miami South Beach cars and palm trees

Meanwhile, during the summer, you’ll find the mercury rising to 95 degrees F and beyond. With a high level of humidity and intense sun, the heat index often rises above 105 degrees F.

Though that can be fantastic beach weather, if you’re looking to spend a low-key 24 hours in Miami, it’ll leave you drenched in sweat if your itinerary has you on the go. So, plan accordingly: apply sunscreen like these regularly (at least SPF 30), and be sure to stay hydrated!

Planning the Perfect 24 Hours in Miami

Ready for a whirlwind day exploring the Magic City? Here is your guide to the best things to do if you only have one day to explore Miami.

Man running on the Miami Beach Boardwalk along Lummus Park Miami Beach, Florida

Disclaimer: Try as you might; you aren’t going to make it to every spot on this list — nor should you try! One of the most beautiful things about Miami is its vibrant lifestyle. Although there are countless things to do in Miami, forget about rushing around to try to see them all.

Keep reading here to see what catches your interest, then save this post, so you’ve always got ideas on hand. Once you’re inspired and have some ideas in mind, just see where the day takes you.

Morning in Downtown Miami

The best place to start your day is in downtown Miami. You’ll find some of the best hotels in the city right here in the heart of it all. If you can make it work, spend the night here, then start bright and early to make the very most of your one day in Miami.

Getting to Downtown Miami

Flying into the city? Getting from Miami International Airport to downtown Miami is as easy as can be. While it is rare to see, the cheapest option, the Metrorail train system is actually one of the most desirable options for getting into the city.

MetroMover in Downtown Miami Florida

Between the Dolphin and Flamingo Garages, head up to third-level Skytrain to connect to the MIA Mover station. Jump on the Metrorail Orange line and take it down to the Government Center train station. With 15 minutes and for just under $3 bucks, you’ll be in the heart of the city.

Insider Tip: Leave the car keys at home! If you’re only in Miami for 24 hours, or even a few days, there is no need for a car. You’ll just add stress to your vacation by trying to track down parking spots and dealing with the notorious Miami traffic.

Getting Around Miami

If you’re up for it, renting a Citi Bike Miami is a great way to get around the city while enjoying the weather.

Citi Bike Docking Station

Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? Pounding the pavement is one of the best ways to see the city, and you can always hop in a taxi, use a rideshare service, or check out Miami’s public transportation options.

Before you go, download the Miami-Dade Transit app, so you have it handy, and be sure to download an offline map on Google Maps, so you always know the best way to get from point A to B.

What to Do in Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami is the prime place to start your adventure. Along Biscayne Bay, you will find Miami’s first community gathering space at Bayfront Park. With open green spaces, a tropical rock garden, and picturesque bay walkway views, the 32-acre park is the perfect place to wander around and take in the atmosphere.

Bayfront Park bay walk view with palms trees, boat and building in background in Downtown Miami Florida

Once you have explored the park, head to neighboring Bayside Marketplace to shop for souvenirs (which has a great selection of restaurants, too, including the Hard Rock Café experience.

Bayside Marketplace Downtown Miami crowd dancing around stage

Bayside Marketplace is one of Miami’s most visited attractions. This outdoor mall of shops, entertainment venues, and restaurants is situated along Biscayne Bay. This is also a good place to arrange a boat tour of the striking city views that can only be seen from the water.

Best Tours in Miami

Want to grab a tour from downtown Miami to get a more widespread view of the city? For an unforgettable vantage point (and perfect selfie spot), check out the Millionaire’s Row Cruise. This 90-minute tour is an ideal way to get off your feet for a bit while snapping postcard-perfect pics. 

Red Big Bus Miami Tour Bus

Another great way to explore and get the lay of the land is with the Big Bus Miami Tour. I always find hop-off hop-off buses like this the best option for seeing as much as possible in a short time. Only got one day in Miami during a blazing hot summer day? Hop on board to cruise the city while enjoying that oh-so-sweet air conditioning.

24 Hours in Miami: Exploring Wynwood

Hop on the free City of Miami trolley and head to the city’s epic center of art and culture, Wynwood Art District. Easily one of our favorite neighborhoods in Miami, Wynwood is a hotspot amongst locals and tourists alike.

Wynwood Walls Miami Florida main entrance gate

This lively area is located just north of downtown Miami, and it’s an absolute must for any art lover, foodie, beer fan, or just anybody looking to soak in the local vibe. 

If you can only visit one spot in the district, check out the Wynwood Walls. Another one of Miami’s best selfie spots, this fascinating outdoor museum has work from local and international artists. 

You’ll find a wide range of street art tours that are amazing. When you’ve only got one day in Miami, this guided Wynwood Art District Walking tour is a perfect pick.

For a more in-depth look at the art, be sure to check out the Museum of Graffiti. It’s the world’s very first museum dedicated to graffiti. We recommend this museum even if you’re not really into street art. It’s an engaging look at art, culture, and the uniquely Miami-style point of view.

Wynwood for Foodies and Craft Beer Lovers

While Wynwood is famous for its art, that is just the pretty surface. Look a bit deeper, and you’ll find some of the best restaurants and craft breweries in Florida.

People at craft brewery room

To sample the best eats and tastiest beers, I’d highly recommend checking out the Wynwood Art, Beer, and Tacos Tour. While we’re sure you’ve had tacos and beers before, you have never had them like this! Sample authentic flavors and sauces that’ll knock your flip flops off, then wash it all down with one of the award-winning local brews.  

Yellow floral plate with Cuban Food - fish, black beans, white rice plantains and salad

A bit too early for a drink? Check out the Wynwood Food and Art Tour. After getting an insider’s look at art and culture, this flavor-packed tour will bring you through all of the very best eateries in the neighborhood. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample a bit of everything without having to commit to a full meal anywhere.

Planning Tip: The Wynwood Art District can get crazy busy, particularly on the weekends. To avoid the large crowds and have the best chance to take uninterrupted photos, visit in the morning, ideally during the week. 

Best Craft Breweries in Wynwood

Want to skip the art and grab a beer? Well, you have most certainly come to the right place. Wynwood breweries are amongst the best in the US, if not the world. From blonde ales to sours, there is absolutely nothing that you can’t find here in this beer lover’s paradise.

People sitting at establishment outside patio

Looking for a trendy hotspot to mingle with locals? Veza Sur Brewing is the place for you. It’s got a spacious, chill outdoor area with a food truck perfect for appetizers or a light dinner.

Last but certainly not least, J. Wakefield Brewing is a brewery unlike no other. With one-of-a-kind local blends using local ingredients, you’ll find beers with everything from grapes to peaches to mangos here. 

Foodie Faves: Best Places to Eat in Wynwood

When it comes to mouth-watering dishes, Wynwood delivers on the culinary delights. While you can walk into any random spot that catches your eye and get a Michelin-star meal, here are a few standouts. 

Mutiple dishes and cocktails on table
  • bartaco is the perfect combination of delicious ultra-fresh food, scrumptious drinks, and a lively indoor and outdoor vibe with feel-good eats.
  • Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop aka Enriqueta’s con Sabor: Think a sandwich is just a sandwich? Try this spot’s take on the Cuban sandwich. 
  • The Taco Stand: Love Mexican food? Take your relationship to the next level with tacos that’ll inspire you to grab your sombrero. 
  • 1-800 Lucky: This swanky Asian market is Miami’s first and only Asian food hall. 
  • The Salty: Got a sweet tooth? You can thank us later for these world-changing donuts.

For more options, check out our Insider’s Guide to the Best Wynwood Restaurants.

Miami’s Best Neighborhood for Walking: Little Havana, Calle Ocho

Okay, so you’re stuffed after your lunch in Wynwood; now it’s time to take a walk through the famous Little Havana neighborhood. If you want to see what makes this area special, get to Calle Ocho.

Men playing dominos at domino park

Watch locals play dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park or Dominio Park as it’s known locally, then check out the calendar at the CubaOcho Museum & Performing Art Center to see what’s coming up today. 

People ordering at the La Esquina de La Fama restaurant coffee window and the mural wall in Little Havana, Miami Florida Calle Ocho

Walk down the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, then fuel up at one of the Cuban coffee windows, or ventanitas, as known locally. If you’re looking to cool down instead, get over to Azucar Ice Cream shop.

As you’re wandering around, you’ll see the cigar shops that this district is so famous for. Smoke ’em or not, stop into at least one store to see what it’s all about. 

People watching live performance in Little Havana Miami Florida Calle Ocho's Ball and Chaind

If you want to stick around into the evening, check out Ball & Chain for live music. It is one of those places that is always buzzing with energy.

You’ll find live performers both during the day and evening. You can watch the pros’ salsa dance, then try a few moves once you feel inspired. Pro tip: Order the mojito. Sure, they are a bit pricey, but they are one of the best in town (which says a lot in Miami).

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Where to Eat in Little Havana, Calle Ocho

Thinking about sticking around for a late lunch or dinner? Here are some of the very best places to eat in Little Havana:

Sanguich de Miami Cuban Sandwich, Little Havana, Miami Florida
  • Sanguich de Miami: Want to eat and run? This walk-up window has some of the best Cuban-inspired sandwiches on this side of town. 
  • El Rey de las Fritas: For more than 40 years, this place has been serving up the Original Cuban Burger.
  • Doce Provisions: You’ll love the update on modern classics made here with locally sourced food. 
  • Los Pinarenos Fruteria: Visit this old-school market for fresh juice, exotic fruit, and a chance to meet the resident pot-bellied Vietnamese pig, Chucha. 

Planning Tip: Trust us; we know choosing the best place to eat in Little Havana is no easy task! If you want to sample all of the best world-class Cuban, arrange your Little Havana Walking Food Tour online here!

Evening in South Beach

The nightlife in Miami is centered around South Beach — but we’d highly recommend getting there in the late afternoon if you can swing it.

Family riding bicycle on Ocean Drive Miami Beach Art Deco District in South Beach Florida

Insider Tip: Rent a bike to get around South Beach. It’s easy to get around, and it’s an all-around captivating place to explore. 

Did you know that Miami Beach has the world’s biggest collection of art deco architecture? Explore the Art Deco District solo or, if you can come in early in the day, join an MDPL Art Deco Walking Tour (and they’ve got a Miami Vice tour too!). 

Street view of Espanola Way Miami Beach Florida South Beach

Once you’ve taken in the impressive buildings, head over to Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, Espanola Way, or Lincoln Road for a bit of retail therapy. Or, if you’re in the neighborhood before 5 p.m., purchase your Duck Tour tickets online and jump aboard to see Miami landmarks from land and sea.

Best Sunset in Miami

Sunset at South Pointe Pier Park Miami Beach South Beach Florida

As the sun starts to lower, make your way to South Pointe Park. This picture-perfect park has one of the most stunning sunset vistas you will find in South Beach. Oh, and it is one of the best free things to do in Miami!

This scenic pathway is a must-see for visitors to Miami, stretching some 40 blocks from South Beach northward along the shore. With ocean views on one side and vintage architecture on the other, it’s a quintessential Miami experience.

Where to Eat in South Beach

Worked up an appetite? South Beach is the place for dinner, especially if you want to soak in the high-energy nightlife afterward. Here are a few of the spots you’re sure to love.

Large stone crabs on white plates on table
  • Joe’s Stone Crab: Miami may be famous for its Latin food, but the seafood is second to none! The fried chicken is the real secret here!
  • Havana 1957: Because you’ve got to squeeze in one more Cuban meal before you go! 
  • Juvia: For dinner with a view, it’s all about this rooftop restaurant and lounge. 
  • Insider Tip: To stay energized for a wild night out, do what the locals do. Get to Front Porch Café for the famous Kill Devil Coffee Roasters.

South Beach Nightlife

The Clevelander South Beach, Florida

When it comes to nightlife in Miami, you will be spoiled for choices in South Beach. Get started on a night out you’ll never forget with a visit to The Clevelander in the middle of the Art Deco District. Whether you want to chill poolside or dance the night away, this hotel has you covered. 

Swing for a salsa lesson at Mangos Tropical Café or sit back and enjoy the entertainment, then go for drinks at the ultra-swanky STORY Nightclub

Ranked one of the best nightclubs on the planet, LIV is the place to see and be seen in Miami Beach if you can make it past the bouncers.

So, my fellow explorers, are you feeling ready to explore Miami? Are you looking forward to digging into Miami’s hidden gems, or are you dying to see the iconic sites? Whatever you decide to do, I can promise you that these will be 24 hours you’ll never forget.

Feeling inspired to extend your trip? Check out our insider’s guide to 48-hours in Miami.

24 Hours in Miami Itinerary Map

Save this map to your phone and use it to plan your one-day in Miami itinerary.


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