Things to do on a budget this summer in Miami


The sweltering temperatures offer little deterrence to the tourist crowds who flock to Miami during the summer months – with plenty of great things for them to enjoy.

Crowds gathered on South Beach (Photo: Mike McBey via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

With its enticing beaches, turquoise waters, world-class art galleries and pulsating nightlife, Miami is one of the world’s most popular destinations. If you’re planning a trip here this summer and would like to start building a fun-packed itinerary of things to see and do during your stay, we’ve picked out some of the best activities, attractions and events that are on offer over the coming months.

Soak up the rays on South Beach

There’s no more quintessential Miami summertime activity than hitting one of the city’s stretches of sandy shore – and perhaps its most famous is South Beach. Just beyond the area’s distinctive, pastel-hued Art Deco buildings lining Ocean Drive lies the iconic shoreline with aquamarine water and fine sand. Famed for attracting international celebrities, this is where you’ll find beautiful people soaking up the sun and the scenery. The beachfront area, which runs from the southern tip of the island north to 26th Street, can be divided into three areas, each with their own distinct character.

Admire the street art of Wynwood Walls

Eye-catching street art at Wyndwood Walls (Photo: Jimmy Baikovicius via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beyond its glitz and glamour, Miami also boasts a vibrant arts scene that extends beyond the walls of its many museums and cultural venues. Just minutes from Downtown Miami, the colourful Wynwood district has become a haven for aspiring painters, graffiti artists, creatives and young innovators alike. At its heart is the pedestrian-friendly, free-to-enter Wynwood Walls, where a collection of giant eye-catching wall murals covers six buildings. While the walls themselves are carefully preserved, surrounding buildings serve as a constantly changing blank canvas for famed artists from across the globe.

266 NW 26th Street / Sun-Thurs 11am-7pm Fri-Sat 11am-8pm

Miami Swim Week

Designer Andrea Gaviria walks the runway at Miami Swim Week (Photo: Andrea Gaviria / Courtesy Art Hearts Fashion)

The world’s largest marketing event for the swimwear industry, Miami Swim Week doesn’t just attract designers, models and suited types, but draws a dedicated following of swimwear enthusiasts too. A busy programme of ticketed runway shows and other events are open to the general public at reasonable prices, giving everyone the chance to see the latest cutting edge design trends when it comes to beach and pool apparel and accessories. Pop ups, art exhibits, pool parties and surprise performances all week long add to the fun.

Miami Beach / 4-12 July 2023

Explore Little Havana

As the epicentre of Miami’s immigrant Latino community, Little Havana is a perpetually buzzing testament to the American Dream. A haven for exiled Cubans since the 1960s, today the district teems with Cuban culture, from its live music, to its bars serving up authentic mojitos, to its galleries displaying Cuban art. The area is also a foodie paradise, with many affordable guided culinary tours on offer. And if you really want to immerse yourself in the local scene, on the third Friday of every month the district hosts a block party featuring music, art, food and more.

International Ballet Festival of Miami

(Photo: Simon Soong / Courtesy International Ballet Festival of Miami)

Now into its 28th year, the International Ballet Festival of Miami will once again see local, national and international guests flock to watch a packed programme of ballet performances at venues across the city. More than 70 artists representing some of the most famous Ballet companies in the world will be appearing, and the event will also feature art exhibitions, book presentations, dance film screenings and workshops for budding ballet stars. While many of the shows charge for tickets, some are free, so check the schedules for details.

Venues across Miami / 22 July-13 August 2023

Take a look around the Art Deco Historic District

Pops of colour plus the style’s notable architectural lines, curves and fountains can be found throughout Miami Beach, but nowhere more so than in the city’s Historic District. The styles of the 1920s and 1930s remain vibrant in the district, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. It contains some 800 designated historic buildings, though some of them represent other modern architectural styles from different eras of Miami’s history. What remains consistent is that the area is an absolute delight to explore.

Enjoy waterfront entertainment at Bayside Marketplace

A waterside view at Bayside Marketplace (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Straddling the banks of Biscayne Bay in Miami’s downtown district, the open-air Bayside Marketplace is a hugely popular complex that’s a constant hubbub of activity, thanks to its vast array of waterside entertainment, dining and shopping opportunities. Whether you’ve come to grab a souvenir or take home with you, tuck into delectable international cuisine, or take in one of the regular free live music performances, there’s always something going on here to suit every taste.

401 Biscayne Boulevard / Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm Fri-Sat 10am-11pm Sun 11am-9pm

Hike Through Bear Cut Nature Preserve

Situated just a short distance south of Miami, on the north end of Biscayne Key, Crandon Park is a precious sliver of natural bayfront that invites visitors to hike through a peaceful nature preserve. The natural habitats in the park include coastal hammock, mangroves, sand dunes, and pristine beaches where lots of wildlife and plantlife can be viewed. The trails start from a nature centre that offers guided tours and educational programs. There are set hours of operation for the nature centre and hiking trails and a modest fee is required to enter the preserve.

6767 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne

Take in the Mediterranean atmosphere on Española Way

The leafy environs of Española Way (Photo: Michael Ostendorp via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Tucked away on a palm tree-lined pedestrian-only street, Española Way is a charming historic throwback in the heart of South Beach. Conceived as a “historic Spanish village” in 1925, the two-block stretch was designed to resemble the romantic Mediterranean villages of Spain and France. Here, buildings are made of chalky pink stucco with Spanish tile roofs where sidewalk cafes and restaurants are shaded by striped awnings. The are also plays host to frequent events including flamenco and salsa dancing, yoga, and an open-air local makers market.

Try paddle boarding in Crandon Park  

With its peaceful natural landscapes and calm waters, Crandon Park is a great place to give paddleboarding a whirl. Located within Bear Cut Preserve, the 800-acre oasis is a mecca for paddleboard enthusiasts who come in their droves to traverse the coastal waters. The sea grass beds and mangrove roots filled with marine life such as sting rays, puffer fish, and even baby sharks ensure your paddleboarding experience is both a full-body work out and a sea life spotting adventure of a lifetime.

 6747 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne / Mon-Sun 8am-5pm

Wander through the Miami Design District

An impressive sculpture in the Miami Design District (Photo: Phillip Pessar via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Famed for its sleek modern architecture, art galleries, design showrooms, and antique dealers, the Miami Design District is another must-visit district. A major international hub for fashion, art, and architecture, while window shopping at the luxury boutiques may be what initially draws visitors, the experience is elevated by the captivating public art found throughout the neighbourhood, from a prototype of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye geodesic dome surrounded by palm trees in Palm Court, to Sol LeWitt’s sculpture garden and a web of hanging chairs by German designer Konstantin Grcic.

Peruse some world-class art at Perez Art Museum

Home to international art spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, Perez Art Museum is one of Miami’s finest cultural institutions. Among its summer exhibitions is Love is Calling, the creation of acclaimed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who interweaves ideas of Pop art, Minimalism, and psychedelia throughout her works. The exhibition exemplifies the breadth of her visual vocabulary – from the signature polka dots and soft sculptures to brilliant colours, the spoken word, and endless reflections and the illusion of space. A darkened, mirrored room is illuminated by inflatable, tentacle-like forms – covered in the artist’s characteristic polka dots – that extend from the floor and ceiling, gradually changing colours. As visitors walk through the installation, a sound recording of Kusama reciting a love poem in Japanese plays continuously.

1103 Biscayne Boulevard / Sat-Mon 11am-6pm Thurs 11am-9pm Closed Tues-Weds 

Have a stroll along Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

A jogger beats a path down Hollywood Beach Broadwalk (Photo: Phillip Pessar via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Stretching nearly 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk is a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade that’s enchanted visitors since the 1920s. The brick-paved thoroughfare is a haven for joggers, bicyclists, roller-bladers and those who enjoy people watching from the comfort of one of the countless eateries and cafés along the way. There are also two parks that attract kids of all ages to play paddleball or cool off from the summer sun in the whimsical dolphin play fountain.

Go strawberry picking at Knaus Berry Farm  

A fun and affordable excursion option from Miami, particularly for families, is strawberry picking at Knaus Berry Farm in the city of Homstead, about 30 miles south of central Miami. With strawberries at their sweetest and most abundant in summer, youngsters can fill their baskets with tons of delicious fresh berries, and, of course, eat a few along the way. Be sure to check out the on-site bakery where they serve up delicious home-made cinnamon rolls, as well as vegetables and locally-made ice cream.

15980 SW 248th Street, Homestead

By Paul Joseph