Best of Miami in One Day (Tours, Attractions, & Top Places to See)
September 4th 2020
Miami, Florida, is a tropical and artistic vacation destination that is the perfect combination of beach and big city! With delicious and eclectic food, scenic views galore, tons of history, world-renowned annual events, and a nightlife like no other, it’s easy to see why. These are just a few of the many reasons millions of visitors flock to this beach-side paradise each year.
Miami is also known as the “Cruise Capital of the World,” annually hosting close to five million passengers. If you’re traveling to Miami by cruise ship, or are restricted due to your schedule, you may be limited to just one day in the city. If that’s the case, see the best of Miami in one day with the top tours, attractions, and places to see!
Table of Contents
- Why Visit Miami?
- See the City
- Hop Aboard a Boat Tour
- Ride in Style on a Bus Tour
- Take a Miami City Tour
- Try Miami’s Fabulous Food
- Greenstreet Cafe for Breakfast
- Joe’s Stone Crab for Lunch
- Grab a Cuban Sandwich from Las Olas Cafe
- CVI.CHE 105 for Dinner
- Appreciate the History and Scenery
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
- The Barnacle Historic State Park
- Biscayne National Park
- Everglades National Park
- Venetian Pool
- Annual Events
- Miami International Boat Show
- Carnaval Miami and the Calle Ocho Music Festival
- Miami Beach Polo World Cup
- Art Basel Miami Beach
- Party All Night
- Rooftop Lounges
- Dance Clubs
- Bars, Pub Crawls, and Live Music
- Live it Up in Miami, FL
Why Visit Miami?
Miami, Florida, is a bustling South Florida city bursting with culture and style! The diversity of the area can be seen through the many eclectic neighborhoods that make up Miami, as well as through the delicious food, awe-inspiring art, unique annual events, and the list goes on and on. Miami’s mashup of different cultures has created one of the most interesting cities in the country, with an almost endless amount of things to do.
Aside from all of the awesome activities, Miami is also home to some pretty incredible nature just waiting to be explored! Surrounded by coral reefs, bays, wetlands, Everglades marshes, and pine forests, environmental excellence encompasses the city. From searching for alligators in the Everglades to snorkeling the coral reefs of Biscayne National Park, Miami is truly a nature-lovers paradise.
With so many marvelous things to do, it would take a lifetime to experience everything the city has to offer. If you only have a limited amount of time to spend in Miami, however, you are going to want to make the most of it! Keep reading and discover tours, attractions, and the top places to see, and experience the Best of Miami in One Day!
See the City
One of the best ways to start your day in Miami is by venturing into the city, and taking a guided tour is a great way to do so. Guided tours are the best way to get a local’s insight, while taking in the best of Miami. With so many different tours to choose from, there is something for everyone in your group!
Hop Aboard a Boat Tour
Travelers enjoying a scenic Miami boat tour with Miami Urban Adventures
Blast through Miami’s beautiful blue-green waters on a fun and informative boat tour, and see the city from a completely different perspective! Boat tours are a unique experience, as they combine relaxing in nature with adrenaline-pumping fun! Not only that, with many different types of boat tours to choose from, there is truly something for every type of traveler.
According to a recent Traveler Story, boat tours are an unforgettable way to see the Miami skyline. Other popular sights you may see along the way include:
- Biscayne Bay
- Fisher Island
- Port Miami
- South Beach
- Star Island
Ride in Style on a Bus Tour
Miami bus tours, like the one pictured above through Miami Tour Company, are a great way to explore the city
Hop on a bus tour for one of the coolest, and coolest, ways to see Miami. With an average high nearing 90 degrees in the summer, you and your group will be glad you booked a bus tour fully equipped with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. Plus, after strolling up and down Miami’s beautiful beaches, your feet could probably use the break!
Aside from riding in comfort and style, bus tours cover a lot more ground than a traditional walking tour, or even just exploring on your own. This makes bus tours a prime choice for those looking to see the best of Miami in one day! Informative, intriguing, and fun, bus tours are one of the many Miami actvities the whole family will love!
Take a Miami City Tour
Travelers seeing the sights on a city tour through Wynwood Buggies, one of the many unique city tours Miami has to offer
Miami city tours are, by far, one of the best ways to get a comprehensive understanding of the area. With unique offerings ranging from segways to seaplanes, the amount of ways and areas to explore are exciting and practically endless!
Popular types of Miami city tours include:
- Duck Tours
- Day Trips & Excursions
- Combination Tours
- Segway Tours
- and MORE!
City tours will also allow you to dive deeper into some of the interesting neighborhoods and areas that make Miami extraordinary and diverse! From the Cuban influence in Little Havana, to the Haitian influence in Little Haiti, traveling through the different Miami neighborhoods will have you feeling as if you’ve been transported to a different country!
Below are some of the top neighborhoods to visit when in Miami:
Try Miami’s Fabulous Food
Grabbing a bite to eat when in Miami for the day may sound like a no-brainer, but with just one day in Miami, you need to make each bite count! Check out the best of Miami restaurants and feed your inner foodie.
Greenstreet Cafe for Breakfast
Image of delicious Nutella French Toast from Greenstreet Cafe, courtesy of greenstreetcafe.net
Breakfast is a MUST at Greenstreet Cafe in Coconut Grove. This cozy little sidewalk spot is the perfect place for not only delicious eats, but also for hanging out, having fun, and celebrity spottings!
3468 Main Highway | Coconut Grove, Florida, 33133
Joe’s Stone Crab for Lunch
Image of Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami from Wikimedia
Joe’s Stone Crab has been a Miami institution since its opening in 1913. One of Miami’s most favorite restaurants among locals and visitors alike, Joe’s is known for their seasonal stone crabs served up October through May.
Just be aware that Joe’s does not take reservations, and considering their popularity, you can expect a wait. Experiencing this true Miami icon, however, is worth the wait!
11 Washington Avenue | Miami Beach, Florida, 33139
Grab a Cuban Sandwich from Las Olas Cafe
Image of Las Olas Cafe taken by magnoid via Flickr
Don’t underestimate this little hole-in-the-wall in Miami Beach! Take one bite of their famous Cuban sandwich, and you’ll feel as if you’ve been teleported to Havana. With authentic Cuban cuisine including delicious empanadas and lechon asado, your taste buds will be thanking you!
644 6th Street | Miami Beach, Florida, 33139
CVI.CHE 105 for Dinner
CVI.CHE 105 restaurant in downtown Miami. Image courtesy of ceviche105.com
CVI.CHE 105 is a restaurant in downtown Miami, serving up palate-pleasing Peruvian food. This award-winning dining experience is known for their delicious ceviches and other traditional dishes. This upscale restaurant is the perfect setting for date night, girls’ night, or just a tasty time out on the town!
105 N.E. 3rd Avenue | Miami, Florida, 33132
Appreciate the History and Scenery
While Miami, FL, is mostly associated with beautiful beaches, a captivating culture, and a wild nightlife and party atmosphere, it is so much more than that! From historical landmarks to natural formations dating back hundreds of years, Miami is full of history and unparalleled scenic beauty, as well.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Image of Cape Florida Light at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park taken by Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park located on Key Biscayne is home to Cape Florida Light, one of the best places in Miami for breathtaking views! Cape Florida Light is lighthouse that was built in 1825, making it the oldest structure in Miami-Dade. Take the stairs through this lighthouse full of history to the very top for stunning views of both Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Now that you’ve snapped your insta-worthy photo, it’s time to explore the island! There is more to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park than the majestic Cape Florida Light. Other popular activities at the State Park include:
- And MORE!
The Barnacle Historic State Park
Pictured above is “The Barnacle” at The Barnacle Historic State Park. Image from Wikimedia
The Barnacle, pictured above, was built in 1891 as the home of Ralph Middleton Munrow, a very charming and influential pioneer. Untouched, The Barnacle Historic State Park is almost just as Munrow left it complete with:
- Giant replicas of two of his sailboats
- Large and beautiful trees originally planted by Munrow himself
- “The Barnacle” in all its glory
The Barnacle is actually the oldest house in Miami-Dade County that is still standing in its original location. Aside from the history, The Barnacle Historic State Park is a great place for birding, having a picnic, and relaxing while watching the sailboats pass by.
Biscayne National Park
Image of a scuba diver exploring the Florida Reef Tract in Biscayne National Park courtesy of nps.gov
In the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay lies Biscayne National Park! This submerged aquatic wonderland is the largest marine sanctuary in the U.S. National Park System, stretching nearly 173,000 acres. Biscayne National Park is comprised of four ecosystems:
- Coral Reefs
- Coral Limestone Keys
This means that besides the park’s stunning beauty, it is also home to a vast array of marine life, including 20 species that are either threatened or endangered. Animals you may encounter at Biscayne National Park include:
- Hawksbill Sea Turtles
- American Crocodiles
Even though 95% of the National Park is in Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the other 5% is also very significant. Biscayne National Park is also home to the Biscayne Birding Trail which proudly hosts 110 species of birds! Rare birds you may see on the trail include:
- Mangrove Cuckoo
- Roseate Spoonbill
- Wood Stork
There are so many ways to explore this special park. Whether your birding, snorkeling the Florida Reef, paddling the lagoon by kayak, or checking out the area islands Boca Chita and Elliot Key, your time spent at Biscayne National Park will yield memories that will last a lifetime!
Everglades National Park
Image of alligators at the Everglades National Park by nps.gov
Everglades National Park is a massive and incredible 1.5-million-acre wetland preserve on the southern tip of Florida. The Everglades are a source of unmatched beauty and astonishing nature and wildlife. Less than 30 miles from the city, the Everglades are the perfect way to get outside and connect with nature.
The Everglades are also home to many threatened and endangered species of plant and animal life. Threatened and endangered species you may encounter in the Florida Everglades include the:
- Miami-Blue Butterfly
- Florida Panther
- American Alligator
- American Crocodile
- Loggerhead Sea Turtle
- Green Sea Turtle
- Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
…and that’s just to list a few! One of the best ways to get out and see these incredible animals in person would be by booking a Miami bayou and swamp tour. Swamp tours get you up-close-and-personal with nature in a serene, yet extreme, way!
Image of the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables by Daniel Di Palma via Wikimedia
In 1923, local designer Denman Flink transformed a rock quarry into the most picturesque pool paradise dubbed the Venetian Pool. With waterfalls, canals, coral caves, and more, this beautiful swimming pool is still enjoyed today. This swimmers’ paradise is historical, as well, as it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places!
Fantastic and festive events happen year-round in Miami, FL, making it a lively vacation destination no matter what time of year you visit! Since you will only be in Miami for one day, you may not be able to catch one of these awesome occurrences. If your one day in Miami is taking place during one of the city’s many memorable yearly celebrations, however, then you may want to consider checking it out!
Miami International Boat Show
Image of boats from the Miami International Boat Show courtesy of miamiboatshow.com
Every year in February, over 100,000 guests are expected to attend the Miami International Boat Show! Taking place at the Miami Marine Stadium, guests can see more than 1,300 boats by land and by sea! With on-the-water boating workshops, daily seminars, and fun in the sun AND on the water, the Miami International Boat Show is always a great time!
Carnaval Miami and the Calle Ocho Music Festival
Image of a large crowd at the Calle Ocho Music Festival courtesy of carnavalmiami.com
Carnaval Miami and the Calle Ocho Music Festival is the largest Hispanic festival in the country, with over one million visitors! During Carnaval Miami, which takes place in March, stroll through Little Havana and enjoy live music, delicious food, folk dances, and so much more!
Not only is it a good time, but it’s also for a good cause. According to carnavalmiami.com, “the economic impact of Carnaval Miami extends to 40 million, every year.” Carnaval Miami uses that money to help local children by funding projects like creating summer camps, distributing school supplies, creating scholarships, and more.
Miami Beach Polo World Cup
Image from the Miami Beach Polo World Cup taken by The Miami Maven via Flickr
The Miami Beach Polo World Cup is hosted in April every year, right on the gorgeous sands of Miami Beach. Over 10,000 people attend this 4-day event and cheer on their team as they compete for the prized La Martina Trophy! This event is considered to be the world’s largest and most prestigious polo tournament on the beach, and is definitely worth checking out if you’re in town for the day.
Art Basel Miami Beach
Image of Zaha Hadid’s booth at Art Basel by Associated Fabrication via Flickr
Art Basel in Miami Beach takes place every year in December, and is considered the premier art show of the Americas with an amazing platform for some of the best galleries and artists. While Art Basel has different events across the globe, the American show will host the top galleries from:
- North America
- Latin America
Not only that, this incredible art experience will feature the best art by the brightest artists, both seasoned professionals and emerging stars. You will also see a wide variety of artistic platforms including:
- And MORE!
Party All Night
Even though you’re only in Miami for one day, we’d be wrong to not at least mention Miami’s wild and wonderful nightlife! Plus, with only 24 hours in Miami or less, you’ll want to make those hours count!
Image of the view from Sugar, a rooftop bar in downtown Miami, taken by Tim Snell via Flickr
Rooftop lounges are pretty easy to come by when in Miami, and with the stunning scenic views this city boasts, it’s easy to see why! Below are a few popular rooftop bars in Miami for incredible landscapes:
788 Brickell Plaza, #40 | Miami, Florida, 33131
2103 N.W. 2nd Avenue | Miami, Florida, 33127
270 Biscayne Boulevard, Way #16 | Miami, Florida, 33131
Image of LIV Miami taken by madeonaufo via Flickr
If you’re REALLY wanting to live it up for your one-day Miami adventure, check out one of their wildly popular dance clubs! Just be aware that many places do have a dress code, so it’s recommended to check before arrival. Also, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for your favorite celebrities at one of these top Miami hotspots:
4441 Collins Avenue | Miami Beach, Florida, 33140
34 NE 11th Street | Miami, Florida, 33132
136 Collins Avenue | Miami Beach, Florida, 33139
Bars, Pub Crawls, and Live Music
With so many local bars, pub crawls, and live music venues in Miami, finding delicious drinks, like the ones pictured above, couldn’t be easier
When it comes to the party scene in Miami, there is a lot to take in. With so many delightful bars, delicious drinks, and live music filling the streets, it can be almost impossible to decide which local watering hole to visit first. If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider booking a Miami pub crawl!
Miami pub crawls are a great way to hit the town and experience the spirit, and spirits, of the city! With a knowledgeable, experienced, and local tour guide leading the way, you can rest assured that your one day in Miami is being well spent!
Live it Up in Miami, FL
Image of Miami, Florida’s jaw-dropping skyline
With a limited amount of time in the city, you want to make sure you take in the absolute best of Miami in one day. Whether it’s chowing down on a delicious Cuban sandwich or watching the boats breeze by at “The Barnacle,” sinking in to the city’s culture is sure to leaving you longing for more time in marvelous Miami, FL.
Keeping you informed