By: Carolyn Keating
PortMiami, the “Cruise Capital of the World,” is located between Miami Beach and Downtown Miami. If you’re planning a cruise vacation, why not extend your stay and spend some time in Miami? Whether you have a half day, full day or longer, we’ve got activities and itineraries perfect for you to take full advantage of your time in Miami.
If you have less than four hours before your cruise departs, take a quick sightseeing boat from Bayside Marketplace or visit the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science or History Miami in Downtown Miami, all located just minutes from the Port.
With a full day or more, you can visit several Miami neighborhoods and nearby attractions. Consider a hop on-hop off bus tour from Bayside Marketplace if you’d like to visit popular Miami areas including South Beach, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and Little Havana. A full day opens up a world of possibilities depending on your personal interests. Check out Places to See for mini-guides on what to see and do in Greater Miami’s many vibrant neighborhoods.
Half Day in Miami
South Beach ranks high on everyone’s list of places to see in Miami. A half day gives you plenty of time to visit the Art Deco District along with a few other Miami Beach fun spots. Bring a swimsuit and towel in case you’d like to take a quick dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Tip: For an easy way to get around, consider renting a Deco Bike from one of 100+ kiosks on Miami Beach. Simply swipe your credit card and you’re on your way!
9 a.m. – Breakfast on South Beach
Dine indoors or patio-side at the Front Porch Café, a popular breakfast spot located at 1458 Ocean Drive. Enjoy views of the ocean while you sip your coffee.
10 a.m. – Art Deco Historic District
The Art Deco Welcome Center at 10th Street and Ocean Drive is the best place to start your tour of this unique architectural treasure trove. Choose from a 90-minute guided walking tour -- or a self-guided tour if you are short on time.
12 p.m. Option #1 - Lunch & Shopping on Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road is a charming pedestrian mall in the heart of South Beach. Grab a quick slice of pizza at Spris or, if you’re in the mood for a more substantial lunch, try Balans. Browse for souvenirs at the trendy boutiques.
Option #2 – Museum Crawl
Culture vultures can choose from the Jewish Museum of Florida, the Wolfsonian—Florida International University or the Bass Museum of Art. The Jewish Museum and Wolfsonian both offer lunch and light fare on the premises.
2 p.m. – Bon Voyage
Head back to Port Miami and get ready to depart for your cruise.
Full Day in Miami
9 a.m. – Breakfast on Your Own
10 a.m. – Explore Miami
Option #1 – Beach Day
Head to the lovely island of Key Biscayne, located just 20 minutes by car from Downtown Miami. At Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, you can sunbathe on a top-rated beach, visit the 1824 lighthouse, and grab a pedicab to explore the park. Lunch: Lighthouse Café, located inside the park.
Option #2 – Wild Fun
Parrots, snakes, alligators and friendly furry creatures like lemurs and orangutans are ready to pose for pictures at Jungle Island, a Miami attraction filled with tropical plants and a jungle full of fun! On Key Biscayne, check out Miami Seaquarium’s killer whale and dolphin show, see endangered manatees, or zip up your wetsuit for a dolphin encounter at Dolphin Harbor. Lunch: On site at Jungle Island or Miami Seaquarium.
Option #3 – Arts & Culture
The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is a modern and contemporary art museum and stunning new addition to Downtown Miami’s cultural scene. See engaging exhibits of 20th- and 21st-century art while enjoying sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. Lunch: On site at Verde, the museum’s restaurant, which features dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
2 p.m. – Sightseeing Cruise
Don’t miss a chance to see Miami from the water. Hop on an Island Queen cruise. Departing from Bayside Marketplace, this sightseeing cruise takes you past waterfront mansions, Port Miami, Fisher Island and other hot spots while you enjoy great views of the Miami skyline. Tip: buy tickets online and skip the wait.
5 p.m. – Dinner with a View
The Rusty Pelican, located on Key Biscayne, has been wowing visitors with its jaw-dropping views of Downtown Miami for many years. Have a cocktail at the outdoor lounge before sampling from an impressive menu of seafood, prime beef, pasta and more.
8 p.m. – Showtime
Home to Miami’s ballet and opera companies as well as Broadway shows and the seasonal Cleveland Orchestra, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts offers a playbill full of fantastic shows to enjoy. Buy tickets in advance, if possible, and get ready for a night out on the town.