Miami Beach In 3 Days

South Beach Ocean Dr

Ocean Drive in South Beach

Lincoln Road

Lincoln Road

The Bass

The Bass

Art Deco

Art Deco architecture

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Attractions, arts, shopping, spas, dining, dancing—the list of things to see and do in Miami Beach is virtually endless. How can visitors possibly fit it all in? A little planning goes a long way to guarantee a great vacation

Day 1: Get To Know Miami Beach's Art Deco District

Start with a walking Tour on South Beach

Start your trip by getting a feel for your surroundings on an Art Deco District Tour. Led by knowledgeable guides from the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL), these walking tours highlight Miami Beach's architectural jewels including traditional Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and Mediterranean Revival styles. The tour departs from the Art Deco Welcome Center (1001 Ocean Drive) Friday through Sunday at 10:30 a.m.  The tour is available on demand Monday through Thursday and must be arranged in advance.

The MDPL also teams up with the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to offer the Gay & Lesbian Walking Tour, which departs from the Art Deco Welcome Center and is offered by advance request. If you're not able to take one of these tours but want to learn about the wealth of options available for gay and lesbian travelers, stop by the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) LGBTQ Visitor Center (1130 Washington Ave., 1st Floor North), which is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bike around South Beach
Explore Miami Beach at your own pace by renting a DecoBike from many convenient locations

Explore Miami Beach on Your Own with Deco Bike

Your tour will likely lead you to plenty of areas that you'd like to explore further, and your guide will also offer ideas for the rest of your trip. As you plan your activities, keep in mind that Miami Beach's compact layout makes it the perfect destination for getting around on a bike. Luckily, it's one of only a few cities in the country to offer a bike sharing program. Just pick up a bike at any DecoBike station conveniently located throughout Miami Beach, and return it at any other station when you're finished.

colorful art deco buildings on ocean drive
Stop for and outdoor lunch along Ocean Drive and enjoy the South Beach weather

Lunch & People Watching on South Beach

You'll probably work up an appetite on the walking tour, so take a lunch break on Ocean Drive. This world-famous street is lined with sidewalk cafes right across from the beach. Sit back and watch as an eclectic crowd of locals, tourists, beachgoers and unique characters stream past your table.

Miami Beach's Eclectic Shopping Scene

After lunch, stroll up and down Ocean Drive and duck into any of the one-of-a-kind boutiques that might catch your eye. A block inland, Collins Avenue is an upscale shopping paradise featuring one designer shop after another. One block over, Washington Avenue offers edgier fare, with vintage and club wear shops reflecting its status as a mecca for nightlife and clubbing. Work your way north, and then head inland a couple of blocks to Española Way. This charming pedestrian-only street, tucked between 14th and 15th streets just west of Washington Avenue, features delightful boutiques and cafes set against a backdrop of Spanish Mediterranean architecture.

Spend the Day Exploring Miami Beach's Unique Museums

Heading south on Washington Avenue, you can visit three quite distinct museums. The World Erotic Art Museum features thousands of fascinating, one-of-a-kind historical and contemporary pieces. The Wolfsonian-Florida International University is a fascinating museum highlighting architecture, design and propaganda from the years 1885 to 1945. Stop by the Jewish Museum of Florida and browse hundreds of photos and artifacts depicting the Florida Jewish experience since 1763. 

South Pointe Park
Enjoy sunset views at South Pointe Park

South Pointe Park is Perfect for Sunsets, Cruise Ships & Delightful Dining

The South of Fifth (SoFi) area of South Beach has several fine restaurants, offering delicacies ranging from steaks to stone crabs. At the southern tip of the island, South Pointe Park winds along the beach and Government Cut, the entrance to the Port of Miami. It's the perfect spot to watch the big cruise ships glide by as the sun sets behind the Downtown Miami skyline.

couple watches outdoor concert
Enjoy a classical concert outdoors at New World Symphony

Experience World-famous South Beach Nightlife and Music

After enjoying a relaxing sunset and dinner, it's time to turn up the volume. Stay up as late as you can, roaming the sizzling nightlife corridors of Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington avenues, and Lincoln Road.

If you'd prefer a more subdued evening, check out the New World Symphony schedule. This world-class orchestra performs at the New World Center, its spectacular home designed by Frank Gehry. Some performances are even projected against the building's huge wall facing the adjacent public park, so bring a blanket and enjoy the show. On Wednesday evenings, the City of Miami Beach's Arts in the Parks program presents the SoundScape Cinema Series with free outdoor screenings of popular movies.

Attractions, arts, shopping, spas, dining, dancing—the list of things to see and do in Miami Beach is virtually endless. How can visitors possibly fit it all in? A little planning goes a long way to guarantee a great vacation.

Day 2: A Day of Sun & Fun on Miami Beach

lifeguard stand on Miami Beach
No trip to Miami Beach is complete without sunbathing on the sand

Stick Your Toes in the Sands of Miami Beach 

There are so many exciting things to do in Miami Beach you might forget the reasons you visited in the first place: the white-sand beaches and the glorious weather. Make sure to spend some time soaking up the sand, sun and surf. Miami Beach boasts miles of gorgeous beaches. To find them, just head east. If you'd rather get out on the open water, you can choose from boating and sailing charters, dining and sightseeing cruises, deep-sea fishing trips, diving and snorkeling adventures, rowing facilities, and every other form of fun on the water.

Enjoy Lunch on Pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road Mall

As you walk the Mall, peruse the countless cafes and restaurants offering every type of cuisine imaginable, and watch the parade of locals and visitors from all over the world strolling along this pedestrian-only promenade.

After lunch, take a moment to relax at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, an oasis of tropical beauty just north of Lincoln Road in the heart of Miami Beach. Visit the inspiring Holocaust Memorial and pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Nearby, The Bass features major European paintings, sculpture and textiles, plus temporary contemporary art exhibitions.

concert at North Beach Bandshell
Enjoy MiMo architecture and fun concerts at the North Beach Bandshell

Take a Self-guided MiMo Walking Tour from Mid to North Beach

Heading north, you'll find a distinctive architectural style in Mid Beach and North Beach. Download a self-walking tour at  Mimo on the Beach and explore the four historic Miami Modern (MiMo) architectural districts in the northern end of Miami Beach: the Morris Lapidus/Mid-Twentieth Century District, North Beach Resort District, North Shore National Register District, and Normandy Isles National register District. (Guided walking tours are offered in advance by request via the Miami Design Preservation League).

After getting acquainted with North Beach on the tour, stay and enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants surrounding the Normandy Isle Fountain on 71st Street. After dinner, take in a concert under the stars at the North Beach Bandshell.

Day 3: A Day of Rest & Relaxation

Spend Early Morning at a Golf Course or Spa

Assuming you weren't out too late the night before, wake up early and hit the links. Even though Miami Beach is a relatively small island, it boasts two outstanding 18-hole public golf courses. On the northern edge of South Beach, Miami Beach Golf Club is a classic 1923 course that was redesigned by Arthur Hills in 2006 as part of a $10 million renovation. In North Beach's Normandy Isle residential area, challenge yourself at the Normandy Shores Golf Course, another Arthur Hills-designed course.

Yoga on South Beach
Relax and re-center with yoga on South Beach

If golf's not your game, how about a morning of relaxation? It's likely that your hotel offers a top-notch spa facility. If not, you're sure to find one at a nearby property. For a unique, only-in-Miami Beach experience, head to the beach at Third Street and greet the sun with a yoga class by 3rd Street Beach Yoga. Classes are offered daily at 7 a.m. For those who would prefer to sleep in, classes are also offered at 5 p.m. (November-March) or 6 p.m. (April-October).

Bring Lunch or Have it Delivered to your Towel

What better spot for lunch than right on the sand? Many beachfront hotels offer food service on the beach. You don't even have to get up from your beach chair. Others provide boxed lunches that you can take to a beachfront picnic spot.

One Last Chance to Shop

During your previous strolls and shopping excursions, you likely saw something you considered buying but put off making a final decision. Now's the time to head out to the boutiques along Collins and Washington avenues, Española Way or Lincoln Road and buy that designer dress or unique piece of art that caught your eye. You probably won't be able to find something like it back home.

cocktail bar at The Fillmore
Grab a drink and enjoy a show at The Fillmore

Cocktails, Dinner and Music to Match Your Mood

Many of the hotels along Collins Avenue have spectacular bars and even better restaurants in their lobbies, poolside patios, or on elegant terraces. Stop in for a cocktail and stay on for dinner. Sit back and admire the architectural details of these Art Deco gems, feel the ocean breeze, and enjoy the people-watching. Afterwards, take in some live music. Options range from national touring rock bands at the Fillmore Miami Beach at The Jackie Gleason Theater , cabaret-style performances at the intimate Colony Theatre, and live local acts in genres from reggae to rap, rock to Latin jazz and everything in between, at bars and nightclubs throughout Miami Beach.

Insider tip: When planning your trip to Miami, be sure to check-out the Miami Temptations Programs, offering thematic monthly deals and special events throughout the year.

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