Things To Do In Miami Pre & Post Cruise

Bayside Marketplace

Bayside Marketplace

LIV

LIV

Perez

Perez Art Museum Miami

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

wynwood kitchen

Wynwood Kitchen and Bar

ball & chain

Ball & Chain

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By: Carolina Cardona

Get Ready to Explore Miami Before or After Your Dream Cruise Vacation

You’ve finally booked the cruise vacation you’ve been dreaming about for years, but don’t forget that there are plenty of ways to explore Miami pre- and post-cruise with Downtown Miami, Wynwood, Coconut Grove and Miami Beach just minutes away from PortMiami. Here’s your guide on how you can make the most of your cruise layover with recommended six-hour, half day or full day itineraries.

Jungle Island
Jungle Island

Miami in T Minus Six Hours

Morning: Tropical Encounters

Since PortMiami is centrally located near many must-see attractions, you will want to be out the door early in the morning to maximize your time. Nature lovers and parents with kids in tow will want to be first in line when Jungle Island opens at 10:00 a.m. Located on nearby Watson Island, the 18-acre park offers exhibits and interactions with colorful animals as you make your way among lush gardens and subtropical habitats. Excuse yourself from that fascinating chat with the talkative parrots and macaws and head over to experience a rush at Jungle Island’s Superflight experience, a thrilling outdoor vertical wind tunnel that safely simulates skydiving.

Those who prefer to admire the marvels of architecture instead can hop on a taxi to take them across the scenic MacArthur Causeway to catch a glimpse of the waterfront mansions of Palm Island and Star Island. Ask to be dropped off at the Art Deco Welcome Center (1001 Ocean Drive) for the first walking tour of the day, departing at 10:30 am. Learn about history as you take in the lovely pastel palette of Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and Spanish Mediterranean jewels of Miami Beach, and snap epic selfies next to icons like The Villa Casa Casuarina At The Former Versace Mansion.

Waterfront Lunch

By lunchtime you will want to head to Bayside Marketplace, which will already be happening with live music, breezy waterfront dining and souvenir shopping. As you sip a post-lunch cocktail or a small-but-mighty cafecito, the adrenaline junkie in you might make the case for one last thrill…a 45-minute Thriller Miami speedboat tour departing out of MiaMarina. Why not? Time it just right and you may have your croqueta and eat it too!

Frost Museum
Frost Museum

Miami In Half A Day

Morning: Art Meets Science

Gorgeously palm-lined Maurice A. Ferré Park (Museum Park) in Downtown Miami is where the wonders of science and inspiration intersect. Right on this sprawling green space with unmatched views of Biscayne Bay and Downtown skyscrapers you will find two striking museums: the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). The Frost Science Museum is among Miami’s most impressive and innovative attractions. At the forefront of technology and sustainability, it features a 3D planetarium and an aquarium with its impressive 31-foot-wide oculus lens for views of sharks and other fascinating marine life swimming above. Permanent and temporary exhibits, interactive stations and animal encounters may make you lose track of time if you’re not careful.

Meanwhile, art enthusiasts will want to cross the way towards the stunning Herzog & de Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) with its dramatic hanging gardens and suspended swinging chairs. Inside, you will find an incredible collection of contemporary international art works of the 20th and 21st centuries, its Verde restaurant and a gift shop selling specialty and uniquely artful items.

Brickell City Centre
Brickell City Centre

Lunch: High Noon in High Style in Brickell

From Museum Park take the Metromover, a free automated service that loops around Downtown Miami and Brickell. As you travel, enjoy the view of Downtown Miami landmarks like the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County, the Freedom Tower, the AmericanAirlines Arena and even the Miami River before you hop off at Brickell City Centre. This massive mixed-use development spanning various blocks offers four distinctive levels of upscale retail, a luxury movie theater and many restaurant and cafe options from where to enjoy the city vibes of Miami’s banking and financial district.

Afternoon in Little Havana

Since you have managed your time wisely, you will have just enough time to get a taste of Little Havana. Located close enough to Downtown Miami but boasting its own distinctive flavor, this neighborhood of Cuban exiles has become a multicultural hub for Latin music, food and authentic hand-rolled cigars along its famous Calle Ocho. We totally see you rocking that white guayabera and sipping your café con leche on your way to Domino Park! If your half-day in Miami includes some night time, iconic establishments like Ball & Chain and Hoy Como Ayer feature live Latin beats, inventive drinks and some serious dancing.

Biking around South Beach
Biking around South Beach

Miami Full Day

Like a Local

Early risers will be rewarded with a relaxing morning stroll or bike ride along South Beach’s South Pointe Pier where you can catch local stylish residents jogging or biking right before heading to work…or to daily beachfront yoga. The iconic sidewalk restaurants at Ocean Drive serve delicious breakfast outdoors with a side of people-watching, and the smaller crowds make for a peaceful walk to admire the seaside city slowly waking and coming to life. Some quick shopping is in order, so after exploring the lovely boutiques along Ocean Drive, cut across towards Collins and Washington Avenues for name brands and glitzy club wear.

Splendor in the Grove

Take a car, cab or Lyft over to Coconut Grove’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This magnificent Italian villa gives you a taste of Renaissance splendor sprawled across ten acres of tropical foliage, manicured gardens and fountains that will make you question if you’re still in Miami. The Grove’s Bahamian and bohemian roots can be felt throughout its beautifully shaded streets, neighborhood eateries and oceanfront parks where resident peacocks roam.

Venetian Pool
Venetian Pool

Insta-Perfect Coral Gables

A short scenic drive under canopies of banyan trees lead you to and around elegant Coral Gables, a city that will transport you to the majestic structures and flower-draped plazas of Spain. Gorgeous Venetian Pool looks inviting and the legendary Biltmore Hotel tower looms majestically as the centerpiece of “The City Beautiful”.

Multi Sensory Feast in Wynwood

You’re hungry now and craving something bold, so you decide to go in a different direction, literally. It’s time to late-lunch in “the world’s coolest neighborhood”: Wynwood. Wynwood Kitchen & Bar allows you to admire the world-famous Wynwood Walls right from your table while sampling its eclectic menu and taking all that hip neighborhood energy. Block after block of stunning street art hits your retina as funky galleries, shops and local craft breweries compete for your attention.

Buckminster Fuller’s Fly Eye Dome
Buckminster Fuller’s Fly Eye Dome

Exceptional By Design

Early evening is now upon you and the nearby Design District is calling your name. You happen to be right on time for an outdoor concert by the Miami Symphony Orchestra at Palm Court. Even when there are no musical virtuosos performing in front of the visually striking Buckminster Fuller’s Fly Eye Dome you can still find crowds on their way back from a public art tour or a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA). Many just come to delight in the scenery of chic designer boutiques, showrooms and delightful masterpieces of public art around the Design District.

Night Owls Unite in Miami Beach

Having a cosmopolitan population means Miami is used to late, late, late dinners so head back to Miami Beach, but remain on its northern edge in Mid-Beach. That is where you will find a true Miami legend, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. Not only can you dine at one of the property’s exceptional onsite restaurants, but you’ll be able to walk over to LIV, one of the world’s most celebrated mega clubs. Any given night you’ll spot a famous name entering the VIP area or a superstar DJ spinning tracks that will have you dancing until you drop in a wild, high-tech party you never want to end.

Read More:

24-Hours in South Beach
Explore Calle Ocho In Little Havana
Where To Stay, Dine & Play On Ocean Drive
Things To Do In Coconut Grove

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