Affordable Nightlife Options In Miami

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By: Shayne Benowitz

At first glance, Greater Miami might seem like a ritzy playground of flashy nightclubs and extravagant restaurants. But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to having a fun, affordable night out, including hip local hangouts, dive bars, free symphonies under the stars and art walks.

In fact, you don’t have to break the bank to live large in Miami. Read on for our guide to some amazing affordable nightlife options. You’ll have so much fun, you won’t believe you’re doing it on the cheap.

Bodega's neon pastel interior with secret blue door
Enter through the blue bathroom door for Bodega's secret speakeasy

Hit Up South Beach Dive Bars & Local Spots

Yes, South Beach is home to some of the best mega-clubs in the world, but it’s also home to a slew of classic dive bars and hip local haunts. Look no further than Mac’s Club Deuce for South Beach’s ultimate dive bar, which opens at 8 a.m. and offers two-for-one happy hour until 7 p.m. The dimly lit joint is home to pool tables, a jukebox and an eclectic cast of characters. It was beloved by the late Anthony Bourdain, so you know it’s got to be good. Bonus, La Sandwicherie is right across the street for delicious sandwiches, salads and smoothies around the clock for late night cravings. For a similarly “divey” scene, pop into Ted’s Hideaway on 2nd Street for cheap drinks, bar food and TVs playing sports.

Bodega is a solid local spot tucked away off Alton Road where you can party hard into the wee hours without breaking the bank. What appears to be just a humble taco stand on the outside is actually hiding a speakeasy-style bar and lounge on the inside. They also host a solid daily happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. with discounted cocktails, beers and tacos.

Friends sitting at Wood Tavern's bar area
Wood Tavern - an affordable hipster favorite

Give Wynwood a Shot

For an affordable night out, make your way to Wynwood. The arts district is filled with chill bars serving up affordable drinks. Wood Tavern is one of the neighborhood’s original watering holes—and it’s still going strong today in a new location, just a block away from the original. Specializing in craft beers, you’ll always find an affordable pour here and a crowd spilling onto their outdoor beer garden and deck with stadium seating. Gramps is another solid bet in Wynwood with a large outdoor patio, an indoor bar and multiple rooms with live music. Best of all, they’ve got a well-edited cocktail menu with affordable prices and an onsite pizza by the slice operation.

Highball cocktail with mint leaves & cucumbers
Happy hour specials in the Downtown scene

Check out the Downtown Scene

Downtown Miami’s nightlife scene is on the rise with (low-priced) hip, locally owned bars. Lost Boy is a sprawling den for tippling that feels like an eclectic ski lodge, complete with a pool table, dartboards and plenty of cozy spots to lounge. Mama Tried provides retro glam vibes with a central bar and gold globe lights overhead. The energy amps late night with a DJ and a local crowd ready to party. Both spots offer solid happy hour specials in addition to their well-priced menus throughout the entire night.

Umbrella-lined sidewalk cafes of Espanola Way
Charming European village vibes on Espanola Way

Cruise Espanola Way

A night out in Miami doesn’t have to be all about boozing. Take a cruise down Espanola Way in the heart of South Beach and soak up the charming European village atmosphere with its pedestrian street lined with sidewalk cafes and boutiques. Duck into A La Folie at the western end of the street where you’ll be transported to the streets of Paris at this charming café and creperie serving French specialties at an affordable price.

Women enjoying a bayside drink at The Standard
Happy hour with a sunset at The Standard

Sunset Happy Hour at The Standard

For a taste of the South Beach good life, head to The Standard around sunset and take in the scenery of Biscayne Bay. Located on Belle Isle on the Venetian Causeway between Miami Beach and Downtown Miami, The Standard is a trendy hotel with a spa, bayside restaurant and bar with a focus on wellness. Sunset just so happens to coincide with their happy hour menu where you can indulge in a selection of wine and cocktails, including frose, as well as snacks like empanadas, hummus and ceviche at a fraction of the price.

People on Soundscape Park's lawn watching the New World Symphony Wallcast
Movies & symphonies under the stars at Soundscape Park

SoundScape Cinema & Symphony Wallcast Series

The New World Center, designed by award-winning architect Frank Gehry, is home to SoundScape Park with a 7,000 square-foot wall that acts as a screen for simulcasts of symphony performances, as well as movie screenings under the stars. Best of all, both are absolutely free. It’s an enchanting way to spend an evening in South Beach with a picnic beneath the palm trees, while listening to Bach or watching The Pirates of the Caribbean.

Night view of the PAMM from across the bay
Thursday nights at the beautiful Perez Art Museum Miami, photo by Angel Valentin

Thursdays at PAMM

The groundbreaking Perez Art Museum Miami is open during extended hours on Thursdays with special programming from 6 - 9 p.m, which often includes a DJ, live music, artist talks and dance performances, all included with the price of admission. Check out the latest exhibit and enjoy the stunning views of Biscayne Bay during this cultured and affordable evening out in Downtown Miami.

Dancers swirling their fuchsia costumes
Art, street performers & musicians at Viernes Culturales

Art Walks Around Town

Viernes Culturales is an art walk that takes over Little Havana’s Calle Ocho on the third Friday of the month when local galleries and businesses stay open late and live music is performed on the streets alongside food vendors. Don’t miss the Futurama Building with its artist studios and exhibitions while you enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors of this historic Cuban neighborhood on a festive and affordable night out.

The Gables Gallery Night in Coral Gables takes place on the first Friday of the month where you can peruse the area’s galleries, all of which stay open later than usual to host special exhibitions and often provide refreshments.

Perhaps most well known of all the art walks is Wynwood’s Second Saturday when art aficionados and revelers alike descend on the neighborhood to visit galleries, enjoy live music, explore outdoor markets and pop around food trucks and local bars.

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