When you’re thinking about things to do in Miami Beach, your list may start with “go to the beach” and end with “eat at fabulous restaurants”. But there are a lot of other options to fill your days (and nights), and these are the things that make moving to Miami Beach so enticing. Here’s a list of our top 10 things to do as a local — because yes, you’re going to become a local.
Take in some culture in the Historic Art Deco District
Whimsical pastel buildings, built between 1923 and 1943, are a prominent part of the architecture in Miami Beach. They speak to a very specific time in the city’s history, when Gianni Versace lived on Ocean Drive and the decadence of the local nightclubs and hotels made the area a destination for the fashionable. 960 buildings comprise the District, and you can take tours with organizations like National Geographic or the local Miami Design Preservation League. Make sure you go to Art Deco Weekend at least once, where the motto for January 2017 is “40 Years of Fabulous”.
Experience the New World Symphony like you’ve never experienced before
New World Center’s SoundScape Park doesn’t just host concerts — with state-of-the-art sound and visual technology, your ears and eyes will be astounded through a full concert experience. Called “Wallcasts”, these events are completely free to the community. Bring a picnic, something to sit on, and your open mind, ready to be amazed.
Get your fill of the best indie flicks at the Miami Beach Cinematheque & Gallery
You know that some of the best films never make it to the “big time”, right? At the headquarters of the Miami Beach Film Society, you can be sure you don’t miss out on any of the greats just because they don’t make it to the bigger theaters. In fact, you’ll see the best of Cannes, get access to premiere engagements with up-and-coming filmmakers, and if you have a hankering for an older film, the theater often screens remastered versions of some oldies-but-goodies. The MBFS makes relocating to Miami Beach sound even more fabulous.
Smell the flowers at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden
With everything from Saturday yoga classes to edible plant workshops and a beautiful landscape for afternoon strolls, the Botanical Garden is an oasis amidst the bustle of Miami Beach. The gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm and admission is always free, and with its location right in the middle of City Center, it’s quite easy to access. Take a lunch break and learn a little about the plants that are native to the area or just find a quiet moment amidst the bamboo — there’s a bit of sanctuary for everyone.
Pamper yourself at The Standard Spa
After some long days surfing on the beach — or maybe after finally unpacking all of your boxes after moving — you’ll be ready to pamper yourself. Head to the spa at The Standard to be treated right. You’ll likely find yourself in the company of some of the world’s highly regarded yoga teachers and body workers, as well as a few celebrities who have been known to stop through. With traditional spa practices like soaking pools and cold baths, a saltwater infinity pool, and access to treatments like acupuncture and the “mud lounge”, you’re guaranteed to leave feeling better. Much better.
Discover the Russian & Turkish Baths
Do you know what a Russian Schvitz is? Try it out at this labyrinth of spa opportunities that includes a saltwater jacuzzi as well as tennis courts and an Olympic-sized pool. You can detox from a night of extravagance at the South Beach clubs or just take some personal time to relax at the baths, but whatever path you take, rest assured that you’ll emerge feeling refreshed and revived.
Go ice skating year-round at the Scott Rakow Youth Center
Ice skating in Miami Beach? It’s true! At this indoor rink run by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, you can hit the ice all year long. You can also finish up your time on the ice by hitting the bowling lanes, visiting the Olympic-sized pool, or joining a sports league in the gymnasium. It’s truly a one-stop shop for athletic pursuits of all types and a great place to bring the family for the day.
Have Sunday brunch at Nikki Beach
Any meal at this beachfront resort is fantastic, but Sunday brunch is truly something special. Everything from a made-to-order omelet bar, crepe and waffle station, and a wide array of other options will have you full to the brim. It is recommended that you make reservations in advance due to the resort’s popularity but trust us — it’s well worth planning ahead.
Go shopping at the open-air Bal Harbour Shops
High fashion is available in an open-air format in Miami Beach, so you can get your couture and your sunshine. Everything from Chanel to Alexander McQueen brings the fashionistas out to this mall, where you can refuel with fine espresso and take in the international news of the day.
See the wildlife at Jungle Island
Lemurs and monkeys and snakes live in Miami Beach, too — in the exhibits of Jungle Island. Family-friendly tours and exhibits give everyone a chance to learn and explore the curiosities of the animal world. The zoo offers programs like Jungle Slumber, where kids can have a sleepover and get up close with some of the residents of the zoo, as well as educational programs aimed at engaging kids of school-age. The wildlife isn’t only out late at night in Miami Beach…
Now that you’re set on becoming a local, don’t forget to check out the cost of living in Miami Beach to help set your budget.