Wynwood walls Miami old car with mural

Beyond The Beach: 9 Unique Things To Do in Miami

What was once a destination only for the wealthy, is today a hot spot for a diversity of travelers looking to soak in the Florida sunshine and maybe come home with an epic tale of late-night revelry. While most people see Miami as a place to party non-stop, the city has much more to offer.

From an art history lesson through South Beach and opulent tropical gardens in Coconut Grove, to local markets and shops, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Miami. Whether you’re escaping winter’s frigid clutches or just looking for a weekend away, check out these 9 unique things to do in Miami before you go!

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Unique Things To Do & See When in Miami

Most people head to Miami to enjoy pristine white sand beaches and escape the stressors of daily life, but if you’re looking for more things to do, don’t miss this lineup of fun activities that show off a whole new side to Miami!

#1 Check out Wynwood Walls

266 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127
This unique one-of-a-kind outdoor urban graffiti museum features national and international artists who have created a variety of murals and street art installations. You can wander through and enjoy the artwork along with the indoor museums on your own for $12 or take an official tour for $25.

The tour provides historical context on the evolution of the museum and unique insight into each mural. This is a really special place; I haven’t seen anything quite like it. After exploring the grounds make sure you continue through the Wynwood neighborhood to enjoy more art. The entire neighborhood is covered in colorful, thought-provoking artwork.

#2 Take an art history lesson with an Art Deco tour through South Beach

1001 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Miami is home to the largest collection of Art Deco in the US (one of the many interesting facts about Miami.)! There are over 800 historic buildings in just South Beach alone and the best way to learn about the history of the area and its art is on an art deco walking tour.

The tour explores the history of Miami as a vacation destination, the growth in Art Deco, the rules surrounding new buildings, and the effects Hollywood has had on its tourism industry. Afterwards go grab a snack and relax on the beach!

#3 Support local farmers and vendors at the Coconut Grove Farmers Market 

3300 Grand Ave, Miami, FL 33133
For 40 years this farmers market has been operating with a lineup of mostly plant-based vendors — it is the only one of its kind in Miami, and probably one of the few in the United States.

The market is filled with vendors selling beauty products and clothes to an assortment of pop-up food shops. It’s best to come hungry! One of my favorites was The Healthy Baker who makes a wide variety of vegan and gluten-free baked goods. Make sure you grab one of her dark chocolate brownies—it is so fudgy and decadent, you won’t believe it’s gluten-free. Also, fun side note, some of Miami’s best vegan restaurants started out selling their grub here!

One note, the market is only open on Saturdays from 10 am – 7 pm.

#4 Enjoy pristine gardens at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens

10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33156
If you’re a plant and/or nature lover, don’t miss a visit to this gorgeous tropical oasis. The 83-acre garden is home to a variety of gardens and special collections including rare palms, exotic tropical fruits, one of the only fragrant cannonball trees in the US, and a two-acre rainforest that has been created with plants collected from the amazon. 

While that is all gorgeous and a must-see, the one spot that you absolutely can’t miss in the entire garden is the Wings of the Tropics — the butterfly garden. This indoor garden is home to more than 40 species of exotic butterflies from Central and South America. Visitors get a special opportunity to watch these beautiful butterflies flutter throughout the garden and also see the lifecycle of new butterflies up close. 

#5 Support the only plant-based café and animal shelter, Aguacate Sanctuary of Love

12100 SW 43rd St, Miami, FL 33175
Delicious plant-based food enjoyed with a variety of barnyard friends who are living their best life — what could be better!? This beautiful sanctuary is home to a delicious juice and coffee bar that serves up way more than beverages.

On the weekends, kick off your morning with a stack of chocolate chip pancakes, for lunch grab a hearty Magic Mushroom burger, or if you just need a snack, nab my favorite Fala-Tones (their take on falafel served with tangy cilantro mayo).

After enjoying your food, head on over and say hi to over 80 animals that the sanctuary has rescued, some may come to say hi to you first! The sanctuary also hosts a variety of yoga classes throughout the week — yoga with a pack of chickens sounds like my kind of yoga!

#6 Hang out at The Lincoln Road Eatery 

723 N Lincoln Ln. Miami Beach, FL 33139
Right around the corner from the Famous Lincoln Rd. outdoor mall is this hip food hall that features 11 fast-casual restaurants as well as pop-up shops. The space is artfully decorated with an assortment of greenery and hanging art pieces, giving the space so much personality. It is the perfect place to grab lunch, read a book or play a game of pool.

Don’t miss Plant Theory, which is vegan and serves sandwiches, burgers, and more.

#7 Take a day trip to the Everglades

Just over an hour from downtown Miami is one of the most unique natural environments in the world and one of the best US National Parks — The Florida Everglades. The Everglades cover 4,000 square miles in Southern Florida, which is half its original size! It is home to endangered, rare, and exotic wildlife like the Florida panther, West Indian manatee, the Miami black-headed snake, the American crocodile, the wood stork, and the Cape Sable seaside sparrow, just to name a few!

The best way to explore the area and gain a greater appreciation is by exploring with an experienced naturalist. Tours explore the area by foot, kayak, and boat and offer the best opportunity to catch a glimpse of dolphins, sea turtles, bald eagles, and more!

Two Tour Options:

#1 Small-Group Boating & Kayaking Guided Eco Tour
Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Eco Tour

Florida Everglades crocodile

#8 Shop local at Upper Buena Vista

184 NE 50th Terrace, Miami, FL 33137
Skip the traditional malls and big box stores and check out this free-spirited mix of micro boutiques, creative bites, and more. The shopping sanctuary prides itself on being an artistic escape from the chaos of the city and a source of inspiration.

The entire space is built around centenary trees, including a 120-year old Banyan tree that has been nicknamed the “Wishtree.”  The trees provide a Zen-like atmosphere that will make you want to kick back and take a little longer than usual to enjoy your oat milk latte. And, if you would rather relax with something green or fruity, check out the Devia Juice bar for a selection of nutrient-dense juices, smoothie bowls, and elixirs.  

Upper Buena Vista Shopping Miami

#9 Visit a castle made out of coral

The Coral Castle Museum is a unique attraction in Miami that is definitely worth a visit. Built by a Latvian immigrant named Edward Leedskalnin in the 1920s, the castle is made entirely of coral rock (that Edward harvested from his private property) and features impressive sculptures and carvings. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the castle and its mysterious creator. It’s a fascinating and unusual experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Miami.

the gardens at coral castle in miami
Credit: Coral Castle

Unique Place to Stay in Miami

Forget about checking out major hotel chains while in Miami, there are way too many cool spots to stay instead! For a unique stay in Miami Beach, why not check out one of the very first hotels ever built?!

Cavalier South Beach Hotel

1320 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
This beautiful art deco boutique hotel was one of the first to be built on Ocean Drive Drive way back in 1936. It has undergone a few face lifts since then, but still possesses all of its original unique charm and details. In addition to being a unique place to stay, you’re also right across from Lummus Park and the beach, and only a short walk to the shops on Lincoln Rd.

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