Miami’s collection of luxury hotels, fine dining options and 24/7 parties have solidified its reputation as a hub for glitz and glam. However, for those of us who usually travel within a set budget, the city’s constant sunshine, vibrant community and beautiful art offer more than enough free things to do in Miami, Florida.
10 Free Things to Do in Miami
Whether you’re looking for something fun to do today, this weekend or the next time you’re in town, here are my top 10 picks for Miami on the cheap:
1. Take a Tour
Take advantage of the city’s free tours to learn more about Miami and its people. The historic Biltmore Hotel offers free tours on Sundays at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Other options include taking a self-guided walking tour through the historic Art Deco buildings of South Beach or attending a guided tour at Key Biscayne’s Cape Florida Lighthouse between Thursdays and Mondays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Street art-lovers may also enjoy a free bring-your-own-bike tour of the Wynwood Walls. The tours begin at noon from Tuesdays to Saturdays at Panther Coffee.
2. Explore Miami’s Neighborhoods
Miami’s neighborhoods are perfect to explore on foot. Walkability, combined with the city’s artful public spaces and the fascinating diversity of its citizens, means every stroll in Miami doubles as a feast for the eyes.
Many of Miami’s best neighborhoods have picturesque, tree-lined streets, safe walking and biking paths, and neon lights that illuminate urban landscapes at night. I’d highly recommend strolling through Wynwood, which houses the aforementioned Wynwood Walls. Wynwood is known for its many murals and paintings adorning walls, along with art galleries, boutiques and coffee shops. It’s also the home of Miami’s Fashion District.
Other walkable neighborhoods worth a look include Coral Gables, Brickell, downtown and, of course, the famous South Beach.
3. Come During Art Deco Weekend
Known for its plentiful Art Deco architecture, The Miami Design Preservation League organizes the three-day Art Deco Weekend every January to celebrate the architectural style. During the weekend, which happens to be the longest running free community cultural festival in Miami Beach, visitors can enjoy more than 85 events that include free lectures and films. Throughout the weekend, Ocean Drive doubles as a street market for vendors selling vintage goods.
4. Explore Little Havana
Take a walk through Little Havana and absorb the city’s Cuban culture. Some free attractions include the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, the eternal flame at the Brigade 2507 Memorial and the historic Tower Theater, where free Cuban and Latin American performances and programs are held almost daily.
The neighborhood also holds Viernes Culturales, a monthly arts and culture festival held the last Friday of the month. The area of Calle Ocho spanning 13th and 17th avenues is used for a giant open-air gallery and you can take a free walking tour beginning at the Tower Theater at 7 p.m.
5. See Miami’s Holocaust Memorial
Miami Beach’s Holocaust Memorial, which pays tribute to six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis, offers free admissions daily from 9:30 a.m. to sunset. The memorial is open 365 days a year. Visitors can take a self-guided tour in the memorial’s exhibits and galleries, which usually takes between one to two hours.
6. Shop Bayside Marketplace
While it might be tough NOT to spend anything here, it IS possible to just look :). Located on Biscayne Bay in downtown, the Bayside Marketplace features more than 150 stores that include a mix of both popular chains and local boutiques. Looking for something fun to do tonight? Check out the area’s nightlife, which include fun stops like Hardrock Cafe and frequent live outdoor performances. You can also enjoy a number of activities right from the bay like chartering a fishing boat, going on a bike tour of Miami, or take a boat tour or party cruise along the bay.
7. Hit the Beach
No list of free things to do in Miami is complete without mentioning the beaches, a great family-friendly activity for kids, from a toddler and all the way up to teens. Miami has a wide variety of ocean-side attractions and stretches of sand with playgrounds and castle-building areas. Free-access beaches include South Pointe Park, South Beach, Surfside and Haulover Park. They are great to visit anytime, not just during summer, due to Miami’s mild climate, and feel especially great if you are from colder climes up north.
8. Visit a Museum
Downtown Miami’s Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design and the design district’s Institute of Contemporary Art offer free admissions. Not all museums open their doors for free though, so you can time your next museum visit with one of their free admission days.
For example, Perez Art Museum waives admission fees every second Saturday and first Thursday of the month. Meanwhile, the Wolfsonian has free films, talks and drinks for visitors every Friday night. Finally, the Museum of Contemporary Art holds outdoor jazz concerts with free admission the last Friday of the month.
9. Do Yoga in the Park
While in town, yoga enthusiasts can enjoy free outdoor yoga sessions at Bayfront Park during the week, so you can exercise with a beautiful view of the bay. Registration is first come, first serve, and bring your own yoga mat, water and towel. Classes are Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. Peacock Park and Jose Marti Park also have similar programs. View the complete yoga schedule.
10. Catch an Outdoor Film Screening
For lovers of films and the outdoors, the Miami Beach SoundScape Exostage holds free outdoor film screenings every Wednesday at 8 p.m. With a lineup of both classics and new releases, visitors need only bring a blanket, food,and friends.
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Did I miss any of your favorite free things to do in Miami? Feel free to share them with everyone in the comments!
This post is from featured contributor, Lauren Davies.