Miami is one U.S. city that exudes a Latin vibe that you may think you are in a foreign country. Which adds to the excitement of this energetic city. People flock to Miami for the tropical weather and the beautiful beaches. If you are visiting Miami and looking for some non-touristy things to do, here are some ideas.
You can easily spend a day in Coconut Grove, a charming suburb of Miami, where locals like to hang out. There are art galleries, a bookstore, and a host of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs for you to choose from. A cinema is scheduled to open this spring. Every February, one of the nation’s premier fine arts festivals, the Coconut Grove Art Festival, is held here.
For a taste of Cuba, head over to Little Havana, a short distance from downtown Miami. Try some classic Cuban food at Versailles (3555 Calle Ocho or SW 8th Street). Eventhough Versailles has become a hot tourist spot since it was featured in the Travel Channel some years ago, it is still the place to go for some good Cuban fare.
3555 SW Eighth St
Miami, FL 33135 25.7649 -80.2526
This may be the most touristy of places in Miami, but it is also where all the nightclubs and hotels are located. Even locals occasionally like to see the beautiful people and fancy cars that parade up and down Ocean Drive.
Lincoln Mall Road
One of my favorite places in Miami is Lincoln Mall Road, an outdoor pedestrian mall several blocks northwest of the more touristy South Beach. Lined with retail stores, art galleries, outdoor cafes and restaurants, it is a great spot for dining and people watching. On Sundays, there is a farmer’s market with vendors selling everything from vegetables to flowers to baked goods. Just before the vendors close up shop, they offer their goods at a steep discount, and you can get some awesome deals.
Kayaking, fishing and watching sunsets at Key Biscayne, Florida
A stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Miami is laid-back Key Biscayne. There are several things to do here. Once you cross over the Rickenbacker Bridge from Miami, you can stop and park your car, and watch people windsurfing. Or you can walk to an old bridge to fish. Stay to watch the magnificent sunset.
Northeast of Key Biscayne is Crandon Park, where you can find two miles of sandy beaches. Crandon Park has a Nature Center. You can take some tours to see some wildlife, explore the park via kayaks, or simply enjoy a picnic in the beautiful setting.
Also on Key Biscayne is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The park has over a mile of beach for walking and swimming. Visitors can also picnic, bike, kayak and fish. You can climb the 109 steps to the top of Cape Florida Lighthouse to catch a breathtaking view of Miami and Key Biscayne. Tours to the Lighthouse are free Thursday through Monday. There are a couple of restaurants on site offering authentic Cuban cuisine and fresh seafood. Walk over to No Name Key to see boats all waiting for good weather to cross to the Bahamas.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
1200 S. Crandon Blvd
Monty’s Stone Crab
Tourists go to Joe’s Stone Crabs. For a non-touristy version, check out Monty’s Stone Crab, the place locals go for happy hour and live music.
300 Alton Rd, Miami Beach
A side trip to Fort Lauderdale is a must if you are in Miami for more than a few days. For a non-touristy thing to do, visit the Swap Shop. An indoor-outdoor fleamarket with vendors from antiques, collectibles to food and vegetables, this amazing place turns into a drive-in movie theater in the evenings.
3291 W. Sunrise Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33311
City Place, W. Palm Beach
Shopaholics will enjoy a side trip to City Place in W. Plam Beach, about 70 minutes drive north. This premier shopping center features old-world Mediterranean architecture, sidewalk cafes and restaurants, fountains and shops. There is live entertainment in the plaza are on the weekends.
700 S. Rosemary Avenue #200
W. Palm Beach