Back in February, I had another opportunity to visit Miami. I’ve gone the last three years in February for work reasons, and it’s absolutely the best time to visit the city, in my opinion. Now that Florida and many other states have reopened after lifting their coronavirus stay home orders, I thought it was the right time to write this long-overdo story. Today, I want to share with you some fun things to do in Miami this weekend, or the next time you visit.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Miami. It’s more than 5 but less than 10. I almost moved to southern Florida after college because I absolutely love their weather in the winter months. Coming from Wisconsin, Florida felt so tropical and exotic in the wintertime. That’s why I always love an excuse to visit. My current job has allowed me to visit each February, and I’ve taken each trip as a chance to see new things around Miami.
After visiting so many times, I didn’t expect to find so many new things I hadn’t seen before. But the thing I love about Miami is that it is a dynamic city. It is constantly changing, just like most major cities. So, there is always something new to see and do each time you visit.
1. Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach
One of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had on a trip in a long time (probably since visiting the Apartheid Museum in South Africa), was seeing the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach. My photo doesn’t even give this grand sculpture its due. The hand reaching up toward the sky was a powerful symbol, with human bodies scurrying up the sides.
As you walk around the memorial, you find other corpses, including one with a woman and her small child. I cried as I walked around this sculpture and read the words imprinted on the wall and on the ground. The quote on the wall read: “Ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered.” – Ann Frank. On the ground it read: “In memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.” Six million lives were taken. To say this memorial is significant and moving doesn’t give it nearly enough credit. This memorial is an important reminder and memorial to all of those who lost their lives.
2. Bill Baggs Cape Florida Light House
On my free day, I decided to search for things to do in Miami. One thing I’d never done was much driving outside of the downtown area and Wynwood area. I’ve traveled all the way down the keys, and up to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, but I haven’t explored other areas near the city. That’s why I decided to check out Bill Baggs Cape State Park and their lighthouse.
The drive from downtown was not far, maybe 30 minutes or less, and it was a very scenic drive. You pass over a long bridge that has an amazing view of the city (check out the top photo in this post), along with amazing ocean and Biscayne Bay views.
Once in the park, you can drive nearly the entire way so the walk to the lighthouse isn’t very far at all. The beach, itself, where the lighthouse is, is quite lovely. There were many people sunbathing the day I visited. I arrived around 11am, easily found nearby parking and walked to the lighthouse, all within 5-10 minutes.
You are able to get up close to the lighthouse, but I rather enjoyed the views from afar. I like the way the stark white lighthouse stood against the blue sky and blue waters. I even got a little adventurous and climbed on the rocks to get a better shot.
If you do visit Bill Baggs state park, I’d suggest you come prepared to spend more time there. I had only planned to come to see the lighthouse. But what I learned is that this park is actually perfect for a full-day excursion. There are grills and picnic tables, sprawling beaches, and lots of other areas to explore. It was definitely worth the short drive.
3. South Beach
This is probably an obvious one, but you can’t visit Miami without at least stopping to check out South Beach. It is a people-watching mecca. One of my favorite things to do in Miami is to walk casually around the South Beach area. I usually walk up and down the beach but also up and down the main thoroughfare – Ocean Drive. There are always lots of interesting people, loud music bumping, and just a fun energy happening in South Beach.
4. Wynwood Walls
I actually wrote about the Wynwood Walls the last time I wrote about Miami. But I had to mention it again as one of the most fun things to do in Miami because it has changed dramatically since the first time I visited in 2018. I was actually shocked to see how much more gentrified and commercialized it has become in just two years.
Wynwood is now a major tourist destination and it shows. Although I do miss the grungier, less commercialized version I visited two years ago, I am still glad to see all of the amazing public art on display.
There are so many adorable little shops for souveniers, cool clothing boutiques and amazing bars and restaurants, you definitely will enjoy your time in Wynwood. It’s one of the best neighborhoods in the city, if you ask me. It’s also a place I will definitely visit every time I’m in Miami. There is nothing I love more than street art. If you haven’t followed along, I’ve written about it in many of the cities I’ve visited.
5. Catch a Sunset
My favorite place to watch a sunset, ironically, has been in Fort Lauderdale at the Coconuts restaurant. One of my friends lives in Fort Lauderdale, and I’ve been lucky enough to see her each time I’ve been to Miami the last few years. The drive from Miami to Fort Lauderdale is only 30 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. But I don’t mind the drive, and I do love visiting Fort Lauderdale, especially for Coconuts. I know it sounds silly, but they have some of the best seafood I’ve had. I love their coconut shrimp, and their mahi mahi is amazing. They also have some of the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve been to Key West. If you’re looking for other great places to catch sunsets in Miami, here’s a great resource.
If you have the chance to visit Miami sometime soon, I hope my suggestions are useful. Miami is one of my favorite places to visit in the winter months, so I hope I get to go back soon!