One Day in Miami Itinerary & What to Skip

Miami Beach Ocean boulevard Art Deco Building Florida

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Looking for a fun one day in Miami itinerary? This jam-packed guide takes you through the best things to do in Miami from morning until night! It includes what to see, where to eat and drink and what you should skip. Since you only have 24 hours you don’t want to waste time on tourist traps. Find out what attractions are worth visiting and where the locals hang.

If you are making Miami a stop during a road trip, read this guide to East Coast road trips first.

Visiting in winter? Here’s the most festive things to do in Miami at Christmas.

Fun One Day Miami Itinerary

Morning Miami Itinerary: Coconut Grove, Museums and Art

There’s no way to see everything Miami has to offer in only 24 hours, but layover travelers can certainly enjoy a full day of sightseeing and once-in-a-lifetime adventures in this bustling destination. 

Travelers will need to think about pacing themselves to make sure they can get as much out of the city as possible, and there’s no better way to gear up for a full day of activities than spending the morning in Coconut Grove. 

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is a unique enclave in Miami of boutiques, restaurants, and hotels that are far enough away from the hustle and bustle of downtown without putting travelers too far out of the way. 

Grab a quick breakfast at GreenStreet Cafe or Le Pain Quotidien – two Coconut Grove staple eateries – before embarking on the rest of the morning. 

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

After breakfast, either take a walk on the pedestrian-only Ocean Drive for some iconic Miami people watching and art deco architecture or indulge in a more opulent Miami attraction – the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens which also features in this Florida bucket list.

Built in the 1900s, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens property was originally a winter villa for a wealthy businessman. Today it’s filled with artwork from the 15th and 19th centuries that the public can explore on their own or catch a guided, 45-minute tour.

HistoryMiami Museum

Moving toward downtown, there’s the HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum that offers a variety of exhibitions related to Miami history. 

Miami Design District

For travelers spending time north of downtown, there’s plenty to explore in the Miami Design District.

The District offers high-end shopping opportunities, stunning architecture, public art installations, galleries, and world-class dining. 

Wyndwood Walls

Just south of the District are Miami’s famous Wynwood Walls, a former warehouse district that was transformed into a massive outdoor art exhibit featuring colorful murals.

A 1-hour golf buggy tour through Wynwood Walls allows travelers to sit back and enjoy the art. 

Art fans shouldn’t miss this off their one day in Miami itinerary.

Bayside Marketplace

As the morning winds down, head to Bayside Marketplace to grab lunch and get ready for the afternoon ahead. 

Bayside Marketplace is a large, outdoor mall that has more than 150 shops, cafes, and restaurants in downtown Miami.

Don’t get too distracted by all the marketplace has to offer, though.

There are lots of exciting tour boats that depart from the area, so be sure to save time to hit the water during the afternoon. 

Afternoon: Beaches, Watersports and Brickell

With only 24 hours in Miami, travelers should be sure to hop on the water to enjoy the afternoon – a typical Miami pastime, and a great way to admire the city skyline. 

Luckily, Miami has plenty of boat tours and water activities that depart from Bayside Marketplace. 

Boat Tour in Miaimi

Sightseers can grab a front-row seat to admire some of Miami’s finest waterfront homes, Venetian Islands, and South Beach.

The City Cruise to Millionaire’s Homes & Venetian Islands boat tour takes sightseers around the Biscayne Bay to soak in the gorgeous Florida sunshine and admire the city from afar.

Watersports

There are also opportunities for day travelers to blaze their own trail across Biscayne Bay with a 60-minute jet ski rental, or join a 2.5-hour Jet Ski City Tour, which is perfect for small groups eager to enjoy a beautiful day on the water. 

Parasailing

Adrenaline junkies traveling with a group shouldn’t miss parasailing 400 feet above Biscayne Bay.

The one-hour boat ride into the bay offers travelers the perfect chance to unwind from a busy morning before sailing through the Miami sky.  

If you like beach vacations, check out this guide to small beach towns on the East Coast.

Relax at the Venetian Pool

For travelers who are after a more mellow afternoon, take a short drive inland to the Venetian Pool for a relaxing escape from South Beach.

The tranquil public pool is surrounded by beautiful architecture and waterfalls. 

Miami Bus Tour – Hop On and Off at the Top Attractions

To see as much of the city as possible, hop on a half-day bus tour and 90-minute boat tour through some of Miami’s most famous attractions.

The narrated tour teaches guests about Miami’s rich history as they enjoy picturesque views of the city.

Then head to the water to visit Island Queen Millionaire’s Row in Biscayne Bay. 

Brickell Neighborhood

At some point in the afternoon, try to swing by Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, the city’s waterfront historic district and swanky downtown shopping destination.

It’s full of historic art deco urban architecture, modern art museums, and sports arenas.   

You could easily slink into the night here, hitting up the rooftop bars such as area31 for sundown drinks.

Things to do at Night in Miami

Sunset Cruise

For travelers who didn’t have a chance to enjoy the water during the day, there’s always the option to kick the evening off with a 1.5-hour sunset cruise through Biscayne Bay and South Beach.

The tour sails past attractions such as Star Island, known for Al Capone’s Mansion.  

Best Maimi Cocktail Bars

For party-goers, a day in Miami isn’t complete without indulging in a bit of the local nightlife. 

For those looking to stick to the mainland, go grab a round of drinks at one of Miami’s many famous cocktail bars.

The award-winning Broken Shaker is a favorite among locals and travelers alike.

Sip on craft cocktails poolside or in the rustic bar backyard while soaking in the memories made during the day exploring Miami.  

For a truly Florida cocktail experience, don’t skip The Sylvester, a downtown Miami bar that draws much of its inspiration from the Sunshine State.

The bar brings in elements of both old and new Miami for a truly unique atmosphere and fun, Florida-themed menu items. 

Food is also served here.

Dine at South Beach’s Sinset Harbor

Pop over to South Beach’s Sunset Harbor, dubbed Miami’s best dining neighborhood by The Miami Herald.

With dozens of restaurants ranging from super-casual to upscale, there are plenty of options to choose from even for the pickiest of eaters. 

After dinner, it’s time to get out and explore some of Miami’s glamorous nightlife destinations. 

The iconic Ball & Chain bar and lounge is a staple of the Little Havana neighborhood.

The Ball & Chain has managed to hold on to its 1930s roots along with great Cuban food and drinks. 

Party in Miami

There’s also the outdoor bar, El Patio, in the eclectic Wynwood neighborhood just north of downtown Miami for a fun night in one of Miami’s more artsy areas. 

For a truly over-the-top night of clubbing, head to E11even. It’s a nightclub, performance venue, strip club, and rooftop restaurant rolled into one downtown location.  

If the line’s too long at E11even, there’s also LIV Miami and WALL Miami Beach, both offering plenty of music and dancing to celebrate the most epic 24-hour Miami vacation. 

Finish off the night admiring the nighttime Miami skyline at a glitzy rooftop bar, like Area 31. Located in the heart of Miami, Area 31 brings guests to the top of the Kimpton EPIC Hotel, surrounded by stunning skyscrapers and unforgettable nighttime views.  

There’s also Sugar, the highest rooftop bar in Miami on the 40th floor of hotel EAST Miami near Biscayne Bay. The rooftop terrace is decorated in tiki-style and offers a menu of refreshing cocktails. 

Miami: Things to Avoid

With only 24 hours in Miami to explore the city, there isn’t much time to waste. Don’t fall into the usual tourist traps, including…

Spending the Day Getting a Sunburn on South Beach

While it’s an iconic spring break destination, South Beach isn’t for travelers who want to explore the more unique side of Miami.

For those who simply must dip their toes in the sand, head up to the quieter North Beach area where parking is easy and the neighborhoods are quaint and historic.

There’s also Virginia Key, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, or Key Biscayne for plenty of beach opportunities. 

An Expensive Show at the Adrienne Arsht Center

Miami’s downtown performing arts venue rarely hosts acts that travelers couldn’t catch in other cities.

Though the venue is stunning, spending an entire evening at the theater likely isn’t the best use of time or money. 

Hoping to get a Taste of Cuba in Little Havana 

Little Havana, once a culturally rich area of Miami, has become largely overrun with tourists and big businesses moving in.

Though there are still some of its Cuban roots showing, it may not live up to everyone’s expectations. 

Want Havana inspiration? Check out this travel guide.

For travelers on the hunt for a diverse Miami neighborhood, consider instead Little Haiti. 

Skipping a Chance to Hit the Open Water

While there’s certainly plenty to do on land, the best parts about Miami are experienced on the water.

Even a short cruise around Biscayne Bay gives sightseers a new perspective on one of the country’s most exciting cities. 

Pin to your Maimi vacation board

One day in Miami Itinerary

About the Author

Haley Walters is a writer and avid traveler based in the Southeast. She has written about regional news and history in the South for five years.

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