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South Beach Guide: Where to Stay, What to do, and What to see
Where to Stay for your first visit to Miami
First time in Miami? Stay in the iconic South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach. For first time visitors, I highly recommend staying in South Beach (aka SoBe). It’s great for a weekend or even a 1 week stay. There are a ton of hotels to choose from that are located next to the beach or close by. You don’t even need to rent a car, depending on your plans and where in Miami you’d like to go. South Beach is fairly small and very walkable.
Popular Hotels in South Beach (in no particular order):
- The Setai
- 1 Hotel South Beach
- Loews Hotel – great for families with kids
- W South Beach
- Ritz Carlton
- Marriott Stanton
- Hilton Bentley
- Delano Beach Club
- National Hotel
- Kimpton Surfcomber
Sights in South Beach
- The Beach! No visit to South Beach is complete without hitting up our beautiful beaches.
- South Pointe Park – stroll along the pedestrian pathway, get a drink or something to eat at Smith & Wollensky, chill under the palm trees, and most importantly, walk out onto the pier by the beach.
- Ocean Drive and Lummus Park – people watch, check out the Art Deco architecture.
- Lincoln Road Mall – this outdoor pedestrian mall has shops and restaurants and shouldn’t be missed.
- Miami Beach Botanical Garden – a free, peaceful oasis in the midst of South Beach. Full of butterflies, a small native garden, a cute gift shop, and wonderful friendly staff.
- The Wolfsonian – a fantastic museum in the heart of South Beach.
- Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach – located next to the MB Botanical Garden, a small but important memorial which commemorates the Jews who died in the Holocaust.
- The Bass Museum and Collins Park – a small museum and park located just 1 block from the beach.
- New World Symphony – admire the architecture by Frank Gehry and check their events page.
- Flamingo Park – if you want to see a park mostly full of locals, this would be it.
- Walk down the small but charming Espanola way.
- BONUS Tip – Go to the parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Rd. Head to the top floor and get a unique view of South Beach from the 7th floor. Designed by the architects Herzog and de Meuron.
What to do in South Beach
- Art Deco Walking tour
- People watch on Lincoln Road Mall. Hit up the markets here on Sundays and check out the seasonal antique and collectible market.
- Go see a drag show at The Palace
- Check out the New World Symphony Wallcasts
- Work out on Muscle Beach or watch a volleyball game on the sand
- Hear music at Lummus Park on Sundays from 6pm-7:30pm between 14th Street and 14th Place.
- Get a bite to eat at the Time Out Market and the Lincoln Eatery
- Rent a Citi Bike and ride down the beachwalk or Venetian Causeway
- Yoga on the beach at sunrise
- Rent a kayak or paddleboard at Sunset Harbour
- Book a photo shoot! 🙂 Have an incredible experience + beautiful photos for a lifetime of memories.
How to get around South Beach
- Walk – South Beach is very walkable, especially during the less hot months from November-May
- Bike – There are plenty of Citi bike stations and they’re a fantastic way to get around.
- Trolley – the trolley is free, air conditioned!, and even connects to Mid Beach if you want to explore beyond SoBe
- Renting a car – if you do choose to rent a car, I highly recommend parking in any of the city municipal parking garages (Google maps will show the city’s website). Make sure it’s a Miami Beach City parking garage, not a private one! The rates are very affordable. Just download the ParkMobile App.
- Uber/Lyft/Taxi – any of these options are good for getting around as long as there’s not a ton of traffic. Traffic can be crazy during events such as Art Basel, holidays, etc. so factor that in if you are on a time crunch.
- Miami Dade MetroBus – if you’re looking to venture to downtown Miami or other locations, the Metrobus can be a great affordable form of public transportation depending on where you need to go. Use Google Maps to help you plan the best option. The GO Miami Dade Transit app is super handy. At the time of writing (Sept. 2023), it’s $2.25 per ride of $5.65 for a one day pass.
What to Eat on a Budget / Midrange
- La Sandwicherie – affordable and delicious. I get all the veggie toppings with their Magic Sauce.
- Planta – vegan
- Havana Vieja
- Spris Artisan Pizza – pizza, salads, sandwiches. Something for everyone.
- Mama’s Tacos
- Taco Rico – make sure you top everything with their pico de gallo and guacamole.
- GoGo Fresh
- Under the Mango Tree – vegan
Fine Dining Restaurants
I can’t personally recommend all of the these restaurants abut having done my research, these are some of South Beach’s finest eats.
- Joe’s Stone Crab
- STK Steakhouse
- Espanolita Miami
- Santorini by Georgios
Best Bakeries and Gelato Ice Cream
- Bettant Bakery and Cafe – Make it a full morning by stopping by this bakery and then head to the Wolfsonian Museum right next door.
- True Loaf
- 4D Gelateria