Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Miami is a longtime favorite for weekend getaways, but what if you’re visiting on a long layover on a trip to the Caribbean? Make the most of your 24-48 hour stay by visiting some of the city’s most iconic attractions. Offering a dose of the city’s vibrant atmosphere, here are some of the best things to do with only 48 hours in Miami.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
What’s a visit to Miami without stopping by the beach? It would be a shame to miss out on its gorgeous shoreline in the area, so grab a towel and some sunscreen and visit Miami Beach Central with its raised boardwalk or head to Crandon Park Beach to explore its three-mile, lagoon-style beach with barbecue grills on-site. If you’re looking for a remote spot, head to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to see its iconic lighthouse. South Beach is where to spot celebrities and enjoy palm-lined beaches, sidewalk cafes, chic boutiques and late-night lounges.
If you’re an architecture fanatic, a walk along Ocean Drive is a must. It’s one of the most famous boulevards in the city and is known for its distinct Art Deco buildings and glitzy hotels and clubs that illuminate when the sun goes down. Snap some photos of the iconic street and its bustling atmosphere that epitomizes Miami.
Teeming with vibrant culture, Miami’s famed Cuban neighborhood Little Havana is full of colorful murals, unique art galleries and enticing restaurants. When you wander through the lively Calle Ocho strip and smell the rich tobacco wafting from the cigar shops, Little Havana will let your senses transport you to the Cuban capital. From strong cafecitos to intense games of dominoes and a thriving arts and culture scene, here are the best things to do in Little Havana in Miami.
While Miami’s Ocean Drive and Art Deco buildings serve as a postcard image of the city, its Wynwood Walls that takes the cake as the most popular place to admire colorful art. This local favorite is decked out with striking graffiti art that spans the entire arts district of Wynwood. Admire the murals and masterpieces created by artists from around the world, then visit nearby Panther Coffee for craft coffee and latte art.
A beautiful waterfront Italian Renaissance-style villa, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life in Miami’s city center. Set on a lush 35-acre property, it’s here that you can find chances to appreciate natural landscapes and burn off energy. With its manicured gardens and over the top architecture, you can take a tour of the interior fo the house, stroll through the maze of gardens and soak in colorful views of flower displays.
Home to “Lolita” the killer whale, the Miami Seaquarium is the city’s premier facility for marine life. From marine shows to designated splash zones, kids will delight in the abundance of animal interactions to be had here. A memorable experience, to say the least, kids can walk on the bottom of the tropical reef in a dive helmet, touch stingrays and meet manatees. Put on a wetsuit and swim with dolphins and learn how to trade kisses, hugs and rubs before being whisked across the pool on a ride.
The largest tropical zoo in the continental United States, Zoo Miami is home to 2,000 animals, from lions to zebras, giraffes and elephants. The cage-free zoo uses moats to separate animals from visitors, creating a natural environment. Meander through the park and you might just capture a glimpse of an exotic animal, such as a Komodo dragon, ring-tailed lemur or tree kangaroo. Hop on the monorail to get a birds-eye view of the park, cool off in the splash zone, or head to the petting zoo and wildlife show to keep the kids engaged.
Dating back to 1923, the Venetian Pool is a historic haven, as it’s the largest freshwater swimming pool in the United States. With its spring-fed waters, waterfalls and cave-like grottos, both kids and kids at heart will delight in a day cooling off at this tropical oasis. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places is a great off-the-beach family attraction with plenty of picnic tables to make a day out of it.
Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach might be the most famous restaurant in all of Florida, beloved for seafood-loving locals and tourists alike. The restaurant has been in operation since 1913, serving its signature stone crabs to hungry patrons through decades of Miami’s history. Visit this iconic restaurant and soak up its historic grandeur before going on a seafood dining adventure in Joe’s menu of seafood, steaks and fried chicken, or indulge in a slice of indulgent key lime pie.
Quite possibly the most Instagrammable museum in the United States, the famed Museum of Ice Cream offers visitors the chance to take a photo of themselves waist-deep in a pool of sprinkles or sitting on a life-size ice cream sandwich swing. It’s a kaleidoscope of bright colors and vibrant backdrops, where you can taste, smell, touch and photograph a unique collection of ice cream displays.
Sitting on the roof of 1111 Lincoln Road, the famous parking garage/party space Juvia offers sweeping views of South Beach. Sip on Purple Rain, which is a combination of vodka, purple Peruvian corn and enjoy the spectacular beach views. See where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay at the 16th-floor lounge Area 31, where you’ll find the champagne flowing during happy hour.
Miami is known for its luxurious spa services, so treat yourself to a day of pampering. Lapis at the Fontainebleau is modeled after the hammams of Marrakech and offers ocean-inspired facials and wraps, while The Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers ancient healing traditions inspired from China, Bali, Indian and Thai cultures.