Are you looking for the best things to do in South Beach? Whether you’re all about the beach or nightlife, this post will give 21 fun ideas to choose from!
Lying between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, South Beach welcomes millions of visitors yearly, thanks to its reputation as one of the best nightlife hotspots in the country.
But there is much more to this Miami Beach neighborhood than hitting the clubs; the beaches are delightful, the food is delicious, and the Art Deco architecture and museums are impressive.
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And with such an eclectic range of attractions, you’ll be spoiled for choice of what to do in South Beach, Miami.
We know it’s hard to do everything, that’s why we’ve rounded up a list of 21 of the best things to do in South Beach, including what to see and explore so you can enjoy this neighborhood like a true local.
Best Things to Do in South Beach, Miami
Read on to discover the best South Beach activities not to miss, regardless of whether you’re looking for a fun night out or a chill day on the beach.
1. Unwind on the tranquil Beach of South Pointe Park and Pier
You haven’t truly explored South Beach if you don’t soak up the beauty of South Pointe Park. Whether you’re spending a day in Miami or a week, this place is unmissable!
This serene park offers stunning views of Miami’s skyline and departing cruise ships. It also has a beautiful sand beach, which is in fact one of the best beaches in Miami, with endless fun activities like kayaking, surfing, and other water sports.
You can start the day by strolling along the park’s walking trails with your furry friend or let them roam free at the off-leash bark park.
Later, head to the pier which is the perfect spot for fishing or simply taking photos and enjoying the views!
If the kids are tagging along, they will love the motion-activated mini splash zone with water cannons at the picnic area.
There is also an onsite restaurant, Smith & Wollensky which serves mouth-watering steaks when you need an energy refill.
And when the sun begins to set, there’s no better place to enjoy the view than on one of the park’s picnic benches.
2. Explore contemporary artworks at The Bass
Housed in a 1930s Art Deco building, The Bass is one of the popular tourist attractions in South Beach you shouldn’t miss.
The stylish architecture is art in itself but it’s the impressive collection of contemporary work that will captivate you the most.
Spread across a 35,000 square-foot space, you will find a variety of artifacts dating from the 7th century to present times from all around the world and modern and contemporary architecture artworks depicting the pre- and postwar design history of Miami Beach in their permanent collection. They also hold a number of temporary exhibits throughout the year.
It also has a sculpture garden with a number of sculptures scattered around, but the most famous is probably the colorful stack of boulders, known as 8th Magic Mountain. It’s perfect for photos if you’re looking for Instagram spots in Miami.
And when you need to recharge after your visit, make a stop at the museum’s café, where you can enjoy an assortment of beverages and shareable bites.
3. Take in the tranquility of Miami Beach Botanical Garden
If you are a plant enthusiast or just a lover of serenity looking for things to do in South Beach, Miami Beach Botanical Garden is the perfect place to be.
The garden has a collection of rare native Florida plants, tropical plants, orchids, and various palm species.
As you stroll through the garden, keep an eye out for the little red bridge stretched across a pond covered in water lilies. It leads to the garden’s highlight — a beautiful Japanese garden.
There are also other stunning features like the refurbished fountains, a koi pond, a wetland with mangroves, and the beautiful banyan tree. You can also visit the botanical boutique to grow your own orchids.
And the best part is that entry to Miami Beach Botanical Garden is completely free.
4. Explore the Colorful Art Deco Historic District
When it comes to historic neighborhoods, it’s hard to beat this colorful district, which houses the world’s largest collection of Art Deco buildings.
Located between Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue, it has 960 historic buildings that date back to the 1920-40s and have been carefully renovated to retain their charm.
You will find incredible geometrically-shaped and pastel-hued architecture with stunning murals and neon lighting on their walls.
A notable mention is the 1930s Spanish-style mansion, Casa Casuarina or Versace Mansion as sometimes known, where Gianni Versace once lived.
While you can roam freely, the best way to explore this district is to sign up for this walking tour. You’ll learn about the history of South Beach from a knowledgeable guide while taking in the beauty of the district.
Then after your dose of history, you can enjoy tasty treats at one of the district’s many restaurants.
And make sure to come back at night to see the buildings glowing in neon; it is a beautiful sight to behold.
5. Shop at Lincoln Road Mall
Lincoln Road Mall is one of the fun places to go in South Beach.
Although it is called a mall, it is in fact an open-air pedestrian shopping street lined with designer boutiques and eclectic shops alongside restaurants, cafés, and galleries that make this neighborhood beat.
This Art-Deco-style retail paradise is adorned with sculptures and native plants and offers a bit of everything to satisfy any avid shopper.
Exclusive SoBe shops like French Connection invite shoppers in, while those searching for designer labels will find plenty to browse, including Victoria’s Secret, Foot Locker, and H&M.
Asides from shopping, you can view colorful artworks at Romero Britto Gallery, watch a show at Art-Deco-style Colony Theatre, or watch street performers.
And after a day of meandering the mall, it’s easy to find good food and drinks at its many lively restaurants, especially Lincoln Eatery, which has a nice rooftop bar if you’re looking for cool Miami rooftop bars!
And if you visit on Sunday, you will find local vendors selling fresh produce during the weekly farmer’s market.
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6. Check Out modern-age artifacts at The Wolfsonian
For ages, art has been used to tell stories, and this South Beach Miami attraction uses a unique array of media created between 1845 to 1945 to tell a compelling one about the time from the Industrial Revolution to the end of the Second World War.
The beautifully restored 1927 Mediterranean Revival building, formerly home to Washington Storage Company, is where over 180,000 artifacts collected by Mitchell Wolfson Jr., alongside his unique collection of rare books and objects from the 1970s, are kept.
You will also find a design-oriented gift shop onsite, where you can purchase Wolfsonian publications, jewelry, toys, and more as souvenirs.
7. Stroll along the iconic Ocean Drive
Colors, fast cars, light displays, Art Deco buildings, and palm trees! These are just a fraction of what this scenic road offers.
Running from 1st to 15th Street, there’s a high chance you’ve come across Ocean Drive in a movie, as this iconic Miami street has had its fair share of film appearances.
Some of its notable landmarks include the Clevelander Hotel, Gianni’s at the Villa in the former house of Gianni Versace, and the 1939 Colony Hotel which is believed to be the most photographed building on the street.
The street also has a number of famous restaurants, bars, clubs, and brunch spots — but bear in mind that they’re extremely pricey!
However, this road is better discovered at night when the neon lights are in full swing! Heck, we recommend visiting both during the day to people-watch and take cute pictures and later in the night for a beautiful display of lights.
8. Learn about Florida’s Jewish History at the Jewish Museum of Florida -FIU
In 1763, Jews were allowed to live in Florida for the first time, and this museum documents their journey more than 250 years later with over 100,000 artworks, including documents, photographs, artifacts, and oral history.
These artworks are displayed across two former synagogues built in 1929 and 1936, respectively.
Having undergone extensive renovation, JMOF boasts 80 stained-glass windows, a marble bimah, a Moorish-style copper dome, and Art Deco features that are also worth seeing!
The museum focuses primarily on people who influenced Jewish life in Florida and the relationship between Jews and non-Jews.
Also, JMOF hosts periodic exhibitions alongside programs focused on Jewish studies.
9. Relax At Soundscape Park
What Soundscape Park lacks in size, it makes up for in intimacy and vitality. This 2.5-acre urban park sits adjacent to the New World Center and combines art and nature to give you a memorable experience.
Palm trees and blooming bougainvillea vines adorn the open spaces, and the concrete mosaic walkways are ideal for a quiet evening stroll.
However, the most interesting part is that this multi-use park regularly turns into an outdoor movie theatre where you can enjoy free film screenings and cultural programming, perfect for the entire family or a date for those looking for cool date night ideas in Miami.
10. Explore Miami Beach Marina
Nicknamed the Gateway to the Caribbean, Miami Beach Marina is the perfect place for a waterfront stay in South Beach, and it is moments away from all the nightlife, restaurants, and shops the area is famous for.
Located adjacent to Government Cut, this marina has 400 boat slips with fresh water, electricity, telephone, and cable hook-ups and can handle boats of up to 250 feet.
Staffed by a friendly team working to make every visitor feel welcome, docking at this marina provides you with outstanding service for your boat and easy access to water activities like fishing, sailing, and cruising.
However, even if you don’t have a boat of your own, you can still enjoy this place! It’s perfect for a nice evening walk while taking in the beautiful views of the sunset, dining at one of the waterfront restaurants, or even booking water activities.
11. Pay homage to Holocaust victims at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach
The Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach was an idea born in 1984 by a group of Holocaust survivors and has turned into one of the free but memorable things to do in South Beach.
Commissioned on February 4, 1990, this memorial highlights the harrowing and moving account of the Holocaust that took the lives of 6 million Jews through sculptures, film screenings, music programming, victims’ accounts, and more.
But the heart of this memorial is the Sculpture of Love and Anguish, a breathtaking bronze artwork featuring an outstretched arm emerging from the ground and reaching toward the sky.
The body of this sculpture illustrates family members helping each other as they struggle to climb toward the hand.
Another worthy mention is the Memorial Wall, engraved with the names of those who didn’t survive the tragedy.
12. Spend a night out at one of South Beach’s nightclubs
Miami Beach has a long history as a city that knows how to party, and the SoBe neighborhood carries on this legacy with its vibrant and unforgettable nightlife scene.
Whether you’re into hip-hop, electronic dance music, or rock, you’ll find top DJs spinning beats and partiers dancing till dawn at the clubs in South Beach.
To enjoy Maimi’s nightlife to the fullest, make a stop at LIV to party with celebrities, Do Not Sit On The Furniture for house and techno music, Mango’s Tropical Café for Caribbean vibes, Treehouse for an intimate evening of underground house music, or Nikki Beach for a VIP experience.
You can also check out other cool nightclubs in Miami if those above are not up your alley.
13. Relax and unwind at Lummus Park
There are so many things to do in South Beach, Miami, and visiting the gorgeous Lummus Park is one of them.
Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Ocean Drive and running from 5th to 14th Street, this 74-acre park is an outdoor lover’s paradise with its volleyball courts, playgrounds, fitness areas including Muscle Beach, and winding paved pathways perfect for strolling and taking in the scenic beauty.
This Miami treasure is also brimming with swaying palm trees and will entice anyone to explore its beauty through walking, biking, rollerblading, swimming, sunbathing, and many other recreational opportunities.
Also, the park’s funky-colored lifeguard towers at the beach lend themselves as a backdrop for your Instagram photos.
14. Take memorable photos at the Museum of Illusions, Miami
No place on this list is quite as Instagrammable as the Museum of Illusions.
With over 40+ Interactive, 3D illusions, this museum takes inspiration from Miami culture, pop culture, and movies to give you quirky and colorful photo backdrops.
Whether it is crossing a lava bridge or walking on the edge of a skyscraper, there are up to 40 realistic displays to choose from, and you can even ask the museum’s professional photographers to help you with your pictures.
Also, their “Smash It!” room allows you to write out your negative emotions on plates and smash them to feel better, but it is only open to adults and children (12+).
This place is perfect if you’re looking for fun things to do with teenagers in Miami!
15. Enjoy a rooftop movie night at the Rooftop Cinema Club
A first-of-its-kind in Miami Beach, Rooftop Cinema Club stuns with its gorgeous sunset and skyline views, comfy seats, elevated eats, and handpicked movies, making it one of the best things to do in South Beach Miami for couples.
The 18+ spot also boasts a beautiful floral wall for your cute Instagram photos, a concession stand for buttery popcorn and gourmet hot dogs, as well as a full bar to grab beer, wine, or specialty cocktails before the movie.
Then once the 24-foot LED screen lights up, you will be handed a wireless headphone for crystal clear sounds, and couples can snag one of the loveseats for an intimate evening.
Plus, the cinema hosts monthly programs like sing-a-longs and special screenings that you shouldn’t miss.
16. Stroll along Espanola Way
Espanola Way looks like a slice cut out of the Mediterranean villages of Spain and France, but it’s rich in Miami Beach’s vibes.
Located on 14th Street between Washington and Pennsylvania Avenue, this two-block pedestrian-only path is adorned with peach-colored European-inspired buildings, preserving most of its old-world beauty.
There’s no shortage of food, drinks, music, and fun, as this thoroughfare is lined with many drinking, dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
Every section of the street oozes unmatched charm and thanks to its lively atmosphere, it is also perfect for people-watching.
So take a stroll and discover the beauty that keeps attracting visitors.
17. Take a leisurely walk along the scenic Miami Beach Boardwalk
Extending from South Pointe Park to North Beach, this seven-mile boardwalk is flanked by the stunning Atlantic Ocean on one side and luxurious hotels and beautiful parks on the other.
The scenic pathway is a top place to go in South Beach as it serves as the neighborhood’s hub of activity, populated by many dining, drinking, and shopping options, as well as public restrooms for your convenience.
18. Tour the World Erotic Art Museum
The World Exotic Art Museum (WEAM) is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Miami South Beach as it showcases the intriguing world of human s8xuality from Roman times to date.
Housed in a 12,000-square-foot space, there are 4,000 artworks on the history of erotic art all collected by Naomi Wilzig and accompanied by fascinating nuggets of information. These include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings.
You will also find works by famous names like Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Rembrandt, and some must-sees like the Kama Sutra-themed four-poster bed and the six-foot carved wood phallus.
The museum also doubles as a library, research center, and educational institution with regular cultural programs and academic events. But keep in mind that WEAM is 18+ only, and photographs and videos are not allowed.
19. Party like a VIP at Nikki Beach Miami
Partying in the sand should be a no-brainer when it comes to things to do in South Beach, and Nikki Beach Miami delivers the perfect toes-in-the-sand experience.
Since 1998, this beach club has built a cult following, thanks to its comfy beach beds, lush chic decor, tasty cocktails, delicious seafood, and epic parties with killer house and dance tunes from resident DJs.
Guests can enjoy globally-inspired meals and creative cocktails in the stylish indoor area with a large dance floor or the beautiful outdoors with an oceanfront pool.
The vibes at Nikki are always on with live music from 3:00 pm daily, but on weekends, world-class DJs take it up a notch, and it is not uncommon to spot A-listers basking in the lively atmosphere.
However, this high-class establishment sticks to a strict beach chic dress code, so dress to impress. And since it’s a very popular place, we highly recommend making a reservation to get a spot.
This place is also perfect if you’re looking for bachelorette party ideas in Miami!
20. Immerse Yourself in spectacular digital art at ARTECHOUSE Miami
How would you feel if you could manipulate artwork with your fingers? This is exactly the exciting and unique experience that ARTECHOUSE Miami offers.
Unlike traditional art museums, this interactive and immersive digital art gallery uses videos, light displays, extended reality (XR), and installations to draw you into a virtual world.
You will feel like you are in the mind of the artists as you interact with these innovative artworks! It is also a perfect place to take cool Instagram photos.
21. Enjoy the scenic beauty of Collins Park
If you are looking for a South Beach attraction that is perfect for relaxing but also offers a plethora of activities for all ages, then head to Collins Park.
This small oceanfront beach park is a haven of palm trees and perfectly manicured lawns, where you can momentarily forget that you’re in the heart of the bustling Miami Beach.
And, it is dotted with shops, restaurants, walking trails, and entertainment venues to keep you occupied for hours.
Also, kids will enjoy running around the playground, while the grassy areas make for the perfect picnic spot.
But don’t leave without taking a picture in front of the park’s iconic colored stacked stones, knowns as the 8th Magic Mountain.
Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in South Beach
The best things to do in South Beach run from seriously fun to awesomely educational, so no matter where your interest lies, you will always find something to get excited about in this bustling neighborhood.
So start planning your vacation with our roundup of the very best that South Beach has to offer.
But before you go, consider sharing these South Beach activities if you found the article helpful!