One day in Downtown Miami by an Expert! Miami skyscraper view

Ultimate Guide: One Day In Downtown Miami From An Expert (2024)

Visiting Downtown Miami is not like visiting the laidback Wynwood Art District or Miami Beach. One day downtown, you will experience the super urban part of the City of Lights, with the famous highrises creating the famous skyline view of Downtown Miami.

I have stayed in the Miami area for longer periods of time in the last few years while traveling to the Caribbean region. To be honest, downtown is not where I go to relax and unwind, but where I get my shopping done in a fast-paced environment.

However, if you have limited time in one of the most visited cities in the US, here is a great one-day itinerary and downtown Miami guide.

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

In A Hurry? Top 5 Things To Do Downtown

Planning What To Do For A Downtown Miami itinerary In 24 Hours

Generally, you will be smart to research and plan your Downtown Miami day; it will probably take you more time than you think to move between areas, find your way, and enjoy the places you visit.

Here is all the information you need to plan your urban day, with links to all the places you might want to research yourself for your downtown itinerary.

There are a variety of amazing human-made oases and green pockets Downtown as well.

You are never far from the shores of Biscayne Bay, Bayside Marketplace, and the park, from where you can chill or head out for super nice boat tours.

Enjoy, let’s go!

A Great Start: Breakfast In Downtown Miami

One day in Downtown Miami, you can get all the shopping done that you dream of.

The best way to start the day is with a quick breakfast in Downtown, a big-city breakfast at πŸ“Crema Gourmet Downtown serves impeccable breakfasts for everyone from health freaks to morning sweet tooths in delicate surroundings on E Flagler Street.

Another excellent breakfast choice is πŸ“B Bistro Miami on 600 Brickell Avenue, which has an incredibly elegant high ceiling and a wide menu with anything from granola and fruits, eggs in any form, to sandwiches and even soup.

Or just get fuelled up for the day with a Cuban coffee in a five-star ARCH Cafe before heading out into Downtown Miami.

Shopping in Downtown Miami

The big thing about downtown is the shopping opportunities, so if that is your passion, this section is for you.

Downtown is not one of the best places to stroll leisurely in the streets (unlike South Beach and Calle Ocho); there is a lot of traffic that you probably want to stay out of. But it is definitely made for shopping, and in the Miami heat, it can be very nice to be indoors.

This is why there are not only malls downtown; there are shopping havens with amazing indoor and outdoor spaces, dining, recreational activities, and – shopping!

For a few hours of retail therapy, check out πŸ“Mary Brickell Village in Downtown Miami, an oasis of elegant shops and dining options.

Another amazing space you will love for a shopping experience is πŸ“Brickell City Center, which is a shopping, dining, and entertainment area over three blocks and four levels!

If you enjoy the open air and being by the sea, πŸ“Bayside Marketplace downtown is a great place where you will be very happy.

This is a little oasis on the shores of Biscayne Bay with great shopping, a variety of restaurants over two floors, and a laid-back outdoor market in the middle.

At the end of the pier, you also find an airy Ferris wheel. This is where a lot of the boat tours of Biscayne Bay start, and I really recommend you try one of those!

City Tours in Downtown Miami

Bayside Marketplace downtown Ferris wheel at the end of the pier
The Bayside Ferris wheel

There are myriad fun or relaxing πŸ“boat tours of Biscayne Bay that last an hour or longer, starting from Bayside Marketplace downtown.

You can book online or just ask while you are there; there are departure times almost every hour of every day. If you are a group of people, you might enjoy booking a πŸ“private boat tour just for you guys.

If you are a solo traveler or couple, there are a variety of πŸ“boat cruises with great reviews on the water you can join as well and have a really good experience.

I did the Millionaire Row cruise while traveling solo in Miami, and I enjoyed it very much (also because the weather on that particular day was incredible)!

There is also a variety of other tours downtown if you want to explore further.

On dry land, a great option is this top-rated guided walking tour called πŸ“Hidden Gems of Downtown, or you can do a self-guided πŸ“Smartphone Audio Walking Tour super cheaply but without the company and jokes of the guide!

From Downtown Miami, you can also do a city tour to explore famous parts of the greater city area.

This 5 star rated Miami combination tour of exploring Downtown, Little Havana, and the nature of the Everglades will give you incredible experiences all packed into one day!

Lunch in Downtown Miami

Panorama photo from Downtown Miami with highrises and the blue sky above!
Skyscrapers and palm trees in downtown on a sunny day Southern Florida United States

In the Bayside area, there are a couple of really great places for lunch neatly tucked in by the seaside.

πŸ“Cuba Cabana Bayside will not disappoint anyone who loves Cuban cuisine, and they also have a raw bar!

For a vegan feast in Downtown Miami, head over to πŸ“Manna Life Food, a couple of blocks from Bayfront Park, where you find all the superfoods on all the variations your heart and stomach can desire!

If you prefer a serious long lunch with a big dose of pasta, pizza, or amazing Italian tastes, you will love πŸ“North Italia, where the menu has loads of Italian goodies, spices, and flavors you can enjoy for hours.

Most Popular Museums in Downtown Miami

Frost Museum of Science in Miami is situated along the bayside to Biscayne Bay.
The aquarium at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami

From Bayfront Park, you can do a short walk the five or six blocks to reach the πŸ“History Miami Museum, where you can discover Miami’s ancient history. The long lines of South Florida and exhibitions tell tales of Miami, and the Vizcaya Museum is not far away.

Check out the calendar and upcoming events for the details.

Another beautiful must-visit is πŸ“Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science on Biscayne Boulevard, a super interesting and fun place to learn new things and have a great time (Have a snack at Food@Science while you are there)!

Best Happy Hour in Downtown

Best 3 Downtown Happy Hours:

πŸ“ Over Under
πŸ“ Black Market Miami
πŸ“ American Social Bar

Dinner in Downtown

With thousands of reviews from ecstatic guests, πŸ“MisterO1 Pizza in Brickell is probably the best option for a laid-back gourmet pizza experience in central Miami!

For seafood, head over to πŸ“The River Oyster Bar for stylish surroundings and amazing treats from the sea.

Combine great Italian food with a high-end gourmet experience at Il Gabbiano, or go for the big Italian family dinner vibe at πŸ“Ristorante Fratelli Milano.

Nightlife in Brickell and Downtown Miami

An iconic nightclub in Downtown Miami is πŸ“Club Space, which for over 20 years has been a dance haven for lovers of electronic music and long nights out!

Thanks to its 24-hour liquor license, you can get into zen dance mode here all night long into the sunrise.

Enjoy the famous terrace at Club Space, where there is a clear ceiling showing the night sky turning into the morning directly from the dance floor.

Then you have the multi-award-winning πŸ“E11EVEN Club on NW Eleventh Street for Best New Concept and Best Night Club in America, to mention just a couple!

Here, some of the best DJs in the U.S. are playing, and you will find incredible shows, dining, bottle service, and everything you need for a truly unique nightlife experience!

Oh, and E11EVEN has been named the 6th best place in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve by Yahoo Travel.

FAQs Downtown Miami

Are there art galleries in Downtown Miami?

Yes, downtown Miami has a vibrant art scene.

Where are the best beaches in Miami?

The best beaches in Miami are along Miami Beach, including north, mid, and South Beach.

What is the best time to visit Miami?

The best time to visit Miami is between February and May, in the spring before the wet season starts.

How far is Miami International Airport from downtown?

The distance between Downtown Miami and MIA is around 7-8 miles, depending on what route you choose. With little traffic, this will take about 25 minutes.

How far is Miami from Fort Lauderdale?

The shortest distance from Miami to Fort Lauderdale is 28 miles, about a 50-minute drive.

There is public transport like trams and buses operating in Miami.

Yes, there is a variety of public transport options in Miami.

Are there train services in Downtown Miami?

There are no trains within Downtown Miami, but there is public transport.

Where is the Miami Design District?

The Miami Design District is east of Downtown Miami, close to the Wynwood Art District.

When is hurricane season in Miami?

Hurricane season in Miami runs from August through November.

Do cruise ships dock in Miami?

Yes, there is a cruise port in Miami.

Are there historic buildings in Downtown Miami?

There are a variety of historic buildings not far from downtown, but the downtown area mainly consists of modern architecture. Coral Gables, 7 miles west of downtown, and South Beach has more historic buildings,

Wrap-Up One Day In Downtown Miami

Wow, that was a lot!

I am fully aware that you will not be able to do all of these activities in 24 hours, but my objective here is to make sure you have choices and alternatives to create your best Downtown Miami in Florida day.

If anything is missing, feel free to comment below to add to the Downtown Miami list for everyone’s benefit. FAQs Miami.

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