What is Miami known for? Brickell neighborhood is part of the famous Miami skyline

What is Miami Known For? 11 Famous Miami Features Beyond The Beach! (2024)

Miami has long been known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and sunny weather. But what is Miami known for besides the obvious?

Gotta tell you, I LOVE Miami. Well, I love Miami Beach, to be specific. I don’t even know exactly why; there is something about the vibe, the city, the nightlife, the beach right there, the whole package.

Of course, beyond the sand and surf, Miami is also a city of contrasts, culture, music, art, and offering unique experiences for every type of traveler’s heart.

From the colorful streets of Little Havana to the trendy boutiques of Wynwood and Brickell, Miami has what you want – you just need to do a bit of research.

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

Diving Into What Is Miami Known For!

Biscayne bay with huge yachts, sail boats, and day cruisers in front of the Miami skyline at sunset

In this article, we’ll explore the city beyond the no-brainer things you know already, like the stunning Miami Beach, and discover all the other stuff, like the Latin influence, art scene, architecture, cuisine, and nightlife, that make Miami a cultural hub.

We’ll also take in the sights, venture into famous Miami rooftops, go shopping, see why this is the perfect destination for a girl’s trip, and get lost in the beauty of Biscayne Bay.

So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and come along with us as we discover what makes Miami one of the best places to visit in South Florida!

1. Discover The Latin Influence

Games of domino played in Domino Park in Little Havana, Miami
Domino in Little Havana

One of the most fascinating aspects of Miami is the Latin influence that permeates the city. Numbers say up to 70% of the population in Miami are Cuban!

The reason for this is mainly the Cuban revolution in 1958, as Cuba is only about 90 miles from Key West, the southernmost point in the US.

One of Miami’s nicknames is The Gateway to Latin America, with strong ties to not only Cuba but also countries like Puerto Rico and Colombia.

From the music to the food to the colorful architecture, it’s impossible not to be touched by Latin American culture.

But Miami’s connection to Latin America isn’t just surface-level; it runs deep, so it’s no surprise that Latin culture plays a huge role in Miami’s identity.

But what does that mean for travelers?

It means that you can experience a vibrant culture that is unlike anything else in the United States.

Little Havana bar and restaurant with live music

Start by visiting Little Havana, Miami’s Cuban heartland. This colorful neighborhood is known for its vibrant street life and delicious food.

Take a stroll down Calle Ocho, and you’ll find a world of salsa music, domino games, and cafecito.

Make sure to stop at Versailles Restaurant, the first-ever Ventanita in Miami, a local institution that serves up some of the best Cuban cuisines in the city.

But Cuban culture isn’t the only flavor of Latin America you’ll find in Miami. Head to the Wynwood neighborhood, and you’ll discover an area that is known for its street art and eclectic vibe.

Four guys standing on the rocks by the sandy beach fishing on Mid Beach Miami around sunset
Fishing on Mid Beach Miami around sunset

This neighborhood is home to many Puerto Rican and Dominican residents, and you can taste the influence of their cultures in the food and music.

Make sure to check out Coyo Taco, a trendy eatery that serves up some of the best tacos in the city.

Overall, Miami’s Latin influence is a vital part of what makes the city so special. Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the culture and discover the unique flavor that makes Miami one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Next, we’ll dive into another aspect of Miami’s vibrant cultural life: the art scene!

Check out 17 brilliant things to do solo in Miami here!

2. Experience The Miami Art Scene

Wynwood Walls in Miami with a colorful fantasy mural
Wynnwood Walls murals in Miami

Miami’s art scene is just as vibrant and dynamic as its Latin-infused culture.

From elegant galleries to famous street art, Miami has a range of options for those interested in exploring the city’s creative side.

The Wynwood Walls Art Center is a must-visit destination for art lovers, with its colorful murals and galleries showcasing contemporary and emerging artists.

The Perez Art Museum Miami is another gem, featuring collections of modern and contemporary art from around the world, including pieces by local artists.

However, the art scene in Miami is not confined to traditional spaces.

The city is home to many public art installations, including the iconic LOVE sculpture in Collins Park and the Rainbow Bridge on Bayshore Drive.

Miami’s unique architecture also lends itself to artistic expression, with buildings such as the Bacardi Building and the Fontainebleau Miami Beach featuring stunning designs that blend art and function.

Exploring Miami’s art scene is an experience that can not be missed, as it is both in the public space as well as in museums and galleries. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply appreciate beauty and creativity, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

3. Explore The Miami Architecture

Bright yellow and green Art Deco building on South Beach Miami on a bright sunny day with blue skies
Art Deco on South Beach

Miami’s reputation for art and culture extends far beyond galleries and museums.

The city’s architecture also significantly influences Miami’s artistic landscape.

The Bacardi Building, located in the heart of downtown Miami, features an impressive Art Deco design, making it a popular filming location in numerous movies and TV shows.

Meanwhile, within architecture, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach also showcases a modernist design that has won numerous accolades and has been recognized as an architectural masterpiece.

In addition to these iconic buildings, Miami is home to a number of unique architectural styles, including Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern (MiMo).

The city’s colorful and diverse history has left an indelible mark on its built environment, creating a rich tapestry of styles and designs that you should not miss.

But exploring Miami’s architecture is just the beginning of what the city has to offer.

Next up, immerse yourself and your taste buds in the vibrant culinary scene that includes diverse flavors and cultures from around the globe.

4. Taste The World Cuisine Of Miami

Food tours in Miami: Joes New York Pizza in Miami.
Joes New York Pizza in Miami

Miami’s culinary scene is a must-try for any foodie. With a diverse range of cultures and flavors from around the world, Miami’s vibrant cuisine has almost unlimited possibilities.

From fresh seafood to Cuban sandwiches, the city’s cuisine is as varied as the sum of the people who call Miami home.

If you’re craving seafood, head to Joe’s Stone Crab, which has been a coveted Miami institution for over 100 years!

Or, if you’re in the mood for something hearty, try La Sandwicherie for a delicious and filling sandwich. They get shipments of fresh bread several times a day and stay open until way after midnight.

For those looking to explore Miami’s Cuban culture, a visit to Versailles is a must.

This restaurant started as a traditional Cuban ventanita, when the owner arrived in Miami after the revolution in Cuba.

The Versailles serves up authentic Cuban cuisine, including the iconic Cuban sandwich.

Miami’s cuisine scene is wider than traditional dishes, though. The city is constantly evolving, with new restaurants constantly popping up.

For innovative cuisine, head to KYU in the Wynwood neighborhood for Asian-inspired dishes with a modern twist.

Once you are filled up and energized, indulging in Miami’s diverse and delicious cuisine, it’s time to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife scene!

5. Enjoy The Miami Nightlife

Ambiance at the night club at the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, warm and colored lights and lots of people dressed up and enjoying the evening by the elegant bar
Faena Hotel night club in Miami

Miami’s nightlife has something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for a rooftop bar with stunning views or a dive bar with live music.

Head over to the Faena District and experience the enchanting atmosphere of the Faena Theater in the Faena Luxury Hotel on Mid Beach, where you can enjoy cabaret-style shows and performances.

“Faena Hotel Miami Beach features an artful visual language that recalls the glamour of the 1950’s with stunning Art Deco appeal.”

Luxury Travel Magazine

Visit the iconic South Beach and party at LIV, a high-energy club that attracts celebrities and locals alike.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe, check out the Broken Shaker in Freehand Miami in Miami Beach for craft cocktails and eclectic décor.

But Miami’s nightlife scene isn’t just limited to clubs and bars. Take a walk down Calle Ocho in Little Havana and dance the night away to live salsa music at Ball & Chain.

As the night winds down, don’t forget to take in the sights of Miami’s skyline and beaches. The city transforms at night, with colorful lights illuminating the buildings and ocean.

6. Take In The Miami Sights

Millionaire Row cruise around Biscayne Bay
Millionaire Row cruise

As tempting as Miami’s nightlife scene may be, it’s important not to overlook the stunning sights the city has to offer in the daytime.

The city’s skyline is particularly impressive at any time of day with the buildings creating the famous shield for the city.

Miami’s beaches are renowned for their crystal-clear waters and pristine sand.

Whether relaxing on the beach or strolling along the shore, the ocean provides a calming backdrop to one of the most vibrant cities in America.

The Miami skyline lit at night against the dark sky behind it
Miami skyline at night

All of these sights are just a glimpse into the Miami experience, and they serve as a perfect introduction to what awaits you during the day.

Miami’s gorgeous beach life is unsurpassed, but it is not just about soaking up the sun; there are plenty of activities to enjoy.

7. Savor Miami Beach Life

A pink lifeguard station on the white sands of Miami Beach on a sunny summer day
One of the famous lifeguard stations

Miamis beach life is an essential part of the city’s culture, and it’s more than just lounging around on the sand.

Miami Beach itself is a vibrant and exciting place to be, with plenty of activities to keep you entertained for hours on end.

You can start your day by taking a stroll on the iconic Miami Beach Boardwalk, which stretches for miles along the coast and offers stunning ocean views.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can visit the nearby South Pointe Pier, which has a beautiful park and fishing pier that is perfect for a relaxing day out.

If you feel fresh, make a stop at Muscle Beach as well, the famous outdoor beach right across from Ocean Drive and 9th Street.

The famous Muscle Beach on Miami Beach with white equipment, white sand and green palm trees on a sunny summer day
Muscle Beach Miami

Miami is also known for its water sports, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to try out new activities. Jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding are just a few of the many options available.

If you prefer something more laid back, you can always rent a kayak or paddleboat and explore the coastline at your own pace.

The beaches here are some of the most beautiful in the world, with crystal-clear waters and soft, white powder. And they are close to restaurants, shopping, and a myriad of Happy Hour bars!

There are a plethora of beachside restaurants and bars close by where you can stop for a drink or a bite to eat (especially around South Beach), and the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking.

As we move on to the next section, we’ll be delving into Miami’s famous rooftops, the perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring or beach chilling.

8. Lounge At Famous Miami Rooftops

Miami is known for its stunning views and glamorous lifestyle, and there’s no better way to experience both than from the city’s famous rooftops.

From trendy lounges to chic bars, Miami’s rooftops offer breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s skyline and oceanfront.

One such rooftop worth checking out is the Juvia Miami Beach. Perched atop a sleek, modern building, Juvia boasts breathtaking views of South Beach, and the restaurant offers an innovative fusion menu of Japanese, French, and Peruvian cuisine.

Another must-visit rooftop is Sugar, located in the trendy Brickell neighborhood. This rooftop bar features Asian-inspired decor, signature cocktails, and stunning views of the Miami River and skyline.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, head over to The Cape at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel. This rooftop pool bar is the perfect spot to soak up the sun, sip on a refreshing cocktail, and enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and downtown Miami.

After enjoying Miami’s famous rooftops, set aside some time for shopping. From luxury boutiques to vintage markets, Miami offers a unique shopping experience that caters to all tastes and budgets.

9. Go Shopping In Miami

The shiny highrises in Brickell Avenue in Miami on a sunny summer day with blue skies above
Brickell Avenue

Luckily, Miami has a shopping scene that is just as glamorous as its beach culture.

If high-end shopping is what you’re after, look no further than the iconic Bal Harbour Shops. This outdoor mall is home to some of the biggest names in fashion, including Gucci, Chanel, and Prada.

The sleek, modern design of the mall is a sight to behold on its own, but the high-quality shopping experience is what really sets it apart.

For a more eclectic shopping experience, check out the Miami Design District. This area is a hub for cutting-edge fashion, art, and design and is home to a range of unique boutiques and galleries.

If vintage finds are more your style, head over to the Lincoln Road Mall. This pedestrian-friendly street is lined with shops selling rare and one-of-a-kind finds.

Whether you’re looking for vintage designer pieces or quirky thrift store treasures, Lincoln Road Mall is a must-visit destination.

With so many shopping options in Miami, it can be hard to choose just one area to explore; I get it. You can cover several in a day, and there is always Uber at your service if you dont have a car-

No matter where you end up, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye and makes your visit to Miami all the more memorable.

Once you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, be sure to take a calm stroll along Beautiful Biscayne Bay and just enjoy the views.

10. Head Out To Beautiful Biscayne Bay

Yachts and day cruises in a large port in Miami with the skyline in the background
Biscayne Bay yachts

With its stunning views of the water and bustling marinas, this scenic spot is the perfect way to unwind after a day of luxury shopping (although you can actually do some last-minute shopping here too).

Throughout the bay, you will find a variety of activities, including boating, paddleboarding, and kayaking, allowing visitors to experience the beauty and excitement of the area.

A leisurely stroll along the bay’s scenic promenade is a popular pastime, offering the chance to take in the iconic Miami skyline and watch the boats as they sail by. If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, pack a picnic and head to one of the bay’s lush parks.

The waterfront parks along Biscayne Bay offer a tranquil retreat from the bustling downtown, with shady trees and open green spaces perfect for relaxing under the Florida sun.

11. Enjoy Miami Music Festivals

There are a variety of unique and popular music festivals going on in Miami every year.

From Latin rhythms to pop to rock to indie, there is going to be something within the music genre that is perfect for you!

If you are into jazz, don’t miss the South Beach Jazz Festival in January, where a plethora of the best jazz musicians in the world make this an amazing experience.

The Latin music festival Calle Ocho Festival in March (2023) attracts thousands and thousands of people enjoying Latin music and dance every year.

The Ultra Festival is a fireworks mix of electronica, house music, dubstep, electro, Trance, and more. Tickets for the March 2024 festival are already on sale!

Want to know more and plan your Miami trip around a music festival?

Read about the Miami Music Festival annual itinerary here.

Top-Rated Places To Stay In Miami By District

The elegant Goodtime Hotel pool area Miami Beach in pastel colors, including the light blue water in the pool on a warm sunny summer day
The Goodtime Hotel pool area Miami Beach

I have visited Miami several times in the last few years, and personally, my favorite area to stay is somewhere in Miami Beach.

There are also really great places to stay around the Wynwood Art District, filled with fun murals, bars, and restaurants.

Close by is the Design District, as well as Downtown and Brickell super-urban, almost futuristic areas with shiny highrises and great shopping.

So it all depends on what kind of ambiance you want to surround yourself with!

Wrap-Up What Is Miami Known For!

In conclusion, Miami is a city that offers much more than sand and sun. It is a vibrant and eclectic destination full of culture, art, food, and nightlife.

From the colorful streets of Little Havana to the trendy boutiques of Wynwood, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So why not plan a trip to Miami and experience it for yourself? You won’t be disappointed. As the saying goes, “Miami is always a good idea.”

Related blog posts:

23 Best Things To Do Solo In Miami From A Frequent Visitor

Ultimate Guide: One Day In Downtown Miami From An Expert

6 Amazing Food Tours In Miami By A Frequent Visitor!

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