A city founded by a woman, bordered by two national parks, the “Cruise Capital of the World”, and the Gateway to Latin America, this is Miami. Our 2 days in Miami lets you enjoy some fun in the sun, exploring Cuban culture, and even a day trip to Key West.
Our trip highlights include:
- Little Havana
- Wynwood Walls
- South Beach
- Everglades National Park
- Cape Florida Lighthouse
- Key West
Welcome! You have landed on the right page as we answer these questions which you may have on Miami, the Magic City, and the Vice City.
- Where is Miami?
- How can I spend 2 days in Miami?
- How much money do I need for Miami?
- Is Miami worth visiting?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Miami
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Where is Miami?
Miami is situated on a broad plain between the Everglades to its west and Biscayne Bay on its east. Most of the city lies about 1.8 meters above sea level with the highest points located at the Miami Rock Ridge.
Miami has a tropical savanna climate with hot and wet summers and dry winters. The best time to visit Miami is during the spring months of March till May. Look out for the Carnaval Miami and the Miami Beach Pride events during these months.
Miami is home to a large international business community and is a major television production center for the Spanish language media with both Telemundo and Unimas having their headquarters in Miami.
Miami is also the only major American city that was founded by a woman, Julia Tuttle whose statue is erected in Bayfront Park. She is known as the “Mother of Miami”. She was the original owner of the land where the city was built.
Cruise Capital of the World
The Port of Miami or PortMiami is also known as the “Cargo Gateways to the Americas” as the port has accommodated several large cruise liners and served more than 5 million cruise passengers to date.
Among the major cruise line that are headquartered in Miami include Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and the Royal Caribbean International.
In terms of cargo tonnage, PortMiami is ranked second after the New Orleans Port of South Louisiana with China being the port’s number one country of import.
Culture, Films, and Arts
Miami is known the world over for its largest and most prominent LGBTQ communities with its gay nightlife beginning in the 1930s. Miami is the only place in the world where LGBTQ has its chamber of commerce, the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
With its diverse mix of Latin American heritage, Miami’s cuisine has a generous mix of Latin American and Caribbean influences. The symbol of the city would be medianoche, Cuban espresso, and croquetas which can be found throughout the city.
Check out the Best Things To Eat In Miami and make your way to these restaurants and eat all this delicious food.
Yes, you read that correctly. Miami has its dialect, rather a “Miami accent” unique to the city. The dialect developed as a result of second and third Cuban Americans whose first language was English and were bilingual at the same time.
Some common slang is “going on a mission” which means undertaking a difficult, time-consuming, and annoying task, and “took the light” which means running the yellow light at a traffic junction.
History of Miami
Before European contact, the Tequesta tribe was living in Miami around 10,000 years ago. Their pre-historic settlement was found at the confluence of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay.
At that time, Miami was filled with pine-hardwood forests and home to abundant wildlife such as deers, bears, and wildfowl. Their legacies are the Miami Circle and the Pompano Beach Mound.
Juan Ponce de Leon was the first European to sail into Biscayne Bay and with the arrival of the Spanish, the local Tequesta tribe soon dwindled in numbers and vanished within 250 years of Spanish entry.
By the 20th century, Miami experienced rapid growth up to World War I which gave rise to the “Magic City”. The Art Deco district began during the mid-1930s. Miami was recovering from the Great Depression when World War II started.
Two military districts were established after Miami was attacked by German U-boats during early World War II which sank the Portero del Liano in Miami Bay.
By the 1980s, Miami had become a transshipment port for cocaine from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It was this drug industry that brought an economic boom to the city as luxury car dealerships, swanky nightclubs, and major commercial development began to rise.
The popular television series, Miami Vice, brought added fame to the city as it gave Miami its city image of being an American sub-tropical paradise.
Modern Miami now features gleaming skyscrapers and is now an important center for trade, finance, tourism, and international trade. The Waldorf Astoria Residences which is 100 stories is set to place Miami’s skyline on par with New York and Chicago.
Can you walk around Miami?
While public transportation in Miami may not be always efficient, there are several areas where walking is possible. The walkable neighborhoods are:
- Little Havana
- Coconut Grove
- Coral Gables
- Miami Beach/South Beach
- Downtown Miami
- Downtown Dadeland
How can I spend 2 days in Miami?
There are plenty of ways to spend 2 days in Miami. We went the traditional way by exploring the must-visits on our first day and then, we went out and about Miami on our second day.
Wanna know more? Hop on!
Day 1: Miami City
On Day 1 of our 2 days in Miami, we explore the must-visit city highlights such as Little Havana, the Wynwood Walls, Rickenbacker Causeway, and South Beach.
The first of our 2 days in Miami is Little Havana. This neighborhood is named after Havana, the capital city of Cuba as it is home to Cuban exiles, and immigrants from Central and South America.
Little Havana is also home to the Calle Ocho Music Festival where people from different ethnic communities wear colors representing their heritage. The flags of Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and Costa Rica flood the streets of Little Havan during this festival.
Why do they call it Little Havana?
It is called Little Havana as this area was once home to Cuban exiles that came from Havana, Cuba. In recent years, immigrants from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala have made Little Havana.
There is a small part within Little Havan that is known as Little Managua, after the capital city of Honduras.
What is so special about Little Havana?
Little Havana is special because the area is home to one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Miami that are rich in cultural heritage, abundant Cuban food, and live and authentic Cuban music at every corner.
What is Calle Ocho Walk of Fame?
The Paseo de las Estrellas or the Walk of the Stars is similar to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame with the only difference being the stars of Latin American artists such as Julio Inglesias, Gloria Estefan, and Celia Cruz.
Ball & Chain is one of the oldest establishments in Little Havana as it began operations in 1935. It is a fantastic place to try your hand at salsa.
The second of our 2 days in Miami is the Wynwood Walls. The Wynwood Art District is about 4 miles or a 15-minute drive from Little Havana.
Wynwood began in 2009 when Tony Goldman saw the potential to transform the blank walls of warehouses as blank canvasses for street artists. Curbed named the Wynwood Walls are one the 16 most instagrammable places in US cities.
Is there an entrance fee for Wynwood Walls?
Yes, there is an entrance fee for Wynwood Walls. The General Admission ticket costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for military personnel with identification, $5 for students with student identification, and free for children below the age of 12 years.
The General Admission inclusive of an Official Tour costs $17 per person while a General Admission including an Early Official Access Tour costs $27 per person. An exclusive tour of the Wynwood Walls with “Ryan, the Wheelbarrow” costs $50 per person.
What time does Wynwood open?
The Wynwood Walls are open from 11 am to 7 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 11 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday. The doors close 30 minutes before the official closing time.
The Wynwood Wall Shop is open from 11 am to 7 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 11 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday.
How often do the Wynwood Walls change?
The walls may be painted up to four times a year to allow new artists to showcase their work. Visitors can now watch the artists as they work.
The third of our 2 days in Miami is the Rickenbacker Causeway. This causeway connects Miami to Key Biscayne and the barrier islands of Virginia Key. The causeway was named after Eddie Rickenbacker, a World War I flying ace.
The Rickenbacker Causeway Trail is an easy 9.9 miles out and back trail that walks alongside the causeway and starts at the beach and takes you through a nature reserve, after crossing the intersection.
Is it worth going to Key Biscayne?
Yes, Key Biscayne is worth it because it is home to some of the best beaches in Florida, explores the Cape Florida Lighthouse, and enjoys water activities like paddle-boarding, kite-surfing, and kayaking.
Read the 10 Best Things To Do In Key Biscayne On A Beautiful Day, the Best Beaches on Key Biscayne and Miami’s Secret Island to know more.
The fourth of our 2 days in Miami is South Beach or SoBe is east of Miami city, between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is about 12 miles or a 22-minute drive from the Rickenbacker Causeway.
South Beach was once farmland. This area was the earliest area in Miami to be developed. Today, the area is home to many nightclubs, restaurants, and boutique hotels. The area is popular with tourists from Europeans and Canadians who have their vacation homes there.
The major events held here are the Miami Fashion Week in February, the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival in December, and the Miami Marathon held in January.
Is South Beach good for families?
While South Beach is known for its nightlife and bars, the area is in fact, kid and family-friendly. From hotels that put children first to shaded sandpits and kid-friendly menus, South Beach is good for families.
Day 2: Out and About
On Day 2 of our 2 days in Miami, we are going out and about with our first stop being the Everglades National Park and ending our day at the One Thousand Museum which is often described as “one of the most complex skyscrapers ever to make it off the drawing board”.
Everglades National Park
The fifth of our 2 days in Miami is the Everglades National Park. This national park protects the southern twenty percent of the original Everglades. The Everglades is the third-largest national park after Death Valley and Yellowstone.
While most national parks preserve unique geographical features, the Everglades protect a fragile ecosystem that consists of a network of wetlands, mangroves, and forests. Some threatened species that live in the park are the Florida panther and the American Crocodile.
What is the best time to visit Everglades National Park?
The best time to visit Everglades National Park is during the dry winter season when the temperatures are pleasant. This is also the best time to view the diverse wildlife of the Everglades.
Is it worth driving through the Everglades?
Yes, if you are not in a rush, take the Tamiami Trail off Highway 41 for a scenic drive through the Everglades. The road begins in Downtown Miami at Brickell Avenue and passes through the historic Cuban district in Miami.
Another scenic route is Interstate 75 or Alligator Alley which is a fast four-lane highway that is about 80 miles and cuts through the Everglades between Naples and Fort Lauderdale.
How much does it cost to enter Everglades National Park?
The entrance fee to enter the Everglades National Park is $30 for a private vehicle, $25 for motorcycles, and $15 per person for pedestrians, cyclists, and paddle-crafters. These rates are valid for 7 consecutive days from the date of purchase.
Non-commercial buses or vans with a capacity of 16 or more persons pay $15 per person. The Everglades National Park Annual Pass costs $55 per person and is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
Where do you fly into for the Everglades?
The closest major airport to the Everglades is Miami International Airport. The smaller airports which you can fly into are the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport, and the Palm Beach International Airport.
Read the Ultimate Everglades National Park Travel Guide, the Ecology of the Everglades National Park, and the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Everglades National Park to know more.
South Pointe Park
The sixth of our 2 days in Miami is Southe Point Park. South Pointe is about 51 miles or an hour’s drive from Everglades National Park. The land where the park sits was once the home to police horse stables, the Port of Miami’s harbor pilots, and an intelligence unit.
The park features the South Pointe Pier, walking pathways, and sweeping views of the ocean. This park is one of the 40 parks in Miami and has panoramic views of Biscayne Bay, Downtown Miami, Fisher Island, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Is South Pointe Park free?
Yes, South Pointe Park is free and is accessible from Monday to Sunday, from sunrise to sunset. The park features playgrounds, restrooms, and water fountains while the pier has more seating with vantage points to the ocean.
Are dogs allowed at South Pointe Park?
Yes, dogs are allowed at South Pointe Park. The park is part of the Bark Park and Bark Beach program of the City of Miami. Here, dogs can run and play freely, off-leash. The Bark Park has amenities such as drinking fountains, waste collection, and disposable containers.
Cape Florida Lighthouse
The seventh of our 2 days in Miami is the Cape Florida Lighthouse. This lighthouse is about 17 miles or a 35-minute drive from South Pointe Park. The lighthouse is at the south end of Key Biscayne and extends a few miles southwards towards the Florida Keys.
On the grounds of the lighthouse, you can find the Restoration Hardware which consists of the components of the Lantern Room. The Lighthouse Keeper’s home, which is now a museum is just a short walk from the lighthouse.
Does the Cape Florida Lighthouse still work?
Yes, the Cape Florida Lighthouse still works and is now owned and operated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Why does Bill Baggs State Park have a link on the Underground Railroad map from the National Parks website?
Saltwater Railroad was the name of the area before the Cape Florida Lighthouse was built. This was the area where slaves and Black Seminoles boarded ships to the Bahamas. A sign was placed to mark the area as part of the Underground Railway to Freedom Trail.
These markers are part of the National Underground Railway Network to Freedom. The Underground Railway was a resistance movement for slaves to escape to freedom by the end of the Civil War.
The website links to the stories of people who risked everything to escape and the courage of the people who helped them.
One Thousand Museum
The eighth and last of our 2 days in Miami is the One Thousand Museum. This building, is in fact, not a museum. It is a 62-story high-rise residential condominium. At a height of 707 meters, this is the fifth tallest building in Miami.
The unique feature of this apartment is its curving exoskeleton which allows the interior space to have fewer columns and serves a structural purpose. One Thousand Museum is an ultra-luxurious residence with only 83 units that are spread over 60 floors.
Who built the One Thousand Museum?
These apartments were designed by Zaha Hadid. However, Project Director Chris Lepine completed the building upon her death. This building was Zaha’s first project in the Western Hemisphere and one of her last in her lifetime.
When was the One Thousand Museum completed?
The building was completed in 2019 while it was topped out in February 2018.
Read Luxury Housing Latest Trends: ‘Limited Edition’ Residences, Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum: A Futuristic Skyscraper In Downtown Miami, and Here’s Who Bought – And Sold – Condos at One Thousand Museum in Miami to know more.
OPTIONAL: Key West
The tenth and optional part of our 2 days in Miami is a day trip to Key West. This island is in the Straits of Florida and is a 4-hour drive from Miami. The northern part of Stock Island together with Dredgers Key, Sunset Key, Fleming Key form the City of Key West.
Key West is known for its candy-colored houses, swaying palm trees, and world-class diving in clear waters. It’s where the road ends and the fun begins.
Some notable attractions here include Mallory Square, Truman Annex, Duval Street, Fort Taylor Historic State Park, and the Key West Lighthouse which is now a museum.
The notable residential buildings include the Ernest Hemingway House where the writer lived for eight years and the Harry Truman Little White House where the president spent 175 days of his time in office.
The replica of a buoy labeled as the “southernmost point of the continental USA” is a must-visit when in Key West.
Key West has a tropical climate that is similar to the Caribbean Islands which means that there is only a small difference in mean temperatures between the hottest and coldest months.
What is the best time to go to Key West?
The best time to visit Key West is during the spring months of March to May. These are the best months for water-sports activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving. You can expect cheaper hotel rates as well.
Are beaches free in Key West?
Yes, most beaches are free in Key West. Some of the free beaches with free parking are Rest Beach, Higgs Beach, Dog Beach. The free beaches with metered parking are Smather Beach and South Beach.
The island’s favorite beach is at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. The park entry fees are $4.50 for motorcycles and single-occupant vehicles, $6 for vehicles with 2 to 8 passengers, and $2.50 for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The other two parks worth mentioning are the Bahia Honda State Park and the Dry Tortugas National Park. Take note that each park has its entrance fee and rates for vehicles which may differ from that of Fort Zachary Taylor.
How much money do I need for Miami?
According to Budget Your Trip, the average daily cost per person per day is $165 which equals $1,154 per week. The cost of a typical double-occupancy room is $211 while a hostel for one person is about $106, on average.
The cost of public transportation is much higher in Miami with an average of $32 per person per day. The average cost of food is about $33 per day with breakfast being the cheapest meal. A lunch with drinks for 2 persons can come up to $45 if you are dining in.
So, if a couple plans to stay for 2 weeks, it would be best to budget about $4,615 for that trip.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Miami
We understand that you may have a few more questions about Miami. So, we have compiled a list of the questions which you may have. Read on!
Why is Miami called the Magic City?
Magic City was Miami’s nickname when visitors remarked that the city had seen rapid growth “like magic”. It was as if the city grew so much from one winter season to the next that it was almost unrecognizable. Hence, the term “magic city.”
What is the best month to go to Miami?
The best month to visit Miami is during the spring months of March to May. Although you can expect some rain, humidity isn’t at its peak. This means rain won’t ruin your plans. Head to the rooftop bars or have some cocktails on the beach.
The downside of spring is that it would be crowded with college students on their spring break. You can expect crowded bars and nightclubs. Some key events during spring are the Miami Open, Miami Beach Gay Pride, and the Ultra Music Festival.
What time is rush hour in Miami?
According to TomTom Traffic Index, Miami is one of the most congested cities in the United States. This means that drivers in Miami spend 4 days and 10 hours during rush hours.
The day with the worst traffic is on Thursday between 5 pm and 6 pm. Traveling after 6 pm on Thursday could save you 4 hours per year, assuming a 30-minute commute.
The rush hour traffic is from Monday to Friday between 6.30 am until 10 am, and between 2.30 pm till 6 pm.
What is the strip called in Miami?
The famous strip in Miami is called Ocean Drive. The road starts at Southe Point at the south of 1st Street and ends at the north of 15th Street. The strip is known for its range of Art Deco hotels and Casa Casuarina, the former home of Gianni Versace.
Is Miami worth visiting?
This is the place to be if you are looking for sun, sand, beach, art, culture, and food. If you need more reasons, here’s why:
- Beaches for everyone. Yes, you can find gay-friendly beaches on Ocean Drive and 12th Street while Haulover Beach is Miami’s only nude beach. And, for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Miami skyline, head to Southe Point Park Beach.
- Neverending Parties. Miami is a city that never sleeps as it is partying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can find celebrities at LIV, Mynt, and STORY while DJ pool parties are on Saturdays at Hyde Beach and Delano South Beach.
- Tropical weather all year round. With Miami in the tropics, this means you get mild winters with occasional cold fronts in January. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures rarely falling below 24°C.
- Cuban cuisine at its best. With Cuba about 90 miles from the tip of South Florida, finding good Cuban food here is a breeze. From medianoche to cafe Cubano, you can eat and drink to your heart’s content.
- Art Deco is everywhere. The historic Art Deco District is home to 800 Art Deco buildings in pastel shades that date back to the 1920s and 1930s. Notable buildings include the Essex House designed like a landlocked ocean liner and the Webster with its classic Art Deco exterior.
Read Vogue’s Official Guide to Miami, the 12 Things Every Traveler Should Know Before Visiting Miami, and the 12 Mistakes Tourists Make When Visiting Miami to know more.