Photo: lazyllama/Shutterstock

Affordable Things to Do in Miami so You Can Splurge on World-Class Food and Hotels

Miami Insider Guides
by Mai Pham Aug 16, 2023

Miami needs no introduction. From beautiful parks and beaches in the day and a lively bar and club scene at night, to incredible Latin and Michelin-star restaurants and tourist attractions even locals love, there’s no shortage of draws to the Magic City and its 250-or-so days of sunshine a year.

Winter is traditionally the best time to visit Miami, but thanks to the Miami Visitors Bureau’s Miami Temptations initiative, which incentivizes you to experience luxe Miami for less, you can find a good reason to visit Miami any time of the year. Each month, Miami Temptations has a different theme. Want to stay in luxury for less? Visit from June through September for Miami Hotels Months. Want to bliss out with a spa treatment? July through August are Miami Spa Months. Miami Spice Restaurants Months welcomes those who travel for the food first and foremost from August through September, while September through May — high season for Miami — beckons with discounts to experience Miami’s best art and attractions.

Best of all, you don’t necessarily have to drain your savings account to have a good time, regardless of the season. Thanks to a wide range of affordable things to do, Miami activities can easily be enjoyed on a budget so you can save that splurge money on dining and world-class accommodations.

Affordable things to do in Miami

Miami Design District

The Miami Design District is famous for its concentration of some of the world’s most renowned fashion houses—think Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and Balenciaga—as well as fine dining like the Michelin-starred COTE Miami. But you don’t have to drop money on high fashion to enjoy the Design District. Thanks to the Rooted by Design Project, the neighborhood has one of the best urban orchid collections with rare native and Caribbean species as well as a wide range of tropical flora that draws rare and exotic birds and insects. More than 100 QR codes guide visitors through the plants of the neighborhood in both English and Spanish.

Start your visit at Palm Court to get a bird’s eye view of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, then let yourself wander. Notable stops within the district include Nereida Garcia Ferraz’s Open Studio on 40th street, which is the current home of Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta, and Mia Market, a chef-driven food hall on the second floor atrium.

Miami Design District: 140 NE 39th St., Miami, FL 33137

Art Deco Walking Tour

Located in the heart of South Beach’s iconic Lummus Park, the Miami Preservation League offers a fantastic 1.5 to 2 hour leisurely walking tour that delves deep into the architectural styles that define Miami Beach: Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo). Great for history and architecture buffs, the tour is educational and fun, with stops at iconic buildings such as the Breakwater Hotel, the Versace Mansion, and The Carlyle.

Miami Preservation League Art Deco Museum: 1001 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

USA. FLORIDA. MIAMI. JULY, 2017: Perez Art Museum Miami

Photo: Mia2you/Shutterstock

Dedicated to 20th and 21st century art, the PAMM is Miami’s modern and contemporary art museum. Located within the Museum Park in Downtown Miami next to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, the permanent collection features over 3,000 pieces of art spread across eight galleries, with works that uniquely represent the Latin experience in the United States.

Pérez Art Museum Miami: 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Rubell Museum

The Rubell Museum is a must-see for art lovers. One of the most significant privately held art collections in the world, the 100,000 square foot campus debuted in December 2019 in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood with 36 galleries spanning 53,000 square feet of exhibition space. Museum holdings include more than 7,400 works by more than 1,000 artists, with pieces by the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, and Cecily Brown. The museum is home to two Yayoi Kusuma infinity rooms, as well as one of her most seminal works, Narcissus Garden, created in 1966 for the 33rd Venice Biennale.

Rubell Museum: 1100 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Miami, Florida, USA - September 25th, 2021 - Frost Museum concrete, glass and steel open air design third floor at the children's health, stem, science building and marine aquarium downtown Dade.

Photo: Microfile.org/Shutterstock

It’s easy to get lost at this spectacular science museum. Debuting in 2017, and built to the tune of $305 million, the museum houses a spectacular aquarium, planetarium, and two wings dedicated to scientific exhibits that deal with the ocean, human body, the universe, and more. Visit to the top of the museum to touch stingrays as they glide across the water, and don’t miss the aquarium’s oculus for the best views of the sharks.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science: 1101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Located in Coconut Grove, this 20th century estate is home to spectacular and extensive Italian Renaissance gardens. A National Historic Landmark, the villa and grounds occupy 50 acres and were the original home of businessman James Deering, who built the property over several years beginning in 1912 at a cost of $15 million. The villa has more than 70 rooms featuring Gilded Age architecture and antiques dating back to the 15th century. A popular wedding venue, the estate has been featured in numerous movies, and provides a wonderful backdrop for photos. Plan to spend at least an hour or two wandering through the gardens and villa.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: 3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129

Superblue

Visit Superblue to take an immersive roller coaster ride through various forms of immersive art. You’ll see digital art change according to touch, have your heartbeat transmitted and reflected through hundreds of string lights, walk through a light space that challenges your perception of reality, and so much more. There’s a charge to experience the teamLab’s Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life, but it’s worth it to see yourself walking through clouds (made of soap bubbles, but it’s very cool all the same).

Superblue: 1101 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127

Where to eat and drink in Miami

Ocean Social

Eden Roc Miami’s new oceanfront restaurant offers direct beach views and a delicious menu. Helmed by executive chef Tristan Epps, a Chopped champion,and the former executive chef of Red Rooster Overtown, the menu is largely farm- and ocean-to-table, featuring surf and turf and a “Fire to Table” section of shareable plates from the wood fired grill. Come before sunset to enjoy cocktails at the 28-seat bar, then request an oceanfront booth as you feast on plates like the Caribbean Kanpachi Crudo, butter roasted lobster, and hearth-roasted whole local fish.

Ocean Social: 4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Mila

One of the sexiest and buzziest restaurants in Miami Beach, Mila is more than just a rooftop restaurant and bar. The cocktail bar itself is a destination, but the indoor-outdoor vibe, cuisine, and the entertainment take things over the top. You can order a la carte, but splurge on the omakase to experience the best of what Mila has to offer, from the spectacular sushi and sashimi plates to the hot pots, wagyu, and more. Dress to impress, enjoy some cocktails, and make sure to arrive in time to catch the fire dance show on the outer patio.

Mila: 1636 Meridian Avenue Rooftop, Miami Beach, FL 33139

News Cafe

An iconic South Beach cafe and gathering spot since it opened in 1988, News Cafe is famous not only for its location but for its famous patrons, such as the late fashion designer Gianni Versace. Now re-opened and re-imagined, the cafe serves up healthy(ish) American fare, with great patio seating for fantastic Miami Beach people watching. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the menus are printed on newspaper, and feature American and Continental classics such as avocado toast, lobster linguine, and steak and eggs.

News Cafe: 800 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Leku Miami

Beautifully executed Basque cuisine awaits at Leku Miami. Housed on the Rubell Museum campus, this indoor-outdoor restaurant features a lovely patio surrounded by lush greenery, along with a beautiful mural that runs the length of the back bar. Expect fantastic execution by executive chef Carlos Garcia, who turns out beautiful pintxos, rice)= dishes, and an exceptional Basque cheesecake.

Leku Miami: 1100 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127

Sofia Miami Design District

Located in the heart of the Miami District, stepping into Sofia feels a bit like you’ve stepped onto the set of a luxurious movie. Though the umbrella-covered patio is absolutely darling, the interiors make the ultimate design statement with ornate crystal chandeliers, pink velvet chairs, booths, and Andy Warhol-esque wall art depicting Marilyn, Brigitte Bardot, and Sofia Loren. The menu is Italian featuring classic salads, pizza, and pasta, but the draw here is definitely the design, which is so gorgeous it’ll surely blow up your Instagram and TikTok.

Sofia Miami Design District:140 NE 39th St Unit #133, Miami, FL 33137

Fiola Miami

Swanky and upscale, this Italian restaurant is one of the finest dining destinations in Coconut Grove. Classically designed with dark wood and brass accents, feast on contemporary takes on Italian classics. The crudos are outstanding, but then so is the lobster ravioli. There’s a rooftop bar as well, so plan to retire upstairs for a digestif after your meal.

Fiola Miami: 1500 San Ignacio Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146

Where to stay in Miami

There are plenty of Miami Airbnbs and Miami Beach Airbnbs ranging from affordable to luxury. That said, like with food, accommodations are well worth splurging on in Miami for a stay unlike any other.

We hope you love the spaces we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Hotel Eden Roc

eden roc miami hotel premium room view

Photo: Expedia

The iconic Hotel Eden Roc is the embodiment of Miami chic. Located in the heart of Miami Beach, the hotel blends old world glamor with contemporary amenities. Rooms are spacious and feel appropriately breezy, with primary palette of white and pale wood set against splashes of pale turquoise or red. Rooms face either the bay or the ocean, so you’ll have a water view whichever room type you choose. There are three pools, a dreamy on-site spa, and the several dining options as well, from the grab-and-go Cafe Inez, to Nobu Miami, to the beachfront Ocean Social. Complimentary one-hour bike rentals also come with each stay.

Book Now

Mayfair House Hotel & Garden

mayfair house miami lobby

Photo: Expedia

If you want to stay in Miami but can do without the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach, the Mayfair House Hotel & Garden is the oasis you need. Newly re-opened after an extensive $50 million renovation, the hotel is located in Miami’s oldest, most charming and walkable neighborhood, steps away from countless boutiques and restaurants. Designed as an all-suite hotel, the rooms come with every single amenity you could need or want in a pied-a-terre. Each room is spacious with its own free standing tub, balcony, sitting area and desk. A vintage typewriter with a type-written welcome note tucked in it is just one of the thoughtful gestures that you’ll encounter here, while the design of the room itself—by New York-based interior design studio Goodrich—exudes a lush, vibrant luxe, in Wes Anderson Art Deco sort of way. A verdant, leafy central courtyard with cascading fountains and iron flamingo sculptures enhances the oasis effect. To complete the package, the hotel also boasts a dreamy roof top pool; SipSip, a lively roof rum bar; and an excellent all-day restaurant, Mayfair Grill.

Book Now

Discover Matador