Miami Must-Do's

Miami Must-Do's

By Dale

Miami Must-Do's

By Dale
It doesn't matter if you're a local or a first-timer in Miami, there's always something new to discover. 

Imagine this: you've just finished your campus tour of the University of Miami. Perhaps it's the first time you've ever stepped foot on campus. Perhaps it's even the first time you've ever seen a palm tree. Or maybe you've been to campus for a sports game, an open house, or a high school program. Regardless, you now find yourself free to explore UM's surrounding area. It doesn't matter if you're a local or a first-timer in Miami, there's always something new to discover.  

Coral Gables

This one is the easiest areas to get to because, if you're on campus, you're already here. The original Books & Books, one of Miami's most beloved independent booksellers, can be found in downtown Coral Gables. Visiting authors from all over the country can often be found there holding events or just stopping by. Once you’re done there, you can take a stroll down Miracle Mile, the shopping district, and look for a bite to eat before catching an indie film at the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

South Miami

South Miami is UM’s closest neighbor outside of Coral Gables. Getting there is as easy as crossing US1 (shout-out to the pedestrian bridge), making UM students a common sight at restaurants like Tacocraft and Shake Shack. Quick side note: if there is no Shake Shack where you’re from, don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to devour their crinkle-cut cheese fries. Tell them Dale sent you. You won’t get anything out of that, but you’ll sound cool, I promise. Do it for me!

Coconut Grove

Looking for a historic vibe close to campus? Coconut Grove is the perfect place to head out to. It’s the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood in Miami-Dade County, and is home to several landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places as well as some brunch places that one day should be. One of my favorites is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. On any given day, there are at least five photoshoots going on for a wedding or quinceañera, so if you start your own shoot for the ’gram you won’t look out of place.


Commonly known as the "Wall Street of the South,” new students often associate Brickell with high-rises and their future internship. But there’s way more to it than that. Brickell is also where you can find scenic views of the Miami River and some of the trendiest places in Miami. My suggestion would be to head over to Brickell City Center. It’s a great place to go window shopping, and there are so many restaurants to choose from. But most importantly: There are so. Many. Dogs. I once saw poodles riding the escalator and my life hasn’t been the same since.


If you go to Wynwood and don’t take a picture with the famous Walls, then did you even really go? There’s no such thing as a boring wall in Wynwood, and the best part is most of the street art rotates out periodically giving you an incentive to come back every once in a while. While you’re there, check out 1-800 Lucky, one of my personal favorite places to eat while I’m there. It’s an Asian food hall featuring seven different vendors serving everything from sushi to ramen to dim sum. Seven might sound like a lot of options, since we’d need to go at least seven times to try them all once, but to me that sounds like the opposite of a problem. 

Little Havana

This is the best place to visit if you want to take in the Cuban culture so often associated with Miami. Drive down “Calle Ocho” (Eighth Street) and you’ll find Domino Park. Buy some Cuban coffee, aka cafecito, from one of the local stands and join in on a game of dominoes. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to play–someone will guide you through it. Once you’ve played a couple rounds, head over to Azucar Ice Cream Company and cool off. It’s named after the catchphrase of beloved Cuban musician Celia Cruz, which literally translates to “sugar.” They’re known for their funky flavors like café con leche.

Miami Beach

The obvious move here is to plan a beach day. You’ll have a great time, and our beaches are world famous for a reason. But if you left your swimsuit back home, or it’s not the right weather for a beach day, no worries—there’s still plenty to do in Miami Beach. One way to still enjoy the beach is to rent a Citi Bike and ride around while you take in the views. Once you’re done there, stop by the Art Deco Historic District. Art Deco is an architectural style characterized by pastels and geometric shapes, and it’s part of what gives Miami Beach its distinctive flavor that sets it apart from the rest of Miami. Visiting here is like stepping back into Miami in the 1920s.

Downtown Miami

You could spend a whole day in Downtown Miami and still not come close to seeing everything it has to offer. Exploring downtown is definitely a matter of prioritizing. My suggestions? The Frost Museum of Science and the American Airlines Arena.

Frost is home to an aquarium that spans three floors of the museum, with each floor being themed after a different level of the ocean and providing a different look into the main tank that crosses through each floor. You can see sharks, stingrays, and all kinds of fish. Hey, the first time I went, I saw a couple of pregnant seahorses that were just a few hours away from going into labor. Was it a little weird? Sure. But was it cool? Definitely.

Going to the American Airlines Arena requires advance planning, as you’ll need to purchase tickets for the event or program. If basketball season is happening, Miami Heat games are always a fun choice. It’s also the most popular venue for music artists on tour stopping in Miami, so if there’s no basketball game, your chances of finding a concert to go to are pretty high.

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