24 hours in MIAMI

Obviously, I know it must sound totally out of line putting together an itinerary for only 24 hours for a city as big’n’busy as Miami.

Palmtree on South Beach Miami, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
Welcome to Miami – bienvenidos en Miami.

The fact is that Miami is a pivot point when it comes to travelling to Central and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands. Therefore, chances are that you have to spend a couple of hours or even one night her.

This is where my guide – for a sunny and for a rainy day – comes into the picture.

icon bag of money Local Currency

1 US$  = 0.89 €uro (June 2020) / current rate

icon police car Emergency Contacts

Police 911

National Airline

Various

image airport board Airports

Miami International Airport, IATA-Code: MIA

Tourist Info Online and Onsite

Actually, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has a couple of offices – according to the different neighborhoods or special interests like e.g. the LGBTQ-community.
However, for only 24 hours in this extremely diversified city, you should be fine with this guide – and maybe a quick visit to their office at Miami International:

Greater Miami and the Beaches
Miami International Airport
Tourist Information Counter
Central Terminal E Level 2,
Phone: +1 – 888 – 76MIAMI

Open daily from 9 a. m. to 10 p. m. (Sundays from 10 a. m.)

mean of transportation Getting Downtown and Back

First of all: No matter how long you are staying, you don’t need to schlepp your kitchen sink across Miami since they have luggage storage right at the airport at a daily fee from 6 US$ – depending on your luggage’s size.
The desk is located on the 2nd level of Terminal E and is open daily from 5 a. m. to 9 p. m.

So now that your hands are free, let’s see how to get downtown.

Public Transportation in the US – the Last Big Adventure

Most people say that it’s not possible travelling the United States by public transport, let alone a megacity like Miami.

 Greyhound Station in Miami
At the Greyhound station in Miami. Guys, whatever happened to Woody Guthrie’s hobo-spirit? Am I the only one who’s still pursuing that dream?

And while I don’t claim that it’s the fastest and most comfortable way of travelling, I insist that it’s possible; and I’m living proof.

In fact, there are various options for how to get downtown as well as to the beaches by public transportation – for less than 3 bucks per ride! Also, all points of interest that I list in my itinerary can be reached by public transport resp. walking (another thing that nobody does – but me).

Hence, to get to the Government Center station downtown, just hop on the Metrorail’s Orange Line. The train leaves every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends. Oh, of course, you need a ticket: Get it at one of the machines for as little as US$ 2,25.

However, since my guide is based on public transportation, I recommend you buy a day pass for US$ 5,65.

If you want to go straight to the beaches, the Metrobus #150 might be a better option since it runs daily every 20 minutes from 6 a. m. to 11:40 p. m. from the Airport Metrorail station and Miami Beach between 41st Street and South Pointe Drive. A single ride is US$ 2,25 – however, it should be included in the day pass, too. The ride is about 40 minutes, depending on where on the beach you want to get off, obviously.

Morning Activities

Sunny day in Florida – what better to do than hit the beach?!

Miami -Southbeach, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
Endless beach – and in about ten minutes, the last shady place
will surrender to the sun.

No matter what people say, it is not absolutely necessary to get a (rental) car in Miami since you can easily get from the airport all the way down to the beaches and the iconic neighborhoods.

Depending on where you want to stretch out on the sand, it will take 20 to 40 minutes.

Miami Beach is beautiful: An endless, broad stretch of fine, white sand splashed by the rolling waves from the turquoise Atlantic – beach as beach can, obviously.

To me, there is only one flaw – but that’s a significant one: There is no shade, i. e. not palm trees or bushes or rocks or something you can flee the burning sun.

Therefore, I can imagine that you won’t spend the entire morning frying.

After the Beach

So put on your sunhat and let’s walk up the beach to Lincoln Road, the main shopping street in the beach area.

Ritz Carlton at Miami Beach, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
As you spot the Ritz Carlton, it’s time to turn into Lincoln Rd.
(Photo: Infrogmation of New Orleans, Miami Beach Ritz-Carlton, CC BY 3.0)

Albeit, if you don’t want to walk on the beach, strolling up the famous Ocean drive allows you to catch a glance at the beautiful Art Deco architecture.

On the Lincoln Road – and the parallel running Lincoln Lanes South and North – you can shop till you literally drop. From mid-range chain stores up to expensive high-end brands – and even original art like colorful paintings by Romero Britto on #546.

Once you get to Meridian Avenue, turn right and walk three blocks up north to the Miami Botanical Garden.

The Botanical Garden in Miami, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
That’s the advantage of Florida being hot’n’humid: Everything is just growing.
(Photo: Daderot, Miami Beach Botanical Garden – IMG 8029, public domain, details on Wikimedia Commons)

It’s the tropics, so it doesn’t take much to make all the lust greenery grow’n’bloom. It’s an enchanting place – and the entrance is free! The garden is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m.

West of the garden is the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach.

Holocaust Memorial in Miami, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
The most prominent detail of the memorial is the giant arm stretched for help towards the sky.
(Photo: Daniel Di Palma, Miami Beach –
South Beach Monuments – Holocaust Memorial 28
, CC BY-SA 4.0)

It was designed by Kenneth Treister and is made of bronze and stone. The complex consists of a series of outdoor spaces where the visitor should experience the different stages of the Holocaust. At the opening in 1990, Mr. Elie Wiesel was a guest speaker.

food Lunch

To enjoy lunch, you should go back to Lincoln Road where you find food at eateries and restaurants that cater to all tastes and budgets.

produce to make an asian dish
A couple of fresh, Asian-inspired delicacies are just perfect on a hot day in Miami Beach.

In case you happen to be in Miami on a weekend and are not afraid to splurge, I recommend Juvia on #1111: Elegant outdoor seating with amazing views. The food is Asian-Peruvian – and on weekends, they also have a brunch with a great choice of starters, mains, and desserts.

Open weekdays from 6 p. m. till 11 p. m., weekends also from 11:30 a. m. to 3 p. m.

Morning Activities

Take it from me – it’s not always sunny in the Sunshine State. I’ve witnessed some pretty grey and wet days all around Florida.

No biggie, Miami is one of the world’s most important art hotspots for a reason – and some of the ‘classics’ can be easily reached even if you’re not driving.

Miami History Museum, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
History can be pretty entertaining at this museum.
(Photo: Pietro, HistoryMiami, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Right next to the downtown main station Government Center is the History Miami Museum, showing Miami’s…yes, history, but also great temporary exhibitions on photography and modern art- of course, all Miami-related.

HistoryMiami 
101 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130
Phone: + 1 – 305 – 375 14 92
Email:  e.info@historymiami.org 

The museum can be visited from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. and Sundays from noon till 5 p. m.

Make sure to check out their special events on their website or their facebook page.

Although there is a lot to see at the History Museum, there should still be time left to pay the exhibitions at the Freedom Tower a visit.

Miami Metrorail, you should take ar ride during 24 hours in Miami
The Metromover – moving all by himself.
Public transportation can be so cool!
(Photo: Ed Webster, Metromover double-unit train Omni 2012-04, cropped to 7:5, CC BY 2.0)

This is also a great opportunity to ride the Metromover, an automated train serving many of the most important spots in the greater downtown area.

Also, make sure to board the first wagon – this way you can experience the ‘spooky’ feeling of a ride without a driver best.

Riding the Metromover is free – and here is a system map.

Cubans in Miami

Hence it takes you for free from the Government Center to the Freedom Tower stop.

Government Center in Miami, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
The Freedom Tower in downtown Miami.
(Photo: Tom Schaefer, Miami Freedom Tower by Tom Schaefer, CC BY 3.0)

The tower was built in 1925 by the Miami News to serve as the paper’s headquarter. It served this purpose until 1957. From 1962 to 1974, it was re-opened as a processing center for Cuban refugees.

Obviously, Cubans living in the US have a rather one-dimensional political view, especially referring to Cuba. Nevertheless, visiting the Cuban Legacy Gallery is certainly very interesting – and what does historical accuracy mean, anyway?! Most of the time, however, it’s a matter of your personal and social focal point. Just like I didn’t get brainwashed at historical exhibitions in Cuba, I don’t share every viewpoint they are feeding you here.

In May 2018, they opened the Kislak Center, a grand collection of objects and artifacts from the very early times in the Americas.

Not to be missed is also the New World Mural, commissioned already in 1925 when the tower was erected. During the renovation in late 1980, a group of artists called the Miami Artisans restored this masterpiece.

The Freedom Tower
600 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132
Phone: + 1 – 305 – 237 77 00
Email: museum@mdc.edu

The museum galleries are open Wednesday to Sunday from 1 p. m. to 6 p. m., Saturday to 8 p. m.

food Lunch on a Rainy Day

Not far from the Freedom Tower is the long stretched complex by the water, called the Bayside Marketplace.

Cuban Sandwich
Cuban classic: Ropa vieja – which translates to Old Clothes –
in a bun.
(Photo: alanagkelly from Salt Lake City, UT, Shredded Steak with Peppers,
Onions and Tomatoes (Ropa Vieja)
, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Well, since it’s 2018 and we are in Miami, it’s not a very romantic market – it’s just an airy mall housing the standard chain stores, but also many agencies catering to visitors, offering all sorts of boat tours around the Biscayne Bay.

Anyway, on the upper floor, there is a huge food court offering the standard food court ‘cuisine’, but also really good Latino food – e. g. from Cuba. Certainly not a place to take your latest date, but you’re hungry and it’s raining, so…¡buon provecho!

Afternoon Activities

Of course, you can go right back to the beach. But if you prefer to see at least a little bit of Miami’s outstanding art scene, you should rather hop on a bus and cross the Biscayne Bay back to Miami.

Winwood is a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
Mural by Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel.
Exit Through the Giftshop?
(Photo: Daniel Di Palma, Miami – Wynwood Arts District –
Wynwood Walls 12
, cropped to 7:5, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Don’t feel like hiding for hours at a climatized museum on such a sunny day? Don’t worry, Miami also combines culture and climate: One of the most exciting ‘galleries’ are the Wynwood Walls in Wynwood.

Technically, these walls are an outdoor museum showing large-scale murals by some of the world’s most famous street artists.

There are various options getting there by bus from the beaches, therefore please refer to the map below.

In case you want more background info, you might wanna join one of their daily walking tours starting at noon resp. at 6 p. m. The tour, guided by one of the artists, takes one hour and costs 25 US$. You can book online.

You can explore the Wynwood Walls by yourself and free of charge every day from 10:30 a. m. – Monday to Thursday till 11:30 p. m., Friday, and Saturday till midnight and Sunday till  8 p.m.

Wynwood Walls
2520 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33127
Phone: + 1 – 305 – 531 44 11

Since Wynwood is also one of Miami’s freshest most happening, bohemian districts, after visiting the Walls, it’s great fun to check out the adjacent boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants, and bars.

To get back to the Airport resp. to the metrorail Airport station, take the bus #110 at NW 36 St & NW 2 Av. The ride is less than half an hour.

Afternoon Activities

It’s still raining? No problem, your generous friend, the Metromover, takes you in five minutes from the College Bayside station up to the Museum Park Station.

Here is one of Miami’s newer art venues, housing the Pérez Art

Museum of Miami-Dade County, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
(Photo: B137, Perez Art Museum Miami, cropped to 7:5, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Museum Miami, or short PAMM.
Although the collection has formerly existed as Center for the Fine Arts and Miami Art Museum for almost 35 years, the present exhibition hall – designed by no less than superstar architects Herzog & de Meuron and renamed to honor Argentina-born billionaire and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez was opened in 2013.
It houses one of the best collections of modern and contemporary art.

Pérez Art Museum Miami
1103 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132
Phone: + 1 – 305 – 375 30 00
Email: info@pamm.org

In the US, there is this tradition that rather the rich and famous invest in the arts and create and preserve iconic landmarks – rather than the government.

Back In Time

Then, the place you should visit next is located on Biscayne Bay in the northern part of Coconut Grove. It was commissioned by businessman James Deering and built between 1914 and 1922.

Vizcaya in Miami
The Renaissance from the early 20th century….
(Photo: Daderot, Villa Vizcaya – IMG 8056, public domain,
details on Wikimedia Commons)

Thinking about Venice Beach or the Getty Villa in California and Naples in Florida, it’s a bit quirky how these wealthy guys tried to mimic the Italian Renaissance – also, roughly 500 years after the real thing. Maybe it’s because of that why all the details and all the faux this and trompe l’oeil that deem a bit tacky.
However, the gardens are very nice, the villa is certainly opulent, and the gondola-shaped terrace truly…one of a kind.
Like it or not – nevertheless, it is an important Miami landmark – and just proves how new the New World actually is.


Vizcaya Museum & Gardens 
3251 South Miami Avenue
Miami, FL 33129
Phone: + 1 – 305 – 250 91 33
Email: vizcayainformation@vizcaya.org

You can travel back in time from Wednesday through Monday from 9:30 a. m. to 4:30 p. m.

To get back to the Airport resp. to the Metrorail Airport station, take the orange line from Vizcaya museum station. The ride is less than half an hour.

food Dinner

On a sunny day, you’ll probably try one of the fresh, young artisan restaurants at Wynwood.

Burger with fries
A substantial and hearty meal – as American as can be.

If it rains, you can just go back to the Airport and grab a bite there.

A cheap and good – yet rustic – alternative is the Rincon Criollo, the Creole corner, just five minutes walk from the Metrorail Airport Station; also, a final encounter with Miami’s rich Cuban heritage.


Rincon Criollo
2601 NW 39th Ave
Miami, FL 33142
Phone: + 1 – 305 – 871 77 55
Email: rinconcriollocubancaffe.com

Open Monday to Saturday from 6 a. m. to 9 p. m., Sunday 7 a. m. to 3 p. m.

illustration of a bed Accommodation

Especially if you are on a layover and have an early flight, you might want to stay as close to the airport as possible. Well, there are, of course, many options.

On hotel that is really just five minutes’ walk from the Metrorail Airport Station are the Staybridge Suites where they give you a spacious studio with a breakfast included for under 100 US$.

Check out their availability and rates for the date you need.*

Map – sunny day itinerary

Map – rainy day itinerary

Map – bus ride from Lincoln Road to the Wynwood Walls

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Disclaimer: * This article, obviously, contains affiliate links. Hence, by purchasing items through my affiliate links or booking hotel rooms at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission that helps to run this site.

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6 Replies to “24 hours in MIAMI”

  1. Smashing itinerary. The food looks really nice! You guys in the U.S know how to make a good sandwich 😀 hopefully someday I can visit Miami and follow all your tips. It looks like sunshine all round and fun times! 😀

  2. I am having the itchy foot now! I would love to go to Miami and since I am a big fan of the public transport too your guide will prove to be useful for me! Thanks for adding these small details too!

  3. Love this post since I live in Miami. I’ll definitley give it to houseguests. I’m imoressed you took the bus. Most people here never do that if they can help it because it’s not always reliable. If you come again, make time to check out the Venetian Pools and stay for a few days. Glad you like our city!

  4. I've only been to Florida twice before, but never to Miami. I'm definitely going to make it to Miami this next year! I love street art, so I can't wait to check out the art scene in Miami!

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