Top 5 must-visit places in Miami as a first-time tourist

Miami skyline at night. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

How many times have you found yourself lost in a new city? Being a tourist is not easy and being a tourist in Miami is even more difficult than many places. 

Renowned for its beautiful beaches, thriving nightlife, amazing cuisine and cultural diversity, Miami is one of the most visited destinations in the U.S. With all the tourist attractions that the city has to offer, you might be wondering where to begin. If you like sports, nightlife, nature or the sea, here are some of the best destinations for your days in the magical city of Miami. 

Miami Beach lifeguard stand. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

1. South Beach
Miami Beach

White sand, clear water and endless sunshine. This is the picture that comes to mind when thinking about Miami and its beaches. Located at the southern end of Miami Beach, South Beach is one of the most visited places in the city. Decorated with brightly colored Art Deco-inspired lifeguard stands, Miami’s most popular beach is the perfect location to go for a walk or a swim on a hot summer´s day. Watch out for the roller-skaters and don’t miss out on the restaurants and bars that line Ocean Drive. 

Airboat tour. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

2. Everglades National Park
Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Everglades National Park
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead

Going to Everglades National Park is a must for nature or animal lovers. These swamplands, spanning nearly 1.5 million acres, are home to alligators, crocodiles, snakes and birds. Located just an hour from downtown Miami, it is the only subtropical wilderness in the U.S., a totally different world. With three entrances, visitors can explore on foot, by bicycle or via an airboat tour. A series of popular walking trails begin only a short drive from the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. Remember not to get too close to the animals, you could find your trip cut short with a visit to a Miami Hospital.

A man rolling a cigar. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

3. Little Havana 
Little Havana Visitor Center, 
1442 SW 8th St.

Calle Ocho is the heart of Cuban Miami with restaurants and traditional retailers lining the street and Latin music drifting through the air. Little Havana is the perfect place to try Cuban coffee and learn more about Cuban culture and traditions. Even if you are not a fan of cigars, watching how they create each one of them leaf by leaf is truly a work of art. Do not leave the neighborhood without trying a Cuban sandwich and taking a couple of pictures of the murals that illustrate the history of the place. Little Havana hosts the annual Calle Ocho Music Festival with dancing and music performances. 

Hard Rock Stadium Miami Dolphins NFL preseason game. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

4. Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Dolphins

Hard Rock Stadium, 
347 Don Shula Dr, 
Miami Gardens

For all those football fans, watching a game is essential. The Hard Rock Stadium is home to the Miami Dolphins. Once inside, get ready to cheer and dance to the “Dance camera” while watching the cheerleaders perform. The stadium is not only a place for the National Football League, this space also hosts the biggest concerts as well as other sports like tennis or soccer. Embrace the football game and its atmosphere by sporting a blue and orange T-shirt to match the team’s colors.

Wynwood Walls murals. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

5. Wynwood Walls 
Wynwood Walls Museum, 
266 NW 26th St. 

The Wynwood area is an essential part to explore in your days in Miami. It is all about the art. The warehouse district has now been transformed into colorful street art and graffiti murals. The Wynwood Walls Museum is the place to go if you want to see famous name artists or purchase prints; consider that an admission fee is charged. Wynwood is also known for its nightlife as it has become the best spot to party after the pandemic. Check out the captivating murals all around the neighborhood and finish your day in one of the best clubs in the city. 

Maider Aranguren is a junior majoring in journalism and communication at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who is currently studying at FIU as an exchange student. She has worked as a radio host and is now a content creator for a television program in Spain. She hopes to eventually become a news anchor.