From the beach to art to a historic quarter, Musement takes a look at five of the best free things to do in Miami.
No matter how ample our vacation budget, it’s always hard to pass up a freebie when we’re on the road—especially in a city like Miami where there’s so much to do that things can get pricey. Thankfully, the beachside south Florida city offers several activities that won’t cost you a dollar, and they’re an excellent way to fill up your time between all the amazing meals, shopping, and nightlife.
1. The Beach
First and foremost, there’s Miami Beach! And who could resist it? Even during the winter, you can’t help but be allured by that turquoise coastline offset by white sand. For the true South Beach experience, head to Lummus Park—it’s the quintessential Miami that you imagine from TV, movies, and all those vacation tales you might have heard. For a beach experience that’s a little more low key, head to the beach between 46th and 63rd Streets.
2. Institute of Contemporary Art
If you’re a contemporary art enthusiast, you’ll likely recognize some of the artist names whose works feature in the museum’s permanent collection: Francis Alÿs, Inka Essenhigh, Mark Handforth, Louise Bourgeois, Zoe Leonard, and James Tyrell to name a few. The permanent and temporary exhibitions aim to highlight emerging artists as well as established ones. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art has free entry. Given the COVID situation, it’s best to book a ticket in advance.
3. Little Havana
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to Little Havana. The quarter emerged in the 1960s when Cubans who fled Castro’s regime settled here. Today, the population, largely Cuban, is about 50,000. Some of the sites to see here are Calle Ocho, the lively heart of the neighborhood, and the Walk of Fame, which highlights famous Latinos such as Gloria Estafan. A visit to this neighborhood won’t cost anything, which means you can pinch your pennies and keep them for trying some of the exquisite authentic Cuban food at one of the many delicious restaurants. You’d be remiss if you didn’t treat yourself to a Cuban sandwich (or two) at some point. The neighborhood also features great restaurants specializing in Latin American fare.
4. Dominoes in Maximo Gomez Park
Speaking of Little Havana, it’s home to Maximo Gomez Park, which has several permanent domino tables built-in—hence the park’s nickname as Domino Park. Here, you’ll find elders playing dominoes. You can join them and try your hand at the game, but don’t expect to win–when it comes to Dominoes, these fellas are seasoned pros!
5. The Holocaust Memorial
This monument definitely falls on the intense side of the spectrum, but we think everyone should see it once since it’s quite powerful. Kenneth Treister, a sculptor and architect, commemorates Holocaust victims on the site of a home that belonged to Holocaust survivors who emigrated from Rotterdam. The centerpiece, the Sculpture of Love and Anguish, depicts a 42-foot-high bronze hand that reaches up to the sky. He deliberately omitted the final digit from the ID number tattooed on the wrist so as not to reference a single prisoner.