Miami often conjures up visions of sports cars, 24/7 parties, expensive restaurants, and every other earthly pleasure. While that version of the city definitely does exist, there’s a lot more to Florida’s most alluring metropolis than luxury.
From secluded beaches to districts filled with famous street artwork, there are plenty of epic places to visit in Miami on a budget. Here’s exactly where you can experience the Magic City on the cheap.
Lounge Under Palm Rrees at Crandon Park
Located on Key Biscayne, Crandon Park is one of the best beaches in Miami thanks to its serene, natural setting. Bring a towel and spend an afternoon underneath one of the many palm trees that dot the white sand, or play in the (usually) warm water. You can even get an introduction to kiteboarding via rentals or lessons with a little extra cash.
To really feel like you’re on an island, take the turn for “Crandon Park South Entrance” and walk all the way to your left once you get out onto the actual beach. You’ll likely have a large portion all to yourself.
Enjoy the Artsy Vibes of Wynwood and the Wynwood Walls
Wynwood is one of Miami’s coolest neighborhoods, and much of its fame comes from the colorful, spray-painted walls found throughout the area. Though there’s plenty to do in Wynwood, the best attraction happens to be free.
Wander around the Wynwood Walls, which comprise a collection of 40+ murals from the planet’s best street artists. It’s also common to find some kind of pop-up event or music show happening in the neighborhood, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday.
Taste Great Cuban Food at Havana Harry’s
If there’s one thing you have to try while traveling in Miami, it’s Cuban food. The city has a large Cuban population, which translates into delicious food that you’d be hard-pressed to find many other places in the U.S. While it might not be the most famous spot in the city, Havana Harry’s in lush Coral Gables serves up huge portions for a bargain. Its Cuban sandwich is particularly budget-friendly, and the iconic Cuatro Leches dessert is reason enough to stop by.
Watch the Sunset at South Pointe Park
Most cheap things to do in Miami involve its best asset: the coastline. Certain spots are more famous than others, and one of those is yet another completely free Miami attraction: South Pointe Park.
Situated at the southern tip of South Beach, the seaside park is perfect for lounging, cycling, or catching the sunset; Miami is known for its cotton candy skies, after all.
Go on a Self-Guided Art Deco Tour
If you want to get to know Miami on a budget, you’re going to have to be your own tour guide. There’s no better place to start than South Beach’s Art Deco Historic District.
Between 5th and 23rd streets, you can find all kinds of vibrant reminders of a unique architectural style that was popular a century ago. Flashy, bold, and tropical, you’ll know an Art Deco building when you see one. Notable places to stop along your walk include the Clevelander, the Carlyle, and the Miami Beach U.S. Post Office, among many others.
Explore Little Havana / Calle Ocho
The Magic City might be famous because of its beaches, but the heart of Miami lies in Little Havana, where you can feel like you’re in Cuba for a few hours.
Centered around “Calle Ocho” (8th Street in Spanish), it’s completely free to meander around and people-watch, and not too expensive to treat yourself to one of the many restaurants that line the streets. From shots of Cuban Coffee to the unique flavors served up at Azucar Ice Cream Company, Little Havana is one of those Miami destinations no traveler – budget or otherwise – should miss.
Experience Haulover’s Nude Beach
One of the most unique places to visit in Miami on a budget is undoubtedly a special section of Haulover Beach Park. While most of the massive beach isn’t much different from other swaths of sand, the northern section is dedicated to the birthday suit. Yup – we’re talking about one of the top-ranked nude beaches in the States.
The clothing-optional environment is judgment free and costs nothing to enter. It’s a space that attracts people of all ages and walks of life and definitely feels like one of those “only in Miami” places. Keep in mind that like most places to visit in Miami on a budget, Haulover will be a lot less busy on weekdays.
Browse Around Bayside Marketplace
Right in the center of Downtown Miami is Bayside, a sprawling shopping center overlooking the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay. Window shop the afternoon away or head to Bayfront Park next door, which is filled with pleasant walking paths and regularly hosts concerts. Both are well-connected to Miami’s Metrorail system, which means you can easily arrive for just under $5.
Check Out Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables
Though not quite free, this Miami activity is well worth the modest entry fee. Located in one of the greenest portions of Miami’s most beautiful neighborhood, this Coral Gables botanic garden is filled top to bottom with stunning botany. Wander through 83 acres of rare tropical plants in a setting that will make you feel like you’ve been transported far away from the metropolis that is Miami.
Admire Artwork at the Perez Art Museum
Another Downtown Miami destination, the Perez Art Museum features ever-changing displays of incredible modern works of art. The museum is a relatively cheap place to visit any day, but there is in fact a “best” day to visit.
On the second Saturday of each month, admission is free and workshops are often held for the public. Like Bayside, this is yet another cheap Miami attraction that can be easily (and cheaply) accessed via Miami’s Metrorail system.
Stretch It Out at 420 Space Yoga
Out of all the cheap things to do in Miami, few will make you feel as good as this one. Welcome to 420 Space Yoga, an incredible initiative that has expanded a lot in recent years. Held every Saturday at 4:20 p.m., the class is free and typically takes place at either Club Space or Space Park. You’ll be taught by experienced instructors and get to enjoy some fantastic background music as you get into the zone.
All levels are welcome, and in case you were wondering, the event is in fact 420-friendly.
Escape the Chaos on the Shores of North Beach Oceanside Park
If you’re looking for an escape from the chaos of South Beach, look no further than one of Miami’s best slices of sea: North Beach Oceanside Park. Way up north near 81st Street, the local park/beach combo is completely removed from the noise of the road, thanks to a tree-filled park complete with communal grills and tables.
Cycling paths and a dog park are also notable features of this urban park, which attracts far fewer tourists than Miami’s other famous beaches. There’s also a plethora of open-air parking lots, a rarity on Miami Beach.
Get Off the Beaten Path in Little Haiti
This cultural enclave located just north of the Design District is a fantastic place for a budget traveler to spend the day. Start at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, where you can walk through art galleries and a marketplace. Check out some local voodoo shops – a distinct part of the culture – before sampling delicious (and affordable) Haitian food for lunch.
Take a Nature Walk Through Matheson Hammock Park
Yes, Miami’s beaches are iconic, but the area has a whole lot more to offer in terms of natural spaces. Head to Coral Gables yet again for a quiet day amongst the tree-lined paths of Matheson Hammock Park – nature trails, a boating area, and a man-made beach await.
Situated alongside Old Cutler Road, an iconic Miami cycling trail, it’s also a great place to be on two wheels.
Window Shop in Coconut Grove
If you’re looking for a charming yet chill place to visit, Coconut Grove is the place to go. The neighborhood is chock-full of stunning, leafy architecture and the main market area is lovely to walk around in.
Even the most frugal of travelers can appreciate a window shop in “The Grove,” as it's locally called, which features plenty of unique boutiques and eventually gives way to the stunning South Bayshore Drive. If you’re craving happy hour, Monty’s Raw Bar is right on the water and will give you some serious bang for your buck. Order a PK 3 at your own risk.