Located in the southern part of Florida, the city of Miami is a giant city with a population that’s on the north side of 440,000 and plenty of interesting sights to explore.
The problem is that Greater Miami is a metropolis, and anyone that’s visiting for the first time is bound to miss out on some attractions should they not do the research.
Luckily we’re here to help you set up your dream trip to Miami, covering its best areas and accommodation options. Buckle up, and let’s get into it!
Where to Stay in Miami
Since this is one of the most famous cities in the entirety of the US, it stands to reason that it’ll have quite a lot of notable attractions that people will want to visit. Our advice is to prioritize certain attractions over others since you can’t possibly cover everything on a short trip.
Nevertheless, we’ll try to provide some insight to make that choice easier. Miami is famous for its beaches, and virtually all of the locations that we mention will have a beach that you can visit for some proper time out in the sun.
You might not believe it, but all of the beaches are actually different from one another, so we’ll do our best to point out all the pros in each of them.
Being the tourist hub that Miami is, you also have art exhibits, live concerts on an almost daily basis, infamous nightclubs, lavish restaurants, and sleek cafes to indulge in. Suffice it to say that it’s never a dull moment in South Beach, but there’s even more beyond it, too.
Sports fans will also be drawn to the city because of the Hard Rock Stadium, that’s the home of the Dolphins football team, and the FTX arena, the home of the three-time NBA champion Miami Heat.
Miami’s 5 Best Parts of Town
There are similarities between all of the locations that we’ll go over, but each part of town has its own allure. If you want to see some of the better sights that Miami is most famous for, then we’d recommend sticking to the following sections of the city:
- South Beach: Where you’ll find the nightlife scene of the city
- Mid Beach: For the best beaches in the city
- Downtown Miami: The best spot for both sports and history enthusiasts
- Coral Way: For both natural beauty and historical significance
- Wynwood: For urban and not-so-urban art
Miami’s Best Areas and Hotels
In a city such as Miami, it’s easy to get lost or hung up on certain parts of town. While we’re not trying to dictate your itinerary, we’ve compiled the best hotels that are as close to the best attractions in Miami as possible.
This way, you’ll more easily be able to explore the city without worrying about getting lost or spending too much time just walking to the place of interest if your hotel is so far away that it might as well be on another continent.
All of the hotels are also divided into different groups, so you’ll be able to find lodgings regardless of your budget.
1. South Beach
You can’t go wrong if you start off with South Beach. The southernmost part of Miami is well-known for all the nightclubs, great restaurants, and cafes that you can visit during the day as well.
There’s always a party happening somewhere on South Beach, and there’s also always a nice bar where you can sit down and just have a drink with your friends.
The main draw of this place is all of the different establishments that allow you to spend your nights as loudly (highly advised) or as quietly (why are you in Miami?) as you might want.
If you’re in the mood for a meal, this section of the city also holds a large variety of restaurants that provide vastly different menus. You’ll be able to eat something different each day, and you can find varied dishes, sample some Italian and French cuisine, and many others as well.
Additionally, the beaches around here are as stunning as you might expect from Miami, and when you’re not visiting nightclubs or restaurants, you can take a load off and just relax and go for a swim. You could also do something a bit more exciting like jet skiing.
Being a popular vacation spot makes South Beach a great place to stay, but a large number of tourists definitely make this location a lot more expensive than the rest. You can still find decently-priced hotels, but they’re usually a bit further from the beach or the nightclubs.
Things to Do
- Go down to Lincoln Road and check out some of the nightclubs, shops, and restaurants that are littered everywhere in this area.
- Visit The Wolfsonian–FIU and check out the interesting exhibits that feature items like old plane and machine schematics and stranger pieces like propaganda posters.
- If you want some fresh air, then your best bet is to rent out a bike or take a walk down the beach-front paths in Lummus Park.
- Get a drink from one of the many bars on the beach and either sit in the shade or take it with you to the beach.
Where to Eat
- The Lobster Shack has an old-school bar feel to it, and it’s a great place where you can just sit down for a drink and a bite to eat.
- Mammamia Gelato Italiano is where you want to go if you want a nice tasty frozen treat to help you combat the Miami sun.
- Monty’s Sunset is a seafood artery with a bar that regularly has DJs and live bands performing on stage.
South Beach Budget Hotels
- Albion Hotel comes with a pretty well-equipped fitness center and a large lounge area where you can just sit down, read and relax.
- The Plymouth has a light-up pool for a nighttime dip and a bar where you can order a cocktail that you can enjoy on your lounge chair.
South Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- Esme Miami Beach has rooms with satellite TV, an in-house restaurant and bar, and a front desk that’s on-call 24 hours a day.
- Hotel Victor is located just 2 minutes on foot away from the beach; it has an outside pool and lounge area and a spa that guests can use.
South Beach Luxury Hotels
- The Betsy Hotel allows you to sit down for a cocktail and enjoy the view in the rooftop bar and lounge, and it has a fully-equipped fitness center if you just want to go down and work up a bit of a sweat.
- Loews Miami Beach Hotel allows you to keep your pet in your room, has a kids club that has arcade games and plenty of different activities for your children, as well as a pool that anyone can enjoy at any time of the day.
2. Mid Beach
The middle section of Miami Beach is the go-to location for anyone that wants to come to this city in order to enjoy the famous beautiful beaches to the fullest.
This is the largest stretch of sand in Miami, and while both South Beach and North Beach have great lounging or swimming spots, the majority of the best beaches are actually in the middle.
Clear water, lounge chair rentals that come with free drinks, and many water-based activities make this the best place in Miami for anyone that wants to enjoy some fun in the sun. There are also quite a lot of beach-side bars that you can enjoy as well.
This allows you to either get a nice cold drink and relax on the beach while soaking in some vitamin D, or just go out at night and experience the nighttime atmosphere while you chill out with a beer and listen to the waves.
The large beaches attract a lot of people, so this section of the city has many hotels, too, most of which are waterfront and high-end. That being said, a lot of them can be surprisingly cheap as well, and you’ll easily find a room.
While there are a few nightclubs and shops here and there, the biggest draw of this place are the beaches, so if you’re not much of a swimming or tanning enthusiast, then you might want to get a hotel in another part of Miami.
Things to Do
- The first activity that comes to mind here is obviously going to be to rent out a chair and umbrella and just enjoy your time on the beach.
- Go to a jet ski rental and try your hand riding on the water and inevitably fall off a few times as you try to get the hang of turning.
- Catch a double-decker bus tour that takes you through the most notable locations in the area and teaches you a bit of history.
- Have a drink at the Sweet Liberty cocktail bar and enjoy the view while you might even catch a live band performance.
Where to Eat
- The Tavern is the place to go if you want to get a good breakfast in the morning.
- The Restaurant at The Palms is a very chilled-out restaurant where you can just sit down and have a quick bite to eat.
- La Côte is where you go if you’re in the mood for some French cuisine.
Mid Beach Budget Hotels
- Notebook is a relatively small hotel, but it’s a great choice for anyone that wants a room that’s located close to the beach and won’t cost too much money.
- Circa 39 has decently sized rooms with quite a lot of comforts and access to a pool, which is quite a lot for such a reasonably priced hotel.
Mid Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- Hampton Inn comes with a free continental breakfast every morning, as well as a business center, an outdoor pool, and even a sitting area to relax in.
- The Confidante has two heated outdoor pools, two in-house restaurants with large menus, an open-air spa, and rooms that come with all of the necessary amenities.
Mid Beach Luxury Hotels
- Nobu Hotel has rooms that come with a huge 60-inch flat-screen TV while also providing you with access to two separate in-house restaurants, four swimming pools that guests can use, and even a spa.
- Faena Hotel has a bar that will allow you to enjoy the view of the ocean with a cocktail in your hand, a restaurant that has a large number of authentic Asian dishes, and even a spa with massage and nail-care services.
3. Downtown Miami
In our brief description of this location just above, we said that Downtown Miami would be ideal for both history buffs and basketball fans.
While this might sound strange initially, the main reason we said this is because this section of the city is home to several notable museums and the FTX arena, which is the home of the Miami Heat.
Sports fans will obviously want to get a room close to the stadium if they’re in town for a match, but before the match, they have a chance to just walk around this portion of the city and take in some of the more notable museums that have exhibits that might pique anyone’s interest.
The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit is always a great choice for art lovers, while the History Miami Museum holds several tours an hour that delve deep into the long and storied past of this city and the people that lived here.
The Freedom Tower is a notable piece of architecture that you might want to also learn a little more about. This is also the home of the Bayside Marketplace, which might just be one of the best shopping malls that you’ll find in South Florida.
Here, you’ll find dozens of brand stores, several food courts with a wide selection of different food items, and various stores that sell everything from shoes to commemorative snow globes of your trip to Miami.
This area sees a lot of traffic, so you’re going to need to be prepared to push through huge crowds of people if you come here on a busy day. This also means that you might have a hard time finding a table at a restaurant or a room in a hotel unless you book them in advance.
Things to Do
- Grab a seat on the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel and just relax, enjoy the view, and maybe snap a few birds-eye view pics of this beautiful city.
- Visit the Pérez Art Museum Miami if you’re in the mood to check out some pretty interesting contemporary art.
- Go to a play, a movie, or a live concert at the Olympia Theater, which is a historic building that used to be a silent movie theater back in the 1920s.
- Take a nighttime walk near the Miami tower and see the many colorful lights that the skyscraper is covered in.
Where to Eat
- Lost Boy has a great bar where you can grab a drink, as well as a dining area if you’re hungry.
- Mama Tried is a great place to go if you’re in the mood for a cocktail.
- Primo’s Italian Kitchen + Bar is where you go if you’re in the mood for some Italian food.
Downtown Miami Budget Hotels
- Hotel Indigo comes with an outdoor swimming pool, a free parking spot, and both a bar and restaurant in the hotel itself.
- InterContinental Miami is located in the middle of the business district, and the hotel room comes with a flat-screen TV and a coffee maker.
Downtown Miami Mid-Range Hotels
- EAST Miami comes with a 24-hour fitness center, as well as 4 separate pools that include an AP pool, a spa pool, a cold plunge, and even a hot tub.
- SLS Brickell has rooms with a minibar and a flat-screen TV, in addition to the in-house spa and fitness center.
Downtown Miami Luxury Hotels
- Mandarin Oriental provides guests with a fully decked-out fitness center and spa that come with personal training sessions and massage facilities.
- Four Seasons needs to introduction, and it’s one of the most luxurious lodging options in the whole city that comes with two huge outdoor pools, hot tub and sauna facilities, and even a fitness center with yoga classes.
4. Coral Way
Coral Way has a lot of historically significant buildings that still look as amazing as when they were constructed back in the 19th century as well as a good number of museums and memorials that tell the story of Cuba and its people.
This section of the city is full of Cuban culture and museums dedicated to it. This means that you’ll be able to find out a bit more about the history and then head over for a meal in one of the many Cuban-themed restaurants and bars that you can find all over the place.
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens allows you to see amazing Renaissance-era architectural design, with many amazing pieces of art and furnishings on the inside.
As for the outside, you can take a stroll in the large gardens and see that the natural beauty on the outside is as breathtaking as the artistic beauty that was found inside
This is a great place to visit if you want to experience a bit of a different culture since the museums will be able to teach you a few history lessons, and the bars and restaurants will give you a bit of an in-depth look at the culinary side of the Cuban culture.
Be warned that there aren’t all that many attractions in this area outside of the museums and the restaurants that you can visit, making Coral Way either a one-day visit or a base for further exploration in other neighborhoods.
Things to Do
- Visit the Cuban Diaspora and see the fantastic art pieces and photographs that vividly depict scenes from history.
- Simpson Park lets you take a walk and see some beautiful hardwood trees, as well as an assortment of colorful but sadly endangered plants.
- Shenandoah Park has a pretty big playground, which is a great place to take your kids in the afternoon.
- Go to The Bay of Pigs Museum and check out all of the different artifacts that were leftover from the invasion of Cuba.
Where to Eat
- Versailles Restaurant is one of the best places in this part of the city for authentic Cuban food.
- Bocas Grill Brickell is a great place for some BBQ that you can eat there or just take with you.
- Obba Sushi is a great place to go if you want to take a break from the Cuban restaurants and want to try some Asian foods instead.
Coral Way Budget Hotels
- Novotel Miami Brickell comes with an on-site restaurant, a bar, and even a business center with seven meeting rooms.
- Hilton Garden Inn comes with free wifi, a sizeable outdoor pool, and rooms that come with satellite TV.
Coral Way Mid-Range Hotels
- Colonnade Coral Gables comes with pet-friendly facilities, free wifi in every room, and 24-hour front desk services.
- Hyatt Regency Coral Gables has an outdoor swimming pool, iPod docking stations in every room, and flat-screen TV and minibar in every room.
Coral Way Luxury Hotels
- Biltmore Hotel comes with its own 18-hole golf course, a full spa, an incredibly large outdoor pool, a staggering 10 tennis courts that allow you to play at night, and a 65-inch flat-screen TV in every room.
- The Ritz-Carlton is a 5-star hotel that provides its guests with access to a full-service spa, an outside pool with a poolside bar with an impressive cocktail menu, and even a fitness center inside the hotel.
Wynwood wouldn’t really be a remarkable area in Miami in any aspect if it wasn’t for the many murals and graffiti that litter many walls all over this section of the city.
These less-than-standard pieces of art have drawn a lot of attention over the years, and their notoriety has gathered quite a lot of tourists that want to see these pieces.
The best thing that you can do in this place is to take a walk and find the Wynwood Walls that were drawn by Tony Goldman and take advantage of the open-air museum. This section of town also has a few more conventional art museums as well.
Unlike the murals and graffiti that are open to the public free of charge, you’ll need to buy a ticket for the exhibits that are housed inside the museums, but the displays are well worth it.
As we mentioned just above, this part of Miami has a few interesting attractions and even a few breweries that people can visit, but otherwise, it doesn’t have all that many restaurants, nightclubs, or attractions outside of art exhibits.
If you’re not that into paintings, then you might want to find a hotel in another part of the city.
Things to Do
- If you’re interested in guns, then you can go to the Lock & Load Museum and see some impressive small arms and maybe even use the shooting range.
- Go to one of the local breweries and either catch a tour or just go in and grab a drink to try out some of the items on their menu.
- The Margulies Collection has some great photography on display for anyone that’s interested in that form of art.
- Roberto Clemente Park lets you reserve a court and play a game of basketball or just have a fun time on the playground with your kids.
Where to Eat
- BAKAN is a great place where you can sit down and have some Mexican food if you’re in the mood for something spicy.
- Sugarcane is a great place to grab some BBQ and pair it with a nice cocktail.
- SuViche is a pretty fancy sushi restaurant where you can get dressed up and enjoy some Asian food.
Wynwood Budget Hotels
- Krymwood Flats Wynwood is a studio apartment that might not be too extravagant, but you still have access to clean beds, a refrigerator, and a private bathroom for an incredibly low price.
- Miami House is a small home in the middle of Miami, and it provides you with a fully furnished apartment space for a very low price.
Wynwood Mid-Range Hotels
- Wynwood Chalet is a very simple apartment space that provides you with a bedroom, living room, and kitchen area that’s located in the center of Miami.
- Renzzi Wynwood provides the same utilities as the previous apartment that we just mentioned, and it’s just as budget-friendly as well.
Wynwood Luxury Hotels
- AC Hotel Miami Wynwood provides you with a complimentary breakfast each morning, an outdoor pool that all of the guests can enjoy, and even a reception desk that’s on-call all day and all night.
- Hyde Suites comes with a business center and ATM inside the hotel for any workaholics that are on holiday, and you also have a pretty large outside pool, as well as both a flat-screen TV and a microwave in every room.
So, Where Should You Stay in Miami?
Miami is a pretty big city, and the fact that there are so many attractions and streets definitely doesn’t help first-time visitors when it comes to making a choice about where to stay.
Luckily, all of the hotels that we mentioned on our list provide decent rooms for relatively cheap, or they cost a little bit more but provide you with all of the amenities that you might need on your vacation and then some.
If you’re having trouble deciding between locations that we mentioned and can’t really tell the difference between the numerous hotels that we went over, we can simplify things for you.
The Ritz-Carlton is a hotel chain that offers rooms with great accommodations regardless of the city you’re in. If you’re willing to spend a few dollars, then you can pass your visit to the city in absolute luxury.
Hyatt is another brand that’s known throughout the US, and the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables that you find here can offer rooms that are both comfortable and reasonably priced.
And finally, if you want to save some cash while still staying in a decent room, then we’d go for The Plymouth.