If you really want to experience Miami like a local, why not try volunteering? Through the website volunteermatch.org, you can check out the listings for all types of volunteer postings from working with homeless youth, to serving as volunteer staff at concerts or helping organise charitable events. It’s a great way to practise your language skills while giving back!
Get into the Miami sports scene
Miami is a city that loves its sports. Just watch the TV series Ballers and you’ll see that the American football players in Miami are practically royalty! Located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, is a must for anyone curious about American football.
In Little Havana, on the other hand, you’ll find Marlins Park, home of the Marlins baseball team, while the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami is where the Miami Heat basketball team plays, and that also holds plenty of big-name concerts. If you’re on a budget, the most economic sporting events to attend are baseball, followed by basketball and football.
Save on drinks and food at happy hour
While Miami’s nightlife might be a bit too posh for your wallet, you can count on happy hour to save the day! In South Beach (on the bay side), it doesn’t get much better than Mondrian Caffè, where you can take in the city skyline over the bay and get ridiculously delicious cocktails and light fare for less than $10.
Monty’s on South Beach is another waterfront venue with live music and 50% off select mixed drinks weekdays from 4-8pm, and Radio Bar around the corner has its happy hour Thursday, Friday and even Saturday from 6-10pm! Ricky’s doesn’t mess around, and claims it has the best happy hour on Miami Beach. They might be right – with 50% off of all drinks from 5-10pm, this is the perfect place to kick back and relax with your friends and watch the big game on the big screen!
Save with the Go Miami Card
We realise that every city has its own tourist card, but this one is seriously worth it. If it’s your last weekend in Miami and you’re dead set on fitting everything in, or you’ve got the family in town visiting, you need to pick up a Go Miami Card. It may seem pricey at first for $75 for a day pass or $109 for 2 days (there are also 3- and 4-day passes), but once you see what the card includes, you’ll want to pick one up in a hurry.
All of the following attractions are FREE with the card, including: the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a sightseeing cruise of Biscayne Bay, the Art Deco walking tour, bike rental, the Miami Seaquarium, the hop-on hop-off bus, day trips to Key West and the Everglades, a Gator Park airboat tour and MORE!
Watch, Read, Listen
True Lies (1994) Director: James Cameron
Over-the-top, action-packed and sexy – is there any better way to describe Miami? Watch Arnold get in and out of trouble, all against the backdrop of Miami!
The Birdcage (1996) Director: Mike Nichols
Based on the 1978 French film La Cage aux Folles which took place in St Tropez, this adaptation moves the drama to South Beach, where Robin Williams plays the owner of a legendary drag club and is forced to play it straight to meet his son’s future in-laws. There’s nothing not to love!
Moonlight (2016) Director: Barry Jenkins
This Oscar-winning film portrays the life of a young African American growing up and coming to terms with his sexuality in Miami. This film is a window onto a different Miami than the one you’ll experience and will stay with you long after the film is over.
Miami (1987) by Joan Didion
Legendary journalist and novelist Joan Didion brings Miami to life in her work of non-fiction exploring American and Cuban politics.
Rum Punch (1992) by Elmore Leonard
One of the USA’s most prolific crime writers, Elmore Leonard sets his story about a forty-something female flight attendant who gets involved in drug smuggling. Hollywood would change the setting to L.A. and the title to Jackie Brown for the film version.
Make Your Home Among Strangers (2015) by Jennine Capo Crucet
Ask anyone who came of age in the USA in the ‘90s who Elián González is, and they’ll be able to tell you. The little boy from Cuba arrived on a raft to Miami (his mother died during the journey) and set off a bi-national custody battle. Jennine Capo Crucet explores the lives of Cuban immigrants in Miami in this insightful novel featuring an Elián González-inspired character.
Conga (1985) by Miami Sound Machine
If there were a song to sum up Miami – this would be it! You can’t get much more Miami than Gloria Estefan and her band.
Miami (1997) by Will Smith
Do you hear the words “welcome to Miami” in your head whenever someone mentions Miami? There’s a reason this was one of Will Smith’s biggest hits!
I’m in Miami (2009) by LMFAO
From their famous Party Rock album, this hit is a modern dance classic.
Live music in Miami
Whether you’re looking to discover the latest indie band in Wynwood or are dying to shake it at a salsa club, there’s a live music joint for every taste in Miami. Listen to Latin music and get down to some bachata at Hoy Como Ayer or Ball & Chain, both on Calle Ocho. Lagniappe channels New Orleans jazz vibes in a chic, vintage wine-bar type atmosphere, while The Wynwood Yard just a stone’s throw away is a dreamy outdoor venue strung with rope lights with a packed programme of events including live music nights. Gramps (also in the area) is your go-to for indie bands and Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti is the trendiest rock/dive bar in the city.