Explore Miami in 4 Days: Discover the Top 10 Must-See Attractions | Featuring Downtown Miami, Coral Castle, Vizcaya Museum

Miami | Introduction

Miami is a major city in the southeastern corner of the United States, and due to its location, the city is more like a Caribbean city compared to many other American cities, especially with its strong Latin American cultural atmosphere. The splendid sunshine and beautiful beaches make it a vacation paradise in the United States, suitable for all types of tourists. Whether you want to plan a relaxing beach holiday, a nature exploration and cultural experience trip, or simply want to try delicious foods from various places, Miami is a great destination.

Miami | Itinerary

As the core of South Florida, there are many fun attractions in and around downtown Miami, making it easy to plan a week's itinerary. I recommend spending 3-4 days in Miami and reserving an additional one or two days to visit nearby areas such as Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys, Turtle National Park, etc. If there are enough attractions you want to visit, you might consider purchasing the Miami Explorer Pass, which includes many famous sights.

Miami Explorer Pass

Your itinerary in Miami can be arranged according to your interests. Taking our schedule as an example, we arranged for four days, moving from north to south. If you are driving, it is convenient to then connect to nearby national park attractions. Below is a map to help understand the relative locations:

  • Day 1-2: Miami Beach area, including South beach and the nearby business district.
  • Day 3: Downtown Miami, Vizcaya Museum, Bayfront Park
  • Day 4: Coral Castle

Miami | Accommodation

For accommodation, the choices are mostly in the downtown or beach area. The downtown area is closer to the airport and other suburban attractions, and the prices are cheaper than those in the beach area. The beach area, however, has more luxury hotels and is more expensive, but it suits those who mainly want to enjoy the sunshine and the beach. When choosing accommodations in Miami, in addition to the budget, consider the location, convenience of transportation, and the attractions you plan to visit. Taking our itinerary as an example, choose to stay in the beach area for the first two days, and then stay in the downtown area for the last two days.

Find a stay in Miami

Miami | Attractions

Miami Beach

Visitors to Miami will definitely not miss Miami Beach. Miami Beach refers to the entire sandbar off the coast of Miami, which is broadly divided into three areas: South Beach, Mid Beach, and North Beach. The busiest area, South Beach, generally refers to the beaches on the southern end.

South beach

South beach is a favorite escape for the rich and famous. The hottest spot is south of 23rd Street, which includes many nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping areas that are bustling both day and night.

The daytime itinerary is rich just by visiting the beach, and if interested, you can also take a duck tour out to sea. The entire stretch of Miami Beach spans several kilometers, and we spent a day walking from south to north. The South Beach area is the most crowded, where it seems like everyone in Miami is a wealthy celebrity, with lots of handsome men and beautiful women playing in the soft sand, sunbathing, and having parties on the beach.

South beach is very commercialized with many tourists, and the classic advertising planes are always flying in the sky, but if you go farther away, you can still find the beach less crowded and enjoy a moment of peace. But if you go farther away, you can still find a less crowded beach to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet. south beach's white sand is very soft, and it's very comfortable to walk or play in the water here.

South Pointe Park

South Pointe Park is an urban park located at the southernmost tip, and the view from the South Pointe Park Pier is beautiful, making it also a great spot for watching the sunset. Although it is adjacent to the Port of Miami, the seawater still looks very clear.

Art Deco Welcome Center

In addition to the beaches, South Beach is also known for its Art Deco architecture, with many examples visible just on Ocean Drive. Art Deco is an artistic style originally popular in the 1920s, characterized by sharp outlines, geometric shapes, stepped patterns, and the use of new materials, which later influenced many designs. Inside the Art Deco Welcome Center, there's a detailed introduction, and a visit here can be very educational. If you want to delve deeper, you can participate in an Art Deco Walking Tour.

Art Deco Walking Tour

Art Deco is represented by the Empire State Building in New York City, but there are many Art Deco hotel buildings in South beach that deserve special attention. there are more than 800 of them between 5th and 23rd Streets above Ocean drive. Art Deco buildings are characterized by a lot of geometrical decorations, and the use of new shapes and colors and luxurious materials to create a modern sense. The use of new shapes, colors and luxurious materials creates a sense of modernity.

Haulover Beach

Haulover Beach is within the North Beach area. Compared to other areas, North Beach is generally less crowded. Some tourists make a special trip to see Haulover Beach; if you're driving, once you see the yellow tower of Haulover Park, you've arrived. This is a beach where nudity is permitted. There are quite a few people who are completely naked, and of course, taking photos is not allowed.


There are many places to shop in South beach, and The three main places are:

  • Lincoln road mall: located between 16th and 17th Streets and is planned as an open-air pedestrian zone, which is more suitable for shopping and eating.
  • Ocean drive: the easternmost part of South beach. It is basically next to the beach, so if you go to the beach, you won't miss it. There are countless restaurants, and the famous Joe's Stone Crab is also here. Come for dinner at night and enjoy the crazy party atmosphere on the beach.
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  • Espanola way: There is The Historic Spanish Village, which is great for tasting Cuban cuisine and shopping. It has more Latin American culture than any other place in Miami.

Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami's skyline is the third largest in the United States, with skyscrapers concentrated in the Miami city center. A day's itinerary can include a stroll along Biscayne Blvd, visiting Bayfront Park, Bayside Marketplace, seeing the Freedom Tower, and then heading to the American Airlines Arena to watch an NBA Miami Heat game.

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park is one of Miami's large urban parks, and despite being surrounded by skyscrapers, Bayfront Park is a relaxing place to watch the city go by. The park's northernmost entrance is past The Torch of Friendship monument, and there are a number of sculptures and large green areas in the park. The park has a lot of sculptures and green areas. We came here just in time for a concert in the park.

Bayside Market Place

Bayside market place is a seaside shopping mall located next to Bayfront Park. Here you can eat, shop, listen to street performances, and take a boat ride. Although there are a lot of people here, it is still a bit more relaxing than other similar shopping malls in the city.

The Home Court of Miami Heat

The arena located by the bay is the home court of the Miami Heat, and many people specifically plan to come here to watch an exciting game. When we visited, it was still called the American Airlines Arena, but it has now been renamed to Kaseya Center.

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Miami Heat Game Tickets

Freedom Tower

On the other side of the stadium, facing the bustling downtown, stands the distinctive yellow-colored Freedom Tower, one of the landmarks of downtown. The 1925 building, once the headquarters of The Miami News and later used to handle Cuban refugee issues, is now home to a museum.

Vizcaya museum and gardens

Vizcaya museum is a large villa with a beautiful view of the sea not far south of downtown, next to Biscayne bay. The original owner's name was James Deering, an industrial tycoon, and this was his winter vacation home, which is actually a large estate, and is now listed as a U.S. Historic Landmark.

The tour can be divided into two parts: the main building and the garden. The main building is in the Italian Renaissance style with 70 rooms showcasing James Deering's collection of antiques and art from the 15th-19th centuries. The interior exhibits are fabulous, with all the decorations and treasures brought back from Europe by the owner, and are well worth a visit. The building itself, with its unrivaled sea view over Biscayne bay, is also one of the highlights.

The beautiful garden is European style, the homeowner spared no expense to create a large private garden has been very well taken care of, this estate is actually often used for filming movies, but also Miami's most popular wedding photo shoot location.

Coral castle

Coral Castle is a very interesting attraction located in Homestead, about a 50-minute drive from downtown Miami. This castle is carved out of coral by a man named Ed Leedskalnin. In the souvenir shop next door, you can see a map of the entire area. Everything in the castle, whether decorations or furniture, is made of coral. The place is not large, but the items inside are very interesting. With a guide in hand, you can't help but take your time looking around, and you can spend more than half a day there.

As for why the castle was carved? It is said that Ed bought a small piece of land in Florida City, and when he dug into the ground, he found a lot of coral. So, he decided to use these corals to build a castle for his beloved fiancée. They were engaged, but the girl, known as "Sweet Sixteen," scorned Ed for being ten years older than her and called off the wedding the day before it was supposed to happen. Heartbroken, Ed spent twenty years building this castle to commemorate his lost love and lived alone in a small house within the castle grounds.

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The facilities made of coral within the castle are truly astonishing. There are beds, tables, chairs, and even a bathtub made of coral. All these stone items were reportedly moved from Florida City by Ed himself, though no one knows exactly how he did it. Ed was only about 150 cm tall, a slim man, which is why many people consider it a miracle.

If furniture made of coral isn't enough, there are also magical installations like revolving doors, wells, sundials, and a Polaris telescope, all made of coral. It is said that Ed actually used these facilities while he was alive, including bathing in a bathtub made of coral reef.

The biggest attraction is the room known as the Throne Room. Although called a room, it is actually an open platform, which Ed designed as a palace for himself and Sweet Sixteen, complete with thrones and chairs for the queen and children. Ed seemed to have a strong interest in astronomy, as decorations next to the throne include Saturn and the moon.

Miami | Nearby Attractions

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is the third largest national park in the United States consisting of swamps and wetlands and is about an hour's drive from downtown Miami. If you are not driving, there are also packages available from Miami.

Find an Everglades National Park Tour

For more details about Everglades National Park, they are documented in this article below.

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is an hour's drive south from Miami, characterized by 95% of it being underwater. It is a national park predominantly made up of water areas, encompassing over 170,000 acres of vast ocean and precious coral reefs. For more details, refer to this article.

Florida Keys | Key West

The Florida Keys, including Key West at the westernmost end, consist of 1,700 islands, offering a rich Caribbean atmosphere and romantic natural scenery that make it a famous vacation destination. If departing from Miami, driving along the scenic coastal highway US-1 through the islands, this route itself is a fantastic journey. For a detailed introduction, see this article.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Turtle National Park is located 70 nautical miles west of Key West and can be planned together with a visit to the Florida Keys. Details are documented in this article.

Miami | Dining

Due to its location in the southeastern corner of the United States near Latin America, Miami gathers a variety of cuisines from countries such as Cuba, Spain, Mexico, and Peru. Restaurants that I have personally tried and feel are worth recommending are recorded in this article.

Further reading

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