Ten Ways to Be a Tourist in Miami

These buns were on SoBe for spring break.
These buns were on SoBe for spring break.
George Martinez

In 2014, Miami-Dade County made an estimated $23.8 billion in tourist money. That's an almost astronomical figure. It's 317,333 times more than Justin Bieber blew at King of Diamonds that same year. It's enough to rent a room at the The Villa, Casa Casuarina (known to everyone as simply the Versace Mansion) every day for the rest of your life and still pay for the construction of more than a few Miami World Centers.

It suffices to say the Magic City is beloved by tourists. But what about us locals? We live where the rest of the world vacations – or at least within driving distance of it. Yet how often do we really take advantage of that fact? We are primed for staycation living, but we're often too busy screaming at one another in traffic to care.

Enough is enough. Grab your city by the horns and ride it into the sunset, all summer long. Don't know where to start? Check these picks for ten ways to be a tourist in your own city. Do it all; then Instagram it. Your friends in Broward will hate you.

Hop on or off this Big Bus Tour whenever you want.EXPAND
Hop on or off this Big Bus Tour whenever you want.
Flickr/Jimmy Baikovicius

10. Learn something about your city on the Big Bus Tour.
Admit it — you've always wondered what these double-decker tour guides are talking about. You see them driving all over, from Calle Ocho to Collins Avenue, but you've never hopped on. Why would you? To learn something illuminating, of course. What better way to spice up your relationship with Miami than by learning a few of its hidden historical secrets? Tickets cost $45 for adults and $30 for children and are good for 48 hours, including all three routes and 40-plus stops. Hop on and off as you see fit. The bus might even drop you off by your home.

Last weekend's crew at #funkybuddha! #miamibrewbus #brewbus #craftbeer #sundayfunday

A photo posted by Miami Brew Bus (@miamibrewbus) on

9. Drink your way through Wynwood on the Miami Brew Bus.
South Florida's brew scene is hopping – get it? Hops? (We crack ourselves up.) Honestly, there are tons of delicious suds bubbling up in our backyard, and the best way to taste them all is on a tour. Of course, you can't drink and drive, so let the Miami Brew Bus do the hard part. There are two routes to choose from. Highway to Hops costs $65 and takes you to Broward to enjoy Funky Buddha Brewery, LauderAle, and back home for Wynwood Brewing. Expressway to Brews costs $60 and visits Miami Rum Club, J. Wakefeild Brewery, and M.I.A. Brewing. Both will get you drunk — trust us. Visit miamibrewbus.com for details.

This is not a mirage. Vizcaya is actually this beautiful
This is not a mirage. Vizcaya is actually this beautiful

8. Travel back in time at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
Built between 1914 and 1922 as the summer home for businessman John Deering, this 43-acre estate is a veritable tropical paradise. The botanical gardens feature imported fauna from France and Italy intermingled among the Cuban limestone and Floridian coral edifices. In 2008, it was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the country's Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places, mostly due to the encroachment of nearby high-rise development. Protective measures have been taken, but it's a reminder that beautiful things are best enjoyed today over tomorrow. Admission is $18 for adults and $6 for kids aged 6 through 12, and free for those 5 and younger.

These buns were on SoBe for spring break.
These buns were on SoBe for spring break.
George Martinez

7. Get a tan on South Beach.
When tourists close their eyes and imagine a trip to Miami, South Beach is all they see. Babes in string bikinis rollerblading down Collins Avenue. The sun shining bright on the calm turquoise water. Pastel Art Deco buildings hovering low into the sky. Locals who live west of the Bay learn to avoid its expensive prices, shitty parking, and crowded beaches — but it's worth it once in a while to throw oneself into the fray. It's the center of the action. Strangers talk to you. Beer flows in an unstoppable rush, like the tears of that girl who got too drunk too early and is now yelling at her boyfriend on the phone. It's all happening, and it's all happening here. Do it once and be satisfied for at least the next two years.

A queen enjoys the tasty treats at Señor Frog's Drag Brunch NYC.EXPAND
A queen enjoys the tasty treats at Señor Frog's Drag Brunch NYC.
Courtesy of Brandon Voss

6. Drag brunch at Palace or Señor Frog's
People often speak of the cultural footprint Cubans left on this great city, and it's all very good and true, but really, we need to give some more love to our gays. The LGBT community built South Beach in the late '80s and early '90s, and though many of them have flocked to more affordable Fort Lauderdale, we still feel their magnificent presence everywhere on the Beach. Of course, nowhere is that presence felt more strongly than at the uproarious, titillating drag brunches every Sunday at Palace Bar and Señor Frog's. Both come with unlimited drinks and more T&A than your girlfriend could ever dream of.

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