Tourists can't get enough of Miami. They love it so much they sport "I'm in Miami, Bitch" tank tops on South Beach. You might turn your nose up at visitors and avoid the places they frequent, but you can't really blame them for their enthusiasm. Miami is an escape that offers the sun and sin lacking back home.
To help tourists better plan their trip to the Magic City, New Times put together this list of the ten best tourist attractions in Miami — no snobbery included. (OK, maybe a little snobbery.) Consider it our way of giving visitors the warm welcome they probably won't get anywhere else in this city. And if you're a local who typically avoids these hot spots, know they're each worth a visit — at the very least to check them off your bucket list.
Here are the ten best tourist attractions in Miami.
WynwoodBetween NE 36th and 20th Streets and NE Second and NW Sixth Avenues, Miami
Locals argue that the Wynwood Arts District has lost much of its hipster charm as artists have been priced out of the already-gentrified neighborhood. But even with the addition of office buildings and luxury apartments, there's no denying Wynwood still has one of the top street-art scenes in the world. Some of the area's best murals can be found at Wynwood Walls, where artists such as Shepard Fairey (the guy behind the iconic Barack Obama Hope poster) have left their mark. Once you're done posting those Instagram pics, take advantage of Wynwood's worthy dining options, including the Salty Donut for Miami’s best doughnuts and the 10,000-square-foot Asian-themed food hall, 1-800-Lucky, which hosts a record store at its entrance. See? There are still some traces of Wynwood's hipster roots left.
South BeachBetween Fifth and 23rd Streets, Miami Beach
There's no need for a hard sell here. South Beach is the reason most people vacation in Miami. Tourists can conveniently enjoy the beach, art deco architecture, world-famous nightlife, beautiful people, and high-end shopping all in one locale. Is it too much at times? Sure, particularly during the drunken and overcrowded spring break season. Do some of the tourist-trap restaurants on Ocean Drive price-gouge? Uh-huh. But city officials are attempting to crack down on these issues. If they make enough progress, maybe even locals will want to hang out in the area. Or not.
Everglades National Park40001 State Rd. 9336, Homestead
The swamp isn’t just for the Duck Dynasty crowd. Tourists from all walks of life head about 30 miles west of South Beach to ride airboats through the Everglades and get a glimpse of alligators in the wild. If they’re lucky, they might even spot an endangered Florida panther or West Indian manatee. For the best wildlife sightings, take a tour with pros such as Gator Park, Coopertown Airboats, Everglades Safari Park, and Tigertail Airboat Tours, and go during the dry season, between November and April. (Pro tip: There are also fewer mosquitoes then.) And don’t forget to try gator tail and gator sausage while you're there. They taste better than you think.
Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Double-decker buses and duck boats are a fine way to see Miami if you're rolling with grandparents or toddlers. But for a wet adrenaline rush, tour the city by speedboat. The 45-minute high-speed tour zips along the ocean with club music pumping from the speakers. The guide slows the boat regularly to drop informative nuggets and crack jokes about famous locales such as the Arts District, Star Island, and Fisher Island. There's also the occasional high-speed turn thrown in just for kicks. This tour will be the most fun you'll ever have wetting your pants, guaranteed. Tickets cost $38 for guests 12 and older and $24 for kids aged 3 to 11.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens3251 S. Miami Ave., Miami
Take a break from the beach and booze to enjoy a more cultured outing at this Renaissance-style villa built in the early 1900s. The 50-acre estate belonged to the agricultural industrialist and filthy-rich dude James Deering, who built the place as a winter pad. Visitors come for the picturesque gardens and well-preserved antique furniture and art collection. Vizcaya has also been known to attract movie shoots, including Bad Boys II and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Tours are available at an additional cost and walk visitors through the history of the mansion and the era in which it was built. If you're not careful, you might actually learn something. Tickets cost $22 for adults 18 to 64, $16 for seniors 65 and better with ID, $15 for teens 13 to 17 and college students with ID, and $10 for children 6 to 12. Children 5 and younger get in free.
SW Eighth Street, Miami
There are multiple Chinatowns, Greektowns, Koreatowns, and Little Italys around the United States, but there’s only one Little Havana. And the heart of this Cuban home-away-from-home is SW Eighth Street, better known as Calle Ocho. On any given day, guests can watch elder Cubans playing dominoes at Máximo Gómez Park and stroll past sidewalk stars honoring 30 Latin Walk of Fame inductees, including Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan. The street is also home to murals, live music venues, cigar shops, and ventanillas selling strong-ass Cuban coffee and golden croquetas — a fried snack considered sacred around these parts.
LIV 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach