Weekend in Miami: 3-Day Guide to Sun, Sand, and Salsa

Slip on some sunglasses and stock up on SPF, because it’s time to make your way to the Magic City.

From sun-soaked rollerblade rides down South Pointe Park to sizzling nights of mojitos and salsa dancing, this South Florida hub is brimming with possibilities. But how to consolidate the best of the 305 into a long weekend in Miami? Follow along to learn everything to see, do, and eat on your Miami weekend getaway.

South Beach or the Art Deco District? Windswept Biscayne Bay Cruise or visits to famous food halls? Stop stressing over what to see in Miami in 3 days or Googling is ‘3 days in Miami enough?’. From which famous neighborhoods to visit, to where to refuel with authentic Cuban food, we’ve devised the ultimate trip to Miami in just 3 days.

Stroll through the stunningly manicured gardens of Villa Vizcaya or appreciate the art deco facade and neon lights of the Avalon Hotel.

Ready to make the most of your Miami weekend getaway? Read on…

Aerial view of the Moxy South Beach with the ocean in background and palm trees lining the front in Miami, Florida, USA
photo credit: Moxy South Beach (915 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL) via Facebook

Miami Hotels

A beautiful bronze glow and some oceanfront memories are just part of the ideal Miami itinerary. Weekend getaways offer the perfect amount of time to capture the essence of the 305. Nonetheless, before we dive into your stay in Miami you’ll need to secure some lodgings.

Whether you’re spending 36 hours in Miami or more, you deserve some A+ accommodations. From funky and stylish hotels and beach clubs in South Beach to spacious ocean-view suites in North Miami Beach, we offer options for every type of traveler.

Indulge in your favorite amenities such as beach cabanas, poolside bars, saunas, and more when you book any of our premier Miami Hotels. As always, make your reservation stress free knowing you are guaranteed our lowest rates online.

How Can I Spend 3 Days in Miami?

Surf, sun, and sand. What’s not to like about Miami? While we think there’s no wrong answer to the question of how many days to stay in Miami, if you’re short on time we’ve crafted a slam-dunk itinerary.

From people-watching on Ocean Drive to fully narrated architecture tours, our 3 days in Miami trips will cover it all. After all, it’s not how many days in Miami you have, it’s what you do with them.

colorful buildings with lights at sunset at South Beach in Miami, Florida, USADay One

Rise and shine, sweetie! It’s Day One of your Miami adventure, and it’s time to make some choices. Grab your favorite caffeinated beverage from Vice City Bean or Shepherd Artisan Coffee. Whether you plan on painting the town red or seeing Magic City at your own speed, we recommend grabbing a Go Miami All-Inclusive Pass.

This nifty device is your ticket to sightseeing for a steal. Opt for a 1, 2, or 3-day option and watch as the wonders of the 305 unfold at your feet. Enjoy unlimited access to as many attractions as you like each day. Storm your way through the city as you take on Little Havana, Wynwood, the Seaquarium, and more.

South Beach

For visitors looking for a relaxing first day of South Beach window shopping, beachy strolls, and maybe some volleyball we recommend a day by the sea.

Start with a leisurely walk down Ocean Drive to appreciate the distinctive architecture and flair of the Art Deco hotels. From the ivory edifice of the Beacon Hotel to the feisty vibes of the Clevelander Hotel there’s much to admire.

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For the rest of the afternoon whip out that bikini or workout gear and break out an oceanside sweat. Camp out at South Pointe Park for spectacular waterfront scenery and beach access. Snag some blades and take on the pier, or pack a picnic for a romantic lunch.

Real juice heads can also check out Lummus Park’s ‘Muscle Beach’ outdoor gym area, which features an assortment of bars and rings.

south beach during sunset with view of buildings, shore, water in Miami, Florida, USAARTECHOUSE Miami

Does your skin shudder at the thought of hours of unrelenting Miami sun? If you prefer to understand the Magic City through a more cultural lens, we suggest you spend your time in South Beach exploring two floors of state-of-the-art lighting effects, surround sound, and brilliant color at ARTECHOUSE Miami.

A feast for the senses this immersive art exhibit’s Miami location promises to dazzle with extravagant hues, textures, and sound. Part of the nation’s ARTECHOUSE family, the Miami branch opened in 2018. Here, curious minds can see, feel, and experience creativity without limitations through the intersection of art and technology.

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A pioneer in the field of experiential art, ARTECHOUSE is continuously switching up their exhibits. Stop by to celebrate the Pantone color of the year, or delight in the exploration of art and code with Zach Lieberman.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens with Transportation

More in the mood for some classic Magic City sightseeing? Pick up the pace and opt for an enthralling and educational tour of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Your Vizcaya Museum and Gardens with Transportation Day includes roundtrip transportation from Miami Beach and downtown hotels.

Escape the vivid neon hues and bright lights of South Beach for some European refinement on this four-hour journey into the past. Soak in every angle of the gorgeous 1916 waterfront estate home that contains 10 acres of formal gardens. Spy beautifully blooming orchids, palms, and more as you meander through this fabulous former residence of industrialist James Deering.

One of Miami’s most notable National Historic Landmarks, this palatial Italian-style villa offers a window into the Golden Age through its outstanding collection of art, furniture, and artifacts.

View of Vizcaya Gardens with the buildings reflection in the water at sunset and small trees in front of it in Miami, Florida, USA
photo credit: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens via Facebook

Cuban Food and Salsa Dancing

Wind down your day of beach hopping and neo-classical furniture in the most Miami way possible. Stuff yourself silly with plates of yucca fritters, pressed Cubanos, and Medianoches when you make a date with some of Magic City’s most mouthwatering Cuban food.

For an iconic taste of heavenly week-long marinated pork and fresh bread stop by Sanguich De Miami (and be prepared to wait). Or, for more of a sit-down situation, slip into a cozy booth at Chuck’s Diner and experience foodie ecstasy as you sample Short Rib Boliche or Pan con Lechon.

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Get ready to work off those carbs and swing those hips when you make your salsa debut at the world-famous Mango’s Tropical Cafe South Beach. Boasting booming Latin music, ice-cold cocktails, and live cabaret entertainment, Mango’s keeps the energy flowing until 5 a.m.

Looking to master the seductive dips and fancy footwork of salsa? Try their Sip and Salsa lessons, which offer hands-on instruction, mojitos, and appetizers.

Four girls in dresses with drinks at Mango's Tropical Cafe in Miami, Florida
photo credit: Mango’s Tropical Cafe – South Beach via Facebook

Day Two

Hopefully, you awaken from your slumber not too hungover from late-night mojitos at Mangos. Day Two in this palm tree paradise is all about art and Miami design. Awaken your inner artist as you gaze upon Miami modern architecture or embrace an immersive sensory experience at ARTECHOUSE.

Art Deco Walking Tour

Take your iced latte to go and pull on some sneakers because your official Art Deco Walking Tour will kick off at 10:30 a.m. This official walking tour serves up the perfect introduction to the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles found within the Miami Beach architecture.

Listen to an expert narration of the rich histories of the district as you explore the iconic facades of the area’s hotels, restaurants, and other commercial structures. From the Breakwater building to the stunning Avalon Hotel you’ll see top examples of the Deco design era.

Ground view of Ocean Drive and all of the colorful vintage hotels on it on a sunny day in Miami, Florida, USAWynwood Walls

Mesmerizing combinations of color, neon, and paint come together at the famous Wynwood Walls. This renowned street art museum is a must-visit for any art lover. Located in the heart of Wynwood, it makes the ideal second stop for your day of 305 culture.

Plan to spend a few hours soaking in cutting-edge works from international artists and muralists alike. The museum contains numerous outdoor installations so you can even enjoy some Vitamin D while you admire cartoon-inspired works by Greg Mike or high chroma design works by Lauren YS that explore queer and mixed raced stories.

Purchase tickets for a guided tour here or utilize your Go Miami All-Inclusive Pass for a Wynwood Outer Walls Self-Guided Audio Tour.

Miami Design District

Got an itch to shop? Put your plastic to good use with a quick stop in the Museum Design District. Depending on your budget you can window shop for luxury goods or pick up some timeless pieces from Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Yves Saint Laurent, or Christian Louboutin.

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More in the mood to chow down? Sample cuisines from around the world at the chef-led food hall MIA Market. Kick things off with an aperitif from their sophisticated bar menu before diving into a diverse menu of shawarma, sushi, ramen, and more.

Psst..on the prowl for some affordable retail therapy? We suggest Bayside Marketplace for all of your typical mall retail needs.

two women holding shopping bags
photo credit: Pixabay

Day Three

Awake rested and perhaps even inspired by your previous day of modern art and culture. Today is your last day in the 305 and every minute counts. This final day in Miami will deliver buckets of wildlife, boat cruises, and a glamorous last meal.

Biscayne Bay Cruise

Get ready to peek into the lives of the rich and famous when you book a Biscayne Bay Cruise. The 305 is a city of the sea, so there’s no better way to experience her flashy charm than on a boat! Feel refreshed as you revel in the stunning aquamarine waters of the Bay coupled with soft ocean breezes.

Your 90-minute cruise will deliver the ideal view of Miami. Whip out that camera as your stately vessel speeds by yachts, sailboats, jet skis, and speedboats. Listen up as your guide points out educational facts and tidbits, all while you sail past the mansions of Miami’s most well-known celebrities. Admire the homes of elite stars and entertainers including Gloria Estefan, Madonna, and Silvester Stallone.

Close up of a boat on the water with other boats in the background on a sunny day at Biscayne Bay Cruise in Miami, Florida, USAZoo Miami

Already picked out your mansion? Get back to reality with a grounding and thoroughly wild afternoon at Zoo Miami. Mammals, birds, and amphibians oh my! Journey to the far reaches of our planet as you observe over 2,000 animals at this 750-acre zoo.

Get up close and personal with creatures from Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Spy Anacondas, Koalas, and African Elephants. Or get to know the beasts of Miami’s backyard with a stop at Florida: Mission Everglades.

Don’t forget to peruse the Zoo’s themed gardens which are home to a bounty of blooming wildflowers, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.

Dinner at the Surf Club Restaurant

Break into your vacation budget just a smidge when you splurge on one final supper in this mecca of bikinis and body oil. Book your reservation at renowned chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant and settle in for the meal of your life.

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Located in Surfside, the Surf Club Restaurant manages to marry classic Continental cuisine, Miami nostalgia, and sweeping views. Dig into hand-cut steak tartare, fresh oysters, and jumbo lump crab cake before sharing their signature prime beef short rib Wellington for two. Spring for a bottle of champagne and cheers to an epic 3 days in Miami.

View of the pool with chairs lining it and palm trees with the ocean in the background at Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club in Miami, Florida, USA
photo credit: Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club via Facebook

A cosmopolitan tropical paradise, this sprawling Florida oasis more than lives up to its moniker of Magic City.

Combining equal parts art, culture, and near-perfect weather, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who can resist the enchantment of Miami.

While it’s always optimal to spend more time in the Sunshine City, travelers with just 3 days to spare can cover more than enough ground.

Challenge beliefs and watch contemporary art unfold in real-time when you interact with the immersive exhibits of ARTECHOUSE or gaze upon the urban installations of Wynwood Walls.

Educate yourself on the diverse ecosystem of the Everglades at Zoo Miami. Or satisfy your inner gourmand with a supper of steak, lobster, and caviar at the Surf Club.

All Set to Set Fire to Miami in 3 days? Let’s go!

Tell us, is 3 days in Miami Enough?

Leave a comment below and tell us your perfect Miami plans!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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