There are so many fun and free things to do in Miami that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re planning a budget conscious getaway or looking for some cheaper options, I’ve got you covered. There’s lots of free stuff to do in Miami that won’t cost you a dime. From free activities and attractions to free modes of transportation, these are the most fun things to do in Miami for an affordable holiday.
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I’ll start off by sharing a few of my favorite places to stay in Miami. When it comes to hotels, you can choose to save or splurge. There are many luxurious (and expensive!) properties in Miami Beach, especially in South Beach. I’ve stayed at a couple of wonderful boutique hotels in Miami Beach that weren’t very expensive, especially considering the amenities. I’ll also list a popular hostel for an even more affordable option.
Where to Stay in Miami Beach
While your accommodations aren’t going to be one of the free things to do in Miami, I think you’ll love these boutique hotels that balance affordability with great amenities. I have two great personal recommendations for places to stay in Miami Beach, plus one hostel recommendation for the budget conscious. Then, I’ll provide a price comparison map so you can compare rates with other nearby properties that work with your trip’s budget.
Hotel Croydon is located in Mid Beach, Miami, which I still feel is a fantastic location for any Miami vacation. It’s right across the road from the beach, and it’s a quieter section of beach by comparison to South Beach (and equally as pretty).
The hotel room is clean, comfortable, and modern. There’s a quiet, outdoor swimming pool with plenty of loungers to curl up with a good book. If you feel like going to the beach, there’s a beach lounger with your name on it across the road.
Not only is there complimentary Wi-Fi, but there’s also a complimentary happy hour between 7:00 and 8:00pm at the hotel’s restaurant and bar, The Tavern. The hotel also has a charming rooftop patio with amazing panoramic views. You’ll also find complimentary yoga classes up there every Saturday.
Book your stay at Hotel Croydon and you’ll have a memorable (and affordable) stay in Miami with lots of great perks. Feel free to read more reviews that fellow travelers have written about Hotel Croydon, too.
Circa 39 Hotel
Circa 39 is another stunning property in Miami Beach that I am certain you’ll love. Much like Hotel Croydon, Circa 39 is also situated in Mid Beach (it seems I can’t get enough of this area when it comes to places to stay!). It has a section of beach just across the road that’s reserved for hotel guests, complete with chairs and umbrellas.
The rooms are beautifully designed with splashes of bright colors, including unique artwork and historic maps of Miami on the walls. There are lots of modern amenities in the room, and there’s also an Aveda spa on site if you’d like to pamper yourself.
The outdoor swimming pool is a peaceful oasis from the busy city, plus there are complimentary cabanas for relaxing. There’s also an on-site restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus drink specials during Happy Hour.
The Freehand Miami has got it all: an amazing location (five minute walk from Miami Beach), welcoming staff members, and modern comforts. It’s a bright and clean hostel with your choice of private rooms or shared dormitories. Enjoy the outdoor terrace with a pool, two craft cocktail bars, and an on-site restaurant.
There’s also complimentary Wi-Fi, a free sunrise yoga class, complimentary security locker usage, and a weekly free shuttle to Little Havana. Check out Freehand Miami to learn more and book your stay.
Map of Hotels and Vacation Rentals
Feel free to browse this map of all hotels and vacation rentals in Miami. Compare prices with these, as well as the hotels that I’ve suggested above, to find your ideal accommodation in Miami.
Free Things to Do in Miami: Relax at the Beach
Miami Beach is most renowned for its beautiful beaches. And one of the best aspects? Going to the beach is one of the best free things to do in Miami. All beaches in Miami are public and open to the public at no cost. This includes the most popular tourist beaches, as well as the quieter ones further up the coast.
Miami’s beaches have the perfect combination of powdery white sand and vibrant turquoise waters. For the best beach in the center of the action, check out Lummus Park (aka South Beach). It’s a lengthy stretch of beach along Ocean Drive from 6th to 14th Street. It’s beside many delectable restaurants and the Art Deco District.
For a less crowded beach, venture a little farther north. It’s possible to find your own little quiet piece of paradise. My sister and I relaxed in two loungers at the section of beach reserved for guests of Hotel Croydon (across from Collins and 48th Street). For an even quieter section of beach, head up to the public beach at 85th Street.
Free Things to Do in South Beach: Art Deco District
Miami is home to some wonderfully preserved low-rise buildings from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The Art Deco District is where this architectural style reigns supreme. After a few hours at the beach, take a stroll up Ocean Drive to marvel at these awesome retro structures. You’ll also find some great Art Deco buildings on Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue.
Miami’s Art Deco District is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Wander around and take photos of pastel buildings, neon lights, and you might even spot a classic car or two on the way. Don’t forget to bring your camera. Seeing the unique Art Deco District is one of the best free things to do in Miami. For a low cost tour suggestion, check out this Art Deco Bike Tour.
Free Places to Go in Miami: Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road is a shopping area that takes up a few city blocks. This section of road is mostly for pedestrians only, without any traffic. There are lots of great finds at stylish clothing stores and independent book shops.
Be sure to enjoy a meal or a drink on one of the many patios. I recommend that you check out the Cafe at Books and Books. They’ve got a vegan section on their menu and a great selection of craft beers.
When we visited Lincoln Road, Books and Books was working with a local rescue shelter to find homes for dogs. I fell in love with a little cutie, but I don’t think my cats would be too thrilled if I brought a puppy home. Thankfully, most of them (if not all) found loving homes that day.
The Lincoln Road Mall has lots of opportunities for shopping, both indoors and outdoors. There’s also a farmer’s market at Lincoln Road every Sunday. It happens between 9:00am and 6:30pm between Washington Avenue and Meridian Avenue. You’ll find fruits, veggies, flowers, plants, bread, jams, and other fresh products.
Free Attractions in Miami: Wynwood Walls
Walking around Wynwood Walls is one of my favorite free things to do in Miami. What was once a barren industrial site has been transformed into a work of art in flux. It’s a large public space where concrete walls are painted by various artists from around the world.
This space is constantly changing with new works of art being painted over the old ones. The walls and doors could have brand new murals on them each time you visit. Even outside of the walls themselves, there’s an enormous amount of street art to discover.
In the neighborhood, there are lots of restaurants and cafes, and even Miami’s first craft production brewery, Wynwood Brewing. If you love coffee and cafes, make sure to stop at Panther Coffee. It’s definitely one of my favorite places in Miami. We’ve also stumbled upon small handmade markets, and it seems like there’s always something fun happening.
Free Things to Do in Miami: Culture and Art Walks
There are numerous art walks in Miami that happen all over the city, and it’s one of the best free things to do in Miami. There’s so much amazing street art, public art, and modern pieces in a variety of styles by artists from around the world. Here are a few of the top art walks you can take in Miami.
- Wynwood Art Walk: These happen on the second Saturday of the month at 6:00pm. The art galleries, shops and businesses open their doors after hours to the public. You can go for a stroll around the neighborhood to check out the public art pieces. Also, check out the restaurants, breweries, and more. It’s an epic block party that takes place every second Saturday of the month.
- Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays): This event happens on the third Friday of every month on Calle Ocho, between 13th and 17th Avenues. It’s a lively arts and cultural festival that takes place in Little Havana. Fun for the whole family with art, music, dancing, and more!
- First Friday Gallery Night: On the first Friday of every month, the art galleries in Coral Gables open their doors until late and offer complimentary refreshments. Use the free trolley to hop from gallery to gallery. This event is hosted by the Coral Gables Gallery Association and has operated for over 38 years.
Take a Free Yoga Class at Bayfront Park
There are awesome free yoga classes at Bayfront Park in Miami, pairing peaceful and serene views with your sun salutations. There are free classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Right now, these free yoga classes have gone virtual! You can do yoga for free on Tuesdays and Thursdays virtually no matter where you are in the world. Why not enjoy some views of Bayfront Park from your home, no matter where you are?
Cheap Things to Do in Miami: Botanical Garden
The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is ideal for plant and flower lovers. It only costs an affordable $5 admission fee to visit. This three acre garden has more than 100 palm species, orchids, philodendrons, and flowering trees. You also don’t want to miss the koi pond, Japanese Garden, Native Garden, Edible Garden, and the beautiful fountains. This is one of the best cheap things to do in Miami where you can spend hours marveling at all of the pretty plants.
Free Museum Admission in Miami
While many museums in Miami do have admission fees, there are many that have free admission days or nights. This is a great way to learn about art and culture for free! Here’s a list of some of the free admission days at Miami museums.
- Pérez Art Museum Miami: Miami’s modern art museum with free admission on the first Thursday of the month
- HistoryMiami: Free family fun days on the second Saturday of the month from 10am to 5pm
- The Bass: Contemporary art museum with free admission on the last Sunday of the month
- Institute of Contemporary Art: Always free
- Museums at the Florida International University are always free (The Wolfsonian, Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Jewish Museum of Florida)
Free Rides on the Trolleys and MetroMover
The MetroMover is one of the best ways to get around Miami for free. It operates seven days a week in downtown Miami and the Brickell area. It operates in loops so you can get from point A to point B with ease, whether you’re visiting Miami attractions, restaurants, cafes or more.
Miami Beach also has a free trolley service that operates from 8:00am to 11:00pm, seven days a week. There are four routes: South Beach Loop, Middle Beach Loop, Collins Express, and the North Beach Loop. You can hop on and off these free trolleys as often as you like.
Riding the free trolleys and the MetroMover are the cheapest options for transportation in Miami. I also suggest choosing a hotel, like the Hotel Croydon listed above, that offer complimentary airport shuttles. Otherwise, I used Uber a lot to get from place to place in Miami.
For those who will be venturing farther outside of the city, I recommend renting a car. Discover Cars is the best place to compare rental car prices between agencies to find the best rates. Compare prices for car rentals in Miami for the optimal deal.
Free Things to Do in Miami: Best Hikes and Walks
One of the best free things to do in Miami (and many places in the world) is walking and hiking around beautiful natural spaces. There’s no shortage of great places to go for a walk in Miami with gorgeous views of the ocean.
There’s an awesome wooden boardwalk by the waterfront in Mid Beach (across from many hotels) where you can go for a stroll, buy fresh coconuts from vendors, and soak up the sunshine. Here are a couple more places to go for a hike, one of the top free activities in Miami.
Old Cutler Trail
The Old Cutler Trail is a 13.5 mile trail that meanders through beautiful Miami neighborhoods between Cutler Bay and Coral Gables. Some memorable sights along the way include Matheson Hammock Park, Fairchild Tropical Garden, and Pinecrest Gardens. This trail is perfect for a leisurely walk or a bike ride, and it’s one of the best free places to go in Miami.
Bear Cut Nature Preserve
Bear Cut Preserve is a fantastic place to go for a hike in Miami on Key Biscayne. Go for a jaunt on paved and unpaved paths past mangroves and coastal habitats where you might spot some wildlife. If you visit in the fall, you might spot some sea turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests. The hiking trails at Crandon Park and Bear Cut Nature Preserve end at the Fossilized Reef View with spectacular scenery.
Admire a Beautiful Miami Beach Sunrise or Sunset
If you’re in Miami Beach and don’t mind waking up early in the morning, one of the best free activities in Miami is watching the sun come up. The sunrises in Miami are drop dead gorgeous, but you’ll need to set your alarm clocks for this one.
The sunsets on the beach will feature beautiful pastel skies, but sunrises are the best for these beaches that face an easterly direction.
Cheap-ish Option for One Day in Miami: Hotel Day Pass
Do you find yourself with only one day in Miami, and you’re looking to simply have a relaxing time? We find that this is the perfect option if you’re disembarking from a cruise ship in Miami or perhaps making the trip back to Miami from the Florida Keys and Key West. You’ll get all of the experiences at a swanky, luxury hotel without having to pay the full price for a room.
To save a little on flight costs, we tend to book late flights home to Toronto from Miami that depart around 9:00pm. This gives us a whole extra day in Miami to explore. However, especially if you’re not staying at a hotel in Miami the night before, it can be difficult to know where to store your belongings for the day. Plus, we find that if we’re coming off a cruise or a longer road trip, we’re a bit tired and looking for a chill day in the sunshine.
Justin and I took advantage of the day pass option at the luxurious Como Metropolitan Miami Beach. For an affordable flat rate, we were able to use all of the hotel’s amenities including luggage storage, their outdoor pool (with towels), private beach area with umbrellas and loungers, rooftop spa hydrotherapy pool, and 15% off food and beverages. We also used the hotel’s public showers to get refreshed before flying home.
Savor Some Low Cost Vegan Eats
While dining in Miami won’t come free, there are lots of fantastic restaurants in Miami that aren’t terribly expensive. While there are some vegan restaurants, like Full Bloom, are higher end, here are some suggestions for those following a budget.
Plant Theory is a 100% vegan, organic, and gluten-free cafe that specializes in botanical burgers. In addition to their famous burgers, they’ve got many varieties of fresh fruit juices, smoothies, and weekend brunch specials. Plant Theory even has an ice cream dessert burger!
Charly’s Vegan Tacos
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican tacos, head over to Charly’s Vegan Tacos as the owners originally come from Mexico. They’ve got mouth-watering tacos, nachos, and avocado fries. Sample a taco trio to try out a few different kinds. Their motto is “designed for meat lovers, made for vegans”. Most ingredients in Mexican cuisine are naturally vegan-friendly, so I’m sure you’ll love Charly’s Vegan Tacos if you love to eat Mexican food.
You’ve gotta try the famous bite-sized cupcakes at Bunnie Cakes! The owner was featured on Food Network and was named as the best place for cupcakes in Miami. These cupcakes are all vegan and gluten-free. Grab a 12-pack of these adorable little treats – you won’t regret it!