3-day itinerary to Miami: how to spend a long weekend in the city

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Are you planning a trip to Miami? If so, this comprehensive 3-day itinerary to Miami will ensure you have the best time in this cosmopolitan yet tropical destination.

Miami is constantly changing, with several hotel and restaurant openings happening and an impressive art scene across its many museums and galleries. Add the blue sea, the opulent lounges and clubs, the art deco buildings, the Latin vibe, and a blend of diverse people, cultures, and styles.  It’s difficult not to like it.

If this is your first time visiting Miami, over a long weekend, you’re going to see the city’s top attractions – a mix of beach lounging, dining in top restaurants, and exploring hip neighborhoods. But, if this isn’t your first time in the city, with this itinerary, you can refresh yourself on the best of Miami, with daily activities to fill your time.

This post has a 3-day itinerary to Miami so you can enjoy a couple of days away from the office, travel on a long weekend, or just enjoy a quick vacation getaway to Florida.

Brickell Miami

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Miami Itinerary – Day 1 (Miami Beach and South Beach)

On your first day in Miami, kick things off with a peaceful morning at the beach. Then, spend a couple of hours by the sea sunbathing and swimming in the ocean until lunchtime.

For lunch, make your way to the charming Call Me Gaby, an Italian fare restaurant with delicious pizzas (Andrea is my favorite) and main dishes to be enjoyed on its lovely decorated outdoor leafy patio.

After lunch, go for a walk along Ocean Drive to check out the art deco buildings in pastel colors and the lively boardwalk with the most diverse crowd. If you’re not in the mood for a walk, you can also go for a bike ride with Citi Bike public bike-sharing system.

Then, head over to South Pointe Beach to see the iconic lifeguard houses while making your way toward South Pointe Park. Here, sit on one of the benches to feel the ocean breeze, gaze at the ocean, and take in the tropical way of living in Miami.

At night, enjoy dinner at Carbone (early reservation is encouraged), a world-famous Italian restaurant with branches in New York, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas. The spicy rigatoni vodka from Carbone’s menu is a dish you can’t miss.

SUMMARY OF MIAMI ITINERARY – DAY 1

  • Beach
  • Lunch at Call Me Gaby
  • Ocean Drive
  • South Pointe Beach
  • South Pointe Park
  • Dinner at Carbone

Miami Itinerary – Day 2 (Wynwood and Design District)

On the second day of your Miami itinerary, it’s time to visit one of the top attractions in Miami – Superblue. This futuristic, interactive, and technology-based museum brings together the work of various artists into a collection of interactive projections that represent a new way of experiencing art. The operating hours of Superblue Miami are from 11 am to 7 pm from Monday to Wednesday, 10 am to 7 pm from Thursday to Sunday, and 10 am to 8 pm Friday and Saturday. Also, you can purchase entrance tickets online with a starting price of US$ 36.

Continue reading: All you need to plan your visit to Superblue Miami.

After, continue your itinerary by heading over to the Wynwood neighborhood. First, wander through the streets either by yourself or with a 1-Hour Street Art Tour to find graffiti walls and other street art with unique designs and messages. Then, it’s time to visit Wynwood Walls, one of the most Instagramable places in Miami (open from Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm. Tickets can be bought online or at the entrance and start at US$ 12.)

When you get hungry, go to KYU for their contemporary Asian-inspired menu. Be sure to order the roasted cauliflower, one of the best dishes here. Also, the crispy pork “guy”, tuna tartare, and duck breast are delicious. If you prefer a Mediterranean menu, Doya is a delightful restaurant in the area.

Once you’ve had lunch, head over to the Design District for window-shopping (or buy something!) and wander its streets filled with art sculptures. In the Design District, have a fancy coffee at either Dior or Fendi Café (or OTL, for a low-key location). If craving something sweet, have an alcohol-infused ice cream at Aubi & Ramsa or a warm cookie at Night Owl. Lastly, take a peek at the Museum Garage (NE 1st Ave & NE 41st St), a super cool parking building displaying 5 facades designed by different artists and architects, and check out the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) current exhibitions.

Afterward, walk over to Mandolin Aegean Bistro for dinner, one of my favorite restaurants in Miami. The menu is entirely spectacular, and the outdoor patio makes you feel like you’re transported to an alfresco setting in Greece.

Design District - Miami Itinerary

SUMMARY OF MIAMI ITINERARY – DAY 2

  • Superblue Miami
  • Wynwood
  • Lunch at KYU or Doya
  • Design District
  • Dinner at Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Miami Itinerary – Day 3 (Downtown, Brickell, and Coral Gables)

On your last day in Miami, wrap up your 3-day itinerary with a morning visit to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a waterfront 20th-century Italian Renaissance mansion turned museum in Coral Gables. The building is fully equipped with early 20th-century furniture, but the most fantastic part is the massive garden with hundreds of types of plants. Tickets are available online for US$ 25 for adults, and Vizcaya is open to the public from Wednesday to Monday from 9.30 am, and the last admission is at 4.30 pm.

Later, head over to Brickell City Centre to look at the hundreds of stores and have lunch at Casa Tua Cucina, an Italian market (like Eataly in NYC) that mixes various restaurants with a gourmet emporium. On the menu, the tagliatelle al tartufo bianco is a particular favorite.

Once you’ve filled up, go for a walk along the boardwalk and cross the bridge to Bayfront Park, where you can spot (and even go up) the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel, an enclosed gondola ride that rises nearly 200 feet above Bayside Marketplace, offering iconic views of the area.

Then, go for a Miami: Sunset Cruise through Biscayne Bay and South Beach tour to enjoy the best of Miami’s sunset on a cruise across Biscayne Bay that will provide you with beautiful views of the city’s skyline.

To finish your Miami itinerary, go for a memorable dinner at Cipriani, an Italian restaurant with locations in international destinations like Ibiza, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. In Miami, the restaurant offers panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and a chic nautical décor inspired by the waterfront setting. On the menu, the pasta, veal, and vanilla meringue cake are extraordinary.

SUMMARY OF MIAMI ITINERARY – DAY 3

  • Vizcaya Musem & Gardens
  • Lunch at Casa Tua Cucina
  • Brickell City Centre
  • Bayfront Park
  • Dinner at Cipriani

Have extra time? Join a food and cultural tour of Little Havana, one of the best places to visit in Miami, or visit Everglades National Park on a Half-Day Airboat Ride & Wildlife Show to spot alligators, turtles, and birds in their natural habitat.

If you want more time by the water, join the Miami – The Original Millionaire’s Row Cruise, a sightseeing cruise around Biscayne Bay that allows you to have a different perspective of Downtown Miami’s skyline, the Port of Miami, Fisher Island, Miami Beach, and Millionaire’s Row – the city’s home to the rich and famous. Or hit the road on a Day Trip to Key West, the most southern point of the USA, only 90 miles from Cuba. You can spend 6 hours exploring the island by strolling the artistic streets or relaxing at outdoor cafes and restaurants. And once here, don’t forget to try the famous key lime pie.

And if you need more recommendations of restaurants in the city, be sure to read the guide to the must-visit restaurants in Miami.

FAQ

Are 3 days in Miami enough?

In this itinerary to spend 3 days in Miami, you’ll explore the highlights of the city. But Miami is a destination that I keep going back to, as there’s always something new happening.

What is the best month to visit Miami?

The best time to visit Miami is between March (after Spring Break) and May. These months offer pleasant temperatures of around 700 F, and the rates will be better. November is another excellent choice: the sea is still warm, it rains very little, and hotel prices are not high.

Tips for your Miami itinerary

Where to stay in Miami

If this is your first visit, Miami Beach is the best place to stay to enjoy the tropical vibes of Miami. However, if you’ve already been to the city, skip the beach and stay in Brickell for easy access to restaurants, shops, and other attractions.

Here are some of the best hotels in Miami for your itinerary:

BEST HOTELS IN BRICKELL

  • SLS LUX Brickell: a perfect hotel that is strategically located close to many eateries, Brickell City Centre, Bayfront Park, and American Airlines Arena. The swimming pool is gorgeous and surrounded by cabanas where you can cool down and relax.
  • Mandarin Oriental: located in Brickell Key, Mandarin is one of the best 5-star hotels in Miami. Here, you’ll be pampered with all the luxury amenities and have access to La Mar by Gaston Acurio and its Peruvian fare.
  • EAST Miami: the highlight of this Brickell hotel is the 4 swimming pools which include a lap pool, spa pool, cold plunge, and hot tub. It’s also exceptionally well located, and, in the hotel, you’ll find Sugar, a 40th-floor rooftop bar, and Quinto La Huella, a famed and authentic Uruguayan restaurant.

BEST HOTELS IN SOUTH BEACH/MIAMI BEACH

  • 1 Hotel South Beach: an oceanfront hotel with a private beach area and many on-site dining options. It features 4 swimming pools, including a gorgeous adults-only rooftop pool, and is one of the best hotels in Miami.
  • W South Beach: a beachfront hotel with ocean views, on-site pools, and dining options that include Mr. Chow (Asian cuisine). The amenities are some of the best you can find in Miami, and W is certainly one of the top places to stay in the city.
  • Faena Hotel: a dreamy, luxury hotel in Miami, with great amenities that include the red beach chairs and umbrellas that are Pinterest-worthy. At Faena, you’ll also find the famous Pao by Paul Qui, which has an Asian-inspired menu by a Top Chef winner.
  • The Miami Beach EDITION: a luxury hotel in Miami that has it all: a bowling alley, nightclub, an on-site ice-skating rink, and other features that will make you not want to leave this place.

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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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