Miami, the crown jewel of South Florida, is a glitzy and glamorous sun-drenched paradise famous for its cruises, wild parties, eye-catching Art Deco buildings, Cuban culture and the glittering South Beach. Fittingly labeled as the Magic City, Miami is the ultimate destination for aristocrats, socialites, celebrities and wealthy travelers. While Miami isn’t the cheapest city to visit in the USA, it is truly one of the top places to experience a blissful and memorable vacation.
Yet, for all its glitz, luxurious beach hotels and steeply priced parties, Miami can be quite an affordable place to visit even for frugal travelers. Trust me, a limited budget won’t stop you from having a fun-packed vacation in Miami.
Traveling to Miami on a tight budget? Here are a few ways to experience this city without spending a fortune.
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Free things to do in Miami
From hitting its sunny beaches to taking pictures of its supremely gorgeous architectures, there are plenty of free and cheap things to do in “Magic City”. Here are a few thrills, joys and pleasures in Miami that won’t cost you a penny.
1. Hit the beach
Are you a sun-seeking beach bum? In Miami, you won’t have to spend a great deal of cash to enjoy a beautiful and extraordinary beach escape. After all, Florida’s southern coast is dotted with sunny free-access beaches, such as the Haulover Park, Surfside, South Beach, Lummus Park Beach and South Pointe Park.
Of course, these beaches are terrific places to do some sightseeing. Most of the beaches in Miami are vibrant, colorful, trendy and full of bars and shops. Plus, you can spot literally hundreds of gorgeous people in any of these fabulous beaches. And by the way, did I mention that some of these beaches allow topless bathing? Not a bad place to do some sightseeing, right?
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2. A walking tour around Art Deco District
Speaking of South Beach, don’t forget to take a walking tour in the Art Deco District, and be mesmerized by its dazzling historic architectures.
3. Swing by Gables Art Walk during a Coral Gables Gallery Night
Gables Art Walk offers free access to its galleries, every first Friday of the month, from seven to ten o’clock in the evening. Expect free words of art advice as well delightful gratis wines from some of the galleries in Gables Art Walk during a Coral Gables Gallery Night.
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4. Yoga in the Park
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5. Visit the Holocaust Memorial in Miami
The Holocaust Memorial is open for free to everyone, from 9:30 in the morning to sunset. Artistic and intensely moving, this site displays a photographic mural as well as a wall inscribed with names of thousands of camp victims.
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6. A leisurely stroll around Little Havana
Honor Miami’s Cuban roots and delve into its Hispanic culture by taking a leisurely stroll around Little Havana. Here, you also get to feast your eyes on a handful of stunning monuments, such as the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, which is the Hispanic version of the star-lidded sidewalk in Hollywood.
7. Cultural Fridays in Little Havana
Held every last Friday of the month, Viernes Culturales or also known as Cultural Fridays gives you a quick crash course of Miami’s Cuban culture with its open-air gallery packed with a hundred sculptors, musicians and artists.
8. A cosmic spectacle
Traveling with children? Kids will surely be left in awe with the far-off galaxies and Milky Way at the free and incredible Weintraub Obvservatory Star Show in Miami Science Museum, which is held every first Friday of the month.
9. Free bike tours
Whether you are touring Coconut Grove or Wynwood, taking a free bike tour is by far a great way to explore the well-known neighborhoods in Miami.
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10. Visit Biscayne National Park
Catch sight of the crystal clear waters, striking mangroves and endangered animals of Biscayne National Park.
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11. Gratis outdoor films
Every Wednesday at eight o’clock in the evening, the Miami Beach Soundscape ExoStage offers free outdoor films to everyone.
12. Free jazz shows
Schedule your trip to Miami on the last Friday of the month, so you can be a part of free jazz show presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art.
13. Drop by the Jewish Museum of Florida on a Saturday
On Saturdays, the Jewish Museum of Florida waives their admission fees.
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Cheap things to do in Miami
14. Head off to Everglades National Park
With over a million acres of dense sub-tropical jungles, prairies and large swamps, it’s easy to see why people call Everglades National Park as one of the most extraordinary public parks in the US. Nestled on Florida’s southern tip, this park is home to more than a dozen endangered species, such as the West Indian Manatee, Florida Panther and American Crocodile.
A big portion of Everglades is still primitive, explored only by researchers and adventurists. Nonetheless, the park offers ample opportunities for canoeing, camping and walking.
As for the admission, you only have to pay 10 USD per day. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pretty good deal considering that the Everglades National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
15. Visit Miami MetroZoo
A sojourn to Miami MetroZoo lets you meet and greet an array of animals from Africa, Australia and Asia. Admission is 10 USD for kids and 14 USD for adults only, with special discounts for county employees, seniors, travel agents, military personnel and groups.
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Florida is, without a shadow of a doubt, a utopia for fishermen. From Florida Keys to Miami, Florida is home to some of the world’s best freshwater and saltwater fishing spots. On top of that, fishing is free on some weekends for adults and always free for children. On other days, though, fishing in Miami will require an annual fishing license that only costs 13.50 USD.
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Affordable food in Miami
17. Ditch the fancy South Beach restaurants
A meal in a fancy restaurant in the South Beach area will cost you no less than 20 USD. But, try to move away from this part of Miami, and you’ll be able to enjoy mouthwatering food without spending a ton of cash. In Little Havana, for instance, you’ll find delectable Cuban treats for 1.50 to 10 USD only.
18. Eat fast food
As with other major cities in the USA, Miami has a plethora of options, as far as fast food. In Miami, you can enjoy a filling and tasty fast food meal for less than 8 USD.
19. Buy groceries and cook for yourself
Not a lot of people do it, but cooking food while on a vacation can be a rather fun experience. Besides, it can help you save a ton of money for your Miami escapade. In Miami, you just have to buy groceries worth 40 to 50 USD, and you’ll have food supplies that will last for a week.
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Affordable options for Miami accommodations
Sure, Miami is known for ritzy hotels and resorts, but there are tons of budget-friendly lodges, B&Bs, boutique hotels, motels and apartments in this city, such as:
- Freehand Miami
- Circa 39
- The Clay Hostel & Hotel
- The Tropics Hotel & Hostel
- Crest Hotel Suites
- Lorraine Hotel
- Seagull Hotel
- Ocean Reef Suites
- South Beach Hostel
21. Stay in a hostel dorm
Staying in a hostel dorm in Miami will cost between 20 to 30 USD per night. Private hostel dorms, however, are a bit expensive, with prices ranging from 100 to 120 USD a night for a double room.
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22. Cheap nightlife options in Miami
Miami is a city famous for its electrifying nightlife circuit, and it would be a shame not to get a taste of it just to save money. Thankfully, there are nightspots in Miami like Brother Jimmy’s BBQ that offer cool freebies and discounted rates on their drinks.
23. Do not try to keep up with the residents in Miami
Dwellers in Miami are likely a year ahead of everyone, when it comes to fashion trends. Plus, it is not the best place in America to hunt for cheap bargains on jewelry and clothes. That’s why you should keep all your credit and debit cards in your holsters, and shop at your local mall instead, as soon as you get home.
24. Buy a Go Miami Card
Planning on visiting Miami’s top attractions without paying top dollar? Then, make sure to invest in a Go Miami card. With this discount card, you’ll have free and unlimited admissions to dozens of major attractions in Miami for just a single price.
25. Avoid peak tourist times
Try not to visit Miami during its peak tourist times like the weekends, spring break and Christmas. Prices for hotel accommodations and flights skyrocket during these times.
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