Wondering what to see in Miami when you don’t have a ton of money? You don’t have to own a bank account the size of a Kardashian in order to experience Miami, Florida in style. The bustling metropolitan, with white sandy beaches and miles of ocean shoreline, has all the amenities of a fancy resort town city but with plenty of options for those on the budget tour. No wonder it's one of the top destinations in the USA.
Ready to live life like a millionaire in Miami on a backpacker's budget? Try these free things you can do in Miami while soaking up the sunshine and without opening your wallet.
1. Go to the Movies
Free cinema opportunities are plenty in Miami, and will quite possibly spoil you for the rest of the country, where a movie date will often cost you over $20 in ticket prices alone. The Actor’s Playhouse puts on free vintage films for classic movie lovers once a month on Friday or Saturday nights. The Miami Jazz Society offers the chance to screen movies for free at their venue every Tuesday at 6:15 pm.
Miami’s Arts in the Parks program hosts free movie nights that are open to the public every Wednesday at 8:00 pm at the Exostage, known as the Soundscape Cinema Series. Fashion Project at Bal Harbor showcases films with a focus on fashion in the culture and the film; a new film is shown almost every week throughout the summer.
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2. Enjoy Live Music At South Beach
Think a night out on the town in Miami’s impressive South Beach district has to cost a fortune? Think again. The Betsy Hotel hosts a free music series every week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The concerts start at 8:00 pm and often last until nearly midnight. There’s no cover charge, and no mandatory drink minimum either So get dressed up, grab a date, and get ready to enjoy the posh side of life on South Beach without spending a dime.
If you’re in town over the weekend, check out Miami’s Dolphin Mall, where local musicians and bands put on live concerts throughout the weekend on the Ramblas Plaza Stage. Friday and Saturday night performances start at 8:00 pm, and last from 4:00 to 8:00 pm on Sundays.
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3. Hop on a Trolley or Sky Train
Can’t afford your own car, or a taxi cab? No problem! The city of Miami has you covered by offering the city’s trolley free of charge. If you get tired of walking around the city from place to place, feel free to hop on board and sit back and relax while exploring the different neighborhoods and districts in Miami. The trolley operates on Monday and Wednesdays, with some select routes open and running on Sunday as well.
And even if you don’t can’t splurge on a plane ticket, you can still see Miami from the sky. Simply hop aboard the Metromover at any number of the 20+ stops in downtown Miami to catch a ride on a driverless train several stories above the street. Ride as many times as you like; a new train arrives every couple of minutes, and every ride is completely free of charge.
4. Have a Beach Day
Miami has miles and miles of pristine white beaches, free and open to the public, and waiting for you to explore. Each of Maimi’s beaches has different features to draw in different kind of beach goers; some are equipped with fantastic jogging trails, while others are lined with volleyball courts, and even a few have some ok surf spots.
South Beach offers perfect people watching, while Hobie Beach is a great spot for windsurfing. Haulover Beach ensures a perfect tan (it’s clothing optional), while Virginia Key Beach is the perfect spot for those who want to escape the crowds and get away from it all. Try out them all and have several days filled with plenty of sun and sand without spending anything but gas money.
5. See the Galaxy at the Planetarium
On the first Friday of each month, the Miami Science Museum offers admission free of charge to the observatory, and also puts on a free star show in the museum’s planetarium. The planetarium boasts two Meade telescopes, and plenty of opportunities to discover more about Miami’s skies and astronomy. You can learn about the galaxy and stars, Florida’s history with space discovery, and watch live scientific demonstrations and exhibits throughout the museum.
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6. Get a Six-Pack
While a six pack of beer will cost you in Miami, you can get abs of steel for free thanks to the free boot camp fitness classes offered at the Miami-Dade parks. Be prepared to be challenged; each class lasts for several hours, and all of the classes are taught by local veterans. The classes rotate throughout the local area parks for a constantly changing course and new challenges, and are offered every day of the week. Get ready to hit the beach and look your best!
7. Explore the Wolfsonian
Located in the very center of Miami’s art district, the Wolfsonian is the museum for modern art lovers with hundreds of rooms of art, exhibits, books, and even furniture to view and discover. While browsing some of the city’s finest artwork in the heart of the art district in South beach may seem like a high ticket price activity, you can do so for free every Friday night from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
8. Ride the Commodore Trail
Got a bike? Explore Miami a bit off the beaten track by grabbing your wheels and heading off the main road. The Commodore Trail offers over 5 miles of perfectly paved bike trails through Coconut Grove. There are plenty of rest stops at free parks along the way, such as the Alice Wainwright Park, the Barnacle Historic State Park, and Peacock Park. If you’re in the mood for a longer ride, you can easily connect to the Old Cutler Trail for an additional 11 mile bike ride through some of Miami’s most gorgeous neighborhoods.
9. Walk Around a Farmer’s Market
There are plenty of people watching, sights, sounds and smells, and more than a few free samples waiting for you at Miami’s best Farmer’s Markets. Try Miami Springs Farmer Market for over 30 booths filled with the freshest produce and food you can imagine from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm every Saturday. Or check out the Upper East side Farmer’s Market, which runs from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm every Saturday. Trying to stay organic? Than the Southwest Community Farmer’s Market is the one for you, held Saturdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. No matter which one you visit, you’ll learn the true meaning of “fresh from the grove."
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10. Visit the Holocaust Memorial
Every Saturday, the Jewish Museum of Florida offers free admission to the public, giving you a glimpse into the history of Jewish culture’s influence in Florida completely free. The museum is housed in two historic buildings that were originally synagogues, and now give visitors the chance to experience an often undiscovered side of Florida history. You can watch films, view a mosaic timeline, and visit the research center during your stay.
Afterwards, visit the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach. Titled “The Sculpture of Love and Anguish,” the memorial is one of the most memorable and haunting tributes to the victims of the Holocaust. This is one of the quietest places in Miami, is free to visit and open to the public, and should not be missed.
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11. Step Back in Time at the Matheson Hammock Park
Ever wondered what Miami looked like before the skyscrapers and million dollar luxury condos were established along South Beach? A simple 20 minute drive out of the downtown area will lead you to one of the best places to go hiking in Miami. The Matheson Hammock Park offers all of the lush beauty and undergrowth of Miami’s natural horticultural landscape is when left untouched. The swamp/Savannah hybrid is a great place to trek about and get a feel for Miami pre-civilization.
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12. Experience the Culture at Little Havana
While Cuba may be a bit harder to visit, you can still explore your Cuban side at Miami’s Little Havana, a Latin enthused neighborhood brimming with plenty of galleries, hole in the wall shops, and Domino Park, where old men play dominoes and smoke cigars. Every month, Little Havana hosts Cultural Fridays, where you can walk the streets and listen to local bands and musicians, browse through street art, and pursue different vendors and booths throughout the neighborhood.
13. Tour an Art Museum
Want to more about the pieces of artwork and exhibits you are looking at? The Lowe Art Museum offers free admission on the first Tuesday of each month, and also offers a free tour at 1:00 pm. While smaller than other museums, the Lowe has a unique collection that offers a different variety of art pieces that are unlike others you are likely to see at Miami’s other art museums.
14. Find Your Inner Zen
From curing achy backs to increasing your mental capacity, there are plenty of benefits of regularly practicing yoga. If you want to find your inner yogi in Miami, grab your mat and head down to the Pinecrest Community Center for two free yoga classes a week! The classes are held on Sundays, from 9:00 to 10:15 a.m., and again from 10:30 to 11:45 am.
Want to practice more for free throughout the week? Bayfront park offers free yoga classes to adults 18 & older on Monday and Wednesday nights at 6:15 pm. They also offer a free Saturday morning yoga class as well at 9:00 am. Or you can go to Peacock Park at 6:00 pm every Tuesday and Thursday night for a Vinyasa based approach to yoga. Have kids? Bring the whole family and enjoy yoga together on Saturdays at 8:00 am for an hour of yoga on the rooftop of the Mayfair Hotel & Spa.
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15. Find Your Inner Child
Traveling with kids? The entire family can enjoy playing and exploring without spending a dime at the Miami Children’s Museum. The Museum offers free admission every 3rd Friday of the month from 3:00 to 9:00 pm. The interactive exhibits provide fun and cultural immersion for the whole family, and offer plenty of entertainment for kids and adults of all ages.
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16. Explore a Florida Key
You don’t have to go all the way to Key West in order to discover some of Florida’s Keys. Key Biscayne is located right off shore of Miami, and offers everything you’d expect from a true Florida key; picturesque island towns, plenty of sand, and a hair raising drive over the ocean via a causeway to reach it. If you’re up for a swim, you can explore coral reefs and the only underwater archaeological trail to exist in the country. On land there are two beautiful parks, plenty of sights, and great walking trails along the shoreline to discover as well.
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17. Take an Art Walk
Ready to be inspired by creativity? Miami has some of the country’s best art walks for every kind of art lover. On the first Friday of every month, art lovers can unite and tour galleries around Coral Gables free of charge. Want to see even more? Check out the Design District Art Walk, where you can walk through over 100 different galleries of a variety of art mediums and pieces, all for free.
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18. Learn how to DIY
Have a home improvement project you’ve always wanted to tackle? Miami’s Home Depot offers free workshops every weekend for aspiring home remodelers in search of some know how. There are also additional workshops available free of charge for women who want to take on the challenge of remodeling in a Do-It-Herself series. Each class focuses on a different area of remodeling and home maintenance, from plumbing to refacing kitchen cabinets.
19. Picnic at North Shore Open Space Park
Restaurants downtown may be pricey, but why pay premium for open air eating when you can eat out in the open air for free? Pack a picnic and head out to North Shore Open Space Park, the Miami version of NYC’s Central Park. Located right on the Atlantic shoreline, the park offers great ocean vistas, good walking paths, and even a dog park if you’ve got man’s best friend tagging along. There’s also plenty of picnic tables and bbq pits, so grab a few friends and invite everyone out to enjoy Miami’s best open air dining experience.
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20. Tour the Adrienne Arsht Center
Private tours sound like a luxury item, but at the Adrienne Arsht Center, tours are offered for free every Monday and Saturday at 12:00 pm. For an entire hour, visitors can walk through the building into private areas not open to the public, learn about the history and architecture of the building, and view brilliant pieces of artwork. Not only that, but you can also catch one of the best panoramic views of Miami from the pedestrian bridge connected to the Center.
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21. Swing by Main Library’s Florida Room
Not only is it utterly gorgeous, but the room also displays some rare exhibits that depict the history of Miami. Trust me, it’s a great way to delve into the culture and history of the city.
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22. A free tour at Biltmore Hotel
On the lookout for creepy free things to do in Miami? Why not take a free tour of the infamous 13th floor of Biltmore. There are free tours to this bizarre floor every Sunday from the hotel’s lobby at 1:30 and 2:30 PM.
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23. Kitetober Kite Festival at Haulover Park
Planning on visiting Miami in October? Kites are pretty awesome, especially when there are 100-feet squids, 30-feet fish and 150-feet rainbows. So, do yourself a favor by checking out this colorful festival, and by flying a gigantic kite.
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24. Watch a jai alai game in Miami
Except for Tuesdays, the “fastest game in the world” can be seen every day for free. We’re not sure how this game works, but I must say it looks rather fun and exciting.
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25. Drop by South Pointe Park
A visit here lets you enjoy priceless vistas of cruise ships leaving the Atlantic Ocean and Port of Miami. Not to mention, some of the park’s parts are open to the public until 2:00 AM.
26. Take a selfie at the Miami Beach
Love sefies? Then, head to Miami Beach, and snap a bunch of selfies! Also, don’t forget to admire the gorgeous white sands as well as watch the fun and intriguing people pass by.
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