Although it is adjacent to and namesakes the state’s most populous metropolitan area, South Miami is its own municipality with a population of just over 12,000 residents at the last census.
It is bordered by Coral Gables and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and east, and Glenwall Heights and Pinecrest to the west and south.
South Miami is conveniently located near a variety of historical, cultural and outdoor recreational attractions, so finding ways to stay busy in the area is no problem.
Here are 15 things to do in and around South Miami.
1. Dante Fasser Park
Located on the corner of SW 57th Avenue and SW 88th Street, near downtown South Miami, Dante Fascell Park offers guests a variety of recreational options, especially popular with healthy and active people.
Facilities include outdoor basketball, volleyball and handball courts, as well as a gated children’s playground.
Most of the park’s pitches and fields are open on a first-come, first-served basis, but are occasionally reserved for regular league games.
There are also jogging and walking trails, covered seating and picnic areas, as well as plenty of clean restrooms and ample free parking.
2. Boil the crab
Boiling Crab is a favorite dining destination for those who want to enjoy delicious Florida seafood before returning to the interior state.
It’s not a fancy place, but previous guests have noticed that the portions are plentiful, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is cozy and family friendly.
As their name suggests, their crabs are popular, but they also offer fish, shrimp, oysters and crayfish.
There are plenty of sides to choose from, and an economical seafood boil contains a little bit of everything.
Most dishes come with a choice of four signature seasonings.
3. Dadeland Mall
Malls don’t rank high on the to-do list of many beach-obsessed vacationers, but when the sun gets too hot, or a storm hits the Atlantic, it’s wise to have some indoor escape destinations in your back pocket .
Home to well-known national brands such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, Dadeland Mall is the perfect place to relax while waiting for the outdoors to improve. With such a plethora of dining, entertainment and shopping options, time may soon be over.
Dadeland Mall’s food court is popular with tourists and includes not only quick and affordable options, but also more formal and upscale options.
4. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Featuring Renaissance-style Italian villas and magnificent planted gardens, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is set in scenic Coconut Grove, one of the region’s most popular natural attractions, while also incorporating much history and culture.
Over 40 acres of museums and grounds, most of which are located on the stunning waterfront, are unrivaled photography.
The indoor museum section includes artwork in a variety of mediums, as well as stunning architectural elements as well as antiques and household items dating back many centuries.
They also host various special events, so check their website before you go.
5. Deering Manor
Deering Estate was once the winter getaway for a wealthy Midwestern industrialist and his family who preferred the Sunshine State’s subtropical climate, plenty of sunshine and stunning ocean views to dreary winters filled with snow and cold.
The estate grounds are some of the most scenic in the state, and they are truly a must-see from a historical, cultural and architectural standpoint.
The expansive grounds also include a fossil and archaeological site that preserves animal and Paleolithic human skeletons, some dating back more than 50,000 years.
They often host stargazing evenings coordinated by the local astronomical society, so if interested, consider visiting at night.
6. Books and Books
For many vacationers who plan to spend most of their time at the beach or enjoying a rum cocktail under an umbrella by the pool, a good book is an absolute must.
It’s true that ebooks have taken the world by storm, but many readers still value the feel of having actual paper at their fingertips; for those who do, there’s no better place to go than Books & Books in nearby Coral Gables.
It’s the oldest bookstore in the area, with shelves stocked with old classics and contemporary bestsellers of nearly every genre, including non-fiction and children’s literature.
There is also an on-site café serving fresh, locally made food and delicious coffee.
7. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
For the sheer range, beauty and largely undisturbed stretch of beaches in otherwise touristy and overdeveloped areas, there’s nothing quite like spending a day at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Overlooking the harbour surrounding Biscayne Bay, the park spans nearly 400 acres and offers visitors a glimpse of what much of the coast looked like before the land and tourism boom that began more than a century ago.
Amenities at the park include stunning beaches, covered seating and picnic areas, multipurpose trails, and even an iconic Florida lighthouse, which is popular with nautical history buffs and photographers alike.
8. Lowy Museum of Art
Despite its humble beginnings nearly seven decades ago, the Lowe Art Museum has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, to say the least. Its permanent collection includes more than 15,000 individual artworks in a variety of mediums.
The Lowy Museum of Art was the first of its kind in South Florida. It’s located on the scenic University of Miami campus, just a stone’s throw from South Miami.
Objects on display include works from nearly every continent, spanning thousands of years.
The museum’s Native American works are consistently among the most popular, and it’s worth checking out the college bookstore on campus.
9. The Shops at Merrick Park
Featuring a cool open-air design ideal for Florida’s subtropical climate, the store at Merrick Park is a popular retail attraction with everything travelers need to stay comfortable and satisfied for hours.
Located in nearby Coral Gables, the stores include many high-end brands such as Gucci and Tiffany & Company, but there are plenty of options for the average working class as well.
Unwinding with a coffee, tea, smoothie, or cold draft beer is a great way to kill an afternoon, and there are on-site gyms available for those who can stand up and shed a few extra pounds.
10. Azucar Ice Cream Company
Azucar Ice Cream Company is one of those unique resorts where visitors can kill two birds with one stone, thanks to its cool location and tantalizing variety of ice cream offerings.
Azucar is located in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, a cultural and historical icon that really should be experienced. For many tourists, there’s no better way to end a long day than with a bowl of heavenly homemade ice cream.
Compared to the traditional flavors and some old standbys, there is something for everyone here, and the environment is stylish, unique and cozy.
11. Actors Theatre
The Actor’s Playhouse in Coral Gables is a community theatre established in 1988. Since then, it has provided the community with a variety of entertainment and theatrical options, from theatrical performances and live music to children’s productions.
While the theater was housed in a movie theater in the first few years, it moved into the historic and recently renovated Miracle Theater in the mid-’90s after a partnership with the city.
The refurbishment brought the theatre’s facilities up to modern standards. It is now one of those rare local gems that compares favorably with many of its more urban contemporaries.
12. Merrick House
Located on Coral Way, Coral Gables, Merrick House is a 1906 home built for a man named George Merrick.
Merrick was the founder of Coral Gables, and the architect of the house was also Merrick.
It is one of the best-preserved sites of its kind in the region and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly 50 years. In addition to being historically significant, it has unique architectural features and is filled with homewares, furniture and art that are popular in the area.
Guided tours are the best way to see the sights.
13. Crandon Park
Over 800 acres of Crandon Park in Biscayne Bay overlooks Biscayne Bay, between North Biscayne Bay and South Metro Miami.
It’s probably just the most comfortable park in the area, and it’s an easy drive for those who live in South Miami.
The park is located across the bay from the scenic Rickenbacker Causeway. Once on site, guests will have the opportunity to go to the beach, play golf and tennis, or snorkel, kayak, and explore the park’s multi-use trails on foot or by bike.
Tickets are relatively cheap, and many guests spend a day or two there.
14. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens
For lovers of historic cultivated gardens, there is no place like southern Florida.
With plenty of sun and rain and a mild subtropical climate, it is ideal for growing a variety of native and exotic plants, flowers and trees.
Located on Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables, the Fairchild Center for Tropical Plants, in addition to its expansive grounds, includes an indoor museum and interactive learning center.
The garden portion of the facility consists of different cultivated fields connected by easily traversable paths. Along the way, guests will have ample seating areas, as well as informative signs describing what they see.
15. Barnacles Historic State Park
Biscayne Bay and Biscayne Bay are two of South Florida’s most popular attractions and one of the most scenic areas most vacationers see when traveling to the Sunshine State.
Barnacles Historic State Park is not only known for its natural beauty, but also for its historical significance.
More than a century ago, the park was home to pioneers and settlers who later discovered the nearby city of Coconut Grove.
Some of the park’s core amenities include historic homes, tree-lined nature trails, and replicas of some of the large sailboats that were popular on the coast at the time.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in South Miami, FL (FL)
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