Miami is not just for people renting yachts and making it rain dollar bills at Liv. There are actually a lot of free things to do in the city. Here are some of the most interesting and culturally diverse activities that won’t cost you a dime.
1. Enjoy Wynwood’s art scene
Miami’s gentrified Wynwood area has become a hipster oasis. Aside from vendors selling handmade crafts, you’ll find plenty to look at between 20th Street and 36th Street. Street artists from all over the world come to Wynwood to paint elaborate murals on the walls of buildings in the area. Wynwood Walls, designed specifically to bring pedestrians out to the area, showcases works by contemporary artists like Ron English and Shepard Fairey. But some of the most innovative works of art are scattered around the small streets just off of NW 2nd Avenue. The second Saturday of every month, the area explodes with activity during Wynwood Art Walk. Dozens of galleries in the area open their doors for free after 6 pm.
2. Stroll down Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road Mall, known simply as Lincoln Road to anyone in Miami, is a massive outdoor mall that runs east-west in Miami Beach between 16th and 17th Street. It’s full of high-end shops and boutiques as well as affordable brands you know and love like H&M. The pedestrian mall has a ton of outdoor cafes, bars, and restaurants making this a great place to people watch. You don’t have to spend a thing to window shop and enjoy the free art galleries, like Lik Miami. The entire promenade features a classic Art Deco style, so it’s also a good way to take in the architecture all around you.
3. Do yoga in the park
Bayfront Park is a huge public park in the heart of downtown. The park looks across to Miami Beach over Biscayne Bay. Events, including concerts and holiday celebrations, are held there throughout the year. But as of late, Bayfront Park has become popular for its regular free yoga classes. Classes are by donation only and are typically held at the Tina Hills Pavillion. You can check Bayfront’s Schedule of Events for the weekly yoga offerings.
4. Viernes Culturales
Miami has an undeniable Latin flavor, and the best place to enjoy that multicultural style is in Little Havana’s Calle Ocho (8th Street). Though you can watch old Cuban guys smoking cigars and playing dominoes in Little Havana any day of the week, Calle Ocho truly comes to life on the last Friday of the month for Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays). The festivities are held around Domino Plaza, where you’ll find live music, art, dancing, and plenty of culture. This is an excellent way to take in a little slice of Latin America in Miami.
5. Check out the PAMM
One of Miami’s premiere art museums, the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), is beloved not only for the art it houses, but for the incredible architecture that makes the building itself a masterpiece. It has one of the best views of Biscayne Bay and the beach-bound MacArthur Causeway in the city. Entrance to the museum is free every second Saturday and every first Thursday of the month. Aside from a rotating series of exhibitions featuring painting, photography, and digital media, the PAMM has a fantastic interactive sculpture garden. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the bay breeze.
6. Watch a free movie or concert at SoundScape Park
SoundScape Park is a wonderful urban oasis just off the bustling Lincoln Road where you can take a rest and get some shade. The park sits in front of the New World Symphony Building, the facade of which is used every week as a giant screen to project free concerts and movies as part of the Sympthony’s WALLCAST® series. Viewings are free but on a first come first serve basis. So bring a blanket and some drinks early to get a good spot for the night’s show. Though concert schedules vary, movies are typically shown every Wednesday.
7. Walk, run, or bike Old Cutler Trail
Old Cutler Trail is a good way to get some exercise while enjoying the natural wonders Miami has to offer. The 11-mile paved trail takes you through some beautiful Miami neighborhoods you might not otherwise see on a visit to Miami. The Old Cutler Trail includes stops at some of the city’s most well-known outdoor attractions like Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Matheson Hammock Park, Bill Sadowski Park, and the Deering Estate. Note: Though the parks are free to visit, Fairchild and the Deering Estate do have admission fees.
8. Take a self-guided Metromover tour of Miami
Unlike other major cities in the US, Miami doesn’t have an extensive system of public transportation. But it does have the Metromover, which is a free system that links people in different areas of downtown to two Metrorail stations. It’s also a good way to see many attractions and neighborhoods. The Metromover system connects Brickell, which is a lively hub of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, to different parts of downtown including Bayfront Park, the Freedom Tower, Bayside, the American Airlines Arena, and the Adrienne Arsht Center. Because it’s free to ride, you can hop on and off anytime.
9. Watch jai alai
Jai alai is a fast-paced sport similar to racquetball, where players use a handheld cesta, instead of a racquet to bounce a ball off a wall. Though it’s not very popular across the US, the Latin American sport has a bit of a following in Miami, where it’s a gambling sport similar to horse racing. You can catch one of twelve free games every day of jai alai at Casino Miami. The casino also has rotating promotions including free game play for new members. So you may be able to enjoy jai alai and a few rounds on the slots without spending a dime.
10. Go to the beach
You can’t visit Miami and not enjoy some fun in the sun. Miami has miles of sprawling sand and clear waters. The question is: where to go? Most people who visit Miami go to South Beach, and they tend to congregate as close to South Pointe Pier as possible. This is a good spot because you can see the cruise ships departing while you tan. The downside is that this area of the beach is extremely crowded. On top of having to lay uncomfortably close to people, this makes finding parking anywhere south of 5th street a total nightmare. But the sand and water is no better there than it is up on 12th Street to 17th Street. And you’ll have a lot more room to sprawl out. Just bring a towel, a bathing suit, and don’t forget to apply sun block so you can do it again tomorrow.