With its beautiful beaches and rich culture, Miami is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. Visitors from all over the world enjoy Miami’s famous Art Deco buildings, family-friendly zoos and romantic palm tree-lined streets filled with fantastic restaurants. Don’t forget about the white sandy beaches and year-round warm weather, perfect for relaxing before or after your Caribbean cruise from Miami.
If you’re cruising somewhere in the Caribbean, there’s a good chance you’ll be boarding your ship in Miami. Cruises from Miami are great for travelers looking for a tropical vacation filled with outdoor activities and favorable dishes, even before boarding their ship . That allure of a tropical destination brings over 4 million people through the port of Miami each year, giving it the nickname of the Cruise Capital of the World.
This tropical, world-class city offers visitors a wide selection of things to do, whether you want to stroll around the iconic Art Deco District in Miami Beach or explore Jungle Island’s parrots, flamingos,monkeys and other tropical species. If you want to plan a lot of outdoor activities in Miami before or after your cruise, keep in mind that Miami gets hot and humid in the summertime and is also prone to heavy rainfall since summer is also right in the middle of hurricane season. Late fall and winter are especially popular, both because of the gorgeous sunshine in Miami and the chance to get away from the frigid winters up north on a Bahamas cruise from Miami or one of other blissful Caribbean destinations.
To see some of the finest Art Deco architecture in Miami Beach, head to the Art Deco District in South Beach, which was constructed in the 1930s. It features over 800 buildings of differing designs with creative geometric motifs. Not only is it of historic significance since it is the largest grouping of Art Deco architecture in the world, it also will provide you with some eye-catching backdrops perfect for your Instagram feed.
To truly experience the culture of Miami, you need to explore the city at night. That’s why we recommend arriving in Miami a few days before your cruise departs so you have time to visit Miami’s most popular nightclub spots, most of which are in South Beach. Often referred to as SoBe by those that frequently visit the area, South Beach is located on the tip of Miami Beach and is lined with a white sand coastline that provides a gorgeous backdrop to the hip clubs, restaurants, and hotels that have made Miami one of the hottest nightclub areas in the world.
If you’re a beach lover, we recommend heading to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It’s located on Key Biscayne and has some of America’s most beautiful beaches along with hiking trails that lead to views of Miami’s downtown skyline. A big draw for travelers to the park is the historic lighthouse on its premises; it’s a lovely photo op against the backdrop of the cape and you can also take a tour of it with a guide on select days of the week.
Little Havana is the epicenter of Cuban culture in Miami. A walk down Calle Ocho will give you a good taste of all that Little Havana has to offer, from cuisine to bars to souvenirs. In addition, you can visit El Credito Cigar Factory where you can see how they roll cigars in Cuba. If you really want to experience the Latin culture in Little Havana, time your cruise from Miami so you can be in Miami before or after your sailing on the last Friday of the month. On this day each month, a street party is held in Little Havana called Viernes Cultural that has an array of music performers, dancers, Cuban cuisine, and theater performances.
Miami is located close to Everglades National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is an excellent excursion to do before or after cruises from Miami. The best way to fully comprehend the rich nature and wildlife of the Everglades is to take an airboat tour around part of it with a knowledgeable guide who will tell you about the history of the everglades and point out its most popular feature: the many alligators that call it home, which make an Everglades tour an exciting adventure. And when the guide starts telling you about some of the stories surrounding these prehistoric looking creatures, we won’t blame you if you scoot a little bit farther from the edge of the boat.
Due to its wet, humid climate, gardens in Miami are able to prosper into lush, beautiful landscapes. One of the highlights of the Miami garden scene is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, where you’ll find an Italian style mansion surrounded by manicured gardens adorned with lovely sculptures and a view of the sparkling Biscayne Bay.
A animal-centric attraction in Miami that is especially popular for families to visit is the Miami Metro Zoo where you can see over 2,000 zoo species. While the usual zoo favorites like giraffes, monkeys, and exotic birds can all be seen, it’s the white Bengal Tiger that most people are most excited to see while at the zoo.
Miami Seaquarium is another fun outing in Miami that is centered around animals, only this time you’ll see mostly ocean mammals. The Seaquarium has a variety of species, including bottlenose dolphins, crocodiles, and sea lions. Children will love the fact that there’s an onsite play structure (the Salty’s Pirate Playground) and a touch pool where they can feel the silky skin of stingrays. Plus, visitors of all ages will be wowed by the Sea Trek Reef Encounter, which is an underwater walking path through the aquarium.
Miami’s food scene is a fusion of international flavors, but you’ll find a particular Latin flair going through many of the dishes. Whether it’s fusion or traditional, you can’t miss the Latin American and Caribbean flavors in Miami, which you can find all around the Miami area with a predominance of eateries in the Miami Beach area. While in Miami, there are some dishes that stand out from the rest, and the five you should try are:
This popular South American food item is also a popular one in Miami. It infuses cheese into a flattened, folded pastry and then cooked until the dough turns golden.
With the close proximity to the sea, you can find a variety of ceviche in Miami, which typically mixes cold seafood with any number of ingredients from fruit to salsa.
If you’re a meat lover you can’t miss trying Chicharrones in Miami, which are pork skins that are deep-fried with a salty aftertaste.
Florida Stone Crab
If visiting between October and March, try the local seafood delicacy of Stone Crab, served chilled on ice. The meat of the Stone Crab claw is known for its tenderness and having a hint of sweetness to it.
This iconic Miami dish is a sandwich made with Cuban bread. In between the slices of bread you’ll find a pile of delicious ingredients: roasted pork, baked ham, gooey Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and yellow mustard.
When it comes to drinks, you’ll likely be able to find your favorite libation at one of the many bars and nightclubs lining the streets of Miami Beach. However, if you want to try a local specialty, look for a margarita crafted with mezcal (made from the agave plant) instead of tequila.
The culture of Miami has been largely influenced by the influx of immigrants to the city over the past 80 years, giving it an intriguing multicultural scene that extends to the arts, music, beach, and nightlife. You can find Latin flair throughout the city before departing on one of the cruises from Miami, along with a distinct Caribbean vibe, especially when you’re in the Little Havana and Little Haiti areas of the city. At other times, you’ll marvel at how blue the water is when gazing out at Biscayne Bay from the sandy coastline that Miami Beach is built upon.
Elements of Miami’s history can still be seen all around the city. You can still see Art Deco from nearly a century ago, particularly in the South Beach neighborhood. Beach bars intermingle with nightclubs and the laid back surf lifestyle mixed with the ritzy nightclubs that attract the rich and famous from all around the world creates an interesting dichotomy in Miami that pulses with surf, sand, and musical beats long after the sun has gone down.
The Port of Miami is large with seven terminals located within a state of the art terminal that is designed to quickly move people through check-in and onto the ship.
Long-term parking is available right by the cruise terminal for those who drive to cruises from Miami. If your cruise ends in Miami, you can find taxis waiting outside each terminal as well as car rental agencies. The Port of Miami is located less than 10 miles from Miami International Airport and you can also find super shuttles and – if you really want to arrive in style – limousine service that run in between the airport and cruise port.
To get between the port and the main sights of Miami, such as South Beach, you’ll need to arrange transportation or take a local bus. To make it easy for you, we offer shore excursions the day you disembark from your cruise that take you from the port to some of Miami’s top sights, like the Everglades and the Art Deco District, and then to the airport.
You have three main options for public transportation in Miami: the Metromover, the Metrobus, and the Metrorail. The first two are probably self explanatory: a bus system, which runs all around the Greater Miami area, and a rail system that runs from the north to the south end of Miami with stops in downtown.
The third option, however, may sound confusing. The Metromover runs downtown and covers 4.4 miles. It is a fully automated shuttle that runs on electricity. Best of all – it’s free! The Metromover also connects with the Metrorail and Metrobus at downtown stations.
For traveling around South Beach and Miami Beach, there is one additional option that is a hit with visitors: the Miami Beach Trolley, which offers free service that loops around the perimeter of South Beach’s coastline and up through the rest of Miami Beach.
For private transportation, a taxi is a popular way to get around Miami since they are easy to find at one of the many taxi stands around Miami, or you can hail one from the street. Make sure you’re hailing a licensed one, which should have written that it’s a taxi cab on the side of the car and display the license for the driver and the taxi’s rate card inside the vehicle.
Miami International Airport (MIA)
If you’re embarking on one of the many cruises from Miami and you don’t live in driving distance to the port, there’s a good chance you’re flying into Miami International Airport (MIA). Upon landing, you can find out any local information you need at the Info Center on level 2 in Concourse E. The Info Center is also next to a bank, post office, pharmacy, baggage storage, ATM, and car rental companies.
If flying in the night before your cruise (which we recommend to accommodate for possible flight delays; Flights by Celebrity can help you find the option that’s best for you and your itinerary), check with your hotel if they offer a shuttle from the airport. Otherwise, you have plenty of other options, including a 24-hour Super Shuttle van service, taxis, and buses. If going straight to the cruise port from MIA, you can take a taxi to the cruise terminal or take the cruise shuttle bus that you can purchase tickets for through Celebrity Cruises.
It’s not hard to find places to shop in Miami, but if there’s a particular type of shop you’re after, certain areas of the city are best. The Design District of Miami is known for its art galleries and home décor.
For clothing, you’ll find designer boutiques at Bal Harbor, and more clothing stores along Collins Avenue in Miami Beach – plus a good possibility of some celebrity spotting (and we don’t mean a Celebrity ship!) You’ll also find some shopping with an international flair in Little Havana or along historic Española Way in Miami Beach.
For jewelry and local crafts plus more fashion and trinkets, the Miami Fair Trade Marketplace is a great place to shop both for the variety and because you can be assured the methods behind the souvenirs you’re choosing were made in fair and safe working conditions.
For a fun shopping mall experience with a quintessential Miami vibe, head to Bayside Marketplace. This mall has open-air walkways leading to over 100 shops. At this mall, you’ll also find restaurants and bars, street performers and live music, and even a launch pad for boat tours along the Miami coastline.
Bargain shoppers who love a great deal on luxury finds will enjoy a day of shopping at Dolphin Mall, which is an outlet center located close to Miami International Airport.
The currency accepted in Miami is the U.S. dollar, and you’ll be able to find ATMs dispensing U.S. dollars all over the city. Tipping is very common and expected in Miami, especially in restaurants, bars, and taxis. A common tip amount for restaurants, taxis, and most other services is 15% to 20% of the total amount.