Free and Cheap Fun in Miami
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30 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Miami

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Free and Cheap Fun in Miami
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Flawless Florida

Mentions of Miami and South Beach may prompt visions of beautiful people on the boardwalk, glitzy nightclubs, and pool parties, but there's more than just nightlife in Florida's most glamorous city. From rich Cuban culture and museums to natural wonders and art walks, it can feel like there's no end of cheap things and free activities to choose from. Many are free or budget-friendly for individuals, couples, and families. Here is our roundup of some of the best free things and reasonably priced activities you can find in the Magic City. 

Head to the Beach
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Head to the Beach

Miami is lined with miles of beautiful sand and warm waters, making the beach the obvious first and, possibly, one of the best free things to check out. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has an interactive map of Miami's beaches to help tourists find the one that fits them best. Visit South Beach for music, drinking, and parties, or drive up north for a more relaxing scene. Parking may be a hassle, but it can be cheap if planned ahead. Best Parking promises the best rates around Miami and is searchable by arrival time, area, address, and attractions.

Jazz It Up At The Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami

Jazz It up at the Museum of Contemporary Art

If a vacation in Miami happens to include the last Friday of the month, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art for free live jazz. Crowds gather at the plaza outside at 8 p.m. General admission to the museum itself is only $5, and there are no admission fees for veterans, children under 12, and Bank of America cardholders. 

Everglades National Park in Florida
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Explore Everglades National Park

Visiting the Everglades and its enthralling wildlife costs $25, but the entrance fee covers everyone in a vehicle and is good for seven days. Plan ahead and target one of the fee-free days the National Park Service hosts throughout the year. 

Try a Cuban Sandwich
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Try a Cuban Sandwich

Anyone who watched the 2014 movie "Chef" likely came away craving an authentic Cuban sandwich. Head to Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop for an old-fashioned counter-style meal of delicious Cuban sandwiches stuffed with croquetas (fried tidbits, often of mashed potato) or an extra layer of pork. Yelp reviewers praise the regular specials, crispy bread, and affordable prices. Reviews identify Islas Canarias as a good spot to try croquetas on their own. Getting a belly full of Cuban food is truly one of the most satisfying cheap things to do in Miami.

Perez Art Museum Miami
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Peruse the Perez Art Museum Miami

The 35-year-old Perez Art Museum Miami is a modern and contemporary art museum located in downtown Miami. In addition to collecting and exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Perez Art Museum Miami offers a sculpture garden, daily tours, and community events. Admission is free every first Thursday and second Saturday of the month. After your visit, if you haven't had enough contemporary art, head south to the Institute of Contemporary Art, a free admission museum. 

Get Interactive At The Miami Children's Museum
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Get Interactive at the Miami Children's Museum

Just across the causeway from the Perez Art Museum Miami is the Miami Children's Museum for a day of educational, hands-on exhibits. Admission is usually $20 a person ($15 for Floridians), but visitors get in for free from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the third Friday of every month. Kids can build at the Construction Zone, explore the two-story Castle of Dreams, scale the Mount MichiMu rock-climbing wall, and role-play at a kid-size supermarket. Note that the Perez Art Museum Miami and Children's Museum are two of many attractions on the Go Miami card, which — while not free or cheap — can also save you money while in Miami if you plan to hit multiple attractions. 

Practice Free Yoga Near the Bay
Free Yoga at Bayfront Park/Yelp

Free Yoga Classes at Bayfront Park

Find free and donation-based yoga by the scenic bay and beaches in Bayfront Park. The Third Street Beach Yoga studio is active every day of the week, with donation-based sunrise and sunset classes led by certified yoga instructors. Students should bring their own towel (instead of a mat), sunscreen, and water. Also offered at Bayfront Park? Free salsa classes. And you can find many more free yoga classes at parks and locations all over Miami. 

Escape to Quiet Key Biscayne
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Escape to Quiet Key Biscayne

Head south of South Beach for seclusion, peace, and quiet. At Key Biscayne, there are pristine beaches, a cycling trail, and beautiful views of Miami. After sunbathing, drive farther south to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park for a variety of sports and activities.

People-Watch on Ocean Drive
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People-Watch on Ocean Drive

Stroll along one of the most popular, crowded roads in Miami Beach. Ocean Drive runs alongside South Beach and is packed with commercial activity, beach views, beautiful people, and singular architecture. Famous Ocean Drive sites, including the old residence of Gianni Versace, appear in a number of American films (including "Scarface" and "The Birdcage") and TV shows (including "Miami Vice" and "Dexter"). Many restaurants hand out fliers for lunch or dinner specials on Ocean Drive.

Browse At the Farmers Markets
Arsht Center

Browse at the Farmers Markets

If shopping is on the to-do list, visit the farmers markets in Miami. There are plenty of locally sourced vegetables and other foods for cooking in accommodations with kitchens, as well as homemade goods and potential souvenirs to bring home. The Adrienne Arsht Center Farmers Market in downtown Miami, held from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Monday, adds occasional events featuring talks, live music, and cooking.

Go on an Art Walk
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Go on an Art Walk

Miami is known for its art scene, street art, and plentiful galleries, and bars and restaurants are often packed with locals and tourists at the tail end of an art walk. The Coral Gables Gallery Night brings art enthusiasts around in a free city trolley the first Friday of every month, and the Wynwood Art Walk crowds Miami galleries on second Saturdays. Art of Miami lists the best art walks, but be sure not to miss Wynwood Walls, which showcases the city's vibrant graffiti and street art scene. Once you've walked up a thirst, head to the nearby, popular Concrete Beach Brewery for some locally brewed beers and a bite to eat.  

Get Active At Crandon Park
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Get Active at Crandon Park

If sunbathing and drinking near the beach sounds too relaxing, head to Crandon Park on the northern tip of Key Biscayne. It's all about activities: beach volleyball, walking and biking trails, a tennis center, golf, kiteboarding, and more. Pack lunch and a day's worth of supplies (barbecue grills are available). There's a $7 parking fee on weekends.

Related: 26 Best Free Things and Cheap Activities To Do In New Orleans

Stroll Around Little Havana
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Stroll Around Little Havana's Calle Ocho

If a taste of Cuban culture is on the itinerary, Little Havana is one of the best free things you can choose for your itinerary. Thousands of Cubans fled to Miami after Fidel Castro became prime minister in 1959, making Little Havana the place to experience authentic dominos, art, music, and commerce — including cigar rollers — as well as the country's distinctive cuisine. Try churro ice cream, sugarcane juice, and strong coffee when hunger strikes while sightseeing along Calle Ocho and Memorial Boulevard. Little Havana is also where you can find Viernes Culturales — a weekly festival that offers plenty of free family fun, including a Children’s Village, music, art, dancing, and more. Viernes Culturales is free every Friday.  

Learn Something New At HistoryMiami
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Learn Something New at HistoryMiami

HistoryMiami (formerly the Historical Museum of Southern Florida) is dedicated to maintaining and commemorating the history and culture of South Florida. Learn about the area back to prehistoric times, as well as cultural folklife, pioneering Miami Beach families, and more through artifacts and archives. Admission is free on Family Fun Days on the second Saturday of every month.

Discover the Historic Art Deco District
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Discover the Historic Art Deco District

Pack comfortable walking shoes to explore the Art Deco District in South Beach, recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Make sure phones and cameras are charged to capture the bright, pastel-colored buildings, architecture mimicking the ocean liners of the 1930s, and gleaming neon signs. Follow a walking tour compiled by National Geographic for a thorough glimpse of these preserved, unique buildings. Or check out Miami Design Preservation League's art deco tour

Take The Kids To Biscayne National Park
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Discover Free Family Fun at Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park, south of Miami, preserves a variety of ecosystems, including Biscayne Bay and its offshore reefs. For a glimpse of the diverse wildlife, take a trip to the national park for Family Fun Fest on the second Sunday of the month from December through April. At free interactive activity stations, children learn about different aspects of the park's resources and earn a special button at the end of the day.

Watch an Outdoor Movie
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Watch an Outdoor Movie

The New World Center's ExoStage — equipped with an outdoor projection wall stretching over 7,000 square feet — plays features on Wednesday nights. The fall 2019 lineup includes Italian films such as "Life is Beautiful" and "Il Postino." People bring blankets, food, and sometimes dogs to enjoy an evening of cinema in the park.

Discover Coconut Grove By Bike
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Discover Coconut Grove by Bike

Learn about the oldest inhabited neighborhood of Miami on a free bicycle tour on the second and fourth Saturday morning of every month. Led by Royal Palm Tours of Miami, the route takes visitors on a scenic, educational ride through Coconut Grove. A local restaurant provides free parking, although Citi Bike rentals start at $15.

Enjoy Happy Hour
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Enjoy Happy Hour

The beach may be Miami's top destination, but the local happy hours are a good follow-up once the sun sets. Search by atmosphere, or look to inexpensive spots such as the dog-friendly Wood Tavern in Wynwood, where Yelp reviewers have cheered the free tacos on Tuesdays and half-off happy hour. If you never miss a Taco Tuesday, this might be one of the best free things you can do in the city. Want more ideas? You can also check out the Miami Herald's coverage of the city's best happy hours

Miami Beach Botanical Garden
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Visit a Botanical Garden

Got a green thumb? Here's one of the best free things the city has to offer. Miami’s lush tropical climate makes for an amazingly diverse variety of plant life, and touring the Miami Beach Botanical Garden will bring that home for visitors with areas featuring native plants, orchids, and edible produce. It's also adjacent to the city's Holocaust Memorial, which is also worth a visit while you're there. The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. 

Winwood Brewing Company Miami
Winwood Brewing Co.

Take a Brewery Tour

Visitors can get an education on the beer-making process with a brewery tour at Winwood Brewing Co. The brewery is known for its La Rubia Blonde Ale. Tours start at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The tours cost $10 and include a beer of your choice and a pint glass to take home.

New World Center
New World Symphony/Facebook

Catch a Concert at the New World Center

Designed by noted modernist architect Frank Gehry, the New World Center — Gehry's only Florida commission — holds docent-led tours most days of the year. Tours are limited to the first 20 patrons for $5 per person, and reservations are required. All tours begin in the New World Center atrium, and last approximately 30-45 minutes. While you're there, check out the New World Symphony's schedule of concerts. Located inside New World Center, The New World Symphony holds free shows each month , and even ticketed shows can be very reasonable. Or check out the symphony's free WALLCAST concerts that allow you to set up chairs outside. 

Miami Design District
Miami Design District

Wander the Miami Design District

The shops within in the Miami Design District can be pricey, but appreciating the art and architecture is free. There are a handful of no-cost public art tours each month, and visitors are free to wander this once-gritty neighborhood and appreciate the effort that has been put into it by internationally renowned architecture firms. The Miami Art District is also home to restaurants, bars, art galleries, and much more. 

The Miami Biltmore Hotel in Miami
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Head to Coral Gables

This Miami-adjacent city is nicknamed The City Beautiful, and it's easy to see why. Less than a half-hour from Miami, Coral Gables is home to tree-lined boulevards, ivy-covered mansions, and historic landmarks such as the world-famous Biltmore Hotel and Venetian Pool. Take a dip in the latter while you're there — admission is $15 for adults, $10 for kids. 

Bear Cut Nature Preserve
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Hit the Trails

Sure, Miami offers plenty of opportunity for a walk on the beach, but you can get on a trail, too, for hiking and biking. Bear Cut Nature Preserve offers a labyrinth of both paved and unpaved paths that end at a fossil reef overlook, with downtown Miami as a stunning backdrop. And Old Cutler Trail is a favorite among the city's bicyclists, offering views of beautiful Miami homes and otherworldly ficus and banyan trees. Along the way, stop and rest at Matheson Hammock Park, where there are both green spaces and beaches. You can also park at Matheson Hammock Park and start your biking journey from there. 

Little Haiti Cultural Complex
Little Haiti Cultural Complex

Get a Taste of Little Haiti

Miami's Little Havana gets a lot of attention, but the city's Little Haiti area is also rich in culture, arts, and more. Start at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, where you can learn about Afro-Caribbean cultures through art galleries, special events, and a Caribbean marketplace. Afterward, head to the nearby Piman Bouk Haitian Restaurant for some cheap eats in the form of meat stews, fish platters, and other Haitian dishes.

Bayside Marketplace
Bayside Marketplace

Engage in Some Retail Therapy

Miami, of course, offers plenty of shoping, including Bayside Marketplace and Redland Market Village. A two-story open-air shopping center located in the downtown Miami, Bayside Marketplace is the city's most-visited attraction and, in addition to shopping, there are musical events and a weekly farmer's market. Note you can also park here if you happen to be attending an event at American Airlines Arena. For a less-crowded shopping experience , head to Redland Market Village, a flea market on more than 27 acres that includes an extensive farmer's market, food trucks, and entertainment for the whole family. Finally, Miami Beach's Lincoln Road Mall offers plenty of indoor and outdoor browsing opportunities. From brand name stores to antiques and collectibles to an every-Sunday farmer's market, Lincoln Road has it covered. 

South Pointe Park Pier
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Chill In a Park

Miami — and nearby Miami Beach —are covered with green spaces, including plenty of public areas such as South Pointe Park, Bayfront Park, Lummus Park Beach, and Domino Park (aka Maximo Gomez Park). Miami Beach's South Pointe Park offers trails, a children's playground and sprayground, places to lounge, public sculptures, and beach access. You might also want to walk out on South Pointe Park Pier for immersive ocean views. Bayfront Park, in downtown Miami, hosts plenty of public events but also offers 32 acres of modernist-designed urban park to wander around on. Lummus Park Beach, also in Miami Beach, is a sunny 26-acre space with beach access, trails, and playgrounds. And, if you happen to be in Miami during October, be sure to see if your visit coincides with the city's Kitetober Kite Festival in Haulover Park, which offers free admission . 

the Wolfsonian
the Wolfsonian by Acroterion (CC BY-SA)

Explore Modernism at the Wolfsonian

The Wolfsonian, part of Florida International University, houses more than 200,000 objects that showcase "a vast universe of ideas." From household appliances that changed the way we lived, to cross-cultural designs, to "propaganda that helped turn the tides of war," this museum explores a fascinating take on the modern world. It is free every Friday from 6-9 p.m.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami by Averette (CC BY)

Find a Free Museum Day

When visitors think Miami, they likely don't factor "museum" into the equation as much as they do beaches, shopping, and glitz. But The Magic City is rich in museums that offer insight into everything from art and culture to science and history. Some are always free, and others are no-cost on the city's free museum days