Must-see attractions and best things to do in downtown Miami

Downtown Miami’s striking skyline is not just another pretty sight, but an architectural testament to an impressive collection of historic landmarks, futuristic structures and show-stopping attractions. Standing out among the skyscrapers of Downtown Miami is the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College, now home to the MDC Museum of Art + Design. The museum is set to reopen in spring 2018.

Learn all about Miami at HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate. The exhibitions rotate, and Tropical Dreams: A People’s History of South Florida is on permanent display. The museum also offers a regular schedule of informative and city tours.

BROWSE: Miami.com Guide – Downtown Miami

Holding court at the massive AmericanAirlines Arena, the NBA’s Miami HEAT play to sellout crowds. This state-of-the-art bayfront arena also hosts some of the city’s biggest events, including big-name concerts.

Bayfront Park is a 32-acre site of lush greenery set right on Biscayne Bay, with an amphitheater, tropical rock garden and waterfall, playground, fountain, and monuments such as the Plaza of the Spanish Navy/Plaza de la Marina Española.

The 30-acre Museum Park also provides spectacular views of the bay. It connects two premier museums. Inside Pérez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) galleries you can marvel at international art of the 20th and 21st centuries. PAMM is now joined by the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which opened in 2017 and includes a state-of-the-art aquarium and planetarium.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is home to three internationally acclaimed companies — Florida Grand Opera, the Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony — along with a regular series of jazz, flamenco and Broadway hits, as well as a fine dining restaurant, a cafe and a weekly farmer’s market.

Downtown Miami’s other performance palace — the Olympia Theater — came of age in the Roaring Twenties and still reflects the grandeur of that era with lavish Moorish architecture and a simulated night sky overhead.

Meanwhile, Greater Miami’s most colorful characters, from macaws to monkeys, welcome visitors to Jungle Island, on the MacArthur Causeway. Right across the causeway from Jungle Island, kids and families can play and learn at Miami Children’s Museum. Department stores such as Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue are part of the shopping mix, as are specialty stores and retailers. Bayside Marketplace is home to more than 140 shops, boutiques and vendors. Its Miamarina is the place to set sail aboard a sightseeing boat.

AmericanAirlines Arena

Miami Heat fans lineup outside of the AmericanAirlines Arena for the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Miami.

AmericanAirlines Arena acts as home court for Miami Heat games, but this state of the art venue is also the optimal place for concerts, live awards shows and family entertainment.

601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Jungle Island

Amy York, left, from Jungle Island holds a baby Bengal Tiger as Jamari Bullard-8, right, from Phillis Wheatley Elementary looks on.

Jungle Island is an interactive zoological amusement park that technically is not on Miami Beach but on the way.

305-200-7000

1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, FL 33132

Miami Children’s Museum

From left: Belissa Medina, 31, and her daughter Anastasia Sanchez, 5, dance during the 4th Annual Kindergarten Kickoff at Miami Children’s Museum.

Miami Children’s Museum offers interactive exhibits, educational programs and learning materials related to arts, culture, community and communication.

305-373-5437

980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Gabriel Castagna 11 and his mother take in the sights of the Feathers tothe Stars exhibit during the long-awaited opening of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a $305 million state-of-the-art museum notable for its gigantic oculus located at the bottom of a 500,000-gallon aquarium.

305-434-9600

1101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Bayfront Park

Spectators watch the Bayfront Park fireworks as Miami celebrates Independence Day in downtown on July 4, 2017.

Bayfront Park is a 32-acre park with a pristine view of Biscayne Bay replete with lush greenery, paved paths, a playground and public art installations. It is the venue for many festivals and performances.

305-358-7550

301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Miami Circle Park

Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez recites ancestors greeting at the Miami Circle prior to her weekly Native American ceremony at the park.

Miami Circle Park is a National Historic Landmark that dates back as many as 2000 years when the Tequesta tribe built it.

465 Brickell Ave. Miami, FL 33131

Bayside Marketplace

Millions of people visit Bayside Marketplace every year.

Bayside Marketplace has shopping and eateries, with a great view.

305-577-3344

401 Biscayne Blvd R106, Miami, FL 33132
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