Miami is where the sun-kissed shores of South Florida meet the pulsating beat of Latin rhythms and where millions of tourists come to vacation every year.
Known as the Magic City, Miami is home to a variety of cultures and is a place where diverse influences seamlessly blend to create an energetic atmosphere people immediately think of when they hear Florida.
As a Florida native, I often arrive and depart from the Miami airport and spend many layovers here. This has led me to look for things to do near Miami airport during my time here.
Whether you’re in Miami for a layover that allows you to see a bit more of the city before heading to your final destination or trying to add one more thing to your itinerary straight off your flight, here are 23 things to do near Miami airport that will keep you entertained while you’re in the area.
I aimed to keep these places 20-35 minutes away from the airport at most so you can maximize your time in Miami!
• For a detailed itinerary of how you can spend a day in Miami, check out my blog post on How to Spend 24 Hours in Miami.
This blog post does contain affiliate links which means that if you book one of these activities using my link (which I know you will because you loved how helpful this blog post is *wink*I am going to receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting BCJ!
Thriller Miami Speedboat (20 minutes away)
Take a 20-minute drive to the docks in Bayside from the Miami airport, and you can embark on a ride inside the Thriller Miami Speedboat.
Reaching speeds up to 40 mph, you’ll have fun on the 45-minute tour, where you’ll experience lots of drops, twists, and turns. The boat will give you views of Miami’s skylines and celebrity mansions on Star Island, Fisher Island, and Miami Beach.
The boat departs every 1.5 hours from the dock, so you are guaranteed a spot on the next one, leaving for a great introduction to the vibes in Miami.
Wynwood Walls (17-21 minutes away)
Wynwood Walls is an outdoor street art museum that opened in 2009 and has since become a “must-see” destination in the Magic City.
The museum is held outdoors with walls that artists worldwide have elaborately painted. You can walk around, stopping at each wall to admire the creative works that have contributed to making Wynwood Walls what it is today.
One stop at the outdoor museum includes a “Street Art Experience,” where you’ll grab a bottle of spray paint and channel your inner artist as you contribute to the Wynwood Walls (my favorite part!).
South Beach Private Helicopter Ride (24 – 31 minutes away)
Enjoy a flight over the glamorous area of South Miami and take in Miami’s stunning beauty from the sky.
“On a private flight tour operated by certified flight instructors, you can soar over beaches and luxurious mansions on islands before observing the skyscrapers at Downtown Miami from Biscayne Bay.
This memorable tour flies you over the South Beach shoreline, Key Biscayne, Downtown Miami, Venetian, Star and Palm Islands, and other iconic spots.”
Miami International Mall (29 – 35 minutes away)
Miami International Mall is a vibrant shopping destination with shops and a lively atmosphere. From upscale retailers to trendy fashion boutiques and an array of dining options, you can treat yourself to window shopping or swiping your card as you please.
Institute of Contemporary Art (18-24 minutes away)
At the Institute of Contemporary Art, the work of local, emerging, and under-recognized artists are given a platform to showcase their art to the Miami community.
One of the free things to do near Miami airport, you can walk through the various exhibits on display and admire all that it has to offer.
Tour Little Haiti (21-22 minutes away)
Miami is home to over 300,000 Haitians, contributing to the city’s reputation for being a hub of vibrant cultures. Little Haiti is a predominantly Haitian neighborhood in Miami where authentic touches of Haiti lie in every corner.
On a tour of Little Haiti, you’ll passby the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, the establishment dedicated to promoting Haitian culture through dancing, education, language, visual arts, and other cultural events.
From there, you’ll get a glimpse of the different businesses in the community, like markets, a dance studio, a botanica, the Touissant Louverture statue, and more that breathe life into Little Haiti.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (23-24 minutes away)
A more posh activity to participate in and one of Miami’s top tourist attractions, Vizcaya is a historic Italian Renaissance-style villa/estate surrounded by lush gardens, gorgeous fountains, and views of Biscayne Bay.
As a guest, you can wander through the gardens and soak in the outdoor sculptures.
The inside of Vizcaya is also available to tour, as the Main House is 45,225 square feet and contains 54 rooms, of which 34 decorated rooms are open to the public.
Miami Seaquarium (23-29 minutes away)
The Miami Seaquarium is one of the fun things to do near Miami airport. It is a perfect pitstop for marine lovers, families, animal enthusiasts, or those simply seeking an engaging and educational experience.
Better suited for a long layover in Miami due to the type of things offered at the facility, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a marine haven.
The Seaquarium is home to animals like dolphins, sea lions, and manatees, among others. As a visitor, you can swim with dolphins, come face to face with sharks and rays, sit in on a seal show, and more.
Jungle Island (22-23 minutes away)
The animal shows provide an immersive and educational experience for those of all ages and include closeups with lemurs, sloths, flamingos, and more.
Inside the park is Treetop Trekking Miami, where you can challenge yourself through “two aerial adventure courses, reaching heights of approximately 20-25 feet in the air.”
Outfitted in a climbing harness and helmet, you will explore the jungle on suspension bridges, balance games, cable traverses, zip lines, and so much more!
Miami Design District (19-20 minutes away)
The Miami Design District is another popular spot in Miami, and its vibrant and high-end vibe is exactly why.
The district is composed of high-end fashion boutiques, art galleries, and design showrooms and is known for creating a unique and immersive shopping and cultural experience.
Only 20 minutes from the Miami airport, you never know who you may see or what you may find if you decide to visit!
Little Havana (13-16 minutes away)
Miami’s cultural neighborhoods are part of its charm, and Little Havana is no different.
This community stands as a lively and colorful neighborhood, pulsating with the beats of Latin music, the aromas of Cuban cuisine, and the warmth of a community deeply rooted in its cultural heritage that will give you a taste of Cuban and Latin American life.
Stop by for lunch at a local Cuban cafe, take a salsa dancing lesson, sign up for a food tour, or simply stroll the neighborhood streets, appreciating the culture it radiates.
HistoryMiami Museum (18-32 minutes away)
HistoryMiami Museum in downtown Miami tells several stories about the city’s history and how Miami and the greater South Florida area, as we know it today, came to be.
The museum has exhibitions, artistic endeavors, city tours, education, research, collections, and publications to help you understand how events in the past have played a role in shaping Miami’s future.
You can also book city and weekend gallery tours offered by HistoryMiami here.
Bayside (21-23 minutes away)
Bayside Marketplace is a waterfront shopping center with various individual shops, restaurants, and boat tours for visitors to embark on. Bayside is where people in Miami relax, enjoy themselves, and overall, have a good time.
Sit at a cute bar like Lola’s Bar, which can’t be missed with its flashy pink neon lights, or enjoy the view of yachts and people coming and going on the Miamarina.
You’ll see a variety of locals and tourists looking to chill and have a great time, making it one of the best things to do near Miami airport. The lively ambiance is enhanced by live music, street performers, and seasonal events that add to the Miami experience.
Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum (34-35 minutes away)
An on-campus art museum on the campus of Florida International University, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum serves as an educational opportunity in the area.
If you are a lover of the arts, this museum is yet another opportunity to discover artists and their cultural artwork from all over the world, free of charge.
Whether you appreciate classic pieces or contemporary works, visiting this museum will leave you feeling creative and inspired.
Fluid Bear Workshop (25 minutes away)
Bringing something unique to the Miami scene, the Fluid Bear Workshop is an interesting way to spend time in Miami.
For a few hours, you’ll be given three colors of acrylic fluid paints and have the freedom to create a one-of-a-kind mini bear statue.
Not only will you be immersed in a laidback, fun environment for a few hours, but you’ll also have a souvenir to take home with you!
Sky Zone Doral (33 minutes away)
America’s favorite trampoline park, Sky Zone Doral, provides a gravity-defying adventure for visitors of all ages.
From soaring through the air on the different obstacle courses to engaging in activities like dodgeball on trampolines, the indoor park guarantees a high-energy and memorable outing, perfect for wearing out kids if you’re traveling with any!
Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach (20 minutes away)
Formed in 1984 by a group of Holocaust survivors, the idea of the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach was born.
The memorial stands in honor of the six million Jews whose lives were taken at the hands of the Nazis.
The memorial includes a detailed overview of the events that took place, sculpture displays, and a wall that lists the names of survivors carved in black granite to remain as a monument to their lives.
The Kampong (33 minutes away)
Walk through the nature gardens at The Kampong National Tropical Botanical Garden.
Encompassing nearly 2,000 acres, The Kampong has thousands of species from the tropical world gathered through field expeditions and collaborations with other institutions and researchers to form a living collection in Miami.
Fruit trees, palms, flowering trees, ficus, bamboo, and more can be seen in the garden.
Beyond the gorgeous plants, The Kampong also hosts events at the garden, like the Aloha Market, where Kauai-made gifts and crafts are sold, and gala events.
Museum of Graffiti (20 minutes away)
Claiming the title of the “World’s First Museum Dedicated to Graffiti,” the Museum of Graffiti “exhibits, educates, and celebrates the thousands of graffiti artists who have transformed walls in our public spaces into vibrant masterpieces.”
The museum has indoor and outdoor exhibitions showing the top global and local graffiti artists you can brief while learning how graffiti entered our world.
Tip: If you’re traveling with kids, every Sunday at 10 am, the museum hosts a graffiti drawing class for kids!
Superblue Miami (15 minutes away)
Superblue Miami is an art experience that reels visitors into an immersive world where boundaries between art and audience dissolve.
What differentiates Superblue from other art museums in the city is that the art is observed and actively engaged with. Multimedia installations and interactive digital art captivate visitors and get them involved in the experience.
“Explore a breathtaking mirrored maze, interact with awe-inspiring digital worlds, see your heartbeat to the glow of 3,000 lights, and so much more.”
Private Sightseeing Boat Tour (13 minutes away)
An alternative to the Thriller Speedboat, you can embark on an exclusive private boat tour and see the same sights from the water.
You can select a 2-4 hour tour, each with its own perks. If you’re pressed for time, the 2-hour tour is perfect.
The 2-hour tour is “a picturesque sea cruise that unveils the best views of Miami’s iconic skyline, Miami River, Key Biscayne Bay, the famous Venetian Islands, and the Millionaire’s homes.”
With up to 12 people allowed per boat, this is an activity you can do with your travel crew or solo, depending on your comfort level.
Zoo Miami (23-32 minutes away)
Zoo Miami offers a unique opportunity to witness animals in settings that closely mimic their native environments.
From iconic species like elephants and giraffes to rare and endangered creatures, the diverse range of exhibits provides an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Museum of Illusions (19-20 minutes away)
Enter a world of alternate realities at the Museum of Illusions. At this museum, your mind is tested as you question if what you see as you navigate through the different showpieces is, in fact, the reality of what is happening.
Challenging your perception and perspective, the museum is a great place to go with friends or family. You’ll also want to have your camera ready, as the museum provides great opportunities for creative photos!
One of the more interesting museums to visit here in Miami, this makes for a fun experience in the heart of Miami during your time here.