Where to stay in Miami, Florida

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The Best Places to Stay in Miami– Tips and Advice

  • Why visit Miami: Your average spring breaker is still more than welcome here, but also keep in mind that Miami is home to innovative dining, impressive art-deco and Miami Modern architecture, and hosts the largest art fair in the world every year in December: Art Basel Miami Beach.
  • What is the best time of year to go to Miami: The ocean is warmest in the summer, but keep in mind that this is also Miami’s rainy season. Your best bet is either the spring or the fall, but note that it is during these high seasons that it is also the most crowded.
  • What is the weather like in Miami: In general, the weather here is incredible. At the hottest, temperatures throughout the day hover around 90º, and rarely hotter. Winter here is balmy, with a few chilly days scattered within December and January.
  • Can you visit Miami on a budget: During festivals like Ultra or Miami Art Week, prices here for accommodation can skyrocket. Try visiting during the summer for the best deals.

When you think of Miami, you probably have an idea of a city dripping in neon and filled with bikini-clad residents in a perpetual state of returning from the beach. But what is colloquially called ‘Miami’ is actually several neighborhoods and small suburbs within Miami-Dade County, each one with its own vibe and cultural significance. 

While it’s still the perfect place for a classic beach vacation, revivification projects across the county have created enticing enclaves on the mainland as well. From bastions of contemporary art and design to the insular Latin American communities that abound, there’s a lot more to see in and around Miami than just the ocean.

Miami Neighborhood Guide

miami neighborhood guide

Miami’s neighborhoods are as diverse as its people. From the all-night parties of Downtown to the placid beauty of Coral Gables, each neighborhood has something a little different to offer. But once you have an idea of what’s available – and realize that Miami is much larger than just South Beach – you’ll be well equipped to pick the perfect property for you.

Here’s a remedial course on Miami’s various neighborhoods and suburbs that most frequently attract tourists, each with a few recommendations on where you can stay on virtually any budget.

The 11 Best Areas To Stay In Miami

1. South Beach

south beach

While Miami-Dade County is quite vast with a host of different cities, towns, and neighborhoods, South Beach tends to steal the show. The center of nightlife, hedonism, and the most exclusive – and expensive – beach resorts in the entire county, SoBe, or simply ‘The Beach’ as it is affectionately called by folks who live here, draws thousands of tourists every year.

Generally, South Beach is considered everything below 24th street, stretching from the ocean to the bay. For tourists, the majority of the hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs that you’re likely to visit are dispersed between three principal thoroughfares: Washington, Collins, and the iconic Ocean Drive.

Here is where you’ll find the types of alcohol-drenched beach bars You’ve probably heard of, and while new ones are popping up all the time, there are a handful of standbys that seem to have been around forever.

The frozen daiquiri chain Wet Willie’s has an outpost in South Beach that draws tourists by the thousands, especially on a hot day. And the lovely ocean-facing patio bar and restaurant at the Clevelander is a great spot to grab a cocktail when you’re done sunbathing on the beach.

While these touristy bars aren’t exactly “traps” per se, they’re not extremely locals-oriented, either. If you’re wondering where South Beach residents spend their happy hours, you can usually find them at Española Way’s Lost Weekend immersed in a game of pool, or saddled up to the bar at the oldest watering hole in Miami, the iconic Mac’s Club Deuce.

If you’re willing to venture over to the bayside of the island, Be sure to grab a beer or two at The Abbey on 16th just off Alton. This taphouse of Tampa’s Abbey Brewing Company is a local favorite, and the perfect place for a nightcap after dinner at nearby James Beard nominated soul food restaurant, Yardbird.

When you have no particular destination in mind, you can head to Lincoln Road, a pedestrian street that crosses the Beach between Washington and Alton. Along here you’ll find boutique and big-box shopping, souvenir stores, and plenty of restaurants with outdoor patios ready and waiting for whenever you’d like to stop in for a bite.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SOUTH BEACH

($$$) • The Betsy • Ocean Drive

($$) • Beach Studio with Pool • Ocean Drive

($) • The Tropics Hotel and Hostel • Collins

2. Mid Beach

mid beach

More calm and collected than its southern neighbor, Mid Beach is home to mostly families and retirees and caters to tourists who prefer the spa to the club. With a mix of high-rise and boutique hotels, the real gems in Mid Beach are oceanfront, offering you easy access to quieter, far less crowded beaches.

Dining in MId Beach is dominated by the Collins-set hotel offerings, with the Fontainebleau alone boasting 12 restaurants, ranging from casual to ultra-fine dining. Some other stand-outs include the Venetian chain Cecconi’s at the SoHo Beach House and the Cadillac Hotel’s cozy Lobby Bar.  

This is also a great place to stay if you prefer an ocean-front property, but still want easy access to Wynwood and the Design District. Mid Beach provides quick access to both, which lie just across the 41st street causeway from here, only about a 10-minute drive.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MID BEACH

($$$) • Luxury 3 Bedroom Villa • Pine Tree Drive

($$) • Sixty80 Design Hotel • Collins

($) • Freehand Miami • Indian Creek Drive

3. North Beach

north beach

Catering less to the well-heeled and with considerably more Spanish-speaking residents, North Beach just might be Miami’s best-kept secret. With the least crowded beaches in all of Miami Beach, reasonably priced bars and restaurants, and scores of clean, comfortable hotel rooms at rock-bottom prices, North Beach is hard to pass up.

Not to be confused with North Miami Beach – a completely separate municipality much further north – North Beach is just a fifteen-minute drive, traffic permitting, to South Beach or the mainland, but you won’t have to leave for much.

In fact, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the clear Argentine influences here, both in the people and the fare. New Campo Argentino is a solid choice for a traditional Argentinian steak dinner, while Banchero is a local favorite for real Argentinian-style pizza.

But the real gem of NoBe is the Ocean Terrace public beach. On some days you might be one of only a few people around, with huge stretches of the beach to yourself. And when you’re done in the sun, you can stop at one of Ocean Terrace’s hotel bars, each one a throwback to a part of Miami Beach rarely seen anymore.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NORTH BEACH

($$$) • Glamorous Beach Villa • Harding

($$) • The Collins Hotel • Collins

($) • Cozy Studio in Boutique Hotel • 73rd Street

4. Wynwood

wynwood 

In the last ten years, Wynwood has exploded onto the scene as the art-splashed, caffeine-laden center of all things creative and the preeminent trendsetter in Dade County. Filled from tip to tail with galleries, coffee shops, and concept bars, This relatively small neighborhood packs a hefty punch.

While the arts scene here varies somewhat, you’ll find it’s dominated by street art and graffiti. Official outlets for these practices exist in spaces like the Museum of Graffiti and the Wynwood Walls where you’ll find work by the likes of Shepard Fairey, Alexis Diaz, and El Seed. But even just a wander through the neighborhood will find you surrounded by colorful murals covering almost any free wall. 

To get into the spirit of all things Wynwood, stop by one of the neighborhood strongholds for some people watching. Panther Coffee, a Florida-based artisanal coffee roaster, has become the unofficial living room of Wynwood, with characters of all stripes stopping in here for a cup of joe throughout the day.

And when you’re ready for a casual dinner, R House is the place to see and be seen without sacrificing your Bermuda shorts and t-shirt.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN WYNWOOD

($$$) • STAY 2 Bedroom Apartment • 26th Street

($$) • Wynwood Artists Loft with Rooftop Pool • 23rd Street

($) • Wynwood Studio • N Miami Avenue

5. The Design District

the design district

A bit more refined and upscale in contrast to the freneticism of its neighbor Wynwood, Miami’s Design District combines the finest architecture, fashion, and graphic design into a handful of elegant blocks. Here you’ll find luxury boutiques, high-end interior design stores, and one of Miami’s best displays of modern architecture.

If you’re searching for luxury goods, head to 41st street first. Along this street, you’ll find representatives of the major players like Gucci, Prada, and Off-White. Also found here is the ultra-slick Institute of Contemporary Art, an international arts organization and museum in one. You can visit their exhibits for free, provided you make a reservation.

Just a few blocks south of there between 38th and 39th are the Palm Court Shops, featuring outlets like Burberry, Tiffany & Co, and Louis Vuitton, just to name a few. A must-see here is the centerpiece of this lavish outdoor mall, a curious Buckminster Fuller sculpture called Fly’s Eye Dome that has become a requisite backdrop for thousands of tourists’ Instagram photos.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN THE DESIGN DISTRICT

($$$) • Design District Gem • 39th Street

($$) • Travelodge by Wyndam • Biscayne

($) • Garden Cottage • 2nd Avenue

6. Downtown

downtown

While Downtown Miami has always had its charms, there have been massive efforts in the last ten years to revive the neighborhood. The results have been fantastic, with new restaurants, shops, and hotels infusing Downtown with new life.

While Miami Beach dominated the club scene for years, the massive warehouses in Miami’s Downtown offered something SoBe’s relatively quaint cubs can’t: enormous amounts of square footage. None is more storied than Club Space, which has been pumping out throbbing EDM until the wee hours of the morning for over 20 years.

Space remains a go-to for bachelor parties, 21-runs, and of course, spring break. But not to be outdone, the 13,500 square-foot E11even Miami is open 24/7 and features a gigantic dance floor, a rooftop bar, a late-night food menu, and acrobatic dancers. But be forewarned: the latter often perform topless.

If an all-out club isn’t quite your style, the lovely bar and restaurant Area 31 at the Kimpton EPIC Hotel offers everything you’d expect from the Downtown Miami Scene, but a bit more relaxed. And because it’s situated on the 16th floor, the stunning view of the skyline can’t be beaten, particularly at night.

But Downtown isn’t all clubs. In fact, you’ll be in a prime location to visit Maurice A. Ferré Park, formerly known as Museum Park. From here, two of Miami’s behemoth museums are just a stone’s throw: the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN DOWNTOWN MIAMI

($$$) • Mint House • Biscayne

($$) • YVE Hotel • Biscayne

($$) • Resort Style Condo  • Biscayne

7. Brickell

brickell

A favorite among Millennials and the emerging Gen Z, Brickell has Miami’s center for everything slick and trendy. With posh bars, quirky taquerias, and ample retail shopping, Brickell has everything you might need or want within walking distance, all lined by the picturesque Bayfront Park.

Planned to perfection by the city and local business associations, the new Brickell is truly a neighborhood you never have to leave. Booking a hotel here means you’ll find shopping, dining, and entertainment within walking distance, and with some of the best hotel pools in the world, you won’t even have to think about crossing the busy causeway to visit the beach.

Many of these hotel pools don’t even require a night’s​​ stay to access, simply contact the property to purchase a pool pass which will give you access for the day. The best pools in the neighborhood can be found at the W Miami, the Four Seasons, and at East Miami, whose pool is actually best described as a complex of pools. 

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN BRICKELL

($$$) • SLS Brickell • South Miami Ave

($$) • House of Art • Brickell Bay Drive

($) West Brickell Apartment • SW 13th Street

8. Overtown

overtown

The historical center of the Black community in Miami, Overtown is the newest up-and-coming Miami neighborhood currently undergoing a tremendous facelift. With the renovation of the Historic Lyric Theater and the new infrastructure being built to recreate the Miami Riverfront as a premier destination, Overtown is long overdue to garner attention from tourists. 

Anchoring the new riverfront project, The Wharf is a riverfront complex with food trucks, craft cocktail bars, and frequent live music. But no trip to Overtown would be complete without stopping at the legendary Red Rooster, which serves classic southern comfort food in a space that can only be described as a vibe.

Overtown has long been a safe haven for Black creatives, particularly during the mid-20th century when blues and jazz musicians frequented its many clubs and speakeasies. Before the construction of the freeway that bisected the neighborhood in two, Overtown was known to host such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin.

In this same vein, artist Purvis Young has painted several murals in and around Overtown that celebrates this history, and look ahead to what Overtown can become again. Find one of his most famous public works at NW 11th Street and NW 3rd Avenue, a short walk from the center of the neighborhood.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN OVERTOWN

($$$) • Waterfront Heated Pool House • Seybold Canal

($$) • The Copper Door B&B • NW 4th Avenue

($) • Bahama Bungalow • NW 9th Street

9. Little Havana

little havana

As you might guess from the name, Little Havana is one of the largest Cuban communities in Southern Florida. Overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking, this colorful barrio is filled with music, dancing, and plenty of exquisite Cuban food.

The neighborhood is centered around Calle Ocho, or SW 8th Street. On this multi-hued main drag is the mosaic-tiled Máximo Gómez Park, or Domino Park, so nicknamed because it’s a favorite spot among locals to gather for bouts of dominoes. 

As for many visitors to Calle Ocho, your first stop will probably be Ball and Chain, which has been holding it down in Little Havana since 1935. With a menu full of Cuban classics, live music almost every day, and decor reminiscent of a Miami of yesteryear, this might be the perfect spot for a cocktail or two.

Don’t miss the classic Ball and Chain mojito, and if you’re feeling adventurous, the tobacco-infused rum old fashioned.

If you do speak Spanish, you’re definitely want to catch a flick across the street at the Tower Theater. This cinema house shows both first-run and vintage films, predominantly from Latin America. This art-deco style theater has been here since 1926 and stands today as a cultural cornerstone for Spanish-speaking communities in South Florida.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LITTLE HAVANA

($$$) • Alloggio Miami • NW 1st Street

($$) • Fantastic City Apartment • Calle Ocho

($) • Selina Miami River • SW 2nd St.

10. Coral Gables

coral gables

Lush and refined, Coral Gables is a serene inland Miami suburb filled with pastel-hued residences and some of Miami’s most iconic attractions. For tourists, none might be more important than the historic Biltmore hotel, which has been welcoming visitors since 1926. Once the most lavish resort in the nation, the Biltmore was registered as a national historic landmark in 1996.

No single other attraction may be more iconic to Miami than Coral Gables’ Venetian Pool. This public pool carved from a coral quarry is fed by a cool natural spring, thus making it the perfect respite on any of Miami’s sometimes sweltering days. It features two waterfalls and swimmable cave-like grottos all ringed by a palmerie that might make you think you’ve left the city completely.

When you’re ready for a bit of shopping, dinner, or a nightcap, all of these can be found along Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile. A commerce district designed to bring you everything you might need or want on one walkable street, here is where you’ll find coffee shops, ice cream parlors, intimate boutiques, and plenty of options for dining.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORAL GABLES

($$$) • The Biltmore • Anastasia Avenue

($$) • Hotel St. Michel • Alcazar Avenue

($) • Study Annexed • N Le Jeune Road

11. Coconut Grove

coconut grove

With its signature combination of exclusive homes and bohemian vibe, Coconut Grove, or merely “the Grove,” is a quiet community dotted with palms and banyan trees. Home to families, students, and a new crop of millennials relocating to the area from around the country, Coconut Grove is a vibrant neighborhood hugging Biscayne Bay. 

A lot of the action in the Grove is centered around the pedestrian mall, Coco Walk. Having long served the town as a place to shop, dine, and gather, it is currently undergoing a massive renovation that will pave the way for even more businesses to move in, as well as create an even larger public plaza.

Interestingly, Florida is home to the largest mangrove forest in the United States, and they thrive in Coconut Grove as well. You can visit Peacock Park to get a look for yourself and stick around to enjoy this 9-acre park’s many recreational facilities. They even have free WiFi.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN COCONUT GROVE

($$$) • L’uccello At Coconut Grove • Bird Avenue

($$) • Coconut Grove Studio • Bayshore Drive

($) • Coconut Grove Apartment • Coral Way

Final Thoughts

With an enormous variety of different neighborhoods, cities, and towns to choose from, Miami-Dade County can be an overwhelming place to decide where you’d like to stay. But when you take the time to learn a little bit about each separate area and contrast that against your personal needs, it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.