For most visitors, Miami is the epitome of instant gratification – feather-like climate, immaculate beaches, legendary nightlife, gorgeous humans, culture, and an entertainment hotspot. The locals beg to differ; there’s more to this city than meets the eye. Underneath its sunbathed surface lies the true identity of Southern Florida; you just need to know where to look. As tourists, we get easily distracted by everything that glitters (especially neon at night), and following the crowd is something we all succumb to as soon as we leave the airport. Well, it’s time to take it up a notch. Miami’s underbelly deserves our time and attention. It begs for sidetracks and treasure hunting. Are we ready? These are hidden gems of Miami. Grab your comfortable shoes, and let’s get to it.
Miami is what you’d call a truly eclectic experience. From world-renowned hotspots to lesser-known tranquil oases, this Florida gem simply doesn’t offer disappointment on its a la carte menu. Its versatile nature is a walking paradox, leaving the ones who dare to immerse themselves in contradiction and new stimuli forever changed. It may have sounded ominous – in a good way, the best way possible. Like any other city, it’s essential to get familiar with both must-do lists; “the commoner tourist’s list” and THE list. We present – THE list.
1. PAMM Museum
To all my art lovers – you first! Why is PAMM so special? Let’s start with location. You’re at the crossroads of the Americas. Their exhibitions focus on Miami’s diversity from a communal perspective (its diverse art sublimely portrays Miami’s diverse local culture). The Perez Art Museum of Miami is where you’ll find some of the most inspiring pieces of international contemporary art. The museum focuses on the works created during the 20th and 21st centuries. This secluded (11 minutes from Miami Airport) little oasis is open all year round and is an art enthusiast’s dream come true. Enjoy exhibitions, outdoor spaces, sculptures, architectural elements, and the PRIDE tour! If you’re prone to experiencing pre-vacation blues, worry not – PAMM is here to nurture your soul.
2. Wag Buddharangsi
Traveling heals wounds. Welcome to serenity. This Buddhist temple is one of the most critical spots on your itinerary; the tranquility spot. Wag Buddharangsi quietly sits on approximately 5 acres of sacred land – beautiful gardens and fruit farms. Inside the temple, a 23-ft gold-leaf image of Buddha, sculpted and shipped from Bangkok, will greet you with his ever-present, benevolent smile. Heads up – if you’re visiting, be sure to follow etiquette:
- leave South Beach clothes at home, dress conservatively
- take your shoes off before entering the temple
- don’t touch anything inside the temple
- monks aren’t allowed to have physical contact with women; conversations are always welcome but be sure to respect the proximity rule
- photos are absolutely fine
- it’s okay to bring a gift: fruit or other healthy goodies for the monks
3. Bodega Taqueria Y Tequila
Best Mexican food in Miami? Most likely. The locals come here for their weekly dose of flavor explosion. Authentic Mexican cuisine seamlessly blends with unconventional and daring interpretations – leaving no tastebud dissatisfied and behind. So, what sets Bodega Taqueria Y Tequila apart from the rest of the Miami world? It’s funky and full of surprises. Psychiatrists would call it “split personality,” we call it “double gladness.” Care for an unforgettable night out? Just look for the porta-potty doors marked “BANOS” and enter one of the hottest nightlife spots.
4. Miami Beach Cinematheque
Movie buffs, brace yourselves for one of the most iconic hidden gems of Miami ever. It’s historical, it’s magnificent, and it’s waiting for you. This intimate theater is home to the Miami Beach Film Society (former City Hall), built in 1927. The Cinematheque is a versatile fruit, screening anything from the classics to experimental and independent films – but only for a selected few, as it accommodates up to 50 people per screening. If you’re not keen on cinematography, we encourage you to check out their art exhibitions and live performances.
5. Wynwood delight
The hottest hipster district in the U.S. had to land on our list. Wynwood’s ingredients: sugar, spice, and everything nice. Why do we love it? The Wynwood district is an outdoor museum – a world-class street art epicenter (Bushwick/Williamsburg’s counterpart). If you love murals, art galleries, bars, restaurants, around-the-clock events, independent shops, and most importantly, breweries, Wynwood will steal your heart so hard that it will never belong to another. It’s reason enough to move to Miami – and we can all agree – there are many things to love about this place.
6. South Pointe Pier
One of the best spots to enjoy Miami without the buzzing background. Southe Pointe is reserved for the ones who don’t like the crowd as much. Stroll down to enjoy the city’s scenic views, or join the friendly locals for a fishing session. You can cut freshly caught fish and wash it right on the spot. If you’re vegan, we suggest you bring down some healthy snacks, grab a seat and watch Miami’s finest kayakers, jet skiers, and surfers do their thing. The pier is open from sunrise to sunset.
7. Coral Gables
“The City Beautiful” is a mandatory experience for any Miami visitor. If you’re into spicing things up with some European flavor, this is your jam. Coral Gables is exactly where you’ll want to spend the day with tree-lined streets, old architecture, fountains, and historic plazas. Be sure to check out “Giralda Plaza,” the quaint downtown spot famous for the Umbrella Sky installation (2018). If you’re traveling to experience joy, look no further, as its restaurants and shops will make your heart sing 100%.
If you want to experience this Floridian beauty to the fullest and make it an unforgettable trip, exploring the hidden gems of Miami will get you there. The prize is yours; you just need to collect it. Pack your bags!