Looking for a fun beach vacation in a city full of culture? Miami has a diverse community, making the food and culture scene unmatched by most other southeast US cities.
You can spend your days exploring the Cuban art scene. Then the evenings are for restaurant and bar hopping to eat the best food in the city.
While finding things to do in Miami is easy with endless museums and activities, finding the best hotels can be tricky. Miami is such a huge city, and there are a lot of great hotels to choose from.
Some neighborhoods are better than others, and it’s important to know the best areas to stay in. And there are some places in Miami you will want to be closer to, depending on if you plan to spend most of the days at the beach or not.
In this complete guide on where to stay in Miami, I outlined my choice for the top three neighborhoods and the best places to stay in them. Each of these neighborhoods includes low-cost and luxury options perfect for any budget.
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Miami Accommodation Quick Guide
Trying to find a place to stay fast? Here are my top three choices:
Budget—Casa Florida Hotel: One of the best choices for a low-key stay in Little Havana. It’s close to bus stops, so you can easily get to other parts of Miami without a car. Enjoy the many restaurants within walking distance. The hotel has small comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and an outdoor pool.
Mid-range—Villa Italia South Beach: Just 5 minutes walking distance to the beach, this is a perfect choice if you want to spend a good portion of your vacation hitting the sand and waves. The rooms are decorated in an art-deco style with Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. You can also book the villa for a private terrace and two bedrooms.
Luxury—The Standard Spa Miami Beach: This spa hotel is on the Biscayne Bay side of Miami Beach and is just 10 minutes from the turquoise water. The rooms are extremely elegant, with wood floors, rainfall showers, and bathtubs. Some rooms even have tubs on the terraces so you can relax with a beautiful view of the bay. Make sure to visit the spa for a mud bath or a dip underneath the waterfall.
Staying downtown gives you more access to restaurants, nightlife, and bars so it’s a popular place to stay in Miami. You’ll get less access to the beach, though, as none of the hotels are on the waterfront. But you can still get to the beach in less than 20 minutes from most of the hotels in this area. Downtown also has amazing shopping opportunities, including at the world-famous Bayside Marketplace.
Budget—Eurostars Langford: Downtown doesn’t have many low-cost choices. This hotel is a bit higher than the budget range but offers great value for the money. There’s a bus stop just a one-minute walk away, and Bayfront Park is only a 10-minute walk away. The rooms are beautiful, with wood floors and rainfall showers. The rooftop bar has some of the best drinks in the area and great skyline views.
Mid-Range—Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay: This is a great choice if you want to be downtown but closer to the beach. South Beach is only 5 miles away. The rooms are basic, but they have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer excellent views of the bay. Make sure to spend a day at the heated pool with free pool bar service.
Luxury—Hyatt Regency Miami: A great luxury stay just a 6-minute walk from Bayfront Park. You can choose from basic 2-bed rooms or book a whole suite to get a separate living and kitchen area. The lounge serves free breakfast and light snacks throughout the day. Make sure to grab a drink or two at the cocktail lounge so you can get to see amazing river views!
South Beach is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Miami for the first time. It’s the best neighborhood for nightlife, and it’s where most celebrities have their vacation homes. You might spot a famous person or two! It also has the prettiest beaches of all of the Miami area with soft white sand and clear water.
Budget—Clinton Hotel South Beach: Book a room here for a colorful and fun stay in South Beach! You can get to the beach in just 7 minutes, and the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is less than a mile away. The rooms are brightly decorated with balconies, mini-fridges, and flat-screen TVs.
Mid-Range—Clevelander South Beach Hotel and Bar: This hotel is less than a mile from all the shopping on Lincoln Road. The rooms are basic but sleek and modern. Make sure to pay a little extra and get a room with an ocean view balcony! Enjoy the rooftop bar and the nightly live music. You also get a free welcome cocktail when you check in!
Luxury—The Ritz Carlton South Beach: This is by far the best place to stay if you want an elegant beach stay. All the rooms have stunning marble bathrooms with access to premium liquor in the minibars. The outdoor pool has ocean views and a bar. For the best views of the beach, grab a seafood and steak dinner at the on-site restaurant.
Miami Beach is adjacent to South Beach with a little less glamour. It’s further from South Beach, so hotel prices are a little lower. Miami Beach is best known for its art deco district. This is the best neighborhood to stay in if you’re looking to visit museums and music venues.
Budget—Freehand Miami: This is technically a hostel, but they have plenty of private rooms to choose from when you book. If you do book a dorm, you will get a locker for all your belongings and an en suite bathroom. The bar is excellent. It’s decorated with local art and serves handcrafted cocktails. They have an outdoor pool and bikes for rent.
Mid-Range—Hampton Inn Miami Beach: This hotel located right on the beach offers basic rooms with clear ocean views. All the rooms have coffee makers, mini-fridges, and Wi-Fi. If you’re bringing your dog, this hotel is pet-friendly! They also have a great outdoor pool and free breakfast.
Luxury—Loews Miami Beach Hotel: For a stay right on the beach, book a suite at Loews Miami. The rooms are contemporary with everything you need, including balconies, separate living areas, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docks. The hotel has plenty of dining options, including a seafood restaurant, a poolside cafe, and a fully equipped bar.
Top Things to do in Miami
You can easily spend a few weeks exploring all the best things to do in Miami. If you’re on a time crunch, though, try to spend at least a full weekend in the city. This gives you time to explore downtown and spend a few days at the beach.
Here are the top things to do in Miami and things you can’t miss:
- Spend some time at the beach. You can’t visit Miami without spending some time in the Florida sunshine. There’s also plenty of fun adrenaline-pumping water activities if you don’t feel like just lying in the sun all day. Try your hand at snorkeling or jet skiing.
- Visit Little Havana. Little Havana is one of the best parts of Miami to visit. Play dominoes with the locals or get some guava and cream cheese pastries. If you want to take a more structured approach, you can do a food walking tour of the area to find the best eateries and bakeries.
- See the art in the Wynwood district. Miami is full of art galleries and street art, but Wynwood is my preferred area to see murals. The Wynwood walls are full of cultural and political art. You can check this map to find the best walls or the ones that might interest you the most.
- Check out Bayside Marketplace. Many of the hotels in this guide are just a few minutes walking from the Bayside Marketplace. It’s right in the heart of downtown with endless choices for food and drinks. There are also unique boutique shops and art places to grab some souvenirs.
- Take a tour of the Vizcaya Museum. The Vizcaya House is one of the best museums in Miami. You can learn about Florida architecture and the colonization of Florida. The gardens are also worth exploring as they always have fresh flowers and unique landscaping.
- Explore the night scene. Miami is one of the top cities for nightlife and dancing. If you aren’t a huge partygoer, don’t worry. There are plenty of low-key bars that have jazz performances. Funky nightclubs with strobe lights and dancing are also throughout the city.
How to Get to Miami
Miami has a huge international airport (MIA) near downtown. It has flights from almost every US State and operates large airlines, including Delta and American. Smaller airlines also fly into MIA if you want to fly Spirit or Frontier.
If you’re road-tripping through the Southeast or Florida, you can also drive to Miami pretty easily as it’s well connected to the interstates. Traffic can get pretty bad in Miami, though, especially the road leading into downtown.
How to Get Around Miami
Miami has an extensive bus station, but some routes only run hourly. I would always suggest checking the schedule and routes ahead of time to make sure you aren’t waiting too long. The buses are a great way to get around Miami if you don’t like to drive in traffic or if driving in big cities makes you nervous.
Most visitors in Miami choose to rent a car or take Uber, though. Renting a car gives you access to all parts of the city and makes it easier to transport your beach gear from the hotel. Uber and Lyft are widely available, including at the airport.
When to Visit Miami
Since it’s in the South of Florida, Miami can get very hot and humid in the summer months. They also have frequent summer storms and hurricane-type weather in August and September.
Even in the summer, though, you really can’t go wrong. Visiting Miami in any month is a blast because there is always a festival or event going on in the city.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to stay in Miami on a budget?
If you’re looking for a cheap stay in Miami, I would suggest looking at hotels in North Miami Beach. It’s still close enough to smaller public beaches to get all your seaside activities in. It has more of a residential vibe rather than being filled with tourists and nightclubs.
If you don’t want to stay in a hotel, North Miami Beach also has great house rentals and Airbnbs that can cut down on costs.
Where to stay in Miami for the weekend?
If you only have a few days in Miami, book your stay in South Beach. It’s close enough to downtown to make sure you can see all the best sights and museums there.
All the hotels and resorts are also on the beach, so you can hit the beach in the morning and then go bar hopping or clubbing at night. The restaurant scene is also huge to choose from a wide variety of cuisines.
Where to stay in Miami near the airport?
There are plenty of hotel options near the airport, but some are a little pricey due to being close to downtown and for the added convenience. For the best prices, check out Radisson RED Miami Airport or Sleep Inn Miami Airport. There are also plenty of AirBnbs near the airport to choose from.
Is Miami Safe?
Miami is actually considered safer than many other large cities in the United States. Just like with any huge city, though, you want to make sure you stay away from certain areas. But don’t worry, as most of the dangerous areas aren’t near tourist activities or near the beach.
I would suggest not walking around downtown by yourself at night. Also, be aware of your belongings in crowded areas as pickpocketing can be an issue.
Ready to Book Your Stay in Miami?
Choosing where to stay in Miami can be easy if you know the neighborhoods and the local places to visit.
Since Miami is a large city, you will need to pick a hotel or vacation rental in the neighborhood that’s closest to all the places you want to see. Otherwise, you might spend the majority of your vacation on the bus or in the rental car.
No matter what neighborhood you choose, you can be sure there will be plenty of things to see and do.
Miami is home to some of the best museums and art galleries. You can also spend your whole vacation down by the beach or exploring the water.
Each neighborhood also offers tons of restaurants and bars to choose from to keep your appetite satisfied.
Have you been to Miami? What’s your favorite hotel or neighborhood to stay in?
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