For some Miamians, literally everything is free. Drinks. Clubs. Fancy dinners. Champagne on yachts. Parties with Drake. Money. And for those lucky few, the 2 million Instagram followers they bought were definitely a sound investment.
As for the rest of us plebs? Keeping ourselves entertained in the Magic City and still paying the bills can, at times, be one hell of a challenge. Thankfully, our year-round sunshine and creatively cheap residents have come to the rescue with a lot of fun things to do that don’t cost a penny. Here are 31 of them:
Fireball Whiskey Apple Pies: A Dessert Fit for a Frat Party
Miami Beach There's 24/7/365 access to beach weather and at least a dozen white sand beaches, and that equals #blessed. Seriously, go and take that selfie. We know you want to. Just watch out for these people.
Downtown Miami Explore Downtown from a different vantage point. Plus, it’s a good way to get out of the heat for a minute or two... or go on a bar crawl.
3. Whip your butt into shape at boot camps
Various locations throughout Miami Hop around six parks in Miami -- Gratigny Plateau Park, Gwen Cherry Park, Tropical Park, North Trail Park, South Dade Park, and Live Like Bella Park -- and you can get free boot camp classes, every day of the week, taught by local veterans who are in much better shape than you are.
4. Check out Wynwood's murals on bike
Wynwood Grab a friend and BYOBIKE for a one-hour tour of Wynwood’s mural and graffiti art every Sunday at 11am. Sign up here.
5. Do yoga every day of the week
Various locations throughout Miami De-stress every day of the week with free yoga all over the city. Do your downward dog on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at Bayfront Park, then do another one every Sunday morning, right in front of Biscayne Bay, at the Mondrian in South Beach. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also free yoga on Saturday mornings at Kennedy Park, in Coconut Grove, and on Wednesday and Saturday nights at Margaret Pace Park, in Downtown Miami.
Downtown Miami It doesn’t get more Miami shopping than this: There are yachts, waterfront bars and restaurants, and fantastic people-watching, and it’s steps from where the Miami Heat call home. As an added bonus, the Marina Stage, right in front of Biscayne Bay, has daily live concerts with everything from Brazilian and Latin tunes, to pop, rock, funk, and more.
7. DIY your own Art Deco tour
Miami Beach Brush up on Art Deco history, then download this map to explore on your own.
Wynwood From 6-9pm on Tuesdays, Wood Tavern serves up free tacos to any patrons of the bar. You will wait in line for these tacos, but they are good tacos. Tipping the taco makers is highly recommended.
Little Havana Sure, Little Havana is fun during the day, but have you been at night? It takes on a whole new vibe, especially on the last Friday of the month, when the streets come alive with domino games, cigar rollers, cafecitos, mojitos, dancing, and Cuban art.
Wynwood Second Saturdays resemble more of a party these days (it is Miami, after all), but they're still a great way to see things you normally wouldn’t have access to. On the second Saturday of every month, Wynwood’s galleries stay open late with DJs and drinks, so you can turn your art exploration into an anything-goes block party.
Miami Beach The New World Symphony not only plays its concerts on the front wall of its sleek performance hall, but it also shows classic movies like The Princess Bride and Ghostbusters for anyone in the park to watch. For free. All you need is a blanket, some booze, snacks, and a friend.
Various locations throughout Miami Miami’s signature local bookstore has an event nearly every night of the week -- from staged readings and chef dinners to celebrity author signings -- at its stores in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Bal Harbour, Pinecrest, Miami Beach, and at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
14. Go fly a kite
Haulover Park Kites are super cool, especially when they are 150-foot-long rainbows, 100-foot-long squid, and 30-foot-long fish. For a glimpse at these and other weird flying creatures, do yourself a favor and check out Kitetober Kite Festival every October.
Little Havana Most will agree that dominoes are Miami’s favorite pastime. Domino Park is the place to learn from the best, watch all the action, and if you’re lucky, break into the stiff lineup of veteran Abuelos and actually play a game.
Arts & Entertainment District They host some of the sweetest events in Miami, like movies under the stars, lazy barbecue brunches, indie flea markets, art events, and free rooftop concerts, all in a cool Downtown space.
Various locations throughout Miami Stand-up comedy is going strong, and plenty of places will let you come and watch it for free. The Yo Space and Gallery has its monthly Just the Tip Comedy Show the first Sunday of the month. 305 Brews has Miami Comedy Mondays every week. And Wynwood’s Concrete Beach Brewery has a recurring Last Call Comedy Show on the last Tuesday of every month.
19. Listen to Sofar Sounds
Various locations throughout Miami Sign up here, pick a date, and then wait for your FREE invite to a secret gig at a secret location.
Key Biscayne In the north end of Crandon Park you’ll find the Bear Cut Nature Preserve, a preserved wetland with paved and dirt trails that run along the coastline and into the marshes. Hike or bike the 3.5 miles of trails and learn about the ecology that makes up South Florida.
Coral Gables and Cutler Bay Old Cutler is 11 miles of paved trail along Matheson Hammock Park, Biscayne Bay, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Pinecrest Gardens, and Deering Estate. It connects with Biscayne and Commodore trails on either end if you want to extend your trip.
23. Visit a museum for free
Various locations throughout Miami The MDC Museum of Art and Design, in The Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Design District are always free. Or you can hit the Perez Art Museum for free admission on the second Saturday of every month, and if you’re a member, get free drinks, access to the galleries, and live music on Third Thursdays. Friday nights at the Wolfsonian are free from 6-9pm and include films, talks, and drinks specials.
Homestead Eat your heart out! Go to this indoor-outdoor flea market every Thursday through Sunday, and explore 27 acres of fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, lentils, honey sourced from local farms, a dedicated fish and seafood market, and more.
Little Havana Ball & Chain -- the historic jazz club that has been restored into one of the best bars in Miami -- hosts over 80 hours a week of free concerts in its back patio bandshell… which is actually half a cut-open pineapple.
All over Miami Everyone -- from European tourists, regular old tourists, and locals walking their dogs, to model restaurant hostesses, the occasional celebrity, and street performers -- strolls through Lincoln Road, and there’s no telling what you’ll see. This is also true for Ocean Drive, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Brickell Avenue, Downtown Miami, and the 250-mile radius that makes up all of South Florida.
Downtown Miami If you live in Miami and don’t Salsa, do you even live here? The InterContinental Miami (or as many of us know it, “the hotel with the electric-purple dancing chick”) hosts live salsa every Friday night at its Bluewater rooftop café, complete with professional dancers and instructors who will show you a step or two. Attendance is free, and the fun runs from 6pm to 10pm and includes a live band, an on-site cigar roller, and $7 drinks.
Everglades The Shark Valley bike trails are effectively South Florida’s only extended bike routes through nature, and riding them any time is a great way to experience the landscape that once was. But doing it under a full moon, lit only by the light from the sky, is a simultaneously terrifying and beautiful experience every Miamian must try.
29. Check out Downtown's public art
Downtown Miami This one may require a little bit of research and some time, but there’s plenty of hidden and not-so-hidden public art all around Downtown, from Bayfront Park to the Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels.
30. Take in Miami's best views at South Pointe Park
Miami Beach Located on the southern tip of the island, South Pointe Park offers priceless views of cruise ships leaving the Port of Miami and the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, parts of the park are open until 2am.
Palmetto Bay ...which includes 30 acres of pineland and tropical hardwood hammocks, an aquarium, a live animal exhibit, fire pits, a nature trail, kayaking, and tons of bird-watching. Fun fact: The park is home to the Southern Cross Astronomical Society, which has a large telescope for stargazing and planet searching.
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Matt Meltzer is a contributing writer for Thrillist who always shows up five minutes after the free drinks run out. Follow him on Instagram @meltrez1.
Jennifer Agress is a native Miamian who’s a big fan of not paying for things. Follow her on Instagram at @jenniferagress to see what else she doesn’t like paying for.
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