16 Actually Cool Things to Do in Miami This Summer

Sayonara snowbirds!

In South Florida, we thrive during the summer. Yes, it can feel like living in a perpetual steam room and the afternoon downpours can get in the way of your plans (just aim to be inside around 3 pm), but the sun always comes back after the rain, cooling things down slightly for the evening. The snowbirds are gone. And we have ubiquitous AC, so keeping cool really isn’t that tough if you plan an indoor activity or two. From festivals at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and concerts near Bayside Marketplace to drinking among the street art near Wynwood Walls and getting up close with the underwater world of Biscayne Bay, there's so much to do here in the summer you’ll almost forget that it’s so humid you can barely breathe. If you don’t mind the weather and are ready to soak in Miami summer’s soggy heat, don’t worry you’ve got loads of opportunities for outdoor adventures, from beachside concerts to hikes in nearby national parks. Here are 16 fun things to do in Miami that deserve a spot on your summer to-do list.

Bayfront Park
Photo courtesy of Bayfront Park

Downtown Miami
With acts like Teyana Taylor, Coheed and Cambria, Jack Harlow, and RÜFÜS DU SOL taking the stage at the outdoor amphitheater this summer, there’s a show for every kind of genre lover. Honestly, this is one of those venues where even if you don’t particularly know or love who is performing, you’re going to have a great time. Sure you can pick out your seats at a premium, but there’s something special about BYOB (blanket), laying on the lawn, and taking in everything going on around you. Plus, you’ve got easy access to everything going on at Bayside Marketplace for pre-gaming or post concert bites.

Wynwood pride 2/Getty Images

Wynwood
Though Miami Beach celebrates Pride in April, Wynwood follows suit with the rest of the country in June. This year the festivities will be highlighted with Wynwood Pride Music Festival taking place June 10 to 12 at the RC Cola Plant Factory benefitting Equality Florida in the fight against the Don’t Say Gay Law. Not only will there be a series of drag performances and concerts, but the entire neighborhood will be taken over with special art installations, brunches, and local food vendors. Snag a VIP ticket for access to an all day open bar.

âme Spa
Photo courtesy of âme Spa

Various locations
Who doesn’t love a spa day? Better yet, who doesn’t love a spa day at a super discounted rate? Miami Spa Month takes place throughout July and August offering $109 massages at dozens of spas—many of which are at some of the fanciest hotels in town. The list featuring the exact spas and treatments comes out in June, but notable spas to look for always include Lapis at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, âme Spa & Wellness Collective at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry, Valmont for the Spa at The Setai, and The Spa at Carillon Miami. Keep in mind that you’re not only getting a solid rub down, but also access to the amenities and facilities offered at these fancy spots without the pricey hotel stay.

Mango Festival
Photo by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens

Coconut Grove
If you’re a Miami native, there’s a huge chance you’ve never had to pay for a mango in your entire life. Everyone knows someone with a mango tree that’s more than happy to share the moment they start dropping like flies (and subsequently attracting hordes of insects). With over 500, maybe even closer to 1,000, mango varieties around the world, it only makes sense that Miami would host a mango festival every year for roughly the last 30 years. Taking place on July 9 and 10 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, attendees can enjoy mango tastings, seminars, cocktail classes, food vendors with mango-inspired dishes, live music, and more making it a fun celebration for the entire fam.

Florida Supercon
Florida Supercon

Miami Beach
Get your geek on at this three-day convention happening July 8 to 10 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Here you’ll find all things comic book, anime, video game, pop culture, and sci-fi. Don’t be shy about dressing up, it’s encouraged here—in fact, there’s several cosplay contests that will take place, in addition to celebrity guest appearances (Adam Savage, Cooper Andrews, Janet Sung, Nolan North, and Will Conrad just to name a few), comic creators, Q&A panels, vendors, workshops, and sneak peeks of upcoming video game releases.

miamiswimweek.fwo
miamiswimweek.fwo

Various locations
South Florida's version of Fashion Week—which, of course, subs out the haute couture for bikinis—Miami Swim Week will take over. From current trends to sustainable fashion featuring well known models and up-and-coming names, many events are industry specific, but there are still plenty of shows that are open to the public. Follow them on Instagram for up-to-date info.

Miami Spice
Photo courtesy of Miami Spice

Various locations
In August and September, hundreds of Miami restaurants partake in an offering so good, we actually look forward to the steamiest time of the year. During Miami Spice diners are able to indulge themselves with curated three-course meals for just $28 during lunch/brunch and $42 for dinner. While these menus don’t always feature the signature dishes of the restaurants, it’s a perfect time to scope out what could be your new favorite spot. Take advantage of these deals for date night, summer birthdays, or just because you don’t feel like cooking on a Tuesday. Participating restaurants and their menus are usually available online starting as early as July. Pro tip: Treat yourself to an ultimate day of luxury in August by booking a spa treatment and dinner for the same day as many of the city’s nicest hotels take part in both Spa Month and Miami Spice.

Photo by Duree Ross

Las Olas Oceanside Park
Raise a glass to balmy evenings and welcome the weekend with live music by the water. LOOP Park hosts its weekly Friday Night Soundwaves series all spring, with bands ranging from southern rock to Top 40 providing the sunset soundtrack. On the second Sunday of each month, the park will also host all-day marketplaces, with yoga classes and other festivities to enhance the experience.

Photo by MOG PRESS IMAGES

Experience art in a very different way

Various locations
While our world renowned museums are no doubt cherished cultural institutions, our city truly excels in showcasing art in untraditional ways. A shining example is Superblue, a series of immersive installations from names like Es Devlin and James Turrell where you can touch the walls to change how the art is displayed. In South Beach, Artechouse is hosting Renewals 2021, a trippy look at a climate-ravaged Tokyo 100 years in the future. Beyond that, the Museum of Graffiti just moved into its new home in Wynwood, where guests can learn the history of graffiti and immerse themselves in exhibits from famous artists.

Biscayne National Park Institute
Biscayne National Park Institute

Biscayne National Park
While Everglades National Park gets the lion’s share of the attention, hiking the Everglades any time of year sounds like offering yourself up as a mosquito buffet. But, little known fact, Dade County has the unique distinction of being the only county in America with not one but TWO National Parks. The other one, Biscayne National Park, is mostly underwater and thus best experienced by snorkeling or paddling through its mangrove islands and series of mysterious shipwrecks. The park is also now offering scuba tours, where you can get up close and personal with the coral reefs, sharks, tropical fish, and century-old boats that make Biscayne so special. The latest one leaves from Dinner Key in Coconut Grove, so you won’t even have to drive to Homestead to partake in the scenic action.

Oleta River State Park
Oleta River State Park | Globalaura/Shutterstock

Oleta River State Park
In one of the more surreal natural experiences one can have in South Florida, Oleta River State Park offers you the chance to kayak through ancient mangroves and escape into a Florida of yesteryear. Then immediately pop out into a bay lined with massive condo towers. It’s a beautiful paddle through our dwindling nature, which takes you to uninhabited bay islands and beaches you can only reach by boat. If the water’s not for you, the park also has miles of mountain bike trails to explore. Of course, this is South Florida, so “mountain” is a loosely used term. But it’s the best you’re getting without a trip up the Turnpike.

Inspired By Maps/Shutterstock

Key Largo
Showing your guests the natural wonders of the Florida Keys doesn’t mean enduring the two-lane torture all the way to Key West. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is only about an hour from Miami, and offers some of the best snorkeling in the state.  And if you just want to go swim off the shore here you won’t need a boat, a guide, or any reservations. Want even more to do in the Keys? We've got that guide right here.

Monty's Raw Bar
Monty's Raw Bar

Relax with a drink on the water, obviously

Various locations
The best way to enjoy summer weather is by having a drink on the water. Hit either Monty’s Sunset in South Beach or Monty’s Raw Bar in Coconut Grove for a classic Miami experience. Smith and Wollensky in South Beach is the move for a higher-end vibe, or hit LOL on the Bay in Brickell for a cheap, hidden gem located between two apartment building pools. If you want a scene, grab a table at The Deck at Island Gardens or lounge at Joia Beach Club. That’s far from the extent of our outdoor options, though, so here’s a comprehensive guide to South Florida’s best drinking patios and rooftop bars.
 

1-800-Lucky
1-800-Lucky

Do a neighborhood beer and food crawl

Wynwood
Wynwood has a collection of the city’s best breweries, where you can enjoy cold suds outdoors at J. Wakefield, or take in the Miami-centric murals inside Wynwood Brewing. Then hit the oldest brewery in Cuba’s Miami outpost at Cerveceria La Tropical before kicking back on the sunny patio at Veza Sur. After you’ve warmed up with a beer, go on a walking art tour as you sample the best quick food in the neighborhood by grabbing some Asian cuisine at 1-800 Lucky, a slice at Pizza Tropical, and a couple of tacos at Coyo.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Visit some awe-inspiring museums

Various locations
Miami makes it more convenient than most to visit the city’s many showpiece museums, with both the Frost Museum of Science and Perez Art Museum Miami situated right downtown in Museum Park (not to mention Verde, one of America’s best and breeziest museum restaurants). HistoryMiami, only a short walk away downtown, is guaranteed to teach you something about your hometown. If you want to delve into the modern art scene, hit up the Institute of Contemporary Art in Buena Vista, or check out an entire collection of art made on parking tickets at the NSU Art Museum. Round it out with a tour of the gleaming new Rubell Museum, or enjoy art al fresco in the plaza at MOCA in North Miami.

Nite Owl Drive-In
Nite Owl Drive-In

Nite Owl Drive-In and Tropical Market
Drive-in movies may have been the great American comeback story of 2020, as we once again fell in love with the concept of watching a film from the comfort of our cars. While many surfaced, the most accessible—not to mention most consistent—has to be the Nite Owl Drive-in and Tropical Market on NE 14th Street, where The Batman kicks off a spring full of show-stopping blockbusters.

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Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.