As many savvy travelers and geography experts may suspect from its name, North Miami is a northern suburb of Miami, which is the state’s largest metropolitan area and home to more than six million residents.
Both Miami and North Miami are located in South Florida’s Miami-Dade County on the Atlantic coast and offer visitors a wide variety of recreational, entertainment, and cultural attractions that range from the absurdly expensive and exclusive to the modest and affordable.
Golf, sport fishing, and trendy food and drink scenes are a few area mainstays; the beaches are pretty amazing and plentiful as well.
Below are 14 things to do in and around North Miami.
1. Spanish Monastery
Often referred to as the largest, most complex and expensive jigsaw puzzle in the world, the Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach has an amazing history that spans around the globe and nearly 1,000 years into the past.
Originally constructed in the early 12th century, for much of its life it was used for its originally intended purpose – a monastery.
Fast forward to the 1920s and the building was bought by American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, disassembled, shipped to its current site in Florida, and reassembled.
There’s a whole lot more to the story, so consider stopping at this rare Florida gem for a few hours to unwrap the mystery.
2. Oleta River State Park
Miami-Dade County’s Oleta River is one of the area’s hotspots for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and amateur photographers.
Located on NE 163rd Street in North Miami Beach, Oleta River State Park can really draw the crowds, especially during peak times. Unlike many parks, once they’ve reached their maximum capacity, they stop admitting guests.
Perhaps it’s the fantastic scenery and variety of activities like swimming, kayaking, biking, and paddle-boarding that make it so popular.
Though admission is relatively inexpensive, renting the equipment necessary to engage in the activities mentioned above isn’t, so bring plenty of cash and don’t expect to have the place to yourself if you go during peak times.
3. Greynolds Park Golf Course
Located on West Dixie Highway in North Miami Beach, Greynolds Park Golf Course probably won’t host the PGA Tour or Masters anytime soon, but therein lies its allure.
Consisting of just nine holes totaling slightly more than 3,000 yards, the par-36 course is often overlooked by the most serious golfers, making it more reasonably priced and less crowded than most of its neighbors.
It’s been around since the mid-’60s and offers all the amenities you’d expect, like electric carts, a pro shop, and even club rentals for those who don’t have their own.
There are even single-rider handicapped golf carts available if they’re requested prior to arrival.
4. Explore the Art Deco Scene
There are few places in the country as well-known for their perfect weather, jet-setting clientele, and exclusive clubs, restaurants, and shops, than Miami – and especially South Beach.
They’re also home to some of the most well-preserved examples of art deco art and architecture you’ll find anywhere, much of which is from the art movement’s heyday in the ’20s and ’30s.
Though it’s possible to do a little research and engage in some self-guided exploration, many visitors opt for professionally guided tours, and there are plenty of options available.
Tours are generally reasonably priced, last an hour or so, and visit a variety of local icons.
5. Miami Holocaust Memorial
Though it may seem strangely out of place in an area so well-known for its materialistic and ostentatious lifestyle, the Miami Holocaust Memorial is a poignant side-excursion that’s free and convenient to visit, and really shouldn’t be missed.
Miami is home to a large Jewish population, and the idea for the memorial was conceived in the early ’80s. It was opened to the public for the first time in 1990.
The site includes a memorial wall, stunning sculptures and other artwork, and a quiet area for reflection.
Most visitors donate a few dollars before heading off to their next south Florida adventure.
6. The Miami Children’s Museum
During the summer months, the double-whammies of high heat and humidity can make being outside in south Florida a brutal experience. For those traveling with little ones, it’s imperative to have a few indoor activity options in your back pocket.
Located on a small island between Miami and South Beach, the Miami Children’s Museum is chockfull of hands-on exhibits and activities that touch on science, art, culture and the natural world.
Between admission and parking, it’s not exactly the cheapest destination in the area, but considering all there is to see and do, most families consider it money well-spent, especially since it’s been known to engage and entertain kids for hours on end.
7. Miami Botanical Garden
In the last few years, the Miami Botanical Garden has received a renovation and upgrade that cost more than a million dollars.
The botanical garden sits on two and a half acres of land in Miami Beach and was officially founded in 1962, when forward-thinking city planners saw a gap in the city’s cultural attractions.
Before that, the area around what’s now the garden was mostly agricultural and was mainly known for its avocado and mango farms.
In addition to its stunning grounds, distinct gardens, and variety of species, the facility offers an array of yoga and wellness programs that are popular options for those looking to tap into their spiritual well-being.
8. Venetian Pool
Since the mid-’20s, Venetian Pool in Coral Gables has been a drawing crowds to its Mediterranean inspired facility – the only one of its kind in the country included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though once primarily the domain of movie stars and other fabulously wealthy individuals, the pools are now a little less exclusive.
Comprised of more than 800,000 gallons of water that flows from artesian wells, the grounds include a cave and waterfall as well.
Don’t expect warm water because you won’t find any, but you will find a cool café with lots of tasty choices and everything else you’ll need.
9. Wynwood Walls
One of the area’s most unique and appreciated art attractions, Wynwood Walls is not only free to visit, but it’s conveniently located near a variety of other local attractions that you’ll likely want to check out.
The walls are known for their large murals produced by local, regional, and international artists. There are a number of trendy but friendly galleries, eateries, and shops in the neighborhood too.
At last count, there were nearly 40 murals. Most visitors claim that to take in the area in its entirety, you should really plan on spending more than an hour.
The walls are located on NW 2nd Avenue in Miami.
10. Garden of the Arts
Hidden in a tangle of warehouses and residences just off the Palmetto Expressway, Garden of the Arts is an off-the-beaten-path oasis in the heart of the state’s most bustling urban area.
Including murals, sculptures, and other works by many local artists of Latin American descent, Garden of the Arts’ grounds include well-marked paths with benches, an amphitheater, and a stage.
In addition to their contemporary arts, they also offer a variety of live entertainment options that are popular with the hip art crowd.
Garden of the Arts is located on West 76th Street in nearby Hialeah, just a short drive from North Miami.
11. Hialeah Park Racing & Casino
For much of their existence, casinos were exclusively adults-only destinations that offered absolutely nothing in the way of entertainment options for families.
Thankfully for some, those days are over, and most casinos like Hialeah Park Racing and Casino now offer a variety of family-friendly activities that make them popular attractions.
Of course, if you’re interested in betting on the ponies, slapping a few grand on the roulette table, and sucking down highballs like the ship’s going down, you can do that too.
The park has been around since the ’20s and is located on East 32nd Street in Hialeah.
Check out the calendar of events on their website to see what’s on the horizon.
12. Yellow Green Farmers Market
No matter where you find yourself, there’s likely a farmer’s market nearby; there are few better places for travelers to meet locals and experience their culture.
Just off Interstate 95 on Sheridan Street, Yellow Green Farmers Market is one of the largest of its kind in South Florida and is comprised of hundreds of individual vendors offering a variety of items – like fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, prepared food items, and health and body products.
The market is open year-round on Saturdays and Sundays from the morning until the late afternoon, and visiting is a great way to support farmers and entrepreneurs.
13. Hollywood Hot Glass
For those looking to experience something new, artsy, and exciting, a trip to Hollywood Hot Glass Studio in Hollywood, Florida would be the perfect way to do just that.
For those who’ve never seen hot glass blown and formed into amazing items like vases, bowls, and lamps, it’s quite a sight.
It requires immense heat, lungs of steel, and a creative imagination. The studio offers a gallery full of fantastic items created by craftsmen and women on site. For those who’d like to take in a live demonstration or even lessons, it’s possible to do so, but you’ll need to reserve your spot in advance.
14. Milander Center for Arts & Entertainment
Located on Palm Avenue in Hialeah, the Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment has recently undergone a significant facelift and is one of the area’s premier centers for all things related to art, culture, entertainment and educational programs.
From traditional art exhibits and galleries to concerts – including contemporary, classical, and ethnic music – there should be a little something for everyone regardless of when you visit.
Considering the dizzying array of options potential visitors have at their fingertips, it’s best to take a bit of time and check out their website to see what they’re all about, and what’s on their calendar of events for when you’ll be in the area.