If you’ve had a yen to visit Miami’s lesser-known hidden treasures, you’ve probably already found finding safe, socially distant things to do in South Florida is not the easiest task right now. Some of the more exotic and unusual attractions in the Magic City area are closed for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, such as the Coral Castle Museum in Homestead, Monkey Jungle near Knaus Berry Farm in Miami and Wynwood Walls near the Miami Design District. Others, such as the the beaches in Miami, Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, Perez Art Museum and Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, are open either under reduced hours and special pandemic protocols; require timed tickets to be purchased online in advance; or both. But before you give up and head back to Miami International Airport to make your way home, hold on a minute! Safe2Core wants you and yours to have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season and be able to get out of the house or hotel and enjoy everything Miami’s city limits and environs have to offer. That’s why we’re offering this list of seven things you can do in Miami that are off the beaten path!
Note: At this time, we strongly recommend you call ahead or check the websites of these attractions and locations for the most current information. Although the information included in this article was validated and confirmed at the time of writing, things can change very quickly with little or no notice. Also, please take appropriate steps to keep yourself and your family safe, including using masks, washing your hands, using hand sanitizer liberally and staying home if you or anyone in your household or bubble is not feeling well.
1. Florida International University Museums
FIU has three prominent museums which are currently open during the pandemic:
- The Jewish Museum of Florida: Located just west of the Art Deco District in the fabled South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach, only blocks from South Pointe Park and Biscayne Bay. The Jewish Museum of Florida is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the Jewish experience and contributions to the unique makeup of South Florida, including art, information and exhibits on the history and cultural impact of Judaism in the area. The museum offers walk tours including places to sample genuine Jewish cuisine and eat in Miami, but these have been suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Social distancing and viral protection protocols are strictly enforced. Please visit their website for the latest information and requirements.
- The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science: Located at Biscayne Blvd. and the MacArthur Causeway north of Downtown Miami, fronting on Biscayne Bay to the east and Overtown to the west. The Frost Museum of Science is an interactive facility which allows visitors to explore and engage with creatures and habitats from the depths of the ocean in the Aquarium to the outermost boundaries of the known universe in the Planetarium. Interactive exhibits challenge visitors to rethink the limits of their bodies and minds, the wonders of the natural world and some of the latest scientific discoveries and breakthroughs from affiliated scientists and researchers. While the museum is open, some exhibits and interactive features may be limited or unavailable during the pandemic, and social distance and COVID prevention protocols are in effect and strictly enforced. Visit their website for the latest details and information.
- Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum: Located west of Coral Gables in University Park on the FIU campus, just northeast of Everglades National Park. Open by appointment only to all persons not affiliated with the FIU community (i.e. student, faculty or staff). Reservations must be made online. In-person guided gallery art tours are not available at this time, but virtual tours are available online and visitors are welcome to explore in accordance with the museum’s visitor rules and COVID prevention guidelines. Please review the museum’s website for the latest information!
2. HistoryMiami Museum: Located in downtown Miami just north of East Flagler Street and east of I-95.
Formerly the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, HistoryMiami museum is the largest history museum in the state. Offering onsite photographic art and cultural exhibits which celebrate and emphasize the area’s Native American, African, Cubano, Spanish and other influences, as well as guided museum and city tours, HistoryMiami is a perennial fixture on any locals’ guide to Miami, Florida and a must-see for visitors to truly appreciate the scope and scale of Florida culture. Be sure to check their website for the latest exhibitions and pandemic news and restrictions.
3. Deering Estate: Located south of Miami on Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park in Cutler, east of US-1.
Named for philanthropist and industrialist Charles Deering, the Deering Estate is located where Biscayne Bay and the waters of the Everglades meet. The estate is dedicated to conservation, preservation of the local culture, the arts and sustaining the ongoing viability of the fragile ecosystems which call this area home. Walking tours of the grounds and museums are available during open hours, and pandemic prevention measures are in place. Be sure to visit the website for the latest information.
4. Vizcaya Museum: Located northeast of Coconut Grove, southeast of Little Havana and south of downtown near US-1 and I-95 at the Rickenbacker Causeway.
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is dedicated to preserving the Vizcaya Village, the working part of the estate, and making this crucial part of Miami’s past available to future generations. Housed in a breathtaking Italianate estate, tours and exhibits are available. Online ticket purchases and masks are required for all visitors.
5. Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts: Located on Biscayne Boulevard just north of the MacArthur Causeway in the Town Square District.
If you want to enjoy the performing arts while you’re in Miami, the Arsht Center has you covered! Enjoy ballet, symphony performances, jazz, opera and contemporary music, such as the legendary Patti LaBelle, headlining in November of 2021. The Arsht Center is also supporting virtual, socially distanced and around-town pop-up events and activities. Seating is limited and pandemic protocols are in effect. Be sure to visit their website for the latest information.
6. Miami Design Preservation League and Art Deco Welcome Center: Located in the heart of the historic Art Deco District of Miami Beach on Ocean Drive.
If you love the Art Deco aesthetic of Roaring Twenties and early 1930s architecture, art and design, the Miami Design Preservation League is a must-stop on your itinerary! In addition to in-person tours, exhibits and information, their suite of Miami Webcams from the famous Calle Ocho in Little Havana and Little Haiti to Coconut Grove and Lincoln Road lets you explore and experience Miami right from your computer or mobile device! Be sure to visit their website for the latest information, exhibits and pandemic news and requirements for visitors.
7. Neptune Memorial Reef: Located three miles east of Key Biscayne. Accessible only by watercraft/diving.
If you want something truly unique and off the beaten path, it’s hard to find anything which better meets those criteria than the Neptune Memorial Reef. This artificial reef is engineered to withstand storm surges from a Force Four hurricane and has succeeded in attracting thousands of species to their new manmade home, including at least one species which was thought to be extinct! It is also the first and flagship location of a planned series of underwater cities of the dead, with room for the cremated remains of up to 100,000 residents upon its completion, giving a unique spin to the phrase “life after death.” Click here to learn more about the Neptune Memorial Reef.
Of course, there are plenty of other things to do and see in South Florida if you want to run wild in the palm tree capital of the East Coast, including:
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
- Matheson Hammock Park
- Oleta River State Park
- Historic Biltmore Hotel
- Crandon Park
- Legendary Key West
- The Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach
- Fort Lauderdale’s beaches and sights
From the Safe2Core Miami family to yours, we hope you and yours have a safe, happy, healthy New Year!