Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (2023)

A significant port city in the state of Florida, Miami remains one of the trendiest and most-visited cities in the United States of America and in the world. Home to the largest Latin American population in the world outside of Latin America, Miami is often dubbed as the “Magic City”.

Known for its diverse cultural influence and a rich heritage, Miami is the largest American city with a Cuban history that dates back to 1960s when hundreds and thousands of Cubans arrived in Miami as a result of a political movement. Home to the only Everglades ecosystem in the world, Miami is home to over 800 green spaces and is the only city of its kind in the US to be neighbored by two different National Parks, Biscayne and Everglades.

A city of many firsts (including the first suntan lotion and the first Burger King), Miami Beach houses the largest collection of Art Deco architecture. While you may think that its beaches are the major draw, Miami has one of the biggest snow skiing clubs in the country.

Now that we know what this city has to offer in terms of culture and entertainment, let us take a look at some of its popular areas to help you pick where to stay in Miami during your visit to this fabulous metropolitan.

Miami Beach

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (1)Source: Richard Cavalleri / shutterstock

Technically, not a part of Miami city but a part of Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, a small barrier island near the city of Miami, has been one of the most eminent beach resorts in the United States of America for over a century. Considered a contemporary center for art, culture, nightlife, and food, Miami Beach is home to several different cultures, including a substantial Latin American population as well as a small but considerable Haitian community. Even the street signs here are in English, Spanish, and Creole. Featuring clear and calm waters throughout the year, the beachfront, with its golden sands and swaying palms is, of course, the primary attraction in the area. If you are here towards the end of March, Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, an 18-day event with over 700,000 visitors per year and considered to be the biggest and the most successful of its kind in the country, is a must-see.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Collins Avenue, Lincoln Road, Bass Museum of Art, Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and World Erotic Art Museum.

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Hotel Recommendations:

  • Urbanica The Meridian Hotel – A short walk away from the beach, this popular hotel is known for its modern interiors and superb amenities such as an outdoor pool with lounge chairs, spacious guestrooms, an on-site bar, and a 24-hour front desk. Some of the room packages at this pet-friendly hotel offer a complimentary breakfast. Great for all kinds of travelers.
  • The Marlin Hotel – A few minutes away from the white sands of Miami Beach, the Marlin Hotel offers free Wi-Fi, on-site launderette, and a restaurant. Contemporary guestrooms come with a spacious closet, remote-controlled blackout drapes, ensuite bathroom with luxury bath products. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • Loews Miami Beach Hotel – A stone’s throw away from the eventful Miami Beachfront, Loews Miami Beach Hotel boasts 6 restaurants, a world-class spa and wellness center, a refreshing outdoor pool and hot tub, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests staying at the property can indulge in parasailing, kayaking, and complimentary banana boat rides. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.

South Beach

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (2)Source: Miami2you / shutterstock

Technically, South Beach refers to the southern end of Miami Beach. Fundamentally, it is a world apart. While Miami Beach is a relaxed, laid-back waterfront mostly inhabited by retirees and families, South Beach is where you see young models tanning topless on the sand. Fifth Street is where the meanest and the most famous parties go down, but a little south from here, you will find boutique gems and astonishing restaurants. South Beach neighborhood is also home to several shopping malls and celebrity-chef diners. Another sub-region, Ocean Drive is where you can admire the city’s neatly-preserved art-deco architecture and several outdoor cafes. Frequented by the young, rich and the famous, South beach is arguably your best chance of experiencing Miami’s fascinating nightlife.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Espanola Way, Lincoln Road Mall, Haulover Beach Park, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, South Pointe Park, and Jewish Museum of Florida.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Cavalier South Beach Hotel – Next to the golden sands of South Beach, this affluent property has a 24-hour front desk, a classy décor, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Every room at the hotel features satellite TV, safety deposit box, and a private bathroom. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • 1 Hotel South Beach – Located on the oceanfront, the historic 1 Hotel South Beach is famous for its world-class hospitality and a range of avant-garde facilities, including an adult-only exclusive rooftop swimming pool, a private beach area, and a fantastic spa and wellness center. In-room dining is possible 24 hours a day. Great for all kinds of luxury travelers.
  • Leslie Hotel – Established in 1937, this iconic hotel is known for its art-deco style, a rooftop pool and spa, and its brilliant location right across from South Beach. Guests can enjoy working out at the on-site fitness center or sign up for an aqua aerobics class for something more interesting. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.

Downtown Miami

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (3)Source: Shutterstock

As anywhere else in the world, Miami’s downtown neighborhood is its financial, commercial, and cultural center and of South Florida’s. Generally, a busy area, Downtown Miami is jam-packed with high-rising skyscrapers, decades of history, intriguing museums and art galleries, and innumerable shopping and entertainment venues. Bayside Marketplace in the Downtown neighborhood is the epitome of fun, frolic, and shopping – the best of what Miami has to offer can be found here. For history lovers, the Downtown Miami Historic District offers a collection of around 60 historic structures, most of which were established in the 1920s and some even before that. No trip to Miami is considered worthwhile unless you have paid your homage to the iconic Freedom Tower. A 1925 Mediterranean Revival style skyscraper, Freedom Tower was once the HQ for Miami News and is now used by Miami Dade College as an educational and cultural center.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Pérez Art Museum Miami, Bayfront Park, Miami Center For Architecture And Design, Miami Science Barge, Alfred I. DuPont Building, and Olympia Theatre.

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Hotel Recommendations:

  • Holiday Inn Hotel Port of Miami-Downtown – Set in the heart of Downtown Miami, this splendid hotel offers luxurious guestrooms and wonderful vistas of Biscayne Bay. Guests can make use of the outdoor pool and the well-equipped fitness center. If catching up on your work at the on-site business center gets too monotonous, refresh yourself with a nice meal and a delightful cocktail at the restaurant. Great for all kinds of travelers.
  • Hilton Miami Downtown – One of the well-known affluent hotels in the area, Hilton Miami Downtown features sophisticated rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, cable TV, and unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay (in selected rooms). The on-site bistro serves tastefully crafted local and international cuisines. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • InterContinental Miami – Located in the business district of Miami, this lavish property offers well-furnished, modern guestrooms, a 24-hour fitness center, a full-service spa and wellness center with 10 wonderfully-decorated treatment rooms, and a large outdoor pool with a sundeck that overlooks Biscayne Bay. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.


Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (4)Source: Shutterstock

A sub-neighborhood of the Downtown neighborhood and home of the Financial District, Brickell is where the majority of businesses in the city can be found. Though more buttoned-up than the likes of South Beach, the area has plenty of cafes and restaurants to relax during the day. Laughton Island, commonly known as Brickell Island, is a small community attached to the neighborhood via a pedestrian-friendly bridge and is known for the celebrated Mandarin Oriental Hotel and giant iguanas. Often regarded as Miami’s best-kept secret, Brickell’s most popular attraction is undoubtedly the Mary Brickell Village. A complete package consisting of karaoke bars, fine-dining restaurants, unique boutiques, and so much more, Mary Brickell Village has self-proclaimed itself to be the “Manhattan of Miami”.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Brickell Key Park, The Shops at Mary Brickell Village, Simpson Park, and Rickenbacker Causeway.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Miami Downtown/Brickell – Located a short distance from Brickell Metromover Station, this splendid hotel offers well-appointed guestrooms with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, wake-up service, tea/coffee maker, and ensuite bathroom. Additional facilities at the property include a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and a friendly concierge which can help you arrange for excursions around the city. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • EAST, Miami – Be ready to be pampered like a superstar with the EAST, Miami’s world-class facilities and services which comprise fully-furnished guestrooms with state-of-the-art facilities, a 24-hour fitness center, 4 outdoor pools, and a movie theatre. The 40th-floor rooftop bar offers splendid views of the city. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
  • Atton Brickell Miami – Featuring a rooftop pool, an on-site business center, a fully-stocked bar, and an on-site restaurant, the Atton Brickell Miami offers well-appointed guestrooms with modern amenities such as cozy extra-large double beds, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and ensuite bathroom with free toiletries. Great for all kinds of travelers.

Coconut Grove

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (5)Source: FloridaStock / shutterstock

Located along the stunning waterfront of Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove, established in 1873 by a group of adventurers, artists, and pioneers, is the oldest incessantly inhabited neighborhood in Miami. Often dubbed as “the Grove,” the neighborhood prides itself in being one of the greenest spaces in the city. Home to a number of annual celebrations and festivals, including the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the renowned Goombay Festival (a celebration of Bahamian culture and food infused with Caribbean music), the Grove comprises uncountable street-side cafes and waterfront bars and restaurants which, come night, form the epicenter of the region’s nightlife. Its prime location next to Biscayne Bay makes the Grove an ultimate center for boating and sailing activities.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Peacock Park Community Yoga, CocoWalk, The Barnacle Historic State Park, Coconut Grove Cemetery, and Panorama Restaurant & Sky Lounge.

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Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami – This swanky 5-star hotel boasts upscale rooms with latest facilities within a short distance from Biscayne Bay. When you are an expecting mother or a newlywed couple, the world-class spa and wellness center knows exactly how to take care of you. Guests can relish fresh seafood and locally-sourced organic produces at the on-site restaurant. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
  • Mayfair Hotel and Spa – A short drive from the historic Vizcaya Museum, this extraordinary Art-Nouveau style boutique hotel is known for its state-of-the-art guestrooms, gourmet dining, and a 4,500 square feet exclusive spa and wellness center which is rumored to be the only of its kind in the city. Great for all kinds of travelers.
  • Hampton Inn Miami-Coconut Grove/Coral Gables – Start your day at this hotel with a complimentary breakfast and drive a short distance to enjoy a beach day at either Miami Beach or the historic Virginia Key Beach. If you’d prefer to relax at the property, stay in shape at the well-equipped fitness center and take a calming swim at the pool. End your day with a delightful dining experience at one of the many restaurants nearby. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.

Coral Gables

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (6)Source: pisaphotography / shutterstock

Characterized by ivy-capped mansions, historical landmarks, and tree-lined avenues, Coral Gables is appropriately dubbed as “the City Beautiful”. Home of the famous Venetian Pool and the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables comprises the largest botanical garden in the country and the highly-illustrious University of Miami. A great spot for families and mid-aged travelers, the neighborhood is essentially calmer than the Downtown and South Beach areas, yet have plenty to see and do, including art galleries, lush green spaces, the highest number of live theatres in Dade County, and of course, Miracle Mile – the main shopping street of Coral Gables and home of the momentous Miracle Theatre. Coral Gable House, probably the most significant landmark in the neighborhood, is the former residence of George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Lowe Art Museum, , and Matheson Hammock Park.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hyatt Regency Coral Gables in Miami – Fitted with a 42-inch cable TV, iPod dock, and a patio or a balcony, guestrooms at Hyatt Regency Coral Gables is a short drive from Miami International Airport. Guests can enjoy their meals and cocktails at the on-site bar and restaurant or call for room-service to savor the spreads in the comfort of their room. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel – Within a short distance of the prominent South Beach, Miami International Airport, and the many shops at Miracle Mile, this opulent property features spacious, well-appointed guestrooms and suites with the latest facilities. The pet-friendly hotel also offers a nicely-equipped fitness center, 24-hour room service, and an on-site gift shop. Great for all kinds of luxury travelers.
  • Four Points by Sheraton Coral Gables – Boasting an outdoor pool, a library lounge, a well-equipped fitness center, and on-site bar and lounge with brilliant views of the historic neighborhood, the remarkable hotel is within walking distance from Merrick Park Mall. A fabulous complimentary breakfast buffet is served daily. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.

Key Biscayne

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (7)Source: Kamira / shutterstock

Nestled on the south end of Miami Beach and to the east of the city, Key Biscayne is a notable island town connected to mainland Miami via Rickenbacker Causeway. Sandwiched between Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, the neighborhood enjoys close proximity to two stunning beaches, tropical forests, mangroves, and a wide variety of flora and fauna, including various butterfly species and loggerhead turtles. Key Biscayne also offers access to the nearby Florida barrier reef which is documented as the only living coral reef in the nation and the third largest in the world. Additionally, the coral reef is also the sole federally recognized underwater archaeological trail in the United States.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Cape Florida Light, Dolphin Harbor, No Name Harbor, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Beach.

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Hotel Recommendations:

  • Coral Reef Luxury Suites Key Biscayne Miami – A pleasant walk from the beach, this spacious property features self-catering suites with free Wi-Fi, cable TV, dining area, and private bathroom. Guests can enjoy unlimited access to the on-site outdoor pool and can also make use of the laundry facility. Suitable for families and groups.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami – Boasting separate pools for adults and families, 11 tennis courts, a 25,000 square-foot spa and wellness center with hot tubs, eucalyptus steam rooms, and a sauna, and 4 on-site restaurants, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne redefines luxury and hospitality. A brilliantly-designed fitness center and a full-service beauty salon take care of all your health and grooming needs. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
  • Beach Haus Key Biscayne Contemporary Apartments – A minutes’ walking distance from the beach, these spacious and modern apartment units offer comfortable lodging and numerous facilities, including cable TV, kitchen, and free Wi-Fi. Spend the day sunbathing by the on-site pool or make use of the complimentary umbrellas and lounge chairs and have a fun-filled beach day. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.

Design District

Where to Stay in Miami – Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The Crazy Tourist (8)Source: Olga V Kulakova / shutterstock

A small neighborhood a couple of miles north from the buzzing streets of Downtown Miami, Design District is where you find the creative geniuses of Miami. Endless art galleries, fancy furniture stores, chic eateries, and upscale fashion boutiques can be found scattered around the streets of this rather compact district. De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, one of the many notable galleries in the vicinity, exhibits the personal creations of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz and is an extension of their personal residence. Indisputably, the best way to explore the popular and the hidden gems of Design District is to sign up for the Design District Art Walk that takes place on the second Saturday of every month and is essentially an evening filled with art, cocktails and dining with like-minded attendees.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Institute of Contemporary Art, Locust Projects, Adamar Fine Arts, The Moore Building, and The Haitian Heritage Museum.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Mare Azur Design District Luxury Apartments – Featuring an outdoor pool and barbecue facilities, this well-structured property offers luxurious, self-catering apartment units with facilities such as satellite TV, private bathroom, and a dressing room. Guests can enjoy one of the pools within the stunning premises or easily walk over to the waterfront. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Midtown, FL – Set in the heart of Miami’s famous Design District, Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Midtown provides outstanding rooms and suites equipped with up-to-date facilities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, and a work desk with ergonomic chairs. A sumptuous complimentary breakfast is served daily. Great for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of 6 members each.
  • Midtown Apartments at Midblock – With a spacious terrace lounge overlooking the city and a rejuvenating outdoor pool, Midtown Apartments at Midblock features well-appointed, self-catering apartment units with newest facilities such as soundproofing, satellite TV, and a private bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can relax in the on-site hot tub after a long day exploring the city. Perfect for families and large groups of up to 6 members.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Miami, Florida (FL)

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What part of Miami is the most fun? ›

Miami's Fabulous Neighborhoods

Arts and culture lovers should head to Wynwood, Coral Gables, and Little Haiti. Those looking for luxury will feel right at home in Brickell, the Miami Design District, and Key Biscayne. Meanwhile, families can have the most fun at Coconut Grove, Downtown Miami, and Homestead.

Is it better to stay in downtown Miami or Miami Beach? ›

Is downtown Miami or South Beach better? South Beach is better than downtown Miami if you're looking to enjoy more time in the sand. Downtown Miami is better than South Beach if you're seeking cultural experiences, museums, and events.

Where should I stay in Miami for first time? ›

The best areas to stay in Miami for first-timers are the neighborhoods of Miami Beach, South Beach, Downtown Miami, Bal Harbour, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Brickell, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables.

What is the main strip in Miami called? ›

Ocean Drive is the quintessential Miami boulevard – think cute cafes, beachgoers, art deco digs, and booming all-night gigs. The avenue runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, with a row of busy venues on one side and the beachfront Lummus Park on the other.

What part of Miami is walkable? ›

Coral Gables

Coral Gables is one of the most walkable small cities in Florida. It has its own downtown, and if you're in walking distance, you can dine out, do your shopping, and experience some great entertainment without going far from home. The city also has a trolley.

Is it better to stay in South Beach or Miami Beach? ›

Most of the hotels, restaurants and clubs at South beach are within a walkable distance. Unlike Miami Beach, South Beach contains some of the best beaches, clubs, restaurants and shopping streets. More and more people prefer to stay at South beach rather than at Miami Beach.

Can you get around Miami without a car? ›

Metrorail, Metromover and Metrobus all provide low-cost or free ways for you to get around Miami without splurging on taxis and rental cars. Not only is it an excellent way to see the sights, it's also great for the environment and a smart way to avoid parking and garage fees.

Is there a difference between Miami Beach and South Beach? ›

South Beach is a section of Miami Beach (the most famous section) at the – you guessed it – south end of the island. So there you have it… South Beach is a neighborhood of Miami Beach. So if you're staying in South Beach, you're also staying in Miami Beach.

What is the safest area in Miami? ›

Key Biscayne | One of Miami's Safest Suburbs

Key Biscayne is one of Miami's most luxurious and private areas. The island off the coast of Brickell and Coconut Grove is in demand by many wealthy families for its safety and exclusivity. Key Biscayne is one of Miami's safest neighborhoods and is family-friendly.

What is the difference between Miami and Miami Beach? ›

Key Difference: Miami and Miami Beach are two cities located in the Miami-Dade County, within the state of Florida, United States. Miami is a metropolitan, whereas Miami Beach is a beach resort city. Miami is a coastal city located in the south of United States of America.

Do you need a car in Downtown Miami? ›

But can you live without a car? Miami makes it easy to live without a car. With the largest mass transit system in the state of Florida, Miami's Metrorail, Downtown Metromover, Paratransit and Metrobus systems come together to make Miami a city impressively navigable by public transportation.

How far is downtown Miami from the beach? ›

The distance between Miami Beach and Downtown Miami is 4 miles.

Where is the hipster part of Miami? ›

But if it means vintage shops, record stores and creative restaurants, then Greater Miami & Miami Beach is your hipster place. From the painted walls of Wynwood to the restored motels in the MiMo District, this destination does throwback and funky as well as anyplace.

What is the hip neighborhood in Miami? ›

Wynwood is Miami's hippest neighborhood and it knows it. This is an adult playground of graffiti, murals, restaurants, bars, shops and galleries. Whatever is cool and on trend in the world is emulated, if not started, on these streets, in the shadow of some excellent public art.


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