There’s nothing quite like going on a cruise, but if you’ve got some time to kill before your ship sails out of Miami, you’re in luck. Port of Miami is just minutes away from many of Miami’s most talked about neighborhoods, leaving you ample space to squeeze in a few activities before taking to the sea. Some of the more obvious choices include the ever-popular Bayside Marketplace, which houses dozens of shops and restaurants, and features live entertainment in the evenings; or the Perez Art Museum or PAMM, where you can feast your eyes on contemporary art and then feast once more on the cuisine at their in-house restaurant, Verde. But if you’re looking to set your sights a little further, here are a few suggestions:
1. Freedom Tower (Downtown Miami)
600 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami
Built in 1925, the Freedom Tower is an iconic part of Miami’s history and culture. Though first serving as the home of the Miami Daily News, it then became the primary processing center for Cuban immigrants during the 60s and 70s and became known as the “Ellis Island of the South.” Visitors today are welcome to explore the first two floors of the building, the first of which gives a more detailed history of the tower and the second which serves as Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design.
2. Olympia Theater (Downtown Miami)
174 E. Flagler Street, Miami
Another bastion of Miami’s rich cultural heritage is the Olympia Theater, a historic performing arts venue located in the heart of Downtown Miami. Opened in 1926, the theater was once the go-to spot to catch silent films and vaudeville acts. Recently renovated, the theater is now frequently busy with everything from weekly performances in their lobby lounge that include spoken word, vaudeville, improv, short play readings, burlesque, and more; to major concerts (last year’s performances include Kraftwerk and Sufjan Stevens) and film events.
3. Maximo Gomez Park (Little Havana)
801 SW 15th Ave., Miami
Located just 15 minutes away from the Port is the small Cuban enclave of Little Havana. Hitch an Uber and come observe the domino games happening all day long at this local Havanesque landmark. Take in the surrounding murals while you’re at it, walk down the nearby Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, then maybe take a walk over to Azucar! for a quick Latin-inspired ice cream (where flavors like Platano Maduro, or sweet plantain, are much beloved), or walk up to any of the many nearby eateries for a cafe con leche or some Cuban cuisine before heading back to the ocean.
4. Miami Circle Park (Brickell)
465 Brickell Ave., Miami
If history and a view are what you’re after, your best bet is to hop on the Metro Mover into Brickell and stop in at Miami Circle Park. Built by the Tequesta tribe, the Miami Circle itself is a National Historic Landmark which dates back potentially up to 2000 years. It is now located among a bevy of high rises, with a spectacular view of the bay where dolphins can often be spotted. It’s definitely a relaxing place to visit and learn a little about Miami’s history. Feel free to enjoy a waterfront picnic while you’re here, or hop back on the Mover and into Mary Brickell Village where you’ll find a wide assortment of restaurants and bars to choose from.
2520 NW 2nd Ave., Miami
Any art lover visiting Miami shouldn’t leave the area without dropping into Wynwood, our local arts district. And there’s no better place to start your tour of the neighborhood than the Wynwood Walls. This massive, outdoor gallery displays murals by some of the biggest names in street art, including Ron English, Swoon, and Shepard Fairey. There’s art to be seen both inside and out of the walls, on the doors, and within the two adjoining restaurants, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar and Joey’s, where you’re welcome to enjoy a quality meal before shipping out of the Magic City.