If you love off-the-beaten track destinations, then you can’t miss these five historic Miami attractions brimming with tropical beauty and glamour. From a past bootleggers’ haunt on Biscayne Bay to an industrialist’s waterfront mansion, you can discover the best of Miami’s sightseeing, from the louche to the luxurious.
First, you start with a private tour of the notorious Stiltsville. Originally bootleggers and rumrunners built these party houses on stilts over Biscayne Bay, far from land. Aboard your own private yacht, you cruise across the bay’s glistening waters, until you arrive at the homes, which hover like a mirage over the ocean. Here you listen to your guide describe the old days, when locals defied Prohibition by escaping offshore to Stiltsville, where contraband gin and whiskey flowed. You’re inhaling the scent of sea breezes as you listen to tales of “Crawfish” Eddy serving up his famous crawfish chowder and ice cold beers.
Art Deco Walking Tour
Eager to imbibe more of the city’s mysterious past, you arrive on South Beach’s famed Ocean Drive at the Art Deco Welcome Center for a walking tour. Your guide from the Miami Design Preservation League points out the streamline modern elements painted in a rainbow of pastel hues on the art deco hotels. As your group continues into an impressive lobby, you almost hear the swish of a flapper’s silk dress and the clink of cocktail glasses. The story of how this fabled district came to life, from the imaginations of architects like Albert Anis and Henry Hohauser, makes this one of your new favorite Miami attractions.
Joe’s Stone Crab
Since you’re enjoying South Beach’s historic atmosphere, you decide to indulge in a meal at the district’s most iconic restaurant, Joe’s Stone Crab. This mecca to all things seafood lures you in with its promise of delicious Florida stone crab claws and its legendary mystique. After you order an appetizer of stone crab, you glance around the room, where Al Capone, Amelia Earhart, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor once dined. Now, the crabs claws that you’re sharing with your significant other arrive. The delicate meat tastes wonderfully tender and succulent. Next, you dive into your jumbo lump crab cakes, with the perfect amount of crab, and a delectable green tomato and caper remoulade. A slice of authentic key lime pie finishes this decadent meal on a divinely sweet note.
To get a glimpse of Miami’s rich immigrant heritage and pioneer past, you explore the expanded and beautifully renovated HistoryMiami museum in downtown. Here you discover attractively curated exhibitions about the Tequesta tribe, which once lived at the mouth of the Miami River. The displays on Cuban and Haitian culture, with examples of clothing and musical instruments, give you a new perspective on this multicultural metropolis. There’s even a vintage trolley car you both climb aboard, as you imagine rolling down Miami’s bustling streets.
The Deering Estate
Last but certainly not least of these fabulous Miami attractions is the expansive and lushly tropical Deering Estate, with 444 unspoiled acres of mangrove forest, rockland hammock, and salt marshes. A guide takes you inside the Stone House, built by millionaire Charles Deering in the 1920s to house his magnificent art collection. The views onto Biscayne Bay are spectacular! Then you stroll down to the keyhole-shaped basin, with its majestic royal palms, and you savor the calm scenery. This sightseeing journey into Miami’s past gives you the opportunity to experience some of your favorite passions, from stunning architecture to vistas of sublime beauty.