34 Things to Do for Free in Miami
The Magic City never looked so good — or so affordable. With free world class concerts, gallery exhibits, architectural tours and glasses of bubbly, there has never been a better time to hop a flight south.
Music and Dance
Bring a picnic to Soundscape Park to hear the New World Symphony when their concerts are broadcast live on the projection wall of the Frank Gehry–designed New World Center. On Gospel Sundays the Miami Mass Choir belts out spellbinding songs at the Adrienne Arsht Center (pick up a free access pass in advance). If jazz is more your thing, take in a Miami Jazz Society concert on the second Wednesday of most months at the Olympia Theater. Dance aficionados can get their salsa groove on with a free class on Wednesday nights at Little Havana’s legendary Ball and Chain, or a samba session on Monday evenings at Boteco.
If you’re a Russian plutocrat, a museum director or a Kardashian, you come to see art in Miami during Art Basel. For the rest of us there are free events every weekend. The most popular is the graffiti-filled Wynwood Art Walk, which takes place on the second Saturday of the month in the warehouse-turned-gallery neighborhood near Wynwood Walls. There's also the super-cool Bird Road Art Walk, a tour of local artists’ workshops and studios on each third Saturday. If you're looking to combine fashion and art, take the Gables Gallery Walk, which stops at both the galleries and the boutiques on Ponce de Leon (aka Miracle Mile) in Coral Gables, or the Coconut Grove Art Walk, during which you can visit stylish stores and see contemporary art works at the Coconut Grove shopping center on the first Saturday of every month.
Courtesy of Wynwood Walls
Miami’s contemporary museums are not to be missed. Hit the waterfront Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), which showcases the best in modern art from the New World. To skip the $16 entrance fee, go on the first Thursday or second Saturday of the month. And the gloriously Art Deco Wolfsonian Museum, which has a collection that spans the Industrial Revolution through the Second World War, doesn't charge admission after 6 p.m. on Fridays. Got young ones? The wildly popular Miami Children’s Museum normally charges a $20 entrance fee — but not when Target sponsors Free Fridays. And the Jewish Museum of Florida opens the doors to two of its historic synagogues on Saturdays.
Cycling (and Walking) Tours
BYO bicycle to an excursion around Wynwood led by Wynwood Mural Tours on Sundays at 4 p.m. Or, from January through March, bike around the historic streets of Coconut Grove with an urban naturalist. No bike? No problem. Check out the city's free walking tours at Free Tours by Foot. You'll find everything from a Jewish Food Market adventure to an excursion through Little Havana.
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You can always join the hordes of beautiful bodies jogging on the South Beach waterfront. And if running doesn’t appeal, there’s always yoga. In Miami no-charge classes in scenic spots take place four days a week: Monday and Wednesday nights at 6 a.m. and Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. in Bayfront Park, and Tuesdays at 6 a.m. in Peacock Park. Third Street Beach in Miami Beach has a donation-based class held right on the shore every evening.
In the Magic City you can fiesta forever. Or at least on the last Friday of every month during Viernes Culturales, when musicians and artists take over Calle Ocho in Little Havana. A similar party takes place during Big Night in Little Haiti on every third Friday. Another can’t-miss festival: the wacky but wonderful Lincoln Road Antique Market, in South Beach, where you’ll find colorful farm stands, street performers and, of course, antiques for sale.
Pry the little ones away from their video games and head over to Family Fest at the Adrienne Arsht Center; it's a series of indoor performances aimed at children that ranges from ballets to rock operas. Book in advance; a (free) access pass is required.
Spot celebs under the stars at Miami’s pop-up versions of Cinema Paradiso. The Arts and Entertainment District often screens flicks complete with complimentary drinks and snacks. And from December through May, grab your patch of grass at Miami Beach’s Soundscape Park, where films are projected onto the side of the New World Center on Wednesdays and Thursdays after dark.
Yes, many beaches are public and, therefore, free by definition. But there are certain spots where the people watching is priceless, and the sand is worth its weight in gold. In South Beach, between the Lincoln Road and 20th Street entrances, the high-end hotels set up toys in the sand for their tiniest clientele. In the afternoon you can mingle with locals (and watch a yoga session) at Third Street Beach or take the boardwalk up to Central Beach, which stretches between 21st and 46th streets.
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