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Miami is one of the most electric and exciting cities in the U.S. From colorful art deco buildings, through to white sand beaches, and the city’s vibrant Cuban culture — where you can enjoy a traditional Cuban cigar and hear salsa music wafting down the street — there’s simply so much to see and do. It also happens to be one of the most expensive places in Florida, which is why we are here to help you save money with our guide on how to do Miami on a budget:
Things to Do
Walk the Historic Art Deco District
Miami’s picture-perfect, pastel-colored art deco houses that line Ocean Drive couldn’t get any more Instagram-worthy if they tried. The traditional, 1930s houses have been restored and a lot of tourists come to the Art Deco Historic District to walk around the beautiful buildings, snap pictures and take selfies. Visiting the district is free so it’s a great budget option.
Explore Little Havana
Miami is home to one of the largest Cuban population in the world outside of Cuba, so it’s no surprise that in the district of Little Havana, you can find authentic Cuban bars, where you can smoke a cigar and dance to traditional Cuban salsa. You can also buy cigars from hole-in-the-wall style shops, ranging from budget cigars through to some of the world’s finest. The district is packed with galleries, bars, and shops, and its vibrant atmosphere is unbeatable. After strolling past the cafes, take a seat in Maximo Gomez Park and watch locals playing dominoes (a traditional pass-time in Cuba) while speaking about politics.
Hit the Beach
Beaches are free to enter, so if you’re looking to keep costs down, spend a few days on some of Miami’s finest, sugar-sand beaches. Bring a packed lunch with you to save money, and if you can, bring your own umbrella or pop-up sunscreen, so you don’t have to spend money renting shade. Some of the best beaches in Miami are Lummus Park Beach, filled with bright lights, toned and tanned bodies, and a great evening party scene (if you’re keen to stick around after sunset), and Haulover Beach, which has white sand, turquoise water, and a laid-back vibe.
Where to Stay
If you need somewhere to stay in Miami, the best option is a hostel or renting a room or apartment. Some of our favorite budget options include:
SoBe Hostel: SoBe Hostel is located in the lively South Beach district. It’s known to draw a fun-loving crowd who love to party. There’s a cool bar and an outside patio where you can socialize, and guests love the hostel’s clean rooms.
Miami Beach International Hostel: The most popular hostel in Miami has recently been remodeled and it now features a new, fresh design. It’s a great hostel for meeting like-minded people and boasts an amazing location, in the heart of the Historic Art Deco District.
The best vacation rentals for the lowest price
Beds&Drinks: With five hours of happy hour every day, it’s easy to see why Beds&Drinks is a favorite hostel in Miami. The hostel sits in the only fully-renovated art deco building on the beach, meaning that you get to stay in a slice of history.
When to Go
Miami is a top tourist destination, so try to avoid the peak seasons, such as the weeks surrounding Christmas, Spring Break and the summer months of July and August, as prices can soar. If you travel during the off-peak season, a lot of accommodation options offer big discounts.
Where to Eat
Some of the best cheap eats in town include delicious fish tacos at Rubio’s Coastal Grill, a Californian chain now serving delicious Mexican cuisine in Miami; Latin-American-inspired empanadas at Half Moon Empanadas; and pizza at the historic Steve’s Pizza, a no-frills pizza joint founded in the 1970s. If you’re looking to do Miami on a budget you can also eat at one of the many food trucks, and chow down on dishes such as Cuban sandwiches, hot dogs or burgers. Alternatively, shop at a supermarket and prepare food at home to take with you as you explore the city. You’ll save on eating out for the evening and will still get to soak in all the city has to offer.
Hi Carmela. This is a really helpful post with some good tips. I always thought of these tourist hotspots in the US as being really expensive places – too expensive for me (at present), but you’re helping me change my opinion about that. The other thing that everyone always says about Miami is that it’s like sooo hot.
Thanks for the tips! I have a work trip to Miami in a few weeks!
This looks like a blast. I would love to visit little Havana. It would give me a chance to pick up some fresh rolled cigars.
I’ve always wanted to visit Miami, but can never afford it! Thanks for all the great tips ??
Amazing article. Anything that shows you how to have an awesome trip on a budget is good by me. Good tips about the walk btw, I love a good photowalk.
I love that you can still do somewhere like Maimi on a budget! We often try to travel off-peak because not only is it cheaper it’s quieter too!
Miami is definitely somewhere we have always wanted to visit. Mostly for the beach of course but we would definitely want to check out the cuban area especially with all of the art deco buildings. I think it would be cool to play dominoes in the park and eat a cuban sandwich. What is on the cuban sandwich anyway?
This is a great guide to budget travel in Miami. It can definitely be expensive there, but I’d spend a lot of time exploring little Havana, and eating some delicious half moon empanadas too! Obviously the beach is a must.