Miami is a serious hot spot of beachside hustle and bustle, a well-known tourist spot that has many well-known attractions to offer its guests.
Miami also has many not-so-well-known spots for out-of-towners to marvel at, the hidden gems of the city, so to speak. This list will tell you about 10 of the most historical, most entertaining, and most awe-inspiring sites to be seen in Miami, hidden gems you really don't want to miss. This is the best way to see the city like a local, skip out on all of those summertime crowds, plus have tons of Miami fun while doing it!
- Cloisters of Ancient Spanish Monastery - Head over to St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church to see something truly unique here in Miami, the rebuilt 12th-century Spanish monastery! Here you will see the architecturally amazing cloisters as well as several scenic gardens, with many options of tours or live events happening here daily. Learn all about the oldest building in the Western Hemisphere, the Cistercian monastery that sat in Spain for over 700 years, and about the local tycoon, Hearst, who brought this all here in 1925.
- Coral Castle - Just an hour south of Miami you will find Ed Leedskalnin’s biggest claim to fame, Coral Castle. Coral Castle is an ‘oolite’ limestone structure created by hand by just one man in Leisure City, Florida. There is a total of 100 tons of coral stone here, begging the question on everyone’s mind, how did one man do this all?
- Stiltsville - Stiltsville is a really unique addition to Miami’s seascape, a group of wood stilt houses located one mile south of Cape Florida, on the sandy banks of the Safety Valve on Biscayne Bay. See the century-old community of overwater shacks that used to be used for gambling and the like criminal activities. Today the 6 out of 36 that remain are kept nicely and the area is most widely used for fishing.
- Neptune Memorial Reef - The Memorial Reef by the Neptune Society is one of the unique features in this sprawling seaside city in our opinion, the entire thing a 16-acre underwater playground, the largest man-made reef ever. With a vision of ‘creating life...afterlife’ this ½ homage to Atlantis and ½ memorial actually inters bodies 40 feet below, cremated or not! There are stone roads, statues, and city ruins galore, all just off of Key Biscayne.
- Wolfsonian- FIU - The Florida Institute University’s Wolfsonian addition is a museum-like attraction full of over 120,000 truly curious objects. This is considered to be among Florida’s most fascinating historical attractions, the entire thing a sort of research center, museum, and library all in one, featuring tons of artistic and historic mediums such as paintings, newspapers, glasswork, etc from the late 19th century to WWII era.
- Little Havana Food Scene - If you really want to experience some culture while in Miami, head to Little Havana, the vibrant Cuban community with even more vibrant Cuban cuisine! Walk down Calle Ocho and see colorful murals, historic monuments, locals playing dominoes toting cigars. This Hispanic/Afro-Cuban vibe is only fully experienced by eating some of the delicious mariquitas, croquetas, or pastelitos while here, some of the best foods rumored to be at La Carreta!
- Versace’s Mansion - Versace’s Mansion, more formally known as The Villa Casa Casuarina today, is the magnificently architectured yet tragically marked spot where the former famous designer was shot on his way back from his personal favorite hidden gem, News Cafe. Since his death in 1997, the grounds have been well managed, a great spot to enjoy local scenery, local history, and really fantastic Greek and Roman mythology-esque architecture!
- Monkey Jungle - This 30-acre wildlife park is like a zoo in reverse; it puts you in the cages and lets the free-roaming monkeys view you! Established in 1933 for the exhibition and study of endangered monkeys, is a highly popular, immersive, and educational tourist attraction that also features daily shows and a really unique 10,000-year-old artifact display you are going to have to see for yourself!
- Miami Circle - This may not exactly be your definition of a ‘hidden’ gem, being so popular and in plain sight, but the history behind it takes a bit more effort to dig up! The Miami Circle was discovered in 1998, during routine archaeological investigations. Archaeological evidence suggests the Miami Circle marks the spot of a large, prehistoric structure, possibly the "foundations for a 'Council House,' or other ceremonial structure created by native Americans known as the Tequesta.
- Marine Stadium - This former premier center for speedboat racing in America is now an artful center for urban decay. Visitors to the old stadium can see an artist playground full of graffiti and street art, the entire stadium deemed unsafe in 1992. It's like an art museum without the fees!
Check out our other Hidden Gem Blogs!