After shelling out oodles of cash on airfare and lodging, it pays to be thrifty once you’ve reached your vacation destination. You might be surprised to learn that Miami is uniquely tailored for frugal fun. The beaches, for one, are a reliable option for daytime diversion, but memorable, cost-effective Miami nights are well within reach, if you know where to look.
ART & CULTURE
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it doesn’t cost a penny to enjoy Miami’s many art walks. The most popular tour lies just north of downtown in the Wynwood Arts District—a contemporary art haven, overflowing with sprawling psychedelic murals and over 70 galleries. On the second Saturday of every month, galleries extend their hours, and the masses descend on this neighborhood for a night of art and socializing.
For a raw, behind-the-scenes look at the artistic process, don’t miss the Bird Road Art Walk. Every third Saturday of the month, photographers direct live photo sessions and potters breathe life into shapeless clay in innovative industrial workspaces – all open to the public. Free parking, shuttle service, and wine are just a few more reasons to not pass up this opportunity.
Similarly, the first Friday of every month lures art lovers from all over South Florida to the elegant Gables Gallery Walk. Like the Bird Road Art Walk, this monthly exhibition offers free transportation between studios, making it a fun and easy way to enjoy the fine art mecca of Coral Gables.
For a culturally enriching experience that is uniquely infused with history and Latin flair, head to Viernes Culturales on the last Friday of every month in Miami’s historic Little Havana neighborhood. Dozens of musicians and artists flood Calle Ocho, sharing their vibrant creations and infectious melodies with the masses.
CLUBS, BARS AND LOUNGES
You don’t have to break the bank to be apart of Miami’s happening nightlife. In fact, epic city views are always free at these crowd-pleasing lounges. The Webster, an innovative, repurposed South Beach hotel, draws chic patrons to its three retail floors and stunning rooftop. Boasting a hip scene is the Shore Club’s chill, poolside Skybar. The Mondrian’s Sunset Lounge also offers striking panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and Miami’s downtown skyline. As the sun sets, the lounge’s expert mixologists serve up discounted cocktails like mojitos and caipirinhas – two Miami staples worth shelling out the cash for.
After checking out the view from above, scope out the subterranean scene at the Delano’s swanky FDR lounge. There’s no cover fee to enter this intimate two-room venue, but come dressed to impress. And while you’re at this Art Deco landmark, be sure to stop by the newly revamped Rose Bar.
As far as live music goes, cozy Miami Beach landmark Jazid is hailed as one of the best small music venues in town, and it’s free to enter before 11 p.m. The Design District is definitely ideal for live music, as well, and spots like The Stage are often free to enter.
FREE FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN
Movie buffs, look no further than the Miami Beach SoundScape Cinema Series where timeless blockbusters screen on a 7,000 square foot projection wall, steps from the shore. Set in a 2.5-acre park that also hosts world-class concerts, the SoundScape Cinema Series boasts state of the art visual and audio technology, provided by the New World Center. Pack a picnic and comfy blanket, and plop down under the stars with the whole family at this immersive cultural affair.
But if you want a closer look at our vast cosmos, take the kids to Miami Science Museum’sObservatory Star Show on the second Friday night of each month. South Florida has countless opportunities to merge recreation and education – and often without opening your wallet. Like the Miami Science Museum, the Miami Children’s Museum sponsors a free night every third Friday. Rest assured, its rooms upon rooms of hands-on exhibits will keep the youngsters entertained for hours.
People watching also provides endless entertainment, especially at Miami’s premiere open-air shopping and dining destinations, like CocoWalk, Bayside Marketplace, Lincoln Road, and Ocean Drive. Whether you’re in the mood to stroll the tree-lined streets of Coconut Grove, enjoy live music on the water’s edge of Downtown, or window shop in South Beach – you’ll find all you want and more at these free Miami hotspots