Where to stay in Miami [5 best areas for couples, nightlife and families]
I was in total panic when I had to decide where to stay in Miami on my first visit to the city. Does the beach or the city work better? What about the energetic Brickell? Is it an option?
Given the massive size of the city and endless accommodation options, understanding what are the best areas to stay in Miami is not as simple as it may seem.
Fear not; you have come to the right place for all the information you need to decide on the best place to stay in Miami. It doesn’t matter whether it is a couple’s getaway or a friend group trip for spring break or even a family vacation.
The best part is that all my reviews and recommendations have just been updated. Also, on one of my last trips to the city, I made a video to show you all these neighborhoods. Basically, you should have all the information you need to take a decision.
Table of Contents
- 1 Where to stay in Miami for couples, family and nightlife – Key Points
- 2 Best places to stay in Miami for couples
- 3 Where to stay in Miami for families
- 4 Where to stay in Miami for nightlife
- 5 Where to stay in Miami on a budget
- 6 Best areas to stay in Miami
- 7 Frequently asked questions
- 7.1 Is it better to stay in downtown Miami or South Beach?
- 7.2 What is the safest area in Miami for tourists?
- 7.3 What’s the difference between South Beach and Miami Beach?
- 7.4 Where to stay in Miami with your partner?
- 7.5 What’s the best part of Miami to stay in?
- 7.6 Where should I stay in Miami for the first time?
- 7.7 How many days in Miami?
- 7.8 Can I visit the Florida Keys from Miami?
- 7.9 Can I visit the Bahamas from Miami?
Where to stay in Miami for couples, family and nightlife – Key Points
In the table below I compare all the best places to stay in Miami that I describe in this guide. It will give you a great idea of what can work best for you based on your type of visit. Click on the area name for the full neighborhood description, including all the pros, cons, and suggested hotels and restaurants.
Swipe left or right on a mobile to see the entire table. The map of the areas follows the table.
|Area||Pros||Cons||Avg. Cost||Accessibility||Attractions||Bars & Restaurants||Families||Couples||Nightlife||Character|
|South Miami Beach||Vibrant nightlife, Art Deco architecture, Beautiful beaches||Can be crowded, Expensive||$$$$$||Good bus connections, 30-40 min drive from the airport||Art Deco Historic District, Ocean Drive||Excellent||Moderate||Excellent||Excellent||Art Deco architecture, Beachfront|
|Mid Miami Beach||Peaceful, Chilled out||Not as much nightlife||$$$$||Good bus connections, 30-40 min drive from the airport||Miami Beach Boardwalk||Good||Good||Excellent||Moderate||Beachfront, Luxury|
|North Miami Beach||Quiet, Safe, Family-friendly||Fewer attractions||$$$||Good bus connections, 30-40 min drive from the airport||North Shore Park, Oleta River State Park||Moderate||Excellent||Good||Low||Residential, Beachfront|
|Miami Downtown||Central location, Lots of attractions||Can be busy||$$$||Excellent bus and train connections (to the airport too)||Art Museum, Museum of Science, Arena||Excellent||Good||Good||Excellent||Urban, Business District|
|Brickell||Vibrant, Lots of activities||Can be busy||$$$$||Excellent bus and train connections (to the airport too)||Brickell City Centre, Miami Seaquarium||Excellent||Good||Good||Excellent||Urban, Financial District|
|Coconut Grove||Laid-back, Romantic||Fewer nightlife options||$$$||Good bus connections, 20-30 min drive from the airport||Barnacle Historic State Park, Vizcaya Museum||Good||Good||Excellent||Low||Historic, Laid-back|
|Little Havana||Cultural hub, Affordable||No luxury accommodations||$$||Good bus connections, 10-15 min drive from the airport||Calle Ocho, Cuban Memorial Boulevard||Good||Good||Good||Moderate||Cultural, Historic|
Here below you can find more information based on your type of visit.
- So, what are the best 5 areas to stay in Miami: these are Miami Beach (beach break), Miami Downtown (the central business district), Brickell (the vibrant new part of Miami), Coconut Groove (peaceful and laid back), Little Havana (Miami’s cultural hub). Read more info on these 5 areas below.
- Where to stay in Miami with a partner: if you are thinking about a romantic stay then go no further than Mid Miami Beach. It’s one of the most chilled-out areas in the city and although there is not much nightlife, you can definitely find a few beautiful restaurants for a lovely dinner. The alternative is Coconut Grove, another romantic and laid-back area south of Miami Downtown, facing the water but without beaches, a great spot for walks. Read more about a breakaway with your partner below.
- Best places to stay in Miami with family: North Beach is a great option if you are traveling with small kids. The whole area is very quiet and safe, with playgrounds and obviously the beach to spend some time with the little one(s). Brickell may work better if you are on a holiday with grown-up children thanks to the many nearby activities, like the Seaquarium. You will be also very close to Downtown with plenty of shopping around. Read more below about a holiday with your kids in Miami, including a few tips on family restaurants.
- Best areas to stay in Miami for nightlife: you have two great options. The first one is South Beach for more beach-style nightlife. The alternative is Miami Downtown for more pretentious city-style entertainment. Read more below about both options, including a few clubs you should not miss.
- Where to stay in Miami cheap: A few affordable accommodation options are available in Little Havana, east of Downtown, without sacrificing quality. The alternative is a hostel in Miami Beach. Read more below about staying on a budget, with a few accommodation options
- Best area to stay in Miami for art and architecture: you will be spoiled by the beautiful art deco buildings in South Beach. The colorful historic buildings along Ocean Drive make the area an outdoor exhibit. There are also so many art galleries around. Once there, remember to book dinner at the iconic and opulent Gianni Versace House. For your stay, you should get a room either at the Savoy Hotel or the National Hotel (Adult Only), two of the most stylish places in South Beach. The Tradewinds Apartments, designed in 1937, is also another possibility especially if traveling on a budget. Read more on my guide to Miami Beach
- Where to stay in Miami for luxury: look no further than Mid Beach. This is where you will find the most luxurious accommodations in all of Miami, together with some of the best restaurants to have your lunch and dinner. Highly suggest for your stay is the Faena Hotel, absolutely gorgeous, check out the photos. Read more on my guide to Miami Beach
- Best place in Miami for relaxing: two areas stand out for their chill-out vibe. The first one is Coconut Grove, south of Miami downtown, and in this case, you should check out for your stay the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove. The other possibility is North Beach, far from the hustle and bustle of South Beach. The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort may be just all you need to have the most relaxed stay in Miami. Read more on my guide to Miami Beach
- Where to stay in Miami without a car? South Beach is the best area to stay in Miami without a car if you want to spend time by the sea. Otherwise Downtown works better for the attraction and it is so much better connected with everything else in Miami, including the airport.
- Do you want to go straight to your hotel? Pre-order an airport transfer that will wait for you directly at the airport. So easy. It is a very useful service when arriving at the second airport in the city, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, badly connected with Miami.
Best places to stay in Miami for couples
Miami is a wonderful city to visit with your significant other given all the potentially romantic sites and activities there are to explore.
The most important thing is to figure out the best area to stay in Miami for couples.
To help you out, here are two amazing options and all they have in store for you during your romantic getaway.
Mid Beach (Romantic at the beach)
This area of Miami Beach is ideal if you and your partner want a peaceful getaway where you can relax and enjoy each other’s company.
The neighborhood has numerous romantic accommodation options whether you want a room at a beachside resort or you want to rent out a private condo.
Unfortunately, Mid Beach does not have a lot to offer in terms of the late-night scene.
However, its proximity to South Beach and all its nighttime glory means that you are just a cab ride away from an evening of wild fun.
While Mid Beach’s late-night scene is for the most part non-existent, there are several restaurants open late that you can hit up for a nice evening out.
One of these is Lola Restaurant and Grill. This is a global cuisine restaurant whose highlight feature in addition to the great food is the fact that they occasionally host live music shows.
If you are looking for liquid fun on your night out with your beau, then your best option is Norman’s Tavern. This is a cocktail and sports bar that though not super romantic has a wide variety of drinks for you to enjoy together.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort is perfect for couples who are looking for a high-end travel experience.
I am not sure if this is the best hotel in Miami Beach, but certainly, it is among the most magnificent ones.
With its beautiful Atlantic Ocean views (see photos here), luxury rooms, and amenities like a spa, it will definitely be a great trip to remember.
You also have a lot of activities to look forward to including partying in the on-site club, fine dining in one of their restaurants, or having a casual couple’s beach day on the waterfront.
For more options, you should check my post dedicated to where to stay in Miami Beach.
Coconut Grove (laid-back south of downtown)
This quaint little historic part of the city dating to the late 1800 screams romantic from a mile away.
Everything, from the architecture to the attractions, creates a nice dreamy vibe that is bound to spice up your couples’ vacation.
It is a pretty laid-back neighborhood that will allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture with activities as simple as taking a walk down the colorful streets.
And when you and your partner want to go out for some nighttime fun then all you have to do is take the bus or a taxi to nearby Downtown Miami.
Coconut Grove is also a great place for you and your lover to go on a food adventure. You could go to Ariete which is an upscale restaurant known for putting a magical modern twist on traditional American cuisine.
For brunch after a fun night out, consider trying Greenstreet Café. This restaurant serves hearty comfort foods with different options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.
If you want something laid back but still classy for your couple’s retreat, then consider staying at the Mr. C Miami.
It is a great funky boutique stay with a lovely rooftop outdoor pool meters away from bars and restaurants.
Bicycles are also available for a local tour around the Grove
Where to stay in Miami for families
The best places to stay in Miami for families are those that are safe, affordable, and preferably away from all the hustle of more vibrant parts of town.
This leaves you with 2 main options.
North Beach (small kids)
This is a great choice for family visits where budget-friendly options are a priority.
It is a very calm and laid-back part of Miami Beach which makes it perfect for some family-friendly fun.
If you are traveling with young children, they will definitely enjoy the numerous playground options in the area including Beach View Park and Vita Course.
This seaside nautical-themed park has a fully equipped playground that the children can enjoy as the rest of the family hangs out on the beach.
Another option that would be particularly enjoyable for really young children is Crespi Park.
For foodie adventures as a family, treat your loved ones to some marine delights at Fifi’s on the Beach Seafood Restaurant.
The great food, amazing location, and charming décor will definitely make for a wonderful time as a family.
Oceanside Hotel and Suites is a great accommodation for families as it is just a short walk away from the beach.
It is designed to feel like a home with a furnished living space, kitchenette, and laundry space (see photos here).
It is very clear that a lot of care was put into the decoration of the spaces leaving you with elegant rooms to enjoy.
For more options, you should check my post dedicated to where to stay in Miami Beach.
Brickell (grown-up children)
If you wish to be closer to the action then Brickell is a great option for places to stay in Miami with family.
This is a great neighborhood, especially if you have grown-up children.
It offers quick access to the major child-friendly Miami attractions, including the Miami Seaquarium.
You also get access to Downtown and its long list of attractions through the so convenient Miami Metromover.
Where to stay in Miami for nightlife
Attention all night owls and club bugs. This is the part of the article you have been waiting for.
Miami’s nightlife is unlike anything you will ever experience.
Most parts of this vibrant city come alive when the sun goes down with a lot to offer fans of a lively night scene.
Below are the best places to stay in Miami for nightlife attractions.
South Beach (beach style)
South Beach is definitely one of the best places to stay in Miami for young adults and nightlife
Located on the southernmost end of Miami Beach city, this neighborhood is home to a fair share of clubs, party houses, and late-night bars for you to go wild in.
One of the swankiest and newest spots on the block is Rockwell Miami.
With its high-profile DJs and fun-themed events, you will definitely have a great time.
If you want to truly get the most out of the South Beach area’s night scene, then the Iberostar Berkeley Hotel would be the ideal base of operation for you.
It is in the Art Deco District of Miami which is home to some of the liveliest clubs and watering holes. The hotel itself is a perfect blend of modern luxury and tropical casual vibes (see photos here).
For more options, you should check my post dedicated to where to stay in Miami Beach.
Miami Downtown (city style)
Back on the mainland, Downtown, in the heart of the city of Miami, is where all the action is.
This neighborhood is just as alive and exciting at night as it is during the day. This is mainly due to the numerous bars and clubs in the area.
One club that every tourist must make a stop at is the Wet Deck Lounge. This trendy club is located on the rooftop of the Viceroy Hotel and offers breathtaking sweeping views of the city.
They also invest a lot in great DJs to ensure that the upbeat mood is maintained all night.
When it comes to bars and pubs, Sugar takes the cake. It also happens to be on a rooftop location and features chic wooden décor and an extensive menu of craft drinks.
This is a sizeable area and if you wonder where to stay in Downtown Miami then you should check out the waterfront area, which is also better connected to South Beach, very handy.
The InterContinental Miami is ideal for the active traveler, as it offers access to both daytime and nighttime fun, definitely one of the Miami hotels to consider.
First off, it has really beautiful views of the city and the ocean (see photos here) in the fully furnished and air-conditioned rooms.
It is also very close to popular Downtown party hotspots for your night owl escapades.
Planning to visit the Florida Keys? You should check out these articles:
Where to stay in Miami on a budget
There are only a few possibilities to stay in Miami on a budget and they are mostly far from Downtown and Miami Beach.
Here is a little tip to stay close to the city center and not too far from Miami Beach.
Book your accommodation in Little Havana. It will be a different experience altogether.
Little Havana offers you a few low-budget accommodation options without compromising on the quality of your trip, besides providing that lovely Latin America vibe
There are some quaint little Cuban-style inns and hostels for you to choose from in this case.
The neighborhood is also designed such that most of the major attractions are within walking distance to each other which saves you a lot in terms of transport costs.
When it comes to food and drinks, you also have access to decent options on the lower end of the price spectrum. These include the likes of La Carreta.
This is an authentic Cuban-style restaurant. It draws heavy influence from the motherland not only in terms of the meals served but also the décor and vibe.
When it comes to bars and pubs, a great low-budget option in Little Havana is Batting Cage Lounge. This bar has an enchanting tavern-style theme and is most famous for its amazing happy hour options.
The La Casona Azul in Little Havana is great for trips on a super tiny budget. The facilities are very clean and classy despite the low price point.
Hostels in Miami Beach
In addition to Little Havana, you may choose to stay in Miami Beach, however, it will be more expensive than Little Havana.
In this case, you may be able to find an affordable hostel in South Beach.
Just a quick suggestion here. Book well in advance as hostels get booked out very quickly in this part of the city.
If you are not into hostels but still you want to stay in Miami Beach, then check out the few options in North Beach.
This is the part of the island that has usually cheaper accommodation choices.
Best areas to stay in Miami
If you follow the NBA you may remember that in 2010 James LeBron took his decision to join the Miami Heat with these words “I’m going to take my talents to (Miami) South Beach and join the Miami Heat“.
The Miami fans had mixed feelings. They were happy with his decision, less so because, technically, South Beach is not actually in Miami (the city). It’s in Miami Beach.
Indeed, Miami and Miami Beach are two municipalities, two different cities.
In this paragraph I want to talk more about the best areas to stay in Miami, covering both Miami (the city) and Miami Beach, as one destination. This makes things a bit simpler.
What is the main difference between Miami and Miami Beach?
Miami Beach is a small barrier island with a very long beach. I may add a lovely and dreamy one, with art déco buildings and palm trees everywhere. More of a resort town than an actual city.
Miami is the city, as beautiful as different. Inland and separated to Miami Beach by the Biscayne Bay, with 5 bridges that connect both cities.
There are great neighborhoods to stay in Miami Beach and Miami. They are different in character and style, however, all with their own vibe and a good reason to, at least, visit them all.
Following is a description of the top 5 areas to stay in Miami
Miami Beach (life’s a beach)
I will talk more about how Miami Beach is organized and where to stay.
For the moment I just like to mention that the small barrier island has an 8 miles long (~13km) white beach which is the epicenter of the day action, beloved by everyone, locals and tourists.
But it’s not only sunbathing and swimming.
The design of the buildings, especially in South Beach, follows one of the best examples in the world of Art Deco architectural style.
It is a real pleasure for art lovers walking, photographing and just enjoy this unique area.
In Mid-Beach, don’t miss out on the Millionaire’s Row of Miami, with oceanfront mansions and luxury hotels
And after sunset, the party starts, with plenty of restaurants, cocktail bars, clubs, and music venues opening till late.
But it’s not only nightlife. In fact, the norther you go on the long Miami Beach, the quieter and family-oriented it becomes.
For a more detailed description of this side of Miami, you should read my guide to the best 3 areas to stay in Miami Beach, where surely you will find your Miami Beach hotel.
Miami Downtown (the central business district)
This area is the oldest and boldest part of Miami.
It takes the term concrete jungle to a whole new level with its numerous architecturally wondrous skyscrapers that form the district’s iconic skyline.
These buildings are home to an array of establishments including local and international businesses, entertainment hubs as well as eateries.
The upscale neighborhood of Downtown Miami is also a popular shopping hub with the likes of Dolphin Mall and Merrick Park Shops.
All these aside, Downtown Miami is probably best known for the American Airlines Arena which regularly hosts the city’s resident NBA team’s (Miami Heat) matches.
Brickell (the vibrant new part of Miami)
Brickell is an up-and-coming hotspot neighborhood south of Downtown Miami.
It has for a long time held the title of the city’s financial district. However, in recent years, it has slowly but surely established itself as somewhere where people not only work hard but also play hard.
If you are a huge fan of art and history, then this district will have a lot to offer you. It is home to many art galleries and museums, including Brickell Gallery, The Brickellian, and Eternity Gallery.
The neighborhood is also a thriving shopping center with major retail establishments, including Brickell City Center.
From Brickell, you can also easily visit the Miami Seaquarium and Key Biscayne, one of Florida’s southernmost barrier islands.
Coconut Groove (peaceful and laid back)
Not all parts of Miami have big city neon lights and vibrant clubs.
If you are looking for something more peaceful and laid back, then Coconut Grove will deliver.
This ritzy seaside neighborhood is the perfect combination of an urban jungle and an actual jungle.
It has numerous green spaces, including Barnacle Historic State Park and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
It’s a nice off-the-beaten-path area to visit, and from there you will be a short distance to the fabulous Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, in Coral Gables.
This is also where you can find some cool boutique hotels
Little Havana (Miami’s cultural hub)
Miami is a cultural melting pot of a wide variety of ethnicities, from Latin America to the Caribbean.
There is truly no better place to appreciate this than Little Havana.
As the name suggests, the Little Havana neighborhood is heavily influenced by the Cuban capital.
Here, you will find everything from authentic Hispanic restaurants and live Latino music shows to old men playing dominos in the part.
What is probably the best part about this part of Miami is the art.
There are numerous colorful murals along major streets with installations in the Calle Ocho area.
Frequently asked questions
Is it better to stay in downtown Miami or South Beach?
Downtown for business and cultural attractions, South Beach for beaches and nightlife
What is the safest area in Miami for tourists?
North Miami Beach and Coconut Grove are considered safe and family-friendly
What’s the difference between South Beach and Miami Beach?
South Beach is a vibrant neighborhood within the larger Miami Beach area, known for its nightlife and Art Deco architecture
Where to stay in Miami with your partner?
Couples might enjoy the romantic atmosphere of Coconut Grove or the luxury of Mid Miami Beach
What’s the best part of Miami to stay in?
The best part depends on your needs; South Beach for party-goers, Downtown for business travelers, Coconut Grove for relaxation
Where should I stay in Miami for the first time?
First-time visitors might enjoy South Beach for its iconic Miami experience or Downtown for its central location and attractions
How many days in Miami?
With ten days in Miami, you can see most of the attractions. Even a week can be packed with sightseeing if you plan ahead. In five days in the city, you will be able to do a lot, but you may have to give something up. It will be quite busy in 3 days or less, but you can do it, as well as relax at the beach for a few hours
Can I visit the Florida Keys from Miami?
Can I visit the Bahamas from Miami?
Sure you can and it may be actually easier than you think, even for just a short breakaway. There is a boat leaving from Dodge Island (see map below) and in just two hours you will be on the Bimini Islands, in the easternmost region of the Bahamas. Remember to check the best time to visit the Bahamas and my guide to the Bahamas with all the islands.