Aaaah, Miami city. One of South Florida’s premier vacation destinations, and probably the best area to stay in the United States if you’re looking for a relaxed, yet fast-paced vacation with a Latin American vibe. And with good reason.
If you enjoy white sandy beaches combined with culture and entertainment, Miami should be a must-visit on your travel list. Boasting a subtropical climate, pristine beaches, art deco facades, and an active nightlife that ranges from the more posh Miami Beach to Little Havana’s Latin vibes, you really can’t go wrong when opting for a vacation in this fantastic city.
The city has 25+ different neighborhoods, each of them vastly different from the next. When deciding where to stay in Miami it all comes down to your personal preferences as there is so much more to the city than Miami Beach!
I’ve carefully curated this post to show you the best areas and top hotels to make booking your perfect hotel much easier. And don’t worry, I was sure to include accommodations for every budget type, ranging from economical rooms to luxurious accommodations and even a delightful boutique hotel.
- If you are in a hurry
- 1. South Beach (Miami Beach) – where to stay for first-timers
- 2. Downtown Miami & Brickell – best for modern luxury
- 3. Coconut Grove – where to stay in a relaxed neighborhood
- 4. Design District – where to stay for art and culture
- 5. Bal Harbour – where to stay in Miami for beach resorts
- 6. Coral Gables – where to stay for a romantic vacation
- BONUS: Little Havana – feel like you’re not in Miami
If you are in a hurry
Here are the top-rated central accommodations in Miami city for your overview.
Hampton Inn & Suites
Best luxury hotel
Beachfront Flat Balcony
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Best value for money
Cozy Central Room
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a quick outline of the best areas to stay in Miami city for you to further understand each location that we’ll be discussing in this post.
1. South Beach (Miami Beach) – where to stay for first-timers
When we mention the word Miami, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I bet it is the beach, am I right? Indeed, mile after mile of pristine waters, golden sands, tanned locals, and happy tourists. A place filled with celebrity-studded hotels and nonstop nightlife, Miami Beach — from South Beach to North Beach — is legendary.
Moreover, a stay in Miami Beach offers a variety of entertainment options that goes far beyond sun and sand, encompassing world-famous nightlife and world-renowned art galleries, top-notch hotels and the best dining options, designer shopping, and a unique architectural style that makes it one of the world’s most visually distinctive regions. It’s also worth mentioning that Miami beach encompasses a man-made barrier island with the main street, Ocean Drive running from top to bottom.
Although the entire length of Miami beach is dotted with great places to stay, South Beach is considered the best area to stay and is one of the most famous neighborhoods of Miami. The nightlife in South Beach is abundant plus all you really have to do is put on your flip-flops and walk a few steps until you hit the water, so you’ll never have to question what to do! So if you’re looking for a good time with lots of nightlife options, stay in South Beach.
This historic oceanfront hotel features a private beach area and nothing less than 4 swimming pools (including an adult-exclusive rooftop pool). Enjoy high-tech gadgets like in-room tablets with digital newspapers and free wi-fi, plus espresso machines with organic coffee. What a way to start your day. The best place to stay in Miami Beach!
Other accommodation options in South Beach, Miami
Things to do in South Beach
- Check out the famous Art Deco architecture on Ocean Drive South Beach
- Relax on Miami Beach
- Drink cocktails in the countless beachfront bars and restaurants
- Snap a photo of the 1939 South Beach Colony Hotel
- Stroll down the pedestrian-only Lincoln Road
- Shop in unique boutiques of South Beach
- Enjoy an afternoon coffee whilst people watching from a hip cafe of Miami Beach
- Dine-in one of the delicious restaurants on Espanola Way
- Have a picnic in Collins Park
- Snap some eye-catching pictures at the Miami Museum of Illusions
2. Downtown Miami & Brickell – best for modern luxury
The true heart of Miami and the city center, Downtown Miami is a sharp contrast with the laid-back style of South Beach Miami. Miami downtown is a busy and lively area, with a dazzling business district feel to it. This is where the striking skyscrapers, international hotel chains, and luxury restaurants are located.
Just south of downtown Miami is its southern neighbor, Brickell, a modern, towering area of the city of Miami nicknamed the Manhattan of Miami. Brickell is filled with the best trendy restaurants and stylish young professionals going about their daily business.
Downtown Miami and Brickell are connected by the Metromover, a system of automatic, elevated trains that run around the entire financial district. This is the best area to stay if you’re in town for business or simply enjoy a city atmosphere due to its connectivity and ease of movement.
A 5-star hotel with world-class facilities, perfect for couples to experience an unforgettable stay. East Miami offers premium retail shops, a movie theatre, an outdoor pool, restaurants & bars, spas, and more. Here you can enjoy city views of Brickell from the 40th-level rooftop bar, Sugar, or taste authentic Uruguayan dishes at the 5th-level restaurant and bar, Quinto La Huella.
Other accommodation in Downtown Miami & Brickell
Things to do in Downtown Miami & Brickell
- Visit the downtown Freedom Tower
- Catch a concert or sporting event at the American Airlines Arena
- Shop until you drop at the Bayside Marketplace – an impressive two-story outdoor mall with over 150 shops
- Relax in the Bayfront Park
- Explore the Museum of Art and Design @ MDC
- See the Miami Circle National Historic Landmark
- Check out the Paseo en Barco in Downtown
- Visit Florida’s oldest catholic church – Gesu Church
- See the cruise ships at Dodge Island
- Ride the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel
- Dine-in one of the trendy restaurants of Brickell
3. Coconut Grove – where to stay in a relaxed neighborhood
Coconut Grove, playfully called “The Grove” by Miami locals, is a classy, leafy neighborhood home to elegant hotels, cozy sidewalk cafes, and CocoWalk, a widely popular shopping, and dining district. Depending on the time of day, you can find locals waiting in line for brunch at places such as GreenStreet, working out at one of the Grove’s multiple bayfront parks, or simply pedaling their bikes among the many bike-friendly streets of the area.
Coconut Grove is a hip residential part of Miami located on the coast just a 10 min drive south of the center. The neighborhood is popular with those searching for instagramable cafes and vintage boutiques whilst enjoying a tranquil atmosphere away from the happening beaches and downtown center.
There are also many special events held in Coconut Grove throughout the year, though the best one might be the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival, known as Florida’s most vibrant outdoor art festival, held each February.
With free bikes, a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool, a relaxing garden, and a happening bar, this 5-star hotel will really get you in the vacation mood. Its modern spacious suites and tropical vibe complement the luxurious features of the hotel such as its soothing bathtubs and plush beds. One of the best places to stay in Miami for sure!
Other accommodation options in Coconut Grove
Things to do in Coconut Grove
- Visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- Check out the Miami Science Museum
- See the Ermita de la Caridad shrine
- Relax in Alice Wainwright Park
- Sip a latte on Coco walk
- Hunt the area for the best local shops
4. Design District – where to stay for art and culture
If you haven’t heard of Miami’s Design District, you’re in for a real treat. This area of the city of Miami boasts a stark difference from downtown Miami and is dubbed the art deco district of Miami. This trendy, up-and-coming place is home to over 130 galleries, the best showrooms in Miami, antique dealers, eateries, and bars. Look out for the street art popping up throughout the neighborhood and don’t miss Wynwood Walls, a super famous graffiti art museum!
This seemingly hipster neighborhood is located just a 10 min drive north of Downtown Miami and is also a luxury shopping paradise where you will find designer brands that range from Prada to Hermes. In case you’re wondering about food in this area, the number, and variety of restaurants are also rapidly growing! Chic and quirky establishments offer a selection of different food, set in a relaxed and laid-back ambiance (being a high contrast from the lively South Beach). Indeed, the Design District is the best place to be in Miami if you enjoy quirky art and a hipster atmosphere.
A modern 5-star hotel with large bright suites, a tennis court, huge outdoor pool area with a poolside bar for you to sit back and relax. The staff is known for their friendliness and are always available to help. Enjoy modern, airy rooms, top-of-the-line amenities, and great views from every angle and this luxurious, high-class hotel.
Other accommodation options in the Design District
Things to do in the Design District
- Visit the 130 art galleries of the art deco district
- Check out the contemporary art graffiti at Wynwood Walls
- Explore the institute of contemporary art
- Learn something new at the Haitian Heritage Museum
- Hang out at Jungle Plaza and see the graffiti art
- Have a picnic in Albert Pallot Park
- See the Locust Projects
5. Bal Harbour – where to stay in Miami for beach resorts
Right at the northern tip of Miami Beach, lying just west of Biscayne Bay you will find Bal Harbour. This high-end village is where to stay in Miami if you are looking for Florida’s best beach resorts. Here you can find deluxe oceanfront hotels and resorts, ultra-chic shopping options, and an enviable selection of dining options (considered one of the best in Miami).
Seen as a peaceful escape from the city’s urban chaos, Bal Harbour gives you a small-town feeling, slow pace, and beachside living during your stay in Miami. Bal Harbour is a great choice for a relaxing holiday as it’s still close to all attractions, yet provides a relaxing peaceful environment.
Bal Harbour’s beach is one of Miami’s most protected and pristine beaches, boasting incredible white sands. So, whether you want to spend all day on the beach, shop until your feet hurt, or indulge at delicious restaurants, in a more relaxed ambiance, Bal Harbour is the place for where to stay in Miami!
This luxury 5-star, beachfront hotel exudes vintage elegance due to its 1930s design and high-class amenities. With multiple world-class restaurants including beachside dining, and cocktail bars, breezy white rooms, and marble bathrooms, staying here will definitely make you feel like royalty! Add the palm tree-lined corridors and you’ve got the perfect tropical getaway.
Other accommodation options in Bal Harbour
Things to do in Bal Harbour
- Try out some action sports like parasailing on the beach
- Sip cocktails at a high-class restaurant
- Go shopping in the boutique stores
- Relax at the Haulover bayfront park
- Stroll Collins Avenue on a sunny afternoon
- Enjoy the nature of Oleta River State Park
6. Coral Gables – where to stay for a romantic vacation
Located 20 mins south of Miami Downtown by car, Coral Gables is known for its lush-green, tree-lined boulevards, ivy-covered mansions, and historical landmarks such as the world-famous Biltmore Hotel and the Venetian Pool, both built in the 1920s.
The historic district of Coral Gables stands out from the rest of Miami by blending color, intricate details, and the Mediterranean Revival architectural style and is a great place to stay in Miami if you’re looking for distinct elegance and a romantic atmosphere. With a lot of history, stunning architecture, shady green spaces, beaches, a little bit of art deco, and countless restaurants to choose from, Coral Gables is the perfect mix of all the different parts of Miami.
Couples particularly love staying in Coral Gables due to its quiet atmosphere and the number of things to do at a slower pace than Miami beach. Take an afternoon stroll down beautiful streets to admire this picturesque town the way it was planned. Here are the best choices of accommodation in Coral Gables.
If you enjoy luxurious activities such as golfing, tennis, or even a full-service spa and an outdoor pool, then look no further than this 5-star hotel. You’ll get the ultimate celebrity treatment during your stay in Miami, with world-class facilities, excellent guest service, and a variety of gourmet dining options, ranging from contemporary French and Italian cuisine to fun Sunday Champagne Brunch.
Other accommodation options in Coral Gables
Things to do in Coral Gables
- Take a dip at the historic Venetian Pool
- Explore The Barnacle Historic State Park
- Check out the art at Lowe Art Museum
- Visit the Coral Gables Museum
- Relax in Peacock Park
- See the Coral Gables City Hall
- Snap a picture in the Coral Gables’ Granada Entrance
BONUS: Little Havana – feel like you’re not in Miami
If you want to experience a new culture without leaving the United States, you don’t have to go any further than Little Havana, Miami to see the colorful atmosphere of Latin America shine through. Little Havana is like a small Cuban city squished in the middle of the larger area of Miami. As you walk around the colorful buildings, smell the delicious street food, hear the upbeat music and embrace the cigar smoke, Miami Beach becomes a distant memory as you are transported to a different land.
Located directly west of downtown Miami, Little Havana provides all the comforts of any other city in the United States whilst adding its own Cuban charm. Originally this area was actually highly populated by Jewish residents but in the 1930s the amount of Cuban immigrants in the area grew significantly and the community found their new home in Little Havana City.
Although there aren’t enough accommodation options in Little Havana for me to recommend you somewhere to stay, the area is easily reached from anywhere else in the city and is well worth peeling yourself away from Miami Beach. If not for anything else but snacking on a delicious empanada!
Things to do in Little Havana
- Enjoy all the delicious Cuban street food
- Try a cigar
- Learn about famous Cubans on the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame
- Play outdoor dominos at Máximo Gómez Park
- Explore the Viernes Culturales Cultural
- Enjoy the activities at Jose Marti Park
- Relax at the riverfront Sewell Park
- See the Aluna Art Foundation
- Get a snack from the Versailles Cuban Bakery
- Visit Garcia’s seafood grill and fish market
Miami is a great city with a fantastic Latin American vibe and year-round sun providing an exciting yet relaxing lifestyle. Having endless options of where to stay in Miami and a sea of experiences, this is a city that has to be experienced many, many times.
With so many great areas to stay in Miami, I hope I have helped you discover the best area for you to match your budget and interests from Miami Beach to the art deco Design District, to Brickell and Miami Downtown. Whether you value high-class hotels with a stunning swimming pool, or if you prefer affordable lodgings so that you can splurge the extra money on other experiences (hey, I get you!) – this carefully curated list will be sure to satisfy your traveler’s needs during your stay in Miami.
If you haven’t chosen somewhere already, here are my absolute top 2 recommendations:
- 1 Hotel South Beach – 4 incredible pools and high tech amenities in every room on South Beach
- Hilton Miami Downtown – centrally located with high-class facilities
If you’re considering going to Miami, be sure to book these accommodations in advance as these places are quite popular (you really don’t want to miss the advantageous prices of booking these places ahead of time).
Also, please leave a comment to let me know if you found this post helpful or if you have any other questions about Miami, Florida. Have a great trip and enjoy the sunny side of life in Miami!