Where to Stay in Miami: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Miami: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Miami: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit
Posted: 2/25/2024 | February 25th, 2024

Miami, a vibrant metropolis on Florida’s southeastern coast, is known for its sun-soaked beaches, pulsating nightlife, and rich culture that blends Latin American and Caribbean influences. There’s a ton to see and do here, from exploring South Beach’s iconic, pastel-hued Art Deco buildings to kayaking in the Everglades.

There’s a lot of diverse and vibrant neighborhoods to explore, but choosing where to stay will greatly influence your visit as each area offers a unique atmosphere, culture, and attractions. (Plus, traffic can be brutal at times, so you don’t want to spend all your time (and money) getting around.)

To help you choose which is best for you, here’s my list of the best neighborhoods in Miami for visitors:

Area
Best for
Best Hotel
South Beach
Nightlife
Downtown
Sightseeing
Brickell
Foodies
Wynwood and the Design District
Arts & Culture
Coconut Grove
Families

 

Where to Stay in Miami for Nightlife: South Beach

Charming Art Deco buildings along Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on a sunny day
Famous for its iconic Art Deco architecture, energetic nightlife, and beautiful beaches, South Beach is a can’t-miss destination for any visitor to Miami. (It’s also the best district for backpackers, since most hostels in Miami are in this area.) You’re right on the beach and the area is home to a lot of the high end hotels, nicest restaurants, trendiest spots, and the most famous nightclubs, with extravagant parties and world-class DJs at every turn.

Since South Beach attracts a diverse crowd of locals, tourists, celebrities, and partygoers from all over the world, you’re sure to meet an interesting mix of people here. Plus, after a night out, you can satisfy your cravings with delicious late-night eats at the numerous restaurants and food trucks that dot the neighborhood.

Best places to stay in South Beach:

  • BUDGET: Viajero Miami – This design-forward hostel is just a block from the beach and offers a host of amenities, including a library co-working space and three swimming pools. The poolside bar is a fun place to hang out and meet people while sipping on a specialty cocktail. The dorms rooms are spacious and clean with comfy beds that have privacy curtains and lockers.
  • MIDRANGE: Hotel Ocean – Located on Ocean Drive just steps from the beach, this small hotel features an airy, beachy design, with spacious rooms that have a desk, mini fridge, and flatscreen TV. The recently renovated bathrooms are huge and many have both tubs and a shower. There’s a lovely restaurant on-site and complimentary bikes should you want to get out and explore.
  • LUXURY: The Betsy – This luxe five-star boutique hotel is renowned for its Art Deco–inspired design and personalized service. The rooms and suites are adorned with curated original artwork and luxurious features, like hardwood floors and marble bathrooms with walk-in showers. The hotel also has a gorgeous rooftop pool and lounge area, a fitness center with Peloton bikes, a cozy library, and several eateries. It is just steps from the beach and offers private beach service (chairs, umbrellas, and loungers). It’s one of the nicest non-chain luxury hotels in the area.

If your main reason for coming to Miami is to lounge on the beach but you want a quieter neighborhood than South Beach, head to Mid Beach. This area features a picturesque stretch of shoreline lined with palm trees and dotted with chic beach clubs and waterfront restaurants. It is also known for its luxurious resorts, boutique hotels, and upscale condominiums. The best budget spot to stay in the area is Freehand Miami. It has a pool, and also offers shuttles to Little Havana and tours to Key West and the Everglades (among other places). This upbeat hostel with two bars is also just five minutes from the beach. Overall, it’s a good choice for travelers who want a social hostel that isn’t too wild.
 

Where to Stay in Miami for Sightseeing: Downtown

Towering skyscrapers filling the view in Downtown Miami, with a park and palm trees in the foreground
Downtown Miami is the bustling central business district and known for its skyscraper-filled skyline, plentiful dining options, and abundance of things to see and do. Most of the major museums are here, including the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and the History Miami Museum, as well as all of the main performing arts venues. Bayfront Park on the waterfront adds a nice green escape from the tall buildings nearby.

If you’re in town to visit museums and see the main sights, you’ll want to stay here. Moreover, it’s easy to explore the rest of the city from downtown, thanks to the multiple modes of transit available (Metrorail, Metromover, and Tri-Rail).

Best places to stay Downtown:

  • BUDGET: Selina Miami River – Just across the river from downtown, this upscale hostel has a stylish design, featuring art installations, communal areas that encompass a co-working space and outdoor pool, and organized events (such as morning yoga classes). Both private rooms and dorms with pod-style beds and are really private and comfy. You get a lot of value here. It’s one of the best budget spots in the city.
  • MIDRANGE: YOTEL Miami – In an area with mostly luxury properties, this four-star hotel is the best midrange option around. It has a sleek and modern design with a very Miami aesthetic (think bright, bold colors) and amenities that include a swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center, and restaurant. There are both rooms and full apartments to choose from; both feature adjustable SmartBeds, wireless charging stations, and spacious bathrooms with rainfall showers.
  • LUXURY: InterContinental Miami – This five-star hotel boasts a stylish and contemporary design with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. Its spacious rooms are elegant, featuring plush bedding, flatscreen TVs, and minibars. The marble bathrooms have rainfall showers and luxurious bath products. Hotel facilities include a spa, a 24-hour fitness center, a large outdoor pool, EV charging stations, and several eateries (including one that serves an outstanding daily breakfast buffet and Sunday brunch).

 

Where to Stay in Miami for Foodies: Brickell

The Underline, a walking path in Brickell, Miami on a sunny day in the city
Brickell, Miami’s financial district, is characterized by its towering high-rise buildings set against the waterfront. It’s known for its upscale shopping but is also an excellent area for dining and nightlife with a bit of a more local vibe (thanks to all the young professionals living in the area). There’s always a new trendy restaurant opening up here and there’s a lot of rooftop bars overlooking Biscayne Bay. There are plenty of green spaces here too, including the Underline (akin to NYC’s High Line, but on the ground instead of elevated) and Simpson Park Hammock, a nature retreat in the middle of the neighborhood.

Brickell also has easy access to cultural attractions and is a great place to stay if you want an urban experience with excellent dining and cocktail bars at your fingertips. It’s got a much more “local vibe” than other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Brickell:

  • BUDGET: Smart Brickell Hotel – This three-star hotel offers sleek, furnished suites and apartments with lots of natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. All suites have at least a living room, and apartments come with a full kitchen. Hotel amenities include two rooftop swimming pools, a fitness center, a sauna, and a spa, as well as a restaurant/café. Overall, I think it’s a great value for the area.
  • MIDRANGE: citizenM Miami Brickell – Located in the heart of Brickell, citizenM has all kinds of colorful artwork and murals throughout, including “Cosmic Connection,” a huge mural adorning the exterior of the building, created by Miami native Jen Stark. The rooms have fluffy pillows and blackout blinds, and are well soundproofed so you can get a good sleep. All rooms are also equipped with a tablet from which you can control various settings, including lighting, temperature, and entertainment choices. The hotel features an expansive rooftop with a pool and bar, plenty of common areas (including co-working spaces), and a restaurant serving a delicious daily breakfast buffet that caters to all diets.
  • LUXURY: Mandarin Oriental Miami – This five-star hotel, renowned for its chic design and impeccable service, located on Brickell Key is a tranquil oasis amid the bustle. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary style, with marble bathrooms that have both deep tubs and walk-in showers. Plus, every room has a private balcony with stunning views over the skyline. With a world-class spa, multiple award-winning restaurants, an infinity pool, and access to exclusive amenities such as private beachfront cabanas, you’re guaranteed a lavish and unforgettable stay.

 

Where to Stay in Miami for Arts & Culture: Wynwood and the Design District

A building covered in a bright, colorful mural in Wynwood, Miami
Known for its colorful street art (especially the Wynwood Walls) and trendy galleries, ultra-hip Wynwood is a hub for arts and culture in Miami. It boasts some of the city’s finest coffee shops, bakeries, taco stands, and innovative restaurants, alongside unique retail stores, craft breweries, cool cocktail lounges, and intimate music venues.

However, Wynwood is relatively small and there aren’t a lot of hotels there. For more accommodation choices, head to the nearby Design District. It’s artsy in a more upscale way than Wynwood, a haven for cutting-edge art galleries, design museums, and luxury shopping.

Best places to stay in Wynwood/Design District:

  • BUDGET: Art Gardens Hostel – While this hostel is not technically in the heart of Wynwood (it’s in the next neighborhood over), it’s by far the best budget-friendly option in the area. It’s a quiet hostel (no alcohol allowed on site) offering both dorms and private rooms with shared bathrooms that are always kept sparkling clean. The rooms are basic (the dorms have cheap metal bunks), but everything is clean and comfortable. The hostel also has a shared kitchen and an outdoor patio with plenty of comfy spots to hang out in.
  • MIDRANGE: Hampton Inn & Suites Wynwood Design District – This is like all your standard Hampton Inns. Equidistant from both Wynwood and the Design District, this hotel offers a lot for the price: an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and an excellent and varied breakfast. While the rooms are a bit bland in design, they’re well equipped, with a work desk and ergonomic chair, coffee makers, mini-refrigerators, and microwaves. The shower pressure wasn’t particularly great, but overall, this is a solid midrange choice in an otherwise pricey area.
  • LUXURY: Sentral Wynwood – This four-star aparthotel offers spacious units with fully equipped kitchens (including a dining area, dishwasher, oven, microwave, and coffee machine), living room, and a private bathroom complete with a hairdryer, bath or shower, and complimentary toiletries. The units have a modern and minimal design, with flatscreen TVs with streaming services and a washer/dryer. The hotel has a stunning rooftop pool, a fitness center, and even Teslas for short-term rental. This is an ideal accommodation if you’re staying in Miami for a while as you get all the amenities of an apartment and hotel combined. The hotel has a co-working space too.

 

Where to Stay in Miami for Families: Coconut Grove

A quiet street in an upscale area of Coconut Grove in sunny Miami, Florida
A lush and green neighborhood with a bohemian vibe, Coconut Grove is a charming and laid-back area that appeals to families seeking a more relaxed atmosphere. This historic neighborhood features tree-lined streets, waterfront parks, multiple marinas, and family-friendly attractions like the Miami Science Museum and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The district also has a variety of accommodations ranging from upscale five-star hotels to vacation rentals.

Best places to stay in Coconut Grove:

  • BUDGET: Hampton Inn – Coconut Grove/Coral Gables – There are no hostels in this area (and you probably wouldn’t want to stay here if you’re on a budget anyway). The Hampton Inn is the best budget-friendly accommodation, offering a great free breakfast (with a waffle station), complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby 24/7, a tranquil outdoor pool, and a fitness center. While the design is nothing to write home about, it’s a comfortable and clean hotel with helpful in-room amenities like a mini fridge and microwave, as well as large bathrooms with walk-in showers.
  • MIDRANGE: Hotel Arya – This waterfront hotel boasts an outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a sauna. While the rooms are a bit dated, they’re quite spacious and have mini-fridges, workspaces, and flatscreen TVs; some even have kitchenettes and balconies with views over the city. The hotel is in the heart of CocoWalk, the neighborhood’s main street, which has lots of fantastic restaurants and shops.
  • LUXURY: The Mayfair – This five-star boutique hotel is housed in a historic Mediterranean-style building, exuding Old World charm and elegance. Each of its spacious rooms and suites is uniquely designed and decorated, with rich colors, curated artwork, and luxurious furnishings (like mahogany desks and plush couches); they also have large bathrooms with rainfall showers. There’s a tranquil rooftop pool (with an accompanying bar) surrounded by lush tropical gardens, an acclaimed restaurant serving up gourmet cuisine (including a stellar Sunday brunch with live music), complimentary bikes, and a 24/7 fitness center. This is one of the best hotels for a truly luxurious experience.

 

***

Whether you’re here to eat your way through the city’s eclectic cuisine, dance in trendy nightclubs, or simply lounge on the beach enjoying the year-round sunshine, Miami offers an unforgettable escape. Each of its unique neighborhoods has its own charm and attractions, so you’ll want to choose the area that serves your taste and needs best. Choose one from the list above and you’ll have a fantastic stay in the Magic City!

Book Your Trip to Miami: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Looking for More Information on Visiting Miami?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Miami with more tips on what to see and do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!

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