Where to Stay in Miami for an Unforgettable and Magical Getaway

Kimberly Miles Avatar
Palm trees and boutique hotels at dusk, where to stay in miami

Known for its pristine beaches, art deco buildings, incredible nightlife and glamourous vibes, Miami (a/k/a Magic City) is no doubt one of the best places to travel in Florida, no matter the time of year. It is also a very diverse city, with unique neighborhoods that fit every kind of personality and travel style.

From busy beach boardwalks lined with trendy restaurants and rooftop bars to tranquil family-friendly villages with cozy Cuban cafes, Miami has everything you need for a well-rounded vacation. The only difficult part is deciding on which of its many neighborhoods to temporarily call home!

We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking to relax, party it up, or shop ‘till you drop, our list of the best places to stay in Miami will give you all the deets you need to choose the area just right for you!

Hilton Cabana Miami Beach pool, boardwalk, private beach, and the Atlantic Ocean. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Hilton Cabana Miami Beach

Julie Diebolt Price, one of our SBT travel writers who recently visited Hilton Cabana Miami Beach, loved her ocean-view room. It reminded her of being on the balcony of a luxury cruise ship.

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach is centrally located within the exclusive neighborhood known as Millionaire’s Row in Mid-Beach Miami. Two ocean-facing outdoor pools feature poolside cabanas, a private beach, and complimentary bike rentals. The nine-mile Miami Beachwalk is between the hotel and the beach and draws walkers, skaters, and skateboarders. The hotel is excellent for relaxing, dining, and enjoying outdoor activities. Want to know more? Read the complete SheBuysTravel review of the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach.

Several palm trees sitting in front of the ocean, where to stay in miami
South Beach is the perfect place for both relaxation and play! Photo credit: Kimberly Miles

South Beach

First on the list is South Beach, perhaps one of the most recognizable and trendy areas of Miami. It is known for its glamorous scenery, glitzy nightclubs, cute boutique hotels, and high-end shopping and restaurants. If you want to see and be seen when in Miami, South Beach is the definitely place to be.

South Beach may be small, but it is loaded with things to do and places to see. The popular Ocean Drive strip is lined with cafes perfect for people watching and outdoor eateries with incredible happy hour specials. The Lincoln Road Mall is the place to go if you’re looking to add some shopping to your itinerary and load your suitcase with beachy, fashionable finds. The beachfront Lummus Park is where you’ll find paved paths for walking and biking, as well as playgrounds, volleyball courts, and equipment for exercising.

The charming art deco architecture and towering palm trees of this area makes the perfect backdrop for your Instagram feed. Its numerous boutique hotels put a stylish twist on the traditional large hotel chains, with unique architecture and cozy rooms. And of course, there’s the beach itself, which is so large and expansive that you’ll never feel crowded.

Best hotels in South Beach:

  • The Ritz-Carlton South Beach – A luxury, 5-star oceanfront hotel located in the heart of Miami’s Art Deco district.
  • Fontainebleau Miami Beach – An iconic luxury hotel with beautiful ocean views, six swimming pools and its own nightclub.
  • Loews Miami Beach Hotel – A modern, luxury beachfront resort with stunning ocean views and a convenient location.
  • 1 Hotel South Beach – An historic luxury hotel with its own private beach, within walking distance of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

North Beach

If you’re wondering where to stay in Miami that is budget friendly, quiet, and low-key, North Beach is the place to be. While a more residential area, North Beach still has its choice of hotels along Collins Avenue that range from casual to luxury. However, it is much more affordable than the South Beach or Mid-Beach areas.

North Beach doesn’t have the glamorous vibe or booming nightclubs like South Beach, but it does have incredible modern architecture, trails, parks, local cafes, international restaurants, and shopping malls. With a large number of residents who have lived in the area for years, it is a great place to stay to get a taste of the local life in the Miami Beach area.

Best hotels in North Beach:

Two women at a marina with docked boats, where to stay in miami
Bayside Marketplace is a nice place to shop, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the view of the marina. Photo credit: Kimberly Miles

Downtown Miami

Connected to the North and South Beach area by bridges, Downtown Miami is where you will find all of the city’s biggest and oldest skyscrapers. In fact, it is the oldest part of the city, with development dating back to the 1890’s! As the city’s central business district, it is home to many corporate headquarters and probably the best choice for where to stay in Miami if traveling for business.

The downtown Miami area is bustling with museums, sparkling skyscrapers, theaters, parks, shops, and open-air malls. The free Metromover rail is a fun way to get around, giving you easy access to wherever you need to go. The Pérez Art Museum is the place to go to see contemporary art, while the nearby American Airlines area is where you can catch a concert or Miami Heat basketball game. At the Adrienne Arsht Center, you can see the Miami City Ballet and Florida Grand Opera.

If you’re in the mood for shopping, head to the Bayside Marketplace Mall. There you can shop, dine, or grab a drink at a cocktail bar while watching the cruises take off on Biscayne Bay. At the end of the day, head to Bayfront Park, a great place to enjoy some fresh air while enjoying the surrounding nature.

Best hotels in Downtown Miami:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Miami – An upscale, conveniently located hotel close to the Brickell City Center.
  • Hilton Downtown Miami – A centrally located and upscale hotel on the Metromover line. Has a rooftop pool with a bar and incredible skyline views.
  • Mandarin Oriental, Miami – An Asian-inspired, luxury hotel with breathtaking views of the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay.
  • Intercontinental – A great location, amazing swimming pool and a lobby built around a gorgeous work of art.

Brickell

Known by many as the “Manhattan of Miami,” Brickell is the financial district of the Miami area marked by tall business towers, luxury condos, high-end dining and rooftop bars that overlook Biscayne Bay. However, Brickell hotels can be pretty pricey, so it is not the best choice if traveling on a budget. The good news is that there are many apartment and home rentals available in this area which are great for those traveling in larger groups.

While not on the ocean, there is still plenty to do and see in Brickell. The Metromover rail gives easy access to various parts of the area while getting a great view of the city’s skyline. The Brickell city center will give you access to art galleries, boutique stores, and trendy cafes. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, you can find fancy international restaurants serving up delicious Italian, Mexican and Peruvian cuisine, just to name a few. The popular EST. 33 has delicious Thai barbecue and makes its own beer onsite!

Best hotels in Brickell:

Little Havana

For a taste of Cuba and Latin-American culture, Little Havana is where you will want to book your accommodations. Located two miles west of Downtown Miami, this vibrant area of Miami is a hub for Cuban restaurants, cafes, and shops, and a major part of the Hispanic culture in Miami.

Start your days In Little Havana with a traditional Cuban breakfast and you’ll truly feel like you are in Cuba. There’s everything from walk-up windows selling Cuban coffee to Latin-inspired shops and clubs with live music. The popular “Calle Ocho” (also known as SW 8th Street) is where you’ll find the best of these Cuban-inspired venues, as well as “Domino Park” where locals get together to socialize and play dominoes. While there, you’ll want to make time to visit the Cubaocho Museum, a combination museum with art, music, and a rum bar.

Best hotels in Little Havana:

  • Life House – A small, yet exclusive boutique hotel set in a 1920s mansion.
  • Selina Miami River – A trendy hotel set on lush, tropical grounds with live music, workshops, and weekly barbecues.
  • The Wild Rose – An environmentally friendly hotel with garden views, a picnic area, and a nearby golf course.

Coconut Grove

Located on the shores of Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove is another one of the oldest parts of Miami and where you will find many of Miami’s heritage buildings. Also known as “The Grove”, it is the largest neighborhood and where to stay in Miami if you want to be surrounded by lush greenery.

In this upscale and luxurious area, you’ll find beautiful parks, historic buildings, sidewalk cafes and chic chops. The nine-acre botanical garden, the Kampong, is one of the most famous attractions, but you’ll have to book reservations in advance if you want to experience it. The bayfront Barnacle Historic State Park is another popular attraction and where you’ll find a mangrove forest. The stunning Vizcaya Museum and Gardens attracts many visitors, centered around a lavish 1916 Mediterranean-style villa.

Best hotels in Coconut Grove:

  • Mr. C Miami – A luxury, boutique hotel popular among families with free bikes, an outdoor pool, fitness center and top floor cocktail bar with amazing views.
  • Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove – A 5-star hotel with bay views and a 6,000 square foot boutique spa.
  • Courtyard by Miami Coconut Grove – An affordable hotel with free breakfast and wifi,  panoramic views and a heated outdoor pool.

Coral Gables

Located approximately seven miles from downtown Miami, Coral Gables is where to stay in Miami if you want to be centrally located to the airport and beach areas. Also known as “the City Beautiful,” Coral Gables is marked by tree-lined streets, historical landmarks and ivy-covered mansions.

Coral Gables is home to the world-famous Biltmore Hotel as well as the 1920s Venetian Pool. It is also where you will find the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden with glistening lakes, a tropical rainforest, and a beautiful butterfly display. If you’re into art, the Lowe Art Museum is where you can get your fix, showcasing Cuban and Caribbean artwork. The Miracle Mile, one of if not THE premiere places to shop and dine in South Florida, is located in this gorgeous neighborhood.

Best hotels in Coral Gables:

  • Biltmore Hotel – A world-famous, iconic hotel built in 1926 to resemble the Spanish cathedral of Seville. This historic resort has an 18-hole golf course and a full-service spa.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Miami Coral Gables – A convenient, contemporary hotel located in the heart of the Coral Gables Historic District.
  • Hyatt Regency Coral Gables – A Mediterranean-style hotel walking distance to more than 100 restaurants and shops.

Bal Harbour

If shopping is at the top of your list during your Miami visit, Bal Harbour is the best place to stay. However, with housing expenses nearly 200% higher than the national average, it certainly isn’t an area for the budget minded.

Located at the northern tip of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour is a luxurious, tranquil, and tropical area with white sand beaches and upscale oceanfront resorts. It is also home to the world renowned Bal Harbour Shops, where you’ll find numerous designer boutiques, high-end department stores, and fine dining restaurants. It also isn’t uncommon to catch a celebrity sighting in this area, so make sure you have your camera ready!

Best hotels in Bal Harbour:

  • Sea View Hotel – A beachfront, European-style hotel overlooking the Biscayne Bay.
  • St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort – A contemporary, beachfront hotel with a prime location, just steps away from the famous Bal Harbour shops.
  • Beach Haus Bal Harbour – A waterfront, secluded, three-story hotel with an outdoor pool and meditation gardens.

Key Biscayne

Located on a barrier island across from Miami, Key Biscayne is a picturesque village that everyone visiting Miami should visit at least once. If you are wondering where to stay in Miami that has beaches, nature, and stunning views, Key Biscayne is what you are looking for.

Key Biscayne sits between Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, putting it in the vicinity of long stretches of beaches, nature preserves, mangroves, and tropical forests with unique birdlife, loggerhead turtles, and colorful butterflies. Key Biscayne is also near a coastal barrier reef with the only federally recognized archaeological trail in the USA.

Best hotels in Key Biscayne:

  • Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne – Located on a five-mile barrier island, this luxurious family-friendly resort has separate family and adult pools, 11 tennis courts, and a Cuban-style rum bar.
  • Beach Haus Key Biscayne – A three-story apartment building with short- and long-term rentals and a relaxing pool area.
  • Silver Sands Beach Resort – A relaxed, family-friendly hotel overlooking a white-sand beach. There’s even a playground for the little ones!

Design District

While still an up and coming area, the Design District is still a great option for where to stay in Miami. Although historically an unattractive area made up of low-rise warehouses, this hip neighborhood located north of the Wynwood and Midtown neighborhoods is known for its street art, funky modern architecture, art galleries, luxury designer boutiques, and celebrity chef restaurants.

The center of attention in the Design District is the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor graffiti museum with stunning murals that set the tone for the neighborhood. The Institute of Contemporary Art is a must-visit when in the area. This free museum is set in an ultra-modern building and is home to cutting-edge, innovative pieces and exhibitions. Popular public art pieces include the Fly’s Eye Dome, an interesting yet eye catching structure designed by R. Buckminster Fuller and inspired by the eye of a fly.

Best hotels in the Miami Design District:

Surfside

If you are traveling with kids and torn on where to stay in Miami, the residential beachside community of Surfside is the best area for you. This quiet community is home to one of the most family-friendly beaches with a long boardwalk perfect for biking, running, or taking a stroll while looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Sitting at the northern end of the Miami Beach barrier island, it has one the most beautiful beaches with several oceanfront condos and resorts to choose from.

When not enjoying the beach with the family, you can participate in the city’s Turtle Walk and snap photos with each of the 13 turtle sculptures painted by local artists. Or, visit the Sea Turtle Awareness Program, to release newly hatched Loggerhead Turtles out to sea. And if you want a change of scenery for lunch or dinner, the busy South Beach area is just five miles away!

Best hotels in the Surfside:

Kimberly Miles is a mother of one and an experienced solo and single mom traveler. So far, she has traveled to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Dubai, Bahamas, Aruba, Mexico, and several places in the U.S. Kimberly was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, but in 2018 she took a leap of faith and made the beautiful beach town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico her home with her young son. In addition to writing for SheBuysTravel, Kimberly ghostwrites blogs on a variety of topics. She also provides marketing consulting services and business guidance to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and corporations via her independent business KNM Virtual Solutions. When she’s not traveling or writing, you can find Kimberly working out, eating tacos, dancing the night away, or spending time at the beach with her son. You can read more of her work at Travel Unapologetically.
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