Miami is a treasure trove of historic gems. Amid the newer developments from inland Miami to South Beach remain many landmarks worth visiting on your next trip to the Magic City.
Vizcaya Museums and Garden
Standing out like a sore thumb in Miami’s modern landscape, this historic villa features decadent European interiors that nod to the Old World. The former winter estate of business magnate James Deering, Vizcaya is a National Historic Landmark dating back to 1922 and is now a museum. Visitors can wander through its richly decorated interiors with marble columns and stained-glass windows overlooking the spectacular patio or stroll in the vast gardens adorned with statues and geometric-style shrubs reminiscent of the gardens of Versailles in France.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
Built in 1891, The Barnacle is the oldest house in Miami. It was the home of one of Coconut Grove’s most influential pioneers, Ralph Middleton Munroe – an American yacht designer who also founded the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, which is still in use today. The estate lies nestled along the scenic Biscayne Bay, offering a glimpse of frontier life of “The Era of the Bay” when all travel to the city was done by boat.
South Beach Sail Splash aboard the Caribbean Spirit
Set sail on North America’s largest day sailing Catamaran, The Caribbean Spirit, and Miami’s premier sailing and swimming activity. We include water, soda and peanuts and pretzels to snack on while onboard, Our guests are welcome to bring lunch and enjoy a picnic onboard.
Known as the “Ellis Island of the South,” the Freedom Tower is historic for its role in the Cuban refugee crisis. Formerly the headquarters of the newspaper The Miami News, the landmark building was used as a government facility to process the documents of the incoming Cuban immigrants who sought refuge in the city after Fidel Castro’s communist regime took control of Cuba in 1959. Standing on the busy Biscayne Bay Boulevard in Downtown Miami, the building is now used as a museum for contemporary art.
The oldest Roman Catholic church in Miami, Gesu rests in the heart of Downtown, clad in beautiful architecture and stained-glass windows. Just a few blocks away from the Metromover, it’s easy to access by public transportation and makes for a perfect stop while strolling the old streets of the city. According to the church’s website, it is one of the few institutions to continue preserving the history of Miami, and unmissable for history buffs.
When famed horticulturist Dr David Fairchild traveled the world in search of suitable plants to bring back to the US, he brought a collection of tropical species and planted many on his land that he named Kampong – the Malaysian word for village. The nine-acre historic garden was later transformed into the botanical garden it is today and features a laboratory, herbarium and education center on-site. It was also here that Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Ernest Coe set the plans to establish the Everglades National Park. Visitors can view historical photographs and documents detailing the projects, and enjoy the exotic fruit and flower trees of the garden. For a brief history of The Kampong, read our guide here.
These are some of the best sites to visit in Miami.