Where to Stay in Miami & Miami Beach 🇺🇸: Guide to the Best Areas & Hotels

Updated on April 13, 2024
by Alex Miller

With its iconic beaches and lively nightlife, Miami is one of America’s most vibrant destinations. But with so many diverse neighborhoods scattered across the city and its surrounding towns, finding the ideal area to stay can be tricky.

Oup pick of the best hotels in Miami 🔝

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the personality, attractions, and accommodations of Miami’s best neighborhoods for visitors. We’ll hit the highlights of areas like South Beach, Downtown, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and beyond so you can identify the Miami scene that suits you best.

I’ll offer recommendations on the top hotels, inns, B&Bs, and vacation rentals so you can quickly narrow your options and book the perfect pad.

Whether it’s your first time visiting or your fifteenth, this guide will help you discover the Miami you’ve always dreamed of.

Quick Guide to the Best Areas in Miami & Miami Beach 📋

1. Downtown – Best Place to Stay in Miami for the First Time 👀

🏙️ Vibrant downtown: Downtown Miami serves as the core of the city. From historical sites to modern architecture, foodie destinations to nightlife hot spots, Downtown has something to offer every visitor.

🚊 Convenient transit: Getting around is a breeze thanks to the Metromover, a free elevated rail system with three different lines and over 20 stations connecting popular areas including:

  • Bayside Marketplace
  • Perez Art Museum Miami
  • AmericanAirlines Arena

Another convenient option is the Metrorail. Lines connect to the airport, southern neighborhoods, and northern suburban cities.

🏛️ Top attractions: Can’t miss attractions not to overlook include:

  • HistoryMiami Museum: Interactive exhibits detail the city’s fascinating progression from swampy outpost to Magic City over 125 years.
  • Bayfront Park: Sweeping waterfront green space in the heart of downtown with regular concerts and events at the Tina Hills Pavilion and Pérez Art Museum Miami next door.
  • Biscayne Boulevard: Shop for fresh fruits and veggies at produce stands or savor seafood straight from the boat along this iconic street.

🚲 Zoom around: When you tire of walking, hop in one of the citibike rental bikes or e-scooters available on almost every corner. Just locate them using the Spot App and zoom around town with ease.

🍹 Nightlife hotspots: Come nightfall, Downtown’s energy transforms. Be sure to visit, nightclubs such as Mama Tried, Jaguar Sun and Lola bar.

All hotels in Downtown →

Best hotels to stay in Miami Downtown 🏨

Luxury:

  • Kimpton EPIC Hotel – a chic hotel with luxurious interiors, rooftop pool and spa.
  • InterContinental Miami – a prestigious five-star hotel with exquisite design, fine dining restaurants and bay views.
  • The Elser Hotel Miami – an elegant boutique hotel with a unique Art Deco style and a chic penthouse.

Mid-range price segment:

2. Brickell – Best Area to Stay for Luxury 💎

💼 High-powered: Brickell is one of the most dynamic and exciting areas of Miami city. As Miami’s financial district and fastest-growing area, Brickell boasts glittering high-rises, luxury hotels, and amenities galore.

🚶‍♂️ On foot: Getting around is a breeze, whether by the Metrorail, the free Brickell shuttle, or even just walking. Key attractions and conveniences within easy reach include:

  • Mary Brickell Village
  • Simpson Park for tennis and walking trails
  • Brickell City Centre mall with high-end shopping
  • Brickell Avenue, tree-lined main drag with sidewalk cafés

The neighborhood also hosts frequent arts festivals and block parties – perfect for mingling with residents over local food and drink.

🌆 Nightlife hub: During the day, Brickell is full of high-powered banking activity, however at night, it turns into one of Miami’s hot places where locals and visitors go to enjoy the city’s nightlife. Brickell stays warm with rooftop bars and restaurants as well as dance clubs that are open until dawn.

🏨 Luxury lodging: The area mostly offers luxury 4-5 star hotels, but you can find more affordable options.

All hotels in Brickell →

Where to stay in Brickell? 🏢

Expensive Hotels:

  • Atwell Suites – luxury hotel with chic rooms and excellent service in downtown Miami.
  • High Rise Brickell Modern Studio – luxury apartments with panoramic views of the bay, upscale service.
  • Hotel Indigo – stylish boutique hotel with sophisticated interiors and a restaurant overlooking the bay.

Medium price category:

  • CitizenM Miami Brickell – a modern hotel with a stylish design and good location.
  • Novotel – comfortable hotel of the famous chain in the heart of the business center.
  • Element Miami – an eco-hotel with spacious rooms and excellent facilities for extended stays.

3. Midtown / Miami Design District – Best Neighborhood to Stay for Shopping 👛

🛍️ Shopper’s paradise: Located just north of downtown, Midtown Miami is a vibrant neighborhood known for its shopping, dining, and nightlife.

🔝 Top attractions include:

  • Shops at Midtown Miami – Large open-air shopping center with national retailers and restaurants.
  • Wynwood Walls – Iconic outdoor street art park with colorful murals by famous artists.

🖼️ Artsy area: Just north lies the equally walkable Miami Design District – a high-end shopping destination housing dozens of luxury brands, art galleries, eateries, and public art displays.

🔥 Some key aspects that make the Miami Design District so alluring:

  • Shopping – Fendi, Cartier, Hermès, Louis Vuitton. This area draws luxury retail brands from around the world.
  • Dining – Authentic Italian pizza, tapas, sushi and more.
  • Architecture – Check out cutting-edge art and avant-garde installations

🎨 Trendy scene: Though more exclusive than Midtown, the Design District still retains a artistic flair, reminiscent of South Beach but with less crowds. Easy to navigate on foot, it also connects directly west to Wynwood.

Whether looking to eat, drink, dance, shop or take in culture and street art, Midtown and the Design District offer visitors all of it.

All hotels in Miami Design District →

4. Little Havana – Where to Stay for Alternative Culture 🌟

🌴 Vibrant culture: As one of Miami’s most iconic neighborhoods, Little Havana offers visitors an immersive cultural experience.

🎶 Festive streets: The sounds of salsa music spill out of cafes and shops as you stroll down the main drag of Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street). Here you’ll find old Cuban men playing dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park, also known as Domino Park, while locals sip Cuban coffee.

🥘 Tasty foods: Must-try foods and drinks:

  • Cuban sandwich (ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard)
  • Croquetas (fried ham and cheese croquettes)
  • Guava pastries

🎨 Immersive art: Beyond the delicious cuisine, Little Havana delivers limitless culture through its:

  • Cigar shops and factories
  • Art galleries and studios
  • Cuban markets stocked with fruits and veggies

🎉 Lively festivities: Be sure to visit on Viernes Culturales for lively outdoor festivities on the last Friday of each month.

From the cuisine to the music and everything in between, Little Havana envelops you in Cuban charm.

All hotels in Little Havana →

Where to stay in Little Havana? 🏨

Expensive Hotels:

Medium price range:

Budget Hotels:

  • Blue Little Havana – a modest hostel with basic amenities and friendly staff at a reasonable price.
  • Miami House – economical mini-hotel with basic services, suitable for budget vacations.

5. Coconut Grove – Best Place in Miami for Families 👨‍👩‍👦

🌴 Laid-back area: Coconut Grove is a charming, tropical neighborhood known for its relaxed vibes, artsy culture, and lush green spaces. Though technically part of the City of Miami, Coconut Grove has a distinct identity all its own.

📍 Well-located: Coconut Grove is located just south of downtown Miami along South Bayshore Drive, making it easy to access from Miami’s major attractions. It’s about a 15 minute drive from South Beach and 20 minutes from Miami International Airport.

🚶‍♂️ The main drag is Grand Avenue, lined with galleries, boutiques and sidewalk cafes. Top things to see and do:

  • Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – This opulent 1916 mansion offers a glimpse into Miami’s bygone era.
  • Barnacle Historic State Park – One of the oldest homes in Miami still stands in this bayfront park.
  • Peacock Park – Relax in the shade under the signature peacock topiary at this waterfront green space. On Saturdays a farmers market is held here.
  • CocoWalk – This open air shopping and entertainment complex boasts high-end boutiques and a variety of bars and eateries.

I definitely recommend this neighborhood to those who are visiting Miami for the first time. The Grove has a magic all its own!

All hotels in Coconut Grove →

Where to stay in Coconut Grove? 🏨

Expensive Hotels:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove – a luxurious beach resort with exquisite accommodations, great service and haute cuisine restaurants.
  • Mr. C Miami – elegant contemporary style boutique hotel with chic rooms, beautiful views and fine dining.
  • Mayfair House Hotel & Garden – a chic colonial-style boutique hotel with manicured gardens and a high level of service.

Medium price range:

Budget Hotels:

6. Coral Gables – Best Area in Miami for Couples 💖

🚌 Short drive: Coral Gables is part of the Miami metropolitan area and is located 7 miles southwest of downtown Miami.

Venetian Pool
Venetian Pool
Venetian Pool
Venetian Pool
Merrick House
Merrick House
Merrick House
Merrick House
Merrick House
Merrick House
Merrick House
Merrick House

⏱ Half hour: A thirty-minute drive or an Uber ride will take you to Key Biscayne and the iconic South Beach. Also, the University of Miami campus is found in Coral Gables.

🔝 When visiting Coral Gables, be sure to see:

  • Venetian Pool – One of the most beautiful swimming pools worldwide, fed by cool spring water with waterfalls and grottos
  • Merrick House – George Merrick’s childhood home, the founder of Coral Gable
  • Miracle Mile – Upscale shopping street with boutiques and galleries as well as restaurants that offer terrace dining

🚎 Tiny trolley: There is a small trolley service that goes around this neighborhood for only $0.25.

🌆 Mediterranean vibe: You will feel worlds away yet close to everything Miami has to offer in this little slice of Spain and the Mediterranean tucked away in South Florida.

All hotels in Coral Gables →

Where to stay in Coral Gables? 🏩

Expensive Hotels:

  • Biltmore Hotel Miami – a luxurious historic Mediterranean-style hotel with a large pool, golf courses and spa.
  • Hotel Colonnade – an elegant boutique hotel in a historic mansion with a gourmet restaurant and luxurious rooms.
  • Hyatt Regency – a modern, premium hotel with a large pool, fitness center and restaurant with city views.

Mid-range price range:

Budget Hotels:

7. South Beach – Where to Stay in Miami for Nightlife 🍸

🌴 Top destination: This iconic area has become a top destination for tourists from all over thanks to its beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and trendy vibe.

Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach
Nightlife South Beach

🌊 Beautiful beaches: South Beach stretches for about a 4 kilometers along the beachfront, bordered by 1st Street to the south and 23rd Street to the north. The main beach entrance runs along the lively Ocean Drive, lined with hotels, restaurants and bars complete with outdoor seating.

🚶‍♂️ Walkable: I found South Beach surprisingly easy to get around without a car. Many visitors opt to rent a Citi Bike or just walk along the pedestrian-friendly streets to explore shops, parks and attractions.

🏖️ Awesome attractions: Some key spots you can check out in South Beach within walking distance include these awesome attractions:

  • Art Deco Museum – Housed in a former 1930s beachfront apartment
  • Ocean Drive – The vibrant main thoroughfare with great views
  • South Pointe Park – Beautiful park at the southern tip with waterfront trails
  • Lincoln Road Mall – Iconic outdoor pedestrian mall with tons of excellent shops and eateries

🏨 Excellent hotels: When choosing where to stay in South Beach, you have an abundance of delightful art deco style hotels and resorts to pick from along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. There are options in every budget range from inexpensive two and three-star hotels to very upscale waterfront resorts and condos.

All hotels in South Beach →

Where to stay in South Beach? 🏨

Expensive Hotels:

Mid-range price range:

Budget Hotels:

  • Sonder The Abbey – budget hotel with simple but cozy rooms, good for budget travelers.
  • Esme Miami Beach – inexpensive minimalist hotel with a good location near the ocean and shopping streets.
  • Suites on South Beach – a reasonably priced apartment hotel with spacious rooms with kitchenettes, beach and pool.

8. Mid-Beach – Best Area in Miami for Foodies 😋

🚌 Well-connected: Mid-Beach is a vibrant neighborhood perfect for tourists looking to experience the best of Miami’s dining and nightlife.

🚗 Easy transportation: Transportation around Mid-Beach is convenient with multiple bus routes, the South Beach Local Circulator, Citi Bike rentals, and rideshares like Uber and Lyft readily available.

💨 Quick trips: If you want to venture outside Mid-Beach, it’s just a quick 5-10 minute drive or rideshare trip to South Beach’s Art Deco district or the luxury shops and high-rises of Sunny Isles and Aventura to the north.

🍽 Dining and fun: When you’re ready for some dining and entertainment, Mid-Beach offers plenty of options:

  • Trendy rooftop bars like Broken Shaker
  • Upscale restaurants like Carbone and Prime 54 by Chef Michael Mina
  • Lively music and dancing at The Clevelander Hotel along Ocean Drive

🏖 More relaxed: Mid-Beach boasts a more relaxed vibe compared to the 24/7 party scene of South Beach. The gorgeous white sand beaches here are less crowded, making it easy to find your own space to soak up the sun.

💵 All budgets: From luxurious 5-star accommodations to modest hostels, Mid-Beach offers lodging for every budget.

All hotels in Mid-Beach →

Where to stay in Mid-Beach? 🏨

Expensive Hotels:

Medium price category:

Budget Hotels:

9. North Beach – Where to Stay in Miami on a Budget 💸

🌊 Beachy vibes: Nestled along the shoreline just north of downtown Miami, North Beach is one of the city’s most vibrant and artsy neighborhoods.

🚶‍♂️ Walkable: North Beach is very walkable, with many shops, restaurants, and attractions clustered along 71st Street and Collins Avenue. There’s also a “freebee” shuttle that provides free rides up and down 71st Street, so you don’t need a car to get around the neighborhood.

🌮 Tasty cuisine: When hunger calls, North Beach serves up diverse cuisine. For brunch, YES! Cafe dishes out avocado toast and creative sandwiches. Pizza & Beer has mouthwatering Italian pies and brews. Try some Cuban flavors at Mojito Cafe, or fresh seafood at Roni’s by the Ocean. Late at night, get your dance on at hip clubs like Bikini Bar.

💸 Affordable stays: As for accommodations, North Beach provides some affordable options compared to pricey South Beach.

All hotels in North Beach →

Where to stay in North Beach? 🏨

Mid-range price range:

Budget Hotels:

10. Key Biscayne – Away from the Hustle and Bustle 🕊

🌴 Tropical paradise: The island community of Key Biscayne, located only minutes from a bustling city, is a peaceful tropical hideaway.

Crandon Beach
Crandon Beach
Crandon Beach
Crandon Beach
Crandon Beach
Crandon Beach
Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park
Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne

🚲 Easy accessibility: Among the best qualities of Key Biscayne is that things are nearby and easily accessible. Often times most resorts have bicycles for visitors to use when cycling through the city while Freebee rideshare service gives free electric cart transportation all over the island.

🔥 Key Biscayne’s main attractions:

  • Crandon Beach – 2 miles of family friendly beach with cabanas and activities
  • Miami Seaquarium – Watch dolphin shows, Killer whale exhibits and many more
  • The Galleria – High end indoor mall with upscale shopping and dining experience
  • Lighthouse Park – A picnic spot where you can see beautiful bay views

🏝 Relaxation destination: The convenience, quiet beauty and small-town feel of this place make it perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.

All hotels in Key Biscayne →

Where NOT to Stay in Miami ❌

Being a visitor, there are some rougher neighbourhoods in Miami that you must avoid.

For instance, Overtown was once the centre of Miami’s black culture and the home of Miami’s Black community but it is now famous for crime and poverty. So, I would not advise you to book a hotel in this area.

Similarly, Liberty City in northwest Miami has been involved in drug trafficking and gangs for many years now. Locals do not like going to that part of town and so too should tourists.

However, this does not mean that you should write these areas off your Miami map completely. Because if you are with someone who knows the place or on a guided tour, you can still learn about their rich histories. Common sense – just don’t walk alone at night wearing an expensive camera around your neck down there, yeah?

Some other areas tourists may want to be more careful about include Little Haiti and Little Havana. Stick to parts of town where tourists usually go and it will be fine though you should never go to another way unless accompanied by local people.

Best Hotels near Miami Airport 🛫

Wyndham Garden

This relaxed hotel near the airport offers simple, affordable rooms with free WiFi and flat-screen TVs.

However, the real draw is the outdoor pool and hot tub surrounded by palm trees – perfect for unwinding pre or post-flight under the Miami sun.

EB Hotel

Travelers praise this modern airport hotel for its soundproofed rooms with mood lighting, rain showers, and balcony views of the city.

Plus, it has a chic rooftop bar.

Tru By Hilton South Blue Lagoon

This brand new budget hotel south of the airport stands out for its huge tropical outdoor pool and waterslide.

Do note though – it’s about a 10 minute drive to the airport. But if you want pool time without a premium price tag, it’s a solid choice.

Best Neighborhoods and Areas to Stay in Miami on a Map 📍

FAQs about Visiting Miami ❔

What is the safest part of Miami for tourists?

When you’re in Miami, the area known as South Beach is generally considered one of the safest parts for tourists. The vibrant atmosphere, well-lit streets, and the presence of other visitors create a welcoming environment. Just like any urban destination, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings.

How far is Downtown Miami from the beach?

Downtown Miami and the beach are separated by approximately 5 miles. It’s a relatively short drive, and you can also use public transportation options like the Metromover or Metrorail to easily travel between the two areas.

How long to stay in Miami?

Ideally, a stay of about 4 to 5 days allows you to explore Miami’s diverse attractions comfortably. This timeframe allows for visits to iconic spots like South Beach, Little Havana, the Art Deco Historic District, and perhaps a day trip to the nearby Everglades or Key West.

Where is the best place in Miami for families?

For families, Coconut Grove is a fantastic choice. This area offers a more residential feel, beautiful parks, and family-friendly attractions like the Miami Science Museum. Coral Gables is another family-oriented neighborhood with picturesque streets, parks, and the Venetian Pool, a unique, historic swimming spot.

Where to stay in Miami without a car?

If you’re planning to navigate Miami without a car, consider staying in the downtown area or South Beach. Both locations offer excellent walkability, access to public transportation, and a plethora of dining and entertainment options within strolling distance.