When you’re visiting Miami, it’s incredibly easy to spend money. Almost too easy.
Known as an adult playground full of luxury sports cars, pricey cocktails, high-end hotels, and nonstop parties, a visit to Miami can get expensive pretty quickly. But while you probably won’t see Miami top the lists of cheapest places to travel, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Miami on a budget.
From taking free salsa lessons and sampling the country’s best Cuban food to kicking back in beautiful Miami Beach, check out our budget travel guide below for our top ways to save money on your trip to Miami.
Free and cheap things to do in Miami
Soak up the sun on South Beach
Soaking up the sun is totally free in Miami Beach. As long as you’ve packed a towel, some sunblock, and your favorite swimsuit, you’re ready to kick back on one of the many beautiful beaches in the city.
If you’re looking to hit one of the area’s most famous stretches of coastline, Lummus Park Beach is quintessentially South Beach and makes for excellent people watching. When you’re not swimming or sunbathing, you can break a sweat on one of the volleyball courts or outdoor gyms.
Budget tip for visiting Miami beaches: Most of the chairs and umbrellas that you can rent along the beach belong to the area’s resorts and hotels, who charge upwards of $25 for rentals. If you plan to spend several days at the beach, consider saving money by purchasing your own chairs and umbrellas for roughly $20 each at a nearby shop or CVS.
Explore Little Havana
Cuban culture is heavily woven into the fabric of Miami and there’s no better place to experience it than the neighborhood of Little Havana.
Start your journey at Gomez Park, better known as Domino Park thanks to the many locals who come here to play dominos. From there, take your time strolling down Calle Ocho (SW 8th street) as you sample Cuban coffees and Cuban cigars at shops along the way. When you’re ready to stop for lunch, take your pick of the area’s many Cuban restaurants to enjoy an authentic, budget friendly Cuban meal such as ropa vieja or a Cuban sandwich.
Whatever you do, be sure to save room for dessert. You do not want to miss the locally inspired flavors of the neighborhood’s famous Azucar Ice Cream Company. Locals especially love the Abuela Maria and café con leche flavors.
Take Advantage of the incredible happy hours
Even if you’re not usually a night owl, there’s no denying that dining and nightlife are a huge part of Miami’s appeal. Unfortunately, a night out on the town in Miami is anything but cheap. But that doesn’t mean you need to ruin your travel budget to have a good time. Miami is filled with bars and restaurants that offer cheap happy hour deals that allow you to treat yourself without emptying your wallet. Some of our favorite examples include:
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company - 95 cent oysters, $5 beer, and $6 cocktails
El Patio Wynwood - $1 beers ($5 for a bucket of 5) along with $5 well drinks and cocktails
Drunken Dragon - This popular spot does a sort of reverse happy hour from 10-11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday. They also do a normal happy hour every day from 5-7 p.m. In addition to discounted drinks, they offer $4 Asian inspired tapas.
Admire world-famous street art at Wynwood Walls
Wynwood is Miami’s hip, up-and-coming neighborhood. The neighborhood has all the features of a trendy neighborhood on the rise – craft breweries, vibrant nightlife, indie clothing boutiques. However, Wynwood’s claim to fame has got to be the famous Wynwood Walls.
Wynwood Walls is a free, constantly changing display of more than 40 incredible murals from some of the world’s best street artists.
Learn to dance salsa for free
Originally opened in 1935, Ball & Chain is one of Miami’s most legendary and historic venues. The club features a rum heavy cocktail list, delicious Cuban food, as well as live music 7 days a week during happy hour.
On Thursdays, Ball & Chain welcomes salsa lovers of all skill levels to enjoy their weekly Little Havana Under the Stars event. The event features free salsa lessons, live music, and DJ sets. Beginners welcome – even if you don’t have a partner.
Take a free self-guided tour of the Art Deco Historic District
The colorful Art Deco style buildings of Miami are an iconic part of the city’s landscape. Located on Miami Beach between 5th and 23rd streets along Collins Avenue, Ocean Drive, and Washington Avenue, the Art Deco Historic District is home to the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world.
Taking in the sights of buildings designed by world-famous architects is a treat in itself. But if you want to learn more without spending money on a tour, this free self-guided tour from GPSmyCity is a great option.
Where to stay on a budget in Miami
Freehand describes themselves as the “hotel for today’s traveler” and we’d have to agree. A sort of hostel/hotel hybrid, Freehand offers all of the modern conveniences of a high-quality hotel with the social environment you expect from a hostel – all at a fraction of the cost. The hotel is just a 5-minute walk from Miami beach, but they also offer free bicycles if you’re heading further out.
Circa 39 Hotel
Circa 39 is a colorful, Art Deco style boutique hotel situated just steps from the beach. The rooms here are intimate and decorated in chic, Miami-inspired colors. Guests of Circa 39 love the location, as the hotel is incredibly close to the beach, as well as ample shopping and dining along Collins Avenue.
Generator Miami Hostel
Originally a European hostel chain, Generator is still relatively new to the American market but they’re certainly making their mark. This trendy spot offers budget friendly female-only and mixed-gender dorm rooms, as well as private room options. On site, guests can relax at the swimming pool and poolside bar. For those looking to get out, Generator offers free bike and skateboard rentals.
How to find cheap flights to Miami
This year, Dollar Flight Club members have saved between 60-90% on cheap flights to Miami On average, our members spent $81 on their airline tickets to Miami and saved more than $185 per ticket.
Here are a few samples of cheap flight deals to Miami that Dollar Flight Club members have received recently.
- Atlanta (ATL) to Miami (MIA)
- Price with Dollar Flight Club: $48.20
- Average Price: $228.72
- Philadelphia (PHL) to Miami (MIA)
- Price with Dollar Flight Club: $74.20
- Average Price: $245.67
- Austin (AUS) to Miami (MIA)
- Price with Dollar Flight Club: $79.91
- Average Price: $268.63
- Chicago (ORD) to Miami (MIA)
- Price with Dollar Flight Club: $119.72
- Average Price: $203.40
- Houston (IAH) to Miami (MIA)
- Price with Dollar Flight Club: $84.46
- Average Price: $306.96
Best places to find cheap eats in Miami
You simply cannot visit Miami without trying at least one (or several) Cuban sandwiches and Enriqueta’s is the spot to do it. Locals love this small, unassuming shop for its Cuban fare and well-priced food. If you have room, be sure to treat yourself to some of their famous croquetas, as well.
My Ceviche proves that good seafood doesn’t have to be expensive. This small storefront on South Beach serves fresh, wild-caught ceviche in a bowl, burrito, or a taco. If you’re a lover of seafood or just want to finally try an octopus burrito, it’s a great way to try Miami’s catch of the day on the cheap.
A long-standing Miami institution, El Rey De Las Fritas is truly one of a kind. This no-frills, counter-serve spot is famous for creating the original Frita Cubana, a Cuban-style beef burger topped with sautéed onions and shoestring fries, served on a fluffy Cuban roll. At less than $5, the Frita Original won’t wreck your food budget. Just make sure that you use that money to buy a pressed sugar cane juice to wash it all down.
Get ready to see more of Miami while spending less
Appropriately dubbed the Magic City, Miami is a vibrant city with so much to do and see. So whether you’ve always wanted to have a cocktail in Gianni Versace’s mansion or you’re ready to tear up the dance floor at the world-famous South Beach nightclubs, sign up now to receive free instant cheap flight alerts and start planning your Miami vacation.
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BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.