Miami Beach on the Cheap: Family Fun in the Sun

The Miami Metropolitan Area has justly earned its reputation as one of the most expensive urban centers in America, with Miami Beach city probably leading from the front. However, this should not dishearten residents of, and visitors to this iconic coastal city. Like some of the best things in life, the best sights and activities in Miami Beach come at nominal price, or entirely free. Hard to believe? Read on to discover the top 10 affordable and free activities you can do in Miami Beach. 

1) South Beach Art Deco walk

South Beach has earned for itself, whether deservedly or not, the reputation of a trendy hang out for the rich and beautiful. And nobody would deny that South Beach is a magnet for people who are into relentless 24 hour parties, picture postcard beaches, and world class dining options. While South Beach ticks all those boxes, it also offers a lot more, especially for people who want a culturally enriching experience. South Beach is also a delightfully pedestrian friendly area so a leisurely stroll in the Art Deco neighborhood becomes particularly enticing. You can admire some of the finest examples of the Streamline Moderne Art Deco architecture which revolutionized this city in the 1930s. After a long walk, you can camp at the beach, and admire one of the most gorgeous sunsets anywhere on earth. Fitting end to a perfect day. 

2) Bass Museum of Art

For people who cannot get enough of art, the Bass Museum of Art is just the right destination if they are out and about in Miami Beach. Located at Park Avenue, between the 21st and 22nd street, the museum is only a few minutes walk from the beach. The museum houses an impeccably curated list of artwork, by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The artworks span from the Renaissance period to modern movements. The museum has especially created a name for itself for its temporary theme based exhibits, that are raved about for months in the arts circle. 

3) Miami Children's Museum

For people and families with kids, their day out in Miami Beach city should incorporate a trip to the delightful Miami Children's Museum. Located minutes away from the South Beach across the MacArthur Causeway, the Miami Children's Museum houses 12 permanent galleries with hundreds of interactive exhibits. Children can climb up and down sand castles, learn how to take care of pets, regale themselves with the mysterious world of the sea, listen to and appreciate music from around the world and much, much more. There are also educational classes on art, health and nutrition, and how to be money wise. 

4) Holocaust Memorial & Botanical Gardens

The holocaust is, without a doubt, one of the most sobering and enduring memories in world history. While the city of Miami Beach has built for itself a general reputation as a party and shopping destination, not many seem to know that it is also home to a beautiful memorial built for the victims of Holocaust. Located close to Dade Boulevard, the memorial is a solemn tribute to victims and survivors of holocaust. The memorial features a number of statues, architectural and sculptural works, a memorial wall, and a garden of meditation.  The Miami Botanical Gardens are located just adjacent to the Holocaust Memorial.  Find a stunning array of flowers, native plants, Japanese Gardens and so much more. The gardens are open from Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm.  Admission to the garden is free. Simply dial 305.423.1525 or snap a picture of the QR codes found at each of the 13 stopping points of the tour to enjoy a self-guided exploration of the grounds.

5) Miami Beach Trolley

For residents and visitors to Miami Beach, who want to explore the major attractions around but aren't prepared for the physical exertion of long walks, there's good news in store. Miami Beach operates FREE trolley service that not only complements the existing transport network, but also allows visitors easy access to countless shopping and dining options in the area. The trolley service runs the North Beach route connecting popular destinations including North Shore Youth Center, Normandy Isle Park and Pool, Crespi Park, North Shore Branch Library, and several other destinations. The most eye catching feature of this free trolley service is the superlative facilities including roomy interiors, ramps for differently abled people, security cameras, WiFi and real time tracking of bus movements. 

6) North Shore Park and Youth Center

Easily accessible from the trolley service, the North Shore Park and Youth Center is a first rate facility with a host of options for the whole family. If you and your family are big on sports then you will be delighted by the Center's state-of-the-art gym, top notch tennis court, and expansive athletic fields. For people who are more into arts, or prefer indoor activities, the Center offers computer terminals, dance rooms, and an auditorium with an impressive sound system. In addition, the Center runs several camps and programs for children covering subjects like drama, sports, arts and much more. 

7) Scott Rakow Youth Center

Established with the express purpose to provide a recreational facility to teens of Miami Beach, the Scott Rakow Center has transformed itself into a world class venue, providing a range of services to people of all age groups. The Center boasts of an ice skating rink, Olympic sized outdoor swimming pool, bowling alley, gym and fitness center, arts center, music room, and a well equipped computer lab. 

8) Normandy Isle Park 

Located at 7030 Trouville Esplanade, the Normandy Isle Park is easily accessible by the Miami Beach trolley service. This picturesque park has some of the most impressive sporting and leisure facilities, making it a worthwhile venue for the entire family. The park has two multi-purpose basketball courts, a pristine soccer field, dedicated space to host birthday parties, lap and play pool, and an assorted mix of engaging programs for people of all age groups. 

9) Lincoln Road Mall

If your idea of a day out with the family involves typical urban activities that do not leave you with a light wallet, then you should consider heading to the Lincoln Road Mall. Located at Lincoln Road across the Washington Avenue, the mall is a shopping area designed for pedestrians. The mall is essentially rows after rows of sidewalk outlets including coffee shops, clubs, high street brands, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. In other words, the perfect venue for you to simply stroll, window shop, and generally look around with an ice cream or your favorite beverage in your hand. At the end of it all, you can simply soak in some contemporary art at one of the many art galleries. For parking try one of the 3 entrances to the 17th Street Garage.  This city run garage is the cheapest & closest parking you’ll find for Lincoln Road Mall.

10) Miami Dade Public Library Miami Beach Branch

227 22nd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

While for many families a day spent in a tranquil library, surrounded by books, comes close to ideal, the Miami Dade Public Library offers much more than just a book and a quiet space. You can come here to get free passes for some of the most in-demand and kid friendly arts and culture shows in Miami Beach. However, be mindful that these passes are limited in number, and available on a first come first serve basis. Your kids can enjoy music time, storytime and wii gaming programming as well as use the computers for educational fun.

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