Sleeping in Airports

Miami Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Miami.

Miami Airport Layover Sightseeing
Photo Credit: Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock

Miami International Airport (MIA) is an enormous hub for American and international travel, particularly emphasizing connections to Latin America. Layovers in Miami are increasingly common and completely manageable with some pre-planning. If you’re looking at more than five hours, consider dropping your bags at a storage space and setting out to explore ‘The Magic City’ – also known as the informal ‘Capital of Latin America.’ The airport is close to many of the area’s main attractions, making quick city adventures accessible. The guide below shares details on what to do and how to do it.

Airport Overview

If you find yourself with a layover in Miami of less than five hours, you are likely best sticking around the airport terminals. International connections often require baggage re-check – which can be time-consuming in and of itself. With whatever time remains, spend it poking around the terminals, exploring the shops, looking for therapy dogs and checking out the art galleries. For more information on the airport, check out our Miami Airport Guide.

Miami Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Miami:

South Beach

Miami South Beach
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

South Beach – or ‘SoBe’ – is the epitome of Miami and is likely essential to any quick visit to the city. Restaurants, clubs, bars and countless shops are all housed in a series of Art Deco buildings that have come to characterize the city’s unique style. Pulsing at any time of day, the challenge with a visit to South Beach is deciding what to do – and how much to take on.

  • Time Required: A visit to South Beach can last anywhere from an hour. With countless eating, drinking, shopping, sightseeing and people-watching opportunities, this destination has something for everyone.
  • How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options and the required time.

Ocean Drive

Miami Ocean Drive
Photo Credit: fotomak / Shutterstock

Stroll down Ocean Drive to stretch your legs as you wander past the Art Deco buildings that symbolize Miami’s heyday. The Park Central Hotel and the Imperial are among the most impressive remnants of this 1920s style – though you will easily wander past 800+ buildings from this era during an afternoon here. Whether you prefer to wander, embark on a self-guided audio tour, or follow a guided walking tour, it is recommended that you begin at the Art Deco District Welcome Center.

  • Time Required: Like South Beach, this walking tour can take as little or as much time as you have. The guided tours take approximately 90 minutes and begin daily at 10:30 AM.
  • How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options and the required time.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour.

Little Havana

Get even more out of your layover as you step out of America and into Cuba on a visit through Little Havana. As the hub for all this Cuban in this multicultural city, a few hours strolling through the neighbourhoods will surely add extra flavour to your layover. Top sights include the main street – Calle Ocho – and the Walkway of Stars, which celebrates Latin American celebrities. Another benefit of Little Havana is that of all the sights listed, this one is closest to the airport.

  • Time Required: Like other sights in Miami, Little Havana is a place you can walk and wander through for as long as you would like. Banking on an hour or two as a minimum would likely be safe.
  • How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options and the required time.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about Little Havana, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Airport Transportation

MIA is connected to the city of Miami through several different public and private transit options. Upon landing at one of the (many) terminals, you will likely need to hop on to the MIA Mover, an electric train that connects the terminals with the airport’s Central Station.

Public transit options include:

  • Metrorail (Central Station): A two-line rail line that connects major areas of Miami’s city center and surroundings with the airport
  • Metrobus (Central Station): Intersects the Metrorail to provide broader coverage of destinations within the city.

Private transit options:

  • Taxis and SuperShuttles (Ground Level, Baggage Claim): Cars and vans provide custom connections into the city center and elsewhere
  • Car Rental Services (Central Station, after MIA Mover): Several companies offer car rentals.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so be sure to research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget. What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Visit our Miami Airport Guide for information about Luggage Storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: