Is Miami Expensive To Visit? A Magic City Budget Guide

is Miami expensive to visit?

Is Miami expensive to visit? That’s what this guide is all about. It will delve into what you can expect to spend when you head over to the fabled Magic City of the Sunshine State to offer a ballpark figure for the total cost of a trip to this happening metropolis between the Everglades and the shimmering Atlantic Ocean.

One thing’s for sure: Miami certainly isn’t the cheapest city in the USA. Famed for its Art Deco South Beach district and glitzy clubs, Cubano sub restaurants and bumping cocktail bars along the ocean, it’s a major draw for sun seekers pretty much the whole year round. It also happens to be one of the priciest places in the state of Florida, with a cost of living that’s an estimated 19% higher than everywhere else in this land of quartz beaches and endless Vitamin D.

In this guide, we’ll offer a roundup of the overall budget for that fun-filled Miami jaunt you’ve been dreaming of. Plus, we’ll dive down into the individual cost of things in the city, to show what you’ll be paying for food, drinks, accommodation, and activities. Let’s begin…

How much does a holiday to Miami cost? Our estimation

beach in Miami
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We estimate that a week-long holiday to Miami will cost in the region of about $1,857 per person. That’s based on stays in midrange hotels in a popular area like Miami Beach and a spend of just under $400 for food throughout the week, plus allowances for activities and drinking. Crucially, it doesn’t include the cost of a flight to Miami, which is usually in the region of $500 for long haul travel and $200 for domestic travel from somewhere else in the USA.

It’s important to stress that these are average prices for midrange vacationing. You can fork out stacks and stacks more in this happening seaside metropolis. Or you can spend less by going budget. Let’s take a closer look at all those outgoings in more detail…

Is Miami expensive to fly to?

Airport departure lounge
Photo by Envato Elements

Is Miami expensive to visit by plane? Well…that all depends on where you’re coming in from. The good news is that there are stacks and stacks of domestic connections to the Magic City from across the USA because it’s a major port for the Caribbean and a sun-kissed winter escape in its own right. High levels of competition help to keep airfare nice and low, meaning you can pay as little as $75 for a flight in from NYC and around $150 for a connection over from LA.

It’s a different story for us Europe-based travelers. That demands a long haul flight, though the competition is still good on the route, with big players like BA, Air France, and Finnair all offering direct links over from across the pond. A good price for the on-average nine-hour hop from a city like London would be in the region of $570 for a return, though it’s possible to get tickets for about $400-450 if you travel in shoulder seasons or the low season.

Is Miami expensive for hotels?

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We can say with almost 100% certainty that the biggest cost after airfare to Miami will be hotels in the Magic City. To put it simply: They don’t come cheap! Peak season rates for a stay on South Beach (which is where you’ll want to stay if it’s your first time in town) can hit well over $300/night for midrange hotels. During the low season (May to October), you can pay a lot less than that – think closer to $125/night for a three-star hotel near the beach.

Of course, it’s also possible to pay WAY more. Miami – specifically areas like Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, and Mid Beach – are home to some of the glitziest residences and condo hotels in the stars and stripes. They can command rates of over $1,000 a night, though you will usually get rooftop pools, stylo bars in the lobby, and private beachfront access for that.

At the other end of the spectrum are Miami’s hostels and aparthotel rentals, which can be good quality stays that take care of the basics. Here’s a look at those, plus some hotel options from other price ranges:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour ($$$) – Rub shoulders with the millionaires and billionaires at this deluxe hotel resort on the north end of Miami Beach. It’s got its very own yacht harbor and a series of pools on the edge of a very secluded run of sand.
  • Urbanica Fifth ($$) – An edgy hotel that’s packed with art and has a lovely rooftop pool with views across the ocean, Urbanica is right on the cusp of Miami Beach’s Art Deco district. Expect to pay around $170 per night in peak season.
  • Viajero Miami ($-$$) – There are hostel dorms and private doubles in this fun stay on Miami Beach. There’s also a pool but rates are good value for money.

Overall, we’d estimate that you’ll spend at least $170/night on accommodation in Miami, assuming you want to stay in hip Miami beach. That adds up to $1,190 for a whole week’s vacation.

The cost of food in Miami

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Miami is a fantastic place for foodies. The city is heavily influenced by Latin America, Cuba, and the Caribbean, but also has that distinctly American flavor to its gastronomic offering. Look one way and there are sizzling Cubano sub shops that seem like they’ve been lifted straight out of Havana. Look another and there’s a Mexican taqueria serving corn fritters and the best tacos this side of CDMX.

We’d say that prices for food in Miami are roughly in line with what you’d pay in other major metropolises – London, New York. For example, a pizza in a good Neapolitan-style joint will set you back just over $14, while a sandwich from a casual deli (we highly recommend the unassuming Ocean Deli Market) is about $8-12, and a Cuban-style breakfast in one of the local diners is around $10 a plate.

Of course, it’s possible to hit fine-dinning joints and tourist eateries that will crank up the rates a lot higher than that. And you have to factor in the extra 18% that’s normal for tips in Miami (and the rest of the US). The upshot? We think most travelers are looking at a food budget of about $35-70 per day in Miami, or around $367 per week.

The cost of drink in Miami

Cocktail in Miami
Photo by Envato Elements

It’s no secret that Miami – and Miami Beach especially – are havens for folks who like a cold drink, or 10. The town has garnered a rep as one of America’s good-time destinations, boasting bars of all shapes and sizes up its happening Ocean Drive area and throughout the buzzing Downtown core alike. But what can you expect to spend on booze in these parts? Read on…

For a standard American tap beer, be ready to drop approximately $9 a pop. It’s a touch less for a glass of Californian wine but probably a dollar or two more for a glass of imported Italian or French wine, though you’ll often save by buying the whole bottle to share. Cocktails vary a lot. They’ll cost more on Ocean Drive than in an unknown spot in central Miami, but are usually between $12-18 each.

Factoring two nights of drinking in Miami, we’d estimate a weekly budget of about $100 in total to enjoy the famous bars of the Magic City.

The cost of things to do in Miami

Strip of hotels in Miami
Photo by Envato Elements

The good news is that there are LOADS of free things to do in Miami. In fact, over on Miami Beach – the most popular district for first-time travelers – the main thing to do is 100% free of charge. Of course, we’re talking about that long, uninterrupted run of white sand and shimmering turquoise water that’s just out front. Head there, laze, soak up the rays, dodge the jellyfish, and don’t spend a single dime.

If you do want to add in some planned activities, here’s a rough guide to what you can expect to spend on some of the must-do things in Miami:

  • A day trip to the Everglades (from $48) – Trips to the amazing Florida Everglades, a national park that’s home to gators and sawgrass meadows, is a fine way to escape the city.
  • Vizcaya Museum ($25) – The Vizcaya Museum is a mix of fine art and Spanish-style architecture that’s surely the most famous cultural site in the city.
  • Food tour of Little Havana ($70) – Taste the bounty of Cuba on a guided food tour of Miami’s most iconic culinary district.

We’d estimate that the average traveler needs an activity budget of around $200 for a full week.

Is Miami expensive to visit? Our conclusion

Is Miami expensive to visit? Actually, Miami is among the pricier of US cities. The cost of food, drink, and hotels is roughly in line with New York and London. You’re looking at paying at least $150 per night for a midrange hotel and about $30 per head for a meal with a drink in a standard restaurant.

You should also know that Miami can be extremely expensive. Areas like Miami Beach and Bal Harbor are home to some seriously chic hotels that host celebs for over $1,500 per night. Meanwhile, doing the city on the cheap is possible by booking hostels and eating at roadside stalls, but is probably harder than in most European cities.

Joseph

For more than 11 years, Joe has worked as a freelance travel writer. His writing and explorations have brought him to various locations, including the colonial towns of Mexico, the bustling chowks of Mumbai, and the majestic Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not crafting his next epic blog post on the top Greek islands or French ski resorts, he can often be found engaging in his top two hobbies of surfing and hiking.

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