10 Things to do on a layover at Miami Airport

Miami Airport is a mix of cultures, languages, and attitudes, with flights coming and going throughout the day. Though the airport can feel chaotic, it’s not a bad place to spend a long layover if you are prepared.

Here are 10 Things to do on a layover at Miami Airport.

1. Eat up

Things to do in miami near airportMiami is known for its food and drinking culture, and that certainly extends to its airport. You’ll have plenty of options to sample great Cuban food – Cafe Versailles and Cafe La Carreta are iconic locales and they each have a few airport outposts. Plus, they’re affordable. Prefer something lighter before your flight? Icebox Cafe and its cousin Fig & Fennel offer healthier fare. Other local eateries include Shula’s Bar and Grill, Half Moon Empanadas, and Estefan Kitchen Express (as in Gloria Estefan). Of course, you’ll find plenty of grab-and-go spots too, like Starbucks, McDonald’s Pizza Hut, and Jamba Juice.

2. Head to a lounge

Things to do in miami near airportIf you’ve got the money, you can enter an airport lounge – even if you’re not a fancy First Class flyer. Several airport lounges here offer access to any traveller, regardless of airline or service class, and the entry fee may be worth the inclusive food, drinks, and relative calm between flights – one even has a shower! Pre-purchase a lounge pass online or use your lounge membership program. Details and amenities included in our Miami Airport Guide.

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3. Go shopping

Things to do in miami near airportWith its interconnected terminals, you can easily bop around to shops in all terminals, getting in your steps and picking up some souvenirs. You’ll find airport staples like newsstands, travel stores, and tech shops throughout. In general, the fanciest boutiques are located in the North Terminal, if you want to pick up a designer shirt or handbag. Miami-based stores include Books & Books, Havana Collection, which sells airy tropical clothing, and the Prive Gourmet Market, located in The Shoppes at Ocean Drive.

4. Relax in a spa

Freshen up between flights at the in-airport spas. Two locations provide beauty treatments like manicures, pedicures, and facials, and spa treatments including massages.

5. Zen out

A (generally) peaceful place to spend a few minutes is the Yoga Room in Terminal H (Pre-Security). Yoga mats are available, so feel free to zen out with some poses, stretches, or simple meditation.

6. View some art

There’s a lot of art here – and some of it’s very worthy of Instagram. Check out the terminal maps to discover several art galleries and exhibits, located both pre- and post-Security.

7. Hug a Dog

If you get lucky, you’ll cross paths with the airport’s trained therapy dog. This golden retriever visits the airport a couple times a week and loves snuggling with travellers.

8. Explore Miami

Things to do in miami near airportWe know that it is hard to sit inside an airport for hours on end when world-class beaches, architecture, culture, and warm weather are just steps away. No one would blame you if you’d rather spend your layover working on your suntan in Miami. As long as you’ve got at least 6 hours between flights, this is a realistic option!

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The good news is you can store your luggage at the airport so you don’t have to drag it along on your adventure. The less exciting news is that public transit isn’t too impressive. The Miami Beach Airport Flyer is your cheapest option – the bus connects the airport with Miami Beach for $2.65 each way, and it departs every 30 minutes (except overnight). The Metrorail’s Orange Line also connects for cheap, but it takes longer. Taxis, shuttles, and car-sharing options are available – just remember, your layover is limited, so spending some cash to get to the beach faster may just be worth the splurge.

Once you’re in the city, there’s plenty to check out. Locals and tourists alike flock to the sand and surf and fancy hotels that line South Beach. For a more cultural experience, head to Little Havana, the center of Cuban culture in the U.S. – stroll along the main street, Calle Ocho. The Wynwood Arts District is becoming one of Miami’s hottest neighborhoods, and it’s not even near the ocean. The neighborhood is full of street murals and hip cafes and bars. For more ideas on what to do, check out our article on Miami Airport Layover Sightseeing.

Be sure to leave plenty of time to get back to the airport (traffic can be very slow), pick up your bags, and process through Security for your next flight.

9. Get connected

Stay connected to friends and family, update your social media accounts or surf the internet during your layover. Catch up with free airport WiFi – you’ll just have to cope with some advertisements. Or, upgrade for ad-free and speedier service.

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10. Sleep

Things to do in miami near airportTravellers generally have no problem catching some Z’s here. You’ll have to get creative though, since seats and benches are equipped with armrests. Some floors in the North Terminal are carpeted, decent for sprawling out. Be on the lookout if you’re stranded – airport staff sometimes roll out cots with blankets in case of major delays or cancellations. Wherever you wind up, do expect chilly temps and lots of noise – a sweater, blanket and earplugs will certainly come in handy. If you’re willing to spend some cash for better sleep, you don’t have to go far. The Miami International Airport Hotel is located in the Central Terminal, and day rooms are available between 10:00AM – 6:00PM. Several hotels are located within just a few minutes’ drive, and most provide free shuttle service. For details and locations, see our Miami Airport Guide.

These are just a few things to do on a layover at Miami Airport. Visit our Miami Airport Guide for more information about more services and facilities available, such as food, WiFi, mobile charging, luggage storage, nearby airport hotels, and much more.


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About the Author: Tung Chi