It’s almost time for The Big Game and football fans will descend upon South Florida. But Miami, like Atlanta, is a sports city, so there’s always something going on. The Orange Bowl, held every January, is also held at Hard Rock Stadium, which is home to the Miami Dolphins and other big football games. The stadium previously hosted the Big Game in 2010.
Previously called Sun Life Stadium, it’s in the Miami Gardens neighborhood, which is a 30-minute drive from Miami proper and 20 minutes from Hollywood, set right off Florida’s Turnpike. Bus 297 and the Tri-Rail will put you close to the stadium. You can fly into the Miami or Fort Lauderdale airports.
What to See and Do in Miami and Hollywood
Other than the Big Game, you’ll probably want to see a few Miami attractions during your stay. Most fans will stay in central Miami, so they’re easy to visit. Don’t be afraid to venture out to nearby attractions as well.
Snake Warrior Island Natural Area– Get outside to explore this nearby 53-acre area in Miramar with bird watching, hiking trails, and picnic facilities. Scout for ibis and osprey while enjoying native plant life.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery– The monastery from Spain was built in 1141 and was the home of Cistercian monks for hundreds of years. In 1925 it was bought by William Randolph Hearst and shipped piece by piece to the United States. It sat in crates in Brooklyn before it was purchased again in the 1960s and reassembled as a tourist attraction in North Miami.
Flamingo Gardens– The 60-acre wildlife preserve in Davie is a short drive from Hollywood. It includes a botanical garden, historic home, and creatures like flamingos, bald eagles, and alligators. Get your Skip the Line: Flamingo Gardens Admission Ticket before you go.
Anne Kolb Nature Center– At this public park in Hollywood, you’ll learn more about the mangroves and ecosystem of Broward County. The nature center also is home to a variety of plants and animals. Activities include hiking, fishing, and geocaching.
Opa Locka– Short for the Seminole name Opa-tisha-wocka-locka, this city near Miami is designed in the Moorish style with turrets and other features in the city hall and churches.
Wynwood Arts District– A former factory district has become one of the city’s cultural hotspots, full of art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife. The monthly art walks regularly bring in locals and visitors, but you can also go on the Wynwood Art Walk and Mural Tour.
Topgolf– Set in Miami Gardens, the beloved golf game and entertainment venue is not far from the stadium. Here you’ll find great food and drinks as well as the elevated platforms to tee off.
K1 Speed– Challenge your friends to a go-karting race at this facility in nearby Medley. There are two courses as well as a restaurant.
Where to Eat Near Hard Rock Stadium
You don’t have to settle for concession stand food! Miami is known for its incredible restaurants so make time to visit them.
Restaurants in Miami Gardens and Surrounds
Yo’s Restaurant & Bakery– This Haitian restaurant in Miramar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Favorites include fried turkey, rice and beans, and vegetable stew.
Jamaica House Restaurant– One of the few non-chains in Miami Gardens, this Jamaican restaurant offers traditional dishes like oxtail and curry chicken. They also have a full bar.
The Licking– The lively soul food restaurant in Miami Gardens is known for its grilled seafood, fried chicken, and frozen cocktails. It’s a few blocks from the stadium.
Restaurants in Miami and Miami Beach
Versailles – Another Miami staple is this Cuban restaurant. They’re open daily from 8 am into the early hours of the morning for a strong coffee and hearty food. They have both a full-service restaurant and counter service bakery.
La Perrada De Edgar– The Miami Beach restaurant is known for its Colombian-style hot dogs with over 30 types of toppings. One of the most popular has fried potato sticks on top.
1-800-Lucky– This Asian-style food hall in Wynwood has a little bit of everything including noodles, Japanese ice cream, poke, Thai curry, and duck buns. They also have karaoke.
Restaurants in Hollywood, Florida
The Tipsy Boar– Head over to Hollywood to this gastropub, which has burgers, sandwiches, and pizza. They have an extensive beer menu as well as wine and cocktails. They have a large patio and their own free parking.
Runas Peruvian Cuisine– The authentic Peruvian restaurant has traditional fare like ceviche, Huancaina salad, lomo saltado, and chaufa de pollo, or a Chinese inspired fried rice dish.
GG’s Waterfront– Grab a bite with a view at this Hollywood Beach restaurant. The restaurant specializes in seafood like local wahoo and mahi mahi. They also offer happy hour.
Where to Stay Near Hard Rock Stadium
For big games, many of the hotels will be booked well in advance, especially around the stadium. But you can stay further out at lower prices. Don’t forget about rentals on sites like VRBO.
Hotels in Miami Gardens and Surrounds
Stadium Hotel– As the name implies, this is the closest you can get to the stadium but expect it to be booked up for big games. It has a sports bar and restaurant, over 200 guest rooms, complimentary breakfast, and an outdoor pool.
Grand Palms Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort– Set in neighboring Pembroke Pines, the resort has over 100 rooms and 30 suites as well as a full-service spa and 27 holes of golf.
Seminole Hard Rock Casino– The funky casino hotel is built in the shape of a guitar with Hard Rock’s signature style. There are over 600 rooms, including swim-up suites. They frequently host musicians and comedians and have multiple bars, restaurants, and a club.
Hotels in Miami and Miami Beach
Life House Little Havana– For something a bit different, stay in Miami’s Cuban neighborhood. This chic and modern guesthouse has a rooftop pool, cafe, and rooms with top of the line toiletries.
Circa 39 Hotel– This colorful property is another mid-range boutique ideally located near the beach and restaurants. Guests have access to the onsite pool as well as beach chairs a few blocks away. (Read our review)
Sonder- Wynwood Walls– The luxury rental company has this space inspired by the artwork of Wynwood. Furnishings are colorful and modern. All come with full kitchens to cook your own meals.
Hotels in Hollywood, Florida
The Diplomat Beach Resort– Hollywood’s most famous hotel has ocean views, eight celebrity chef restaurants, infinity pools with private cabanas, kids activities, and spacious rooms. It’s only 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale proper.
Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort– This neighboring hotel has family-friendly activities like a surfing simulator and pools. There are four restaurants and balcony suites.
Hyde Resort & Residences– The residential-style resort has family-friendly amenities like a large pool with cabanas and an outdoor movie theater. There’s an in-house restaurant and one to three-bedroom suites.