The Ultimate Sober Guide to Exploring Miami

How to have fun in one of the world's top party destinations-no booze required.

Photo courtesy of Reserve Padel
Photo courtesy of Reserve Padel
Photo courtesy of Reserve Padel

Miami is a city known for clubbing all night, sitting in the sun with a frosty beer, and sipping cocktails at sunset. But as much as the 305 has a reputation for spring break and booze-fueled debauchery, more people in Miami are choosing to stay (at least somewhat) sober-and best believe we’re not cutting out the fun.

Non-alcoholic cocktails are great-and that’s something I never pictured myself saying,” says Ben Potts, co-owner of Beaker & Gray, The Sylvester, and partner in Unfiltered Hospitality, a beverage consulting company. As the owner of two top bars in the city, Potts is on the frontlines of the zero-proof cocktail movement and is finding more ways to enjoy life in the 305 without a drink in hand.

“It’s not just about having the zero-proof options for people who are totally sober, it’s an option to mix in with regular drinking to keep your consumption down.” Potts says. “There are so many non-alcoholic spirits now like Seedlip and Lyres, so these drinks aren’t just soda water and juice anymore.”

Although he wishes more places carried 0% ABV beer options (these days he’s partial to Athletic Brewing’s Run Wild NA IPA), Potts notes he’s really impressed with some of the non-alcoholic wines available at places like James Beard-nominated Itamae and its newly opened sister restaurant, Maty’s.

While there’s no shortage of NA options out there, Miami is also home to plenty of ways to kick back that don’t involve a bar (boozy or otherwise) at all. From top-notch museums and shopping destinations to special events centered around wellness, you’ll find plenty of fun in the 305. So we tapped Potts for his suggestions on the best NA drinks and racked our brains to create the ultimate sober guide to exploring Miami. Whether you’ve completely cut out alcohol, are sober curious, or just want to take a night off, here are the best events and things to do in Miami that are completely booze-free.

Photo courtesy of JoJo Tea
Photo courtesy of JoJo Tea
Photo courtesy of JoJo Tea

Non-Alcoholic Food and Drink Things To Do in Miami

Do a zero-proof beverage crawl

With so many bars and restaurants featuring dedicated non-alcoholic cocktail menus, it’s easier than ever to plan a dry drinking crawl around town. Potts suggests exploring Wynwood. “I’d start at Itamae for a glass of Proxies’ NA wine, then I’d swing by Beaker & Gray for a zero-proof cocktail (probably the Aguachile made with Seedlip).” Next Potts would scoot over to Uchi for their “sick” happy hour food deals and a Run Wild IPA by Athletic Brewing, followed by a visit to 1-800-Lucky for the Club Passion cocktail, and “finish it all off at Bubba Tea for a taro boba tea with lychee jellies-my new super weird obsession,” he shared.

Drink tea and vibe at all hours of the day and night

If you’re not looking to drink booze, no problem. JoJo Tea has your back with teas that can energize or mellow you out, and everything in between. This award-winning tea company offers private tea tasting ceremonies with reservations available via Tock and “office hours” where the tea room is open for walk-ins on Wednesday afternoons. For those looking for booze-free entertainment in the wee hours of the night, JoJo Tea hosts Up All Night tasting parties on the last Saturday of the month from 10 pm to 4 am, where $18 at the door gets you in and includes any teas they are pouring that night. They are also starting a late night tasting with local DJs on deck-check out the shop’s Instagram to keep updated on that programming and check out founder Michael Ortiz spreading tea knowledge in ridiculously hilarious ways.

Sip high tea at various hotels

Sure, you could gossip over pricey cocktails at some rooftop bar. But why not class up the experience by dishing with friends at high tea? Grab a few friends and head to one of the many hotels around the city for tea and a gorgeous tower of tiny sandwiches, scones, and delicious dessert. There are many options, but some spots known for their afternoon tea service include Biltmore Miami Hotel, The National Hotel, and St. Regis Bal Harbour.

Photo courtesy of MindTravel
Photo courtesy of MindTravel
Photo courtesy of MindTravel

Wellness Things to Do in Miami

Go on a meditative journey with MindTravel

Check out MindTravel, a group that hosts immersive, meditative music experiences. The events happen throughout South Florida roughly once a month-usually in line with a new or full moon. Created by Murray Hidary, a composer, pianist, and visual artist, these multi-sensory meditative journeys have guests listen to improvisational music created by Hidary on a piano via wireless headphones. The events often take place on the sand in Miami Beach just before sunset, where guests are invited to bring blankets and picnics to enjoy the evening. The music creates a connection with listeners allowing them to tap into their subconscious and achieve emotional healing. Check out MindTravel’s often updated calendar of events here.

Photo courtesy of Ultra Club Miami
Photo courtesy of Ultra Club Miami
Photo courtesy of Ultra Club Miami

Sports Things to Do in Miami

Enjoy a game of padel tennis

One sober activity Potts is really enjoying right now is padel tennis. “It’s new on the scene and a great social activity,” he says. “You have to have four people to play, but once you have your group, there are a bunch of new courts popping up with lounge areas to hang out and some of them are even along the water.” Reserve Padel, Wynwood Padel Club, and Ultra Padel Club are all great places to check out and if you’re just starting out have no fear-most of these courts offer clinics for beginners.

Play a round (or two) of high-tech mini-golf at Puttshack

Head over to Brickell City Centre for a cutting-edge mini golf experience. Puttshack is an indoor golf course that’s great for escaping the heat and getting a little competitive with friends. Not happy with your score? Puttshack is offering half-price rematches during the week before 4 pm During the day, it’s a family-friendly venue that’s open to all ages, but once 8 pm hits, it’s an adults-only situation with a full food and drink menu that includes a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails and beers for those that want to keep it booze-free.

Rent a paddleboard and get out on the water

Paddleboarding has been a popular activity in Miami for quite some time, but it’s gotten even easier lately with the installation of several self-service paddleboard rental stations around Miami. From Margaret Pace Park to Peacock Park in Coconut Grove, there are options for just about every neighborhood. All you have to do is download the PADL app on your smartphone and find nearby stations using the app’s interactive map. Follow the prompts on the app to unlock and return the board for $25 per hour.

Photo courtesy of FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park
Photo courtesy of FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park
Photo courtesy of FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park

Other Things to Do in Miami

Take in the beauty of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Another one of Potts favorite sober activities is strolling through Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “It’s so big that it’s hard to do in one day, so it’s always fun to come back and check out things you might have missed last time,” he says. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, the garden features tons of events throughout the year like an annual Mango Festival in July, Night Garden over the holidays, and a Dragons and Mythical Creatures event now through September.

Jam out at a concert at Bayfront Park

Whether you opt for an assigned seat or bring a blanket to sprawl out on the lawn, there’s nothing like a concert in the heart of downtown Miami at the FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park. With acts like Milky Chance, Kim Petras, and Eladio Carrion on the docket, there’s a range of genres and no pressure at all to drink. Honestly, it’s the smarter choice since everyone knows drinks at concerts are wildly overpriced anyway.

Take a walk or bike ride around a new neighborhood

If you don’t mind the summer heat or happen to be around during those few cooler Miami Whether you’re a local or just passing through, Miami is a sprawling city with tons of cool neighborhoods to explore. From the ever-changing graffitied walls of Wynwood to the lush parks and waterfront sidewalks of Miami’s founding neighborhood, Coconut Grove, there’s no shortage of people watching and interesting places to check out. Shops, galleries, and restaurants galore are all at your fingertips-and you can check it out on foot or by Citi Bike.

Catch some rays at the beach

This might sound like an obvious one, but you simply can’t talk about things to do in Miami (sober or not) without mentioning the beach. It’s summer all year long here and truthfully, we don’t take as much advantage of the 35-mile stretch of beaches found in the 305. Make a pitstop for a Pub Sub and some snacks along the way, fill a cooler with your favorite NA beverage, and get out there.

Amber Love Bond is a Thrillist contributor.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.


The Best New Bookstores in LA are Curated, Specific, and Personal

Discover a new favorite book, join a book club, and maybe even do some karaoke at the new wave of LA bookshops.

Photo by Innis Casey Photography, courtesy of Zibby's Bookshop
Photo by Innis Casey Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop
Photo by Innis Casey Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop

A couple of years ago, the legendary Powell’s Books in Portland released a perfume designed to evoke the smell of a bookstore. The scent has notes of wood, violet, and the lovely and unusually precise word biblichor, the particular aroma of old books. The reality of the scent is what it is-mostly sweet and floral-but more important is the imagery it conjures. The best bookstores are both cozy and mysterious, familiar and surprising, with endless potential for discovery.

Los Angeles has a wealth of independent book sellers, including beloved legacy shops like The Last Bookstore, The Iliad, and Chevalier’s. But a new wave of bookstores has been growing over the last few years, shops that eschew the traditional one-of-everything mindset to focus on specificity, curation, and point of view. There are bookstores with themes, bookstores that double as event spaces, bookstores that reflect their neighbourhoods, bookstores that take inspiration from a specific person-whether that’s the shop owner, a historical figure, or a little bit of both-and so many more.

Like the niche-ification of the internet and the culture at large, these new and new-ish bookstores provide a space to discover books, ideas, and perspectives led by an expert, the kind of things that you may never have found on your own. They can also be a safe harbour for pure nerdiness, a place to dive deep into your favourite category or cause. To help you on your way, we’ve put together a list of some of the best new bookstores in LA, with a focus on curated shops with their own specific perspectives.

Photo courtesy of Octavia's Bookshelf
Photo courtesy of Octavia’s Bookshelf
Photo courtesy of Octavia’s Bookshelf

Octavia’s Bookshelf

Pasadena is a famously book-friendly city, with bookstore royalty in the form of legendary Vroman’s and its own literary alliance. Now it has one of the most exciting new bookstores too. Octavia’s Bookshelf is owner Nikki High’s tribute to the science fiction master Octavia E. Butler, who was a Pasadena native herself. The name of the shop provides a clue into High’s inspiration, titles she imagines Butler would have had on her shelves, with a focus on BIPOC authors. The storefront is small, but the collection is impeccably curated and the space is cozy and welcoming for readers of all backgrounds.

Photo by Mads Gobbo, courtesy of North Figueroa Bookshop
Photo by Mads Gobbo, courtesy of North Figueroa Bookshop
Photo by Mads Gobbo, courtesy of North Figueroa Bookshop

North Figueroa Bookshop

Highland Park
Vertical integration can be a beautiful thing, especially when it allows independent creators more control over their products. The new North Figueroa Bookshop is a shining example of the concept, a storefront built on a collaboration between two publishers, Rare Bird and Unnamed Press. North Fig features titles from those presses, of course, including lots of striking literary fiction and memoir, but it also features a curated collection of other books. They’ve made it a point of emphasis to serve the needs of the local Highland Park, Glassell Park, Cypress Park, and Eagle Rock community-there’s lots of fiction from fellow independent publishers, other general interest titles with a focus on California history and literature, and plenty of Spanish-language books.

Photo by Karen Cohen Photography, courtesy of Zibby's Bookshop
Photo by Karen Cohen Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop
Photo by Karen Cohen Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop

Zibby’s Bookshop

Santa Monica
Speaking of vertical integration, there’s another new combined publisher and bookstore on the other side of town. Zibby’s Bookshop is the brainchild of Zibby Owens, Sherri Puzey, and Diana Tramontano, and it’s the physical home of Zibby Books, a literary press that releases one featured book a month. That system is designed so that each book gets the full attention and resources of the press. Owens is an author, podcaster, and book-fluencer, and she has become something of a lit-world mogul with a magazine, podcast network, event business, and an education platform too. The shop has a unique sorting system, built around a feeling for each book-in store many of the shelves are labelled by interest or personality type, like “For the foodie,” or “For the pop culture lover.” On their webshop, you can browse for books that make you cry, escape, laugh, lust, or tremble. There are recommendations from Owens and the staff, sections for local authors, family dramas, and books that have just been optioned. If this all seems a little overwhelming, you should probably avoid the section dedicated to books that make you anxious.

The Salt Eaters Bookshop

Inglewood native Asha Grant opened The Salt Eaters Bookshop in 2021 with a mission in mind-to centre stories with protagonists who are Black girls, women, femme, and/or gender-nonconforming people. Over the last year and change that it’s been open, it has also become a community hub, a place for Inglewood locals and people from across town to drop in, to see what’s new and to discover incredible works in the Black feminist tradition. They also host regular events like readings, discussions, and parties.

Lost Books

Thankfully, legendary downtown bookshop The Last Bookstore’s name is hyperbole, and owners Josh and Jenna Spencer have even gone so far as to open a second shop, Lost Books in Montrose. Instead of the technicolour whimsy of the book tunnel at The Last Bookstore, Lost Books has a tunnel of plants that welcomes you into the shop, which opened in the summer of 2021. They sell those plants in addition to books, and coffee and vinyl too, which makes Lost Books a lovely destination and a fun little surprise in the quaint foothill town just off the 2 freeway.

Photo by Claudia Colodro, courtesy of Stories Books & Cafe
Photo by Claudia Colodro, courtesy of Stories Books & Cafe
Photo by Claudia Colodro, courtesy of Stories Books & Cafe

Stories Books & Cafe

Echo Park
Ok, this one is fudging the criteria a little-Stories has been open for almost 15 years. But over those years the shop has become a pillar of Echo Park community life, hosting readings, discussions, and events, and their cafe tables function as a de facto office for about half of the neighbourhood on any given afternoon. After the tragic recent passing of co-owner and Echo Park fixture Alex Maslansky it seemed like the shop’s future was in doubt, but thankfully after a brief hiatus co-owner and co-founder Claudia Colodro and the staff were able to band together to reopen and keep the beloved cafe and bookstore going strong.

Page Against the Machine

Long Beach
The name alone makes it clear what you’re getting at Page Against the Machine-revolutionary progressive books, with a collection centred on activist literature, socially conscious writing, and a whole lot of political history. The shop itself is small but the ideas are grand, with fiction by writers like Richard Wright, Colson Whitehead, and Albert Camus next to zines about gentrification and compendia of mushroom varieties. They also host regular readings and discussions.

Photo by Viva Padilla, courtesy of Re/Arte
Photo by Viva Padilla, courtesy of Re/Arte
Photo by Viva Padilla, courtesy of Re/Arte

Re/Arte Centro Literario

Boyle Heights
Boyle Heights has its own small but mighty combined bookstore, art gallery, gathering space, and small press in Viva Padilla’s Re/Arte. Padilla is a poet, translator, editor, and curator, and as a South Central LA native and the child of Mexican immigrants, she’s focused on Chicanx and Latinx art, literature, and social criticism. Re/Arte’s collection has a wide range of books, from classic Latin American literature to modern essays and everything in between. Re/Arte is also now the headquarters for sin cesar, a literary journal that publishes poetry, fiction, and essays from Black and Brown writers. There are always community-focused events happening too, from regular open mics and zine workshops to film screenings and more.

The Book Jewel

Most bookshops host events, but few host them with the regularity of The Book Jewel, the two- year-old independent bookstore in Westchester. Their calendar is so full with readings, several different book clubs, signings, and meet and greets that there are sometimes multiple events on the same day. The shop also hosts a ton of family-focused readings, with regular storytime on Sunday mornings often followed by a talk with the author. It’s a great fit for the relatively low-key (but not exactly quiet) suburban neighbourhood, and it’s no coincidence that storytime lines up with the Westchester Farmers Market, which takes place right out front.

Reparations Club

West Adams
Most bookstores lean into coziness, aiming to be a hideaway for some quiet contemplation or maybe a quick sotto voce chat-not so at Reparations Club, the exuberant and stylish concept bookshop and art space on Jefferson. Owner and founder Jazzi McGilbert and her staff have built a beautiful and vibrant shop full of art from Black artists, including books but also records, candles, incense, clothing, and all sorts of fun things to discover. There’s a perfect seating area to sit and hang out for a while, and they host a range of wild and fun events from readings to happy hours, panel discussions to karaoke nights and more.

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Ben Mesirow is a Staff Writer at Thrillist.


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