Perhaps the absolute best free thing to do in Miami Beach is to go people-watching along Lincoln Road -- www.lincolnroad.org/. The pedestrian mall lined with palm trees, dozens of shops, restaurants and bars is a popular tourist destination and hangout spot for locals -- along with their designer dogs.
BIKES AND BUSES: The bike scene in Miami has taken off, turning into a giant social gathering of all ages. On the last Friday of every month, bicyclists take to the streets en masse and bike just over a dozen miles during Miami Critical Mass -- www.meetup.com/criticalmass-40/. If you don't have your own bike, rentals are available -- www.decobike.com/.
A popular cycling route is the Rickenbacker Causeway, which connects Miami to the barrier island of Key Biscayne. Ride into Crandon Park for free to visit a 2-mile-long beach.
Another alternative to cars in Miami: Check out the free Metromover bus -- www.miamidade.gov/transit/metromover.asp -- which makes stops in tourist-friendly areas such as Downtown, Brickell and Bayside.
GET ARTSY: The Wynwood Arts District -- www.wynwoodmiami.com/ -- is a neighborhood with some of the best artwork to see for free: Legal outdoor murals by graffiti artists cover the walls near art galleries and restaurants. Walking tours are $15 but you can see plenty on your own. Or visit on the second Saturday of the month when you can mingle with artists and art buyers when galleries open their doors to the public. Some provide complimentary alcohol; arrive early for the freebies. The nearby Design District -- http://miamidesigndistrict.net/ offers more galleries, antiques shops, restaurants and bars.
LITTLE HAVANA: At Maximo Gomez Park, better known as Domino Park, 801 SW 15th Ave., you can watch locals playing the game or catch up on Cuban politics. The neighborhood is also home to a cigar factory, Cuban cafes and other eateries, and Paseo de las Estrellas (Walk of the Stars), where celebrities from Latin American are given stars similar to those in Hollywood.
The last Friday evening of every month from 7 to 9 p.m., Little Havana hosts Viernes Culturales -- Cultural Fridays -- including dancing, domino games, cigar rolling and free walking tours of the neighborhood with local historian Paul George (departing at 7 p.m. from the Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St.), www.viernesculturales.org/.