Known for its nightlife, Latin American influence, and international cruise ports, Miami is a year-round escape from cool climates. But what’s often overlooked is the city’s devotion to creating—and appreciating—art.
While Miami’s annual Art Basel attracts creatives, collectors, and celebrities to the city each December, art appreciation takes place year-round. With this guide, we encourage you to leave your swimsuit at home and take a trip to Miami that’s all about experiencing the city’s dynamic arts and culture scene, with each neighborhood offering something special for every art lover.
If you’ve never been to Miami, chances are you think it’s only South Beach, where tourists flock for tans and trouble. But there are refined parts of the neighborhood where art coexists with revelry.
Tropical architecture from the 1930s and 40s is preserved in the Art Deco Historic District along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue. You’ll identify hotels like the Delano and Colony Hotel by their symmetry, sculptural panes, porthole windows, terrazzo floors, neon signs, and ziggurat rooflines. In the midst of these marvels is the Bass Museum, which displays exhibitions by mid-career and established international artists.
To the west of the Art Deco Historic District, this thoroughfare was built in the 1920s as an artists’ colony modeled after Greenwich Village in New York and Montmartre in Paris. It’s home to the newest art showcase on South Beach, the Robert Fontaine Gallery, which features works by postwar and contemporary artists.
Get lost in a sea of red velvet during dinner and a show inside this intimate venue. The Samsara Cabaret performance includes everything from acrobatics to live music and fire dancing.
To appreciate Florida weather and classical music at the same time, set up folding chairs or spread out a picnic blanket here, where live performances are projected onto a 7,000-square-foot wall for audiences for free.
Urban street art crawls up the walls of nearly every building in Wynwood. The area is best identified by the Wynwood Walls, a collection of outdoor murals made popular by Instagram. But with more than 400 businesses packed into a few blocks, there’s more to this arts district than social media activations.
A mainstay of more than two decades, this renowned museum has one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the country.
A destination for modern, street, and pop art with works available from Dr. Seuss to Banksy.
Every second Saturday of the month, the warehouse district hosts an art walk with DJs, thrift markets, food trucks, and live art, while galleries and shops stay open late.
In Miami’s financial district, you’ll find big city vibes, high-rise buildings, and luxury towers living in harmony with art and culture.
With locations in Dubai and New York City, Avant was founded in and has its flagship venue at the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami. LaMuse Café, a whimsical eatery with artfully crafted dishes, complements the gallery.
A similar art and food pairing can be found at the PAMM and its Verde restaurant. Temporary exhibitions often inspire a seasonal menu offered at the indoor-outdoor dining space.
Downtown Miami Performance Art Venues
Multi-sensational experiences can be had at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, which houses a theater, concert hall, and opera house, as well as the Café at Books & Books. Other places to catch a show downtown include the outdoor concert venue Bayfront Park Amphitheatre and the historic Olympia Theater.
North of Wynwood, the Design District is a destination for upscale shops—but instead of lining up in a typical fashion, the stores themselves are architecturally designed to look like art. Fendi incorporates a color-blocked colonnade, while Hermes is adorned by a sculpture of a goddess riding two seahorses.
Offering free daily admission, the ICA Miami is one of Wynwood’s most popular destinations. The museum hosts permanent exhibitions from internationally-acclaimed artists as well as showcasing works by local and emerging artists.
Rotating the works of more than 40 artists at a time, Markowicz has featured a range of talent over the years, displaying artists as classic as Andy Warhol and as recent as street artist Kai. Whatever exhibit is on, guests can expect to see modern, innovative, and dynamic work from all over the world.
Instagrammable art installations are placed throughout this multi-purpose plaza, like the Buckminster Fuller Fly’s Eye Dome (inside it feels like you’ve entered an insect’s eyeball) and the Sou Fujimoto’s Building Façade (which gives you the sensation of walking through glass).
Little Havana makes travel to Cuba hassle-free. Spanish is the first language here, and men congregate on weekends in Domino Park to, well, play dominos. You’re likely to hear a rooster cock-a-doodle-doo, and if cigars are your thing, there’s a shop on every corner. Before all else, stop to admire the Latin street art covering the exteriors of bars and markets along Calle Ocho, the street in Little Havana.
Local Cuban-American artist Annie M.’s paintings are wrapped around public wastebaskets around the city, but her studio, as well as those of 11 other artists, can be found inside this creative hub and gallery. Along with providing local artists a place to meet and work, Futurama also hosts educational events to benefit Little Havana’s growing arts community.
Browse for Afro-Cuban folklore or step into Latin Art Core to see pieces by nearly 50 Latin-American and Cuban artists.
Free to the community with displays of pre-revolutionary art and a performing arts center that hosts regular Latin musicians.
A great spot for live salsa music—and excellent mojitos. Part indoor restaurant and part outdoor concert venue, musical acts set up and perform on a stage that’s amusingly shaped like a pineapple.