By: Lori Vajda
When you think of a Miami vacation, you might think of miles of sun-drenched beaches, (we do have over 325 days of sun), urban chic style, trendy nightclubs, and pricy attractions. While all that may be true, Miami is also a metropolis that offers even the budget-conscious traveler endless opportunities of activities to try, attractions to enjoy and neighborhoods to explore.
From world-renowned Art Deco and Miami Modern architecture, and endless outdoor activities, to thriving arts and cultural communities, sightseeing tours, and award-winning restaurants, Miami offers a host of attractions that are sure to entertain and inspire. With so much to see and do here, the most difficult part of planning will be squeezing it all in.
Art & Culture
Miami’s art and cultural scene might be just as hot as our beaches! Monthly Miami Art Walks and other cultural festivals offer you a chance to meet local, regional and international artists, view private collections, and hear live music for free.
Set around Ponce Circle Park and expanding outwards, the Coral Gables Gallery Night Art Walk is held the first Friday of the month. Walk along the streets and explore artwork on display at dozens of galleries and exhibits, many by Latin American artists. Sample complimentary food and listen to live entertainment. Free continuous shuttle bus and trolley service makes it easy to take in the many galleries and other art venues.
The Coconut Grove Art Walk takes place the first Saturday of the month and brings together local and international artists, musicians and dancers. This outdoor extravaganza is the perfect place for art enthusiasts to view paintings, photography, and mixed media, while listening to music and sampling free food.
Once an industrial neighborhood, the Wynwood Arts District, holds and art walk the second Saturday of each month, and has made a big splash on the Miami art scene. Visitors can stroll through the Bakehouse Art Complex, galleries and art studios, like the Robert Fontaine Gallery, where you can meet renowned artists as well as up-and-coming local artists. Just north of Wynwood is the Miami Design District Art Walk, which also takes place on the second Saturday of the month. A bit more traditional compared to its counterpart, over the years it has become an international destination for art, design, food, and fashion.
Each December art patrons from around the world descend on South Florida as Miami Beach hosts one of the world’s most influential art fairs, Art Basel Miami Beach. This weeklong fair features more than 250 galleries, including talks and seminars. Special exhibitions are held at museums and galleries throughout the city, transforming Miami into a dynamic cultural destination.
Bass Museum of Art is located in the South Beach’s Collins Park neighborhood. With its permanent collect of European art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to hosting world-class travelling exhibitions, the Bass Museum is an art lover’s paradise. Recently the museum underwent a renovation by world-renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. The expansion tripled the former exhibition space, and allowed for the addition of a museum café, courtyard, and shop, among other improvements.
The New World Center is host to the New World Symphony, a top-rated training orchestra. Concertgoers will enjoy performances from leading classical soloists, composers, and conductors of this era. Several times throughout the year music lovers gather in the 2.5 acre park located right outside the facility, to watch and listen to free video ‘Wallcasts.’ The good sound quality and terrific live videos provide for a memorable musical experience.
Big Night in Little Haiti is host to one of the best block parties the city has to offer. The night opens with live performances from Haitian musicians, and heats up as a local DJ spins the music between sets. This is a family friendly event and includes arts and crafts by local artisans, food, children’s activities and more. Big Night in Little Haiti happens on the third Friday of every month.
Smaller than many of the other art walks located throughout Miami, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays is an outdoor monthly festival complete with artists, sculptors, and musical performances. Held the last Friday of every month in Little Havana, this free event is open to anyone who wants to explore Latin art, music, food, and hand rolled cigars. Participating artists, painters, sculptors, and jewelry crafters make their products by hand, presenting authentic, one-of-a-kind works of art.
Originally built in 1949, the Miami Science Museum is a Smithsonian Institute Affiliate and home to the Weintraub Observatory's two powerful telescopes. During the first Friday of the month, the observatory puts on a magnificent free show from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Visitors can look through the telescope to view the planets, the four moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn and deep sky objects such as galaxies, nebulas and double stars.
The Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum is an internationally known art museum. Located in a 1926 Mediterranean revival-style warehouse in the heart of Miami’s historic art district, the museum uses art to explore, to tell a story and to view the historical changes of our world. Collections range from the Industrial Revolution to the end of World War II, and include a variety of media, such as paintings, ceramics, posters, books, furniture, and architectural creations. Visitors can wander the museum gift shop and café located on the grounds or peruse the selection of unconventional gifts, books and films inspired by the museum's collection. Budget minded visitors will enjoy the museums free day; every Friday after 6:00 p.m.
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