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By: Michelle F. Solomon, ArburstMiami.com

Miami’s arts scene never slows down. From galleries and artist communities to resident theater companies and world-class music, we’ve got it all here. If you don’t know where to start, no worries.

We’ve got the scoop on five notable neighborhoods in Greater Miami & Miami Beach that are sure to get your cultural mojo going. Get ready to unearth some gems along the way.

Arsht Center Exterior
Catch live performances at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Downtown Miami

For live arts in Downtown Miami, you can’t miss the beautiful Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. While the bigger shows play in the 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House, often overlooked is the small “black-box” Carnival Studio Theater, home to resident company Zoetic Stage. If your timing is right, you might catch City Theatre there as well, with its focus on bite-sized plays in a festival format. Fans of jazz and classical music should know that the Arsht Center's Knight Concert Hall gets glowing reviews from performers such as Dionne Warwick, Harry Connick Jr. and George Benson, who have heralded its stellar acoustics.

Read more about art and culture in Downtown Miami.

Hampton House Entrance
Experience history, art and culture at the Hampton House

Liberty City

Memories abound at the Historic Hampton House, located in Brownsville near Liberty City. Today, it’s a museum and cultural center, but the Hampton House Motel once stood as a hub for Black visitors during the segregated 1950s and ’60s. (You may recall it received the Hollywood treatment in the 2020 Academy Award-nominated movie, "One Night in Miami,” based on the fictionalized play about the evening after boxing legend Muhammad Ali – then known as Cassius Clay – defeated Sonny Liston in 1964 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.) Ali was one of many legends linked to the Hampton House. Sammy Davis Jr. and Josephine Baker were frequent visitors, as were Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Tour the suites where Ali and King once stayed.

Liberty City is also home to the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. On any given day, you’ll find evening classes, civic meetings and entertainment here. It also features what’s considered the largest wraparound, completely hand-painted mural in the United States. Its creator, Miami artist and teacher Darryn Ferguson, was inspired by Ndebele design, a colorful style of African art.

Couple Wallcast
Watch a Wallcast under the stars

Miami Beach

While it’s world-famous for its glistening beaches, Miami Beach is a mecca for all kinds of culture, too. A favorite local pastime is to sprawl out at SoundScape Park with a blanket or a beach chair to watch what's on the Wall – the WALLCAST, that is. On the outside of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, home to the New World Symphony, is a 7,000-square-foot projection screen that allows music lovers to see and hear live concerts while relaxing under the stars.

The Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road has its own resident company, Miami New Drama, which premieres original productions. Seeing a show inside the Colony is a throwback to historic Miami Beach. The theater opened on January 25, 1935, as a Paramount Pictures movie house and provides a spectacular example of the area’s famous Art Deco heritage.

Read more about art and culture in Miami Beach.

ICA Sculpture Garden
Spend a day enjoying free art at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

Miami Design District

Within a few blocks of one another are two contemporary art spaces in the Miami Design District, which has become the destination’s luxury fashion mecca. There’s the gleaming, three-story Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, which opened in 2017, and Locust Projects, billed as Miami's longest-running alternative art space. Both feature some of the most cutting-edge visual arts exhibits by local, emerging and established artists. They also share a common mission: To create no barriers for audiences who want to see art. That is why there’s no admission fee at either space.

Speaking of free, the Miami Design District boasts its own public art collection scattered throughout 18 blocks – including installations, sculptures and wall art you can enjoy at no cost. Insider's tip: One of the most popular selfie spots is French artist Xavier Veilhan's fiberglass bust of a suited man with a drawing pen in his right hand. The figure represents the pioneering architect, Le Corbusier.

Read more about art and culture in the Miami Design District.

Wynwood Walls Entrance
Explore Wynwood's art options

Wynwood

Have you been to Wynwood yet? Its outdoor museum known as the Wynwood Walls draws plenty of notice. But the area is also home to the Bakehouse Art Complex, a nonprofit artist studio and residency complex in what’s become known as Wynwood Norte, a 35-block area that runs from Northwest 29th to 36th streets between Interstate-95 and North Miami Avenue. The building once was home to an industrial Art Deco-era bakery built in 1926, and its west-facing wall bears the powerful public art memorial mural, "Say Their Names." The tribute, by Miami-based artist Chire "VantaBlack" Regans, has the names of hundreds of people lost to violence. Behold the Bakehouse mural, then step inside to see artists at work in their studios.

Read more about art and culture in Wynwood.

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