Top Miami Museums to Visit on Your Vacation

children's museum

Miami Children's Museum

Coral Castle

Coral Castle

Coral Gables Museum

Coral Gables Museum

Frost

Frost Museum

jewish museum interior

Jewish Museum of Florida

pamm

Entrance at the PAMM

The Bass

The Bass

vizcaya

Aerial view of Vizcaya

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Miami offers a wide array of museums for art, history and science lovers alike. Choose the perfect museum to provide you and your family with an entertaining and educational experience. Here’s a few of our favorite museums to help you decide which to visit while you’re here.

Perez Art Museum
Visit one of Miami's acclaimed art museums, like the PAMM

Miami's Acclaimed Art Museums

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Situated on Museum Park overlooking Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami, the Pérez Art Museum Miami was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron drawing inspiration from the iconic Stiltsville homes built offshore in the 1930s. The structure alone, with abundant outdoor space to swoon over the views, is worth the visit. Inside, the museum’s thought-provoking contemporary collection focuses on international art of the 20th and 21st centuries from the perspective of the Americas. There’s also a lovely café onsite providing more inspiring views.

ICA Miami
Visit Design District's ICA Miami for a taste of Miami culture

ICA, Miami

With free admission, an alluring location in the stylish Design District and a collection of cutting edge contemporary art, ICA, Miami is a must-visit for anyone who wants a taste of Miami culture. Dedicated to continuous experimentation and intellectual exchange throughout Miami and internationally, the museum’s programming focuses on local, emerging and under-recognized artists, guaranteeing there will always be something new and exciting to discover when you visit.

Bass MuseumThe Bass Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places
 

The Bass

Set inside a landmark Art Deco building from the 1930s on the National Register of Historic Places, The Bass currently houses 12,800-square-feet of exhibition space. The South Beach institution set on Collins Park is dedicated to modern art and has added public art acquisitions to their permanent collection, including Ugo Rondinone’s massive, neon-painted “Miami Mountain” limestone boulders in the park and Sylvie Fleury’s “Eternity Now” neon sign on the museum’s façade.

FIU Wolfsonian Museum
Learn more about Miami's history at places like FIU's Wolfsonian Museum

History & Culture Museums

The Wolfsonian

Situated in a historic Art Deco building in the heart of South Beach, The Wolfsonian – Florida International University is a museum, library and research center with an intriguingly specific scope and mission. The collection of 120,000 artifacts, photographs, design objects and artworks dating from 1885 to 1945 sheds light on “the persuasive power of art and design and explores what it means to be modern.” Curators work with historical advertisements, posters, clothing, photographs and film to illustrate their theses.

History Miami Art Museum
History Miami is part of the Smithsonian Institution of Affiliations Program

HistoryMiami

One of the largest private, regional history museums in the southeast U.S. and part of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program, HistoryMiami in Downtown Miami entertains and educates with more than 37,000 artifacts dating back to pre-Colombian times. Immerse yourself in the permanent and temporary exhibits, ranging from immigration to tourism to development and technological advancement in South Florida. Be sure to make a stop at the Visitors Research Center to take in the one million photographs, drawings and documents.

Coral Gables Museum
Coral Gables Art Museum was once a police and fire station

Coral Gables Museum

Once a police and fire station, the Coral Gables Museum boasts a 3,000-square-foot gallery and a 5,000-square-foot public plaza that centers around permanent and traveling art and design exhibits, lectures and concerts. The museum also offers guided walking tours on the 1st Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. so you can get to know even more of The City Beautiful.

Jewish Museum of Florida
Jewish Museum of Florida is a stunning Art Deco masterpiece

Jewish Museum of Florida - FIU

The building itself, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a stunning 1936 Art Deco masterpiece with 80 stained glass windows, a Moorish copper dome, Art Deco chandeliers and marble bimah. Inside, explore more than 250 years of Jewish history at the Jewish Museum of Florida - FIU, as well as its permanent exhibit MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida. Through audio-visual presentations, films, photos, documents and artifacts, you’ll discover how the Jewish people have maintained their history, tradition and culture in Florida.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Spend the day exploring Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Modeled after grand European villas, Vizcaya was built in the 1910s as the private waterfront estate of millionaire industrialist James Deering. Taking in the views of the elaborate, manicured gardens will transport you to Versailles. On the east terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay, it’s more like a palazzo in Venice. The Mediterranean Revival villa is filled with elaborate Renaissance tapestries, Rococo furniture, Chinese objects d'art, Roman sculptures and early 20th-century paintings. Rooms are styled after different Italian cities: Milan in the Music Room, Palermo at reception and Venice in various bedrooms. It’s a totally transporting experience!

Coral Castle
Coral Castle was built and moved single-handedly by Ed Leedskalnin

Coral Castle Museum

Want to storm the castle? Do so at the Coral Castle Museum in Homestead. While you may hear a lot about Miami’s diverse architecture, from Art Deco hotels in South Beach to Mediterranean Revival mansions in Coral Gables, the Coral Castle is a singular structure. As the story goes, the 1,100-ton castle was built single-handedly in secret by one man inspired by lost love. It’s a mystery on par with Stonehenge, just with a South Florida coral rock twist. You can tour the unusual site with coral sculptures that were built between 1923 and 1951.

Frost Science
Spark new discoveries at the Frost Museum of Science

Museums of Science & Discovery for All Ages

Frost Science

Miami’s landmark Frost Science museum anchors a corner of Museum Park which overlooks Biscayne Bay in Downtown. It’s one of the only science museums in the world to boast both an aquarium and planetarium under one roof. The hands-on, interactive exhibits make for a perfect family-friendly outing. The Gulf Stream Aquarium spans three floors and includes an open tank at the rooftop. You’ll spy hammerhead sharks, stingrays and mahi-mahi circling the 500,000-gallon tank.

Miami Children's Museum
Miami Children's Museum is great place to explore with young children

Miami Children’s Museum

For the young—and the young at heart—head to the Miami Children’s Museum. Located midway between Downtown Miami and Miami Beach on Biscayne Bay along the MacArthur Causeway, the Miami Children’s Museum is filled with activities that emphasize art, culture, community, communication, imagination and creativity. It’s also home to a two-story sandcastle of dreams, a 30-foot rock climbing wall, a life-sized cruise ship and an outdoor playground.

Trolley Exhibition in Downtown Miami
Transportation Wonders at Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Transportation Wonders

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Have a thing for the Little Engine that Could? The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is a must-see for train enthusiasts and collectors. With more than 40 passenger cars, freight cars, locomotives and antique railway equipment, you’ll want to hop aboard! Ride one of the many historic railway cars (offered most weekends), view the "Ferdinand Magellan" (the private railroad car built for President Franklin Roosevelt) and explore the vast array of model trains, while learning about South Florida’s locomotive history.

Military plane in flight
Wings Over Miami Air Museum is a tribute to veterans, aviators and aircraft history

Wings Over Miami Air Museum

Ready for take off? You will be upon visiting Wings Over Miami Air Museum, a tribute to veterans, aviators and aircraft history. See the evolution of flight at the museum's location in Kendall, as well as restored and maintained military and classic aircrafts, some of which even take off into the wild blue yonder on weekends. Be the pilot of your own aircraft after a visit to the gift shop, which features model kits, videos and clothing for adults and children.

Insider Tip: Make the most of your museum excursions with the Go Miami Card. See more for less by choosing a one, two, three- or five-day card and save up to 49% off full retail admission. Best of all, the card can even be delivered instantly to your smart phone.

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