Sand, sun, palm trees, and mojitos (and probably croquetas, too) – that’s likely what comes to mind when you think of Miami.
This week I partnered with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to explore the magic city like a tourist. In an effort to highlight our rich arts and culture scene and the many attractions that can be found in my own backyard, the GMCVB invited me to discover five local museums that I had never visited before.
Being that I was born and raised in Miami, I’ve always felt a deep connection to my city. As a champion of the arts, (and someone who grew up attending an arts school!) I have to admit that I felt a tinge of embarrassment that I had never visited any of these local gems. This was such a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what my hometown has to offer. Read on to discover five places offering up arts & culture experiences on a world-class scale, which are proudly #FoundInMiami!
American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora
1200 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145
Admission: $12 for adults
My three-day arts journey couldn’t have started in a better way. I was most excited to visit the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. I was greeted by my queen, Celia Cruz, before I even made it inside the building.
The current exhibit, Forever Celia, invites visitors into the life of the uncontested Queen of Salsa, to experience her journey from Cuban exile to fashionista and music legend. The dazzling show features an extensive collection from Celia’s performance wardrobe (including her iconic wigs!), and never-before-seen artifacts from her personal collection. In between dance breaks to Quimbara, I learned that she, too, is a Libra, and spent time admiring her impressive shoe collection.
With two floors dedicated to all things Celia, I can’t wait to go back with my abuela next time. ¡No te lo pierdas! Forever Celia runs through October 25, 2019.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami)
61 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137
I spend so much time at the Miami Design District yet never realized that this museum is located just steps away from some of my favorite haunts.
With free admission and complimentary daily tours at 1pm, ICA is a great addition to any Miami Design District itinerary. Featuring three floors and a beautiful sculpture garden, this contemporary art space appeals to art connoisseurs and newbies alike.
If you’re a big fan of interiors like I am, do not miss the Ettore Sottsass exhibit on the third floor. (Pictured above.) Known as the godfather of modern design, the Italian architect & designer pioneered the Memphis design style made popular in the 1980s. Think: MTV circa 1989.
Not to be missed: Just in time for Halloween, Yayoi Kusama is bringing her magical pumpkins seen all over Instagram to ICA! Starting October 12th you’ll find “All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins” at a special off-site exhibition in the Miami Design District. The “infinity mirror room” experience will hold one person at a time for approximately one minute.
The Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Admission: $15 for adults, $8 students and seniors, Free for Miami Beach residents
Did you know that Miami Beach has a world-class art museum with works by masters like Botticelli? Yeah, neither did I. To be honest, I didn’t even know a museum was tucked away inside the limestone structure flanked by palm trees in Collins Park. Now I do.
The Bass Museum of Art is Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, and was one of the very first public places to display art in South Florida. It came to be by a very generous donation from Mr. & Mrs. John Bass – Jewish-immigrants and art lovers from Austria who called Miami Beach home. According to The Bass’ official site, “in 1963, the couple bequeathed a collection of more than 500 works, including Old Master paintings, textiles and sculptures to the City of Miami Beach, under the agreement that a Bass Museum of Art would remain open to the public in perpetuity.”
Visiting The Bass reminded me of the many galleries and museums I enjoy visiting in Europe. I sat in the first room for a few minutes in complete silence, just taking in the oil-on-canvas masterpieces that I previously thought were inaccessible to me in Miami
Pro tip: The Bass has a café that is the perfect spot to enjoy a lunch break, or to wine down after your visit.
Art Deco Museum
1001 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Admission: $5 for adults, Free for children and students
Tucked away inside a visitor’s center off 10th & Ocean Drive, the Art Deco Museum is a project of the Miami Design & Preservation League (MDPL) which aims to protect, preserve, and promote the Art Deco district of Miami Beach. The Museum invites tourists and locals alike to better understand the architectural heritage and community culture of the city by highlighting the three major historic design styles of Miami Beach: Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo).
If you’re a fan of architecture or feel like jazzing up your Instagram page with some OG Miami Beach hotel vibes, check out one of the museum’s daily Art Deco walking tours at 10:30am (and 6:30pm on Thursday nights.) The tours are priced at $25 per person.
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA)
770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161
Admission: $10 for adults, $3 for students & seniors
Located in North Miami, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is “dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences – especially underserved populations – through the collection, preservation and exhibition of the best of contemporary art and its art historical influences.”
With that in mind, MOCA offers numerous fun- and some free!- arts programming for students, kids, and families. If you’re looking for a place to flex your artistic muscle, check out MOCA Makers (for adults 18+) on the third Saturday of each month. For $20 ($25 for non-members,) attendees enjoy art workshops led by local South Florida artists.
I often get asked about different date night ideas aside from the typical dinner and a movie, and now I have a new suggestion: Jazz@MOCA. The museum’s signature monthly event series takes place on the last Friday of each month, rain or shine. It’s totally free to attend (say wha?!) and is the longest running, free outdoor concert series in South Florida. Not to be missed: MOCA presents Grammy Award winning artist Curtis Taylor on Friday, October 25th. Check out their calendar of events for future happenings
There you have it! I had an action-packed few days learning more about my wonderful city. Who knew that there were so many hidden gems to be Found in Miami? The GMCVB’s website is a great place for visitors and locals alike to discover fun things to do around town. Be sure to visit!
Tell me, do you plan on checking out any of these local museums?