Best Miami Museums
If exploring the best Miami museums puts a smile on your face, the city has a wealth of venues that will enchant. Learn about local art at a trendy outdoor exhibition. Discover the wonders of the planet and the universe. See a mysterious castle carved out of coral and stone and then pick up a few special outfits at the cutting edge design district. Keep the kids busy with fabulous attractions at a museum especially designed for little minds and then be awed learning all about the ancient history of Miami. With dozens of world class venues and exhibitions ranging from rail roads, to adult erotica, Jewish history and aircraft, all within easy reach, you will need to set aside a few days to explore them all!
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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
If you are in Miami for only a short time, this is the one Miami museum you cannot miss! Built in the style of an opulent Italian Renaissance villa it is a fairy-tale residence rising up from the water. It was built in 1916 for James Deering, an industrialist and is packed full of 15th to 19th century furniture, paintings, decorative arts and magnificent tapestries. Stroll around the seaside grounds which look out onto Biscayne Bay, they are filled with landscaped gardens and a secret garden if you want to pop the ultimate question! Beautiful fountains, crystal clear pools, sculptures, an enchanting Florentine gazebo and small criss-cross canals will thrill as you wander around and get lost in this paradise setting. This famous Museum has been visited by dignitaries like President Reagan, Queen Elizabeth, Pope John Paul II and Queen Sofia of Spain. The historic Summit of the Americas was held here in 1994 attended by President Clinton and 34 leaders of the western world. Join a comprehensive tour or explore alone this popular Miami museum, but do not miss!
If you are in Miami to get your fill of arts and culture, set off to our next recommended Miami Museum, the famous Wynwood Walls. This 'Museum of the Streets' is an outdoor art exhibition that features over 50 artists from 16 countries. The exhibition covers 80,000 square feet of walls Ð a sight to be seen! The project started in 2009 with a vision to being new life to the community and add some fun to the dull exterior walls of the warehouse. This soon spread into a hip and happening event that never went away. Artists from around the world are attracted to Wynwood Walls where they get a chance to showcase their works. Stroll around and admire the creations, listen to a lecture on art and buy a special purchase signed by the artist in person. Check out the upcoming events as you may need to plan your time here. When you have seen the Walls, take a walk past the Wynwood Doors, a smaller-scale mural project. End your day absorbing all you have seen over a meal at the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Photo by Phillip Pessar
Wynwood Art Walk
A great way to explore the numerous Miami museums and attractions is to join a tour offered by the Wynwood Art Walk. These tours are suitable for all ages and will take you to the most important and relevant venues with a local guide who will keep you updated each step of the way. Join a tour to the Wynwood Walls and learn all about how this drab industrial area became one of the world's hottest art spots. Combine an art tour with a food tour as you walk and sample some of the city's famous dishes inspired by chefs from Puerto Rico, Peru and Japan. If you have a small group, you can tailor-make a tour. Get personalized attention and an itinerary that suits you. You can even have a lesson in graffiti and make your own art! If walking is too much, there is an option of taking the tour while riding in a golf cart, ideal for younger children and the elderly. And if you enjoy that shot every now and again, combine the art walk with numerous stops at local pubs, over 18's only!
Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science
If you have science boffins in your group, head to the next amazing Miami Museum, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. If you don't, you will all be experts by the time you have wandered through this incredible venue! The Museum was created to inspire people to enjoy science and technology and better understand the world and the universe around them. This fascinating venue receives over 250,000 visitors every year. Start off at the sea lab where you will learn about the coral reefs and the marine creatures that call them home. You can even touch a sea urchin or a sea horse! Then explore different weather patterns like hurricanes and earthquakes. The exhibits show how these extreme weather patterns affect humans. Learn about nano science, the study of tiny particles and then watch educational videos on energy, health, nature, wildlife and more. For star gazers, a visit the planetarium with a 65 foot diameter domed projection screen will set your spine tingling. You can also see the Weintraub Observatory, which houses two Mead telescopes.
Photo by Phillip Pessar
Perez Art Museum
Our next not-to-be-missed Miami museum is the Perez Art Museum, located at 1103 Biscayne Boulevard. Opened in 2013, it features a stunning glass building with coastal views. The Museum showcases contemporary and modern art and has a most impressive collection. The Museum is locally known as PAMM. Here you will explore art from the 20th and 21st century done by renowned artists from around the globe. Be awed by the colorful exhibits that come from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Australia. Educators who work in the Museum will enthral you with stories, talks and guided tours where you can learn about the artists and their works. There is also a vibrant community based project that brings different speakers, thinkers and creative talents to the Museum where you can listen to their talks and take part in lectures, art sessions and round table discussions.
Photo by Phillip Pessar
De la Cruz Collection
Art lovers cannot miss out on the De la Cruz Collection, our next fabulous Miami Museum. The De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space displays works from the personal collection of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz. This new venue covers 30,000 square feet. The original venue was an extension of the coupleÕs home but space became limited when they also chose to focus on international contemporary art. Spend time and wander around the magnificent halls. There are rooms with rotating exhibits, look out for the one dedicated to showcasing local Miami artists. You will also be able to attend lectures designed to teach the public more about the history of art and modern-day art practices. If you want to get hands on, join a class where you can express your artistic talents! You may be joined by school and college students who are studying here on scholarships and doing internships. The exhibitions change regularly to showcase relevant topics, so expect to make more than one visit to this fascinating venue.
Photo by Juliana Su
Miami Design District
Calling all fashion lovers! If iconic names like Christian Louboutin, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Prada send shivers down your spine, you need to head off to the Miami Design District. This area is dedicated to fashion, design, architecture and dining. Stroll around and see world famous brand stores, browse or buy, depending on your budget! Located inbetween the shops are restaurants, famous international art collections and a changing and growing collection of permanent and temporary art installations. Miami showcases old historic buildings and modern cutting-edge new ones and this district is a mix of both. Visit the exclusive designer showrooms of Holly Hunt, Knoll, Luminaire Contract and Ann Sacks. Have your plastic money ready to pick out a little number or two! You will also find luxury brands like Givenchy, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Van Cleef & Arpels. These brands have acknowledged that this is the place to be and the district is becoming world renowned as a center for cutting-edge design, arts and culture.
Photo by Phillip Pessar
Miami Children's Museum
Children may not be too keen to a visit a Miami Museum, but they will be super excited to learn that the Miami Children's Museum is actually a massive playground filled with all sorts of amazing activities. So grab the kids and get going, it makes a great day outing. Kids can play at real-life games like banking, grocery shopping, caring for pets, pretending to be a TV news anchor in a studio or fighting fires with the local fire fighters. They can travel the world in a cruise ship and stop in exotic locations like the Port of Brazil, recreated in meticulous detail. Budding musicians can record a live track in the World Music Studio, where they can sing and play instruments. Adults will soon be joining in the fun! Watch educational displays and learn about the architecture of Miami, Brazilian culture and everything in between. There is nothing one cannot learn here. Prepare to spend time and be inspired.
Photo by Smart Destinations
Everything you could possibly want to learn about the fascinating city of Miami is showcased at the HistoryMiami Museum. From folklore to aviation, there is something for everyone. Start off by joining a city tour that takes you through the Museum and then into the streets to see the iconic sites. Visit Wynwood Wall, Key Biscayne and take a sunset cruise. If you prefer to remain inside, you can take a guided your or an audio tour. See the old archives where ancient maps and prints are stored. See the collection of artifacts ranging from pre-Colombian items to contemporary pieces. They include tools, clothing, furniture, musical instruments, boats, aviation materials and religious objects. The collection has over 37,000 items! Sea lovers cannot miss the Maritime Collection. It showcases motorboats used for outboard racing in the area. There are also ancient dugout canoes and rafts used by Cuban immigrants who tried to get to South Florida by sea. Music lovers can explore a range of musical instruments and rituals. Plan to spend a day here.
Photo by osseous
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum
If old steam trains and historic railcars get you super excited, then set off to the The Gold Coast Railroad Museum, our next recommended Miami Museum. Be astounded as you explore the Ferdinand Magellan, the conventional passenger cars and streamlined passenger cars. See the locomotives, the freight cars and the special equipment used on the railroads. There are over 40 rail cars on the property and you can take a self-guided waking tour through many of the restored historic rail cars. There are also multiple exhibitions to explore and train lovers will be weak at the knees when they see the large model train layout display. For the kids, they will be thrilled to play with Thomas the Tank. If Steampunk turns you on, take part in the Steampunk Journey, a show filled with festivities, films, music, art and more. End your day with a 25 minute ride on a real vintage steam train, creating memories to last a lifetime!
Photo by Smart Destinations
World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM)
For adults only, we suggest one of South FloridaÕs finest Miami museum attractions, the World Erotic Art Museum. Located in the South Beach Art Deco District, this 12,000 square foot display offers the worldÕs largest public view collection of erotic art. The collection covers art from all centuries, mediums and styles and is a privately owned collection belonging to curator Naomi Wilzig. See fine erotic art displayed in a comprehensive and meaningful time line. The displays include paintings, sculptures, tapestries and art objects. This collection of fine art pieces is priceless and will have you awe-struck as you explore the adult world of erotica from every country on the planet going back generations. Works include famous paintings by artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, Lautrec and Rodin. There are also works by living artists including Brady and Botero. The museum was established in 2005 and today is the world authority in this genre. There are 20 rooms to walk through, so make sure you have enough time!
Photo by Smart Destinations
Wings Over Miami Air Museum
Flying high is something locals love to do in Miami, and there is a Miami museum dedicated to the memory of these brave pilots. The Wings Over Miami Air Museum was created as a tribute to aviators and veterans who pioneered military and civilian aviation. Take the family and enjoy a fascinating day out. There are numerous displays to explore and you can also fly in a real military aircraft. Learn all about the stories of the pilots and the planes that they flew in. The location of Wings Over Miami Air Museum is a hangar facility that has always been used as an aviation museum. In 1986, pilot Kermit Weeks kept his growing collection of vintage aircraft in this hangar for the public to view. In 1992, the Museum was totally destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. It was rebuilt and eventually moved to Florida. The city of Miami then decided to recreate the Miami museum. Most of the aircraft on display are in flying condition, making this a true working museum.
Photo by Andrew Thomas
Bay of Pigs Museum
Learn about history at the next Miami museum to visit. The Bay of Pigs Museum is a small museum located in the Little Havana neighborhood. It also serves as a memorial to the 2506th Brigade with an interesting collection of items pertaining to the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. This invasion occurred when the USA wanted to re-establish control of the area. The CIA trained up a force of 1300 soldiers, most of whom were Cuban exiles. The operation was supposed to be secret but they were intercepted by the Cuban army soon after landing at the Bay of Pigs, known locally as Bah’a de Cochinos. Close to one hundred were killed and the rest were taken prisoner. Learn how the father of famous pop singer Gloria Estefan was amongst those. Then get goose bumps when you see the Brigade 2506 flag which was held up by President John F Kennedy during a speech at the Orange Bowl in 1962. A worthwhile day outing and you may even get to chat to real survivors of this mission who enjoy hanging out at this Miami museum.
Photo by C-Monster
Jewish Museum of Florida - FIU
Jewish history is defined by the Holocaust of World War II and this Miami museum strives to keep the memories alive and current. A host of fascinating tours, lectures, events and festivities take place, centered around the Jewish community and Jewish based traditions. Join a walking tour to discover Jewish based restaurants in the area. Learn about Jewish musicians and their contribution to Miami. Explore the stories of Florida Jews in the fashion industry. They have a rich history of generations of designing, manufacturing and influencing both the local and international clothing scene. The main exhibit, called Mosaic, tells the story of 250 years of Jewish life in Florida. The story is presented with 4 exhibit elements. The first is a detailed timeline wall. The second, a display of documents and artifacts. The third is an audio visual presentation and finally the beautiful building itself, featuring stained glass windows, marble bimah and Art Deco chandeliers.
Photo by Phillip Pessar
Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center
Next on our list of best Miami museums is a very special Performing Arts center called the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center. The Museum has a fascinating story, told by owner Cuba Ocho. In January 1992 he escaped from Cuba in a small boat to the USA in search of freedom. After three days drifting without food or water in the Straits of Florida, he was ready to give up and die. The U.S. Coast Guard found him and read him 'The Miranda Rights'. He mistook this for a good thing as he thought he now had rights! They wanted to sink his boat but after he explained that he had a small collection of precious art with him, they saved him and the artworks. They had never seen a castaway before who was an art collector. The Museum showcases Cuban art, history, books, magazines and newspapers. This mission has taken 30 years to create. Visit and be awed. Buy a book from the store to keep as a memento of this fabulous venue.
Coral Castle Museum
When you have had your fill of indoor art galleries, set off to an awe-inspiring Miami museum, located within a short driving distance in Homestead. the museum showcases creations carved out of coral rock. Be prepared for something you have never seen before! This is a mysterious stone castle and stone garden. The creator, Edward Leedskalnin started work on it in 1923 and ended in 1951. He was a diminutive man from Latvia who stood just over 5 feet tall. Despite his small size, he worked alone to build his private castle using manual building methods. The creations were carved out of more than 1,100 tons of coral rock. Stories tell that he only worked at night, so no one got to see how it was built. People began to speculate that he had supernatural powers! He told them that he knew 'the secret of the pyramids' making it even more spooky. Explore this astounding venue, there are audio guides to help you along. Alternatively, take a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. Don't miss the 9 ton gate that moves the touch of one finger. Then see the working rocking chairs all carved out of stone!