Miami for culture vultures and trendsetters
Many come to Miami for the sun and surf – or the great food and drinks scene. But if you are someone that gets equally excited about art, design and fashion Miami has lots to offer, from the well-known Art Deco sights to the latest in contemporary arts.
The colorful Miami Beach Art Deco district is a great place to kick start your cultural journey around Miami. The American Art Deco reached its peak in the 1920's and 1930's but in Miami even some of the newer building reference the style strongly. The historic Art Deco District is made up of over 800 buildings with many eye-catching details.
The district is located on Miami Beach between 5th Street and 23rd Street, along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue. It is easily accessible by foot and close to the main shopping area of Lincoln Street. Some of the highlights include the legendary hotels Clevelander and Colony. Miami Design Preservation League offers guided walking tours for those who want to know more about the history of the area.
You should also make time to visit the Art Deco Museum featuring not only architecture but also art and design of the era. In addition to Art Deco, you can get acquainted with the other architectural styles seen in Miami; Mediterranean and Miami Modern. The museum also hosts a variety of special exhibits.
Miami has become one of the hotspots for contemporary art in the US. The annual Art Miami is widely known to be one of the best international art fairs and its success has helped put Miami on the arts map permanently. The fair is held in Downtown Miami, and it attracts a crowd of artists, collectors, museum professionals as well as the general public.
To see the latest in art all year round you should plan a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. The ICA has a wide permanent collection of works from significant contemporary artist as well as a wide selection of exhibitions. For true aficionados their program of guest speakers, film screenings and performance arts is definitely something to look out for.
Miami is also a city of galleries. You can find both the up and coming and the established artist showing their work in Miami. Downtown Miami and the Design District are good places to start but galleries are dotted all around. Art-collecting.com hosts a list of galleries, art fairs and events.
Miami now even has it's very own Design District packed full of fashion, design, architecture, and art. The district can be found north of Midtown Miami.
The fashion shops of the area are from the luxury side of the scale. The big names of fashion from Alexander McQueen to Dior are heavily featured. But there are also gems not found elsewhere, such as the local streetwear shop Lower East Coast.
Make sure you have lunch or dine either in the district itself or the nearby Midtown since there is some truly great food around. Take your pick from literally any ethnic cuisine you can think of or enjoy some modern American food.
If you fancy something a little different the Haitian Heritage Museum is an interesting collection featuring Haitian culture, history and arts. Or if the design that most excites you is attached to a motor, visit TheArsenale. It is an art venue slash garage where you can see the latest in mobility from skateboards to motorcycles and from drones to yachts.
For the urban art lovers Miami is a feast for the eyes. Wynwood Walls is one of the most visited graffiti sights in the world and a good spot to see a variety of street art styles in one go - but be warned, it can also get quite busy.
If you want to hear the stories behind the pieces Miami's Best Graffiti Guide offers mural tours hosted by artists themselves. There is even the world's first Museum of Graffiti in the heart of Wynwood. It showcases the scene and even offers graffiti classes for those who want to have a go at painting.
Street art is however not limited to the Wynwood area. You can find surprising murals and high-quality graffiti all over the city. As an example, in Little Havana and Little Haiti a lot of the street art celebrates the distinctive cultures of the districts.