Of late, Miami has become the darling of the art world, with offerings such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Art Museum, the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. The art fairs, however, have been garnering the most media attention lately, with the critically acclaimed Art Basel Miami Beach now a mainstay on the circuit.
It is not a matter of finding Miami's culture but deciding which culture to experience in this international city. With such a large population of Hispanics from a variety of South American countries, make time to explore the essence of Miami, whether you hang out in Little Havana or Little Haiti.
Insider's Guide: The Best of Arts & Culture in Miami
Miami has a host of stellar museums. The Wolfsonian (1001 Washington Ave) specializes in propaganda and the decorative arts, with exhibits that are at once profound and peculiar. There are more 80,000 European and American pieces, including furnishings, architectural elements, murals and poster art.
Miami now joins other major cities in offering a state-of-the-art performing arts center. In October 2006, the long-awaited Miami Performing Arts Center (1444 Biscayne Blvd) opened with a four-day celebration that included performances by artists in all genres. Year-round shows showcase a mix of internationally renowned artists of classical and pop music artists, ballet and opera.
Another well-kept secret is the Bass Museum of Art (2121 Park Ave) in South Beach's Art Deco district. It claims the title of the most comprehensive collection in the region, cataloging works ranging from old master painters to contemporary photographers.
Homestead's Fruit & Spice Park (24801 SW 187th Ave) is the only tropical botanical garden of its kind in the United States, with more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, peppers, herbs and nuts from around the world. There are 75 different kinds of bananas, along with 125 types of mango, and 70 varieties of bamboo. It's okay to sample fallen fruits, and the gift shop is filled with foods made from tropical fruits, horticulture books on tropical gardening, and specialized horticultural supplies.
The local arts scene buzzes along in up-and-coming North Miami, where the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St) carries works by local artists. The surrounding streets are brimming with art galleries showcasing the creations of cutting-edge Miami and international artists, as well as funky antique and vintage stores.
Miami offers the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. In the next section, find out the best ways to experience these Art Deco buildings, as well as Miami's other architectural landmarks.