Miami’s ever-expanding cultural landscape means we’ve got more museums around the city than we ever have before, and the list keeps growing. That’s why it’s a good idea to take advantage of Miami Museum Month. The May initiative is put on by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and offers stellar deals including BOGO admission, (buy one, get one free). Also, Join One Museum, See Them All, where purchasing a membership to any participating museum gets you in free to the rest of them all month, plus other special offers. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of all participating museums and deal specifics.
And in an effort to help you get started on where to go, we’ve whittled down the list to a few select that shouldn’t be missed:
Project Gallery: Matthew Ronay, ‘When Two Are In One’
Pérez Art Museum Miami
The crown jewel of Downtown Miami and the beacon that put Miami on the national and international cultural map, the Pérez Art Museum is spectacular inside and outside. Make plans to spend several hours here because the exterior hanging gardens that greet you before entering and view of Miami’s bayfront and cruise ships are stellar in and of themselves. Then inside await several floors teeming with world-class exhibitions, a gift shop tailor-made for meandering and the Verde restaurant that also looks out onto the water.
‘Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure, American Seduction,’ on display through Aug. 21
Housing an enviable collection of propaganda art and always presenting thought-provoking exhibitions, The Wolfsonian-FIU is a treasure trove for culturists in the heart of South Beach. The landmark building rises seven stories high with four of the floors housing the permanent collection of 180,000 objects from the 1850s to the 1950s focusing on the Industrial Revolution to World War II as well as the traveling exhibitions. When you’re done exploring, spend time shopping in the first floor shop for mementos of your day.
‘Impact and Legacy: 50 Years of the Cintas Foundation,’ 2014
MDC Museum of Art + Design
The tall narrow historic Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard built in 1925, was first home to The Miami News, then from the early 1960s to 1970s it became the U.S. Government’s reception center for Cuban refugees, garnering the name the “Ellis Island of the South.” In honor of that distinction, the interior showcases murals and photos depicting that time as well as featuring exhibitions of works by postmodern to contemporary American artists as well as artists of Caribbean diaspora and Cuban descent. Their Museum Pop-Up Shop is pure, whimsical fun.
‘Miracle Mile: The Evolution of a Street’
Coral Gables Museum
What’s fun about visiting the Coral Gables Museum is that once you arrive, you’re surrounded by a sort of cultural hub. Within the museum walls are exhibitions that focus primarily on the history of The City Beautiful and the city’s founding fathers. Learn about the evolution of Miracle Mile — the city’s main shopping and dining thoroughfare, the city’s founding father George Merrick and the city’s many grand entrances he designed as well as his involvement in the creation of the Tamiami Trail. Across the street you can catch an indie film at Coral Gables Cinema or visit Miami’s premier independent bookstore Books & Books next door.
Bakehouse Art Complex
Murals by street artists may be what Wynwood is known for now but nestled quietly in the neighborhood since the late 1980s is the Bakehouse Art Complex. Here’s where you come to see artists at work in their studios and watch the process of art happen before your eyes. The industrial warehouse space is also home to two galleries with revolving exhibitions, a photo lab, print room, jewelry studio, woodworking and welding areas. The Bakehouse allows for a memorable, close-up, one-on-one experience with the artist.
‘Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel’
Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
Located on Florida International University’s Main Campus in southwest Miami-Dade, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum founded in 1977 features a sculpture park, permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. The extensive permanent collection is where you’ll find pre-Columbian objects, photography, African art and European and American printmaking. Their current exhibition “Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel” has already traveled to prestigious art institutions including Chicago’s Field Museum and the Musée de Louvre in Paris.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
What better way for retired millionaire James Deering to while away his free time than building an Italian waterfront villa in the heart of one of Miami’s most historic neighborhoods Coconut Grove. Villa Vizcaya, as it was named and now known as Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, is now ours to treasure, cherish and enjoy. Designed specifically to take full advantage of the bafyront location, the house features a swimming pool that emerges from vaulted arches, enclosed loggias around the first and second floor, lush European-inspired gardens with a diverse horticulture collection and an impressive collection of art and furnishings throughout the residence.