Located just off the sunny coastline, The Bass is known as Miami Beach’s museum of contemporary art. If you’re staying close to the sand and sea, The Bass is easily accessible and would make an excellent stop on your itinerary.
As with many contemporary art museums, much of the art in the museum’s collection rotates frequently, with some pieces staying longer than others, so be sure to check the website if you’re hoping to see a particular artist’s work. There are a number of permanent installations on display, spanning a range of media and located both inside and outside. These permanent installations play with both traditional sculpture and modern applications of electricity and technology to create a diverse range.
Miami Children’s Museum
If you’re travelling as a family and looking for the perfect adventure for the kids, it can be difficult to find places to go that will keep them busy and entertained. A big day of play at the Miami Children’s Museum will give your little ones a chance to experience some child-friendly excitement.
This children’s museum in Miami is a great place for kids to have fun and learn at the same time, with interactive, hands-on exhibits designed to engage their minds and work on everything from motor skills to problem-solving strategies. Some of the sections at this museum include a kid-sized supermarket, a stuffed animal veterinary clinic and a giant explorable sand castle.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Like most big cities, Miami’s large population gives it a lot of culture and character. This in turn creates a lot of art and places to view it. If you’re looking for a free museum in Miami, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is a wonderful place to spend a few hours without breaking the bank.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
With sprawling grounds and an opulent, grand villa converted into the main museum building, it’s no wonder the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is so famous. With plenty to do both inside and out, it’s worth a trip to South Florida just to visit this incredible Miami museum.
The original villa where visitors can view the indoor exhibits is now known as the Main House and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It houses the museum’s collections of both 20th century art and ancient historical artefacts. Many visitors also come to see the awe-inspiring splendour of the original architecture and decoration of the villa’s interiors, including a library, dining room, many bedrooms and several reception rooms, all richly decorated.
Jewish Museum of Florida
Operating as part of Florida International University, the Jewish Museum of Florida is one of Miami’s most unique museums and perhaps Miami’s most important history museum. It is dedicated to documenting and preserving the stories and history of Florida’s Jews.
The museum is housed in two buildings that once served as synagogues for the local community, adding significance to the restored Art Deco architecture. The smaller of the two buildings was constructed in 1929 and served as Miami’s first synagogue, while the larger building was constructed in 1939 to accommodate a growing congregation. The buildings reflect the lives and stories of the many members of South Florida’s Jewish population until 1986, when the buildings were abandoned. As the buildings fell into disrepair and one was even slated for demolition, a travelling Jewish heritage group called MOSAIC moved into the space and worked to renovate and rebuild the historic structures.
Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Centre
The Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center may not be the largest or most comprehensive art museum in Miami, but it’s certainly the liveliest. With frequent events and shows, and a full café bar with a wide selection of rums, this is no ordinary art museum.
Cubaocho was founded when two young brothers, Roberto and Carlos Ramos, fled Cuba in 1992 with a small collection of artwork by artists who did not support Fidel Castro. The ten paintings in their original collection were almost lost at sea when their boat began to sink, and they begged the US Coast Guard to tow their boat to shore to save their little treasure. Today, Cubaocho’s mission is to preserve, revitalise and celebrate Cuban and Cuban-American culture in all its forms. Visitors have the opportunity to view the museum’s now much larger collection of 19th and early 20th century artworks while enjoying a signature drink from the bar or spending time browsing books in the museum’s research library.
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Undoubtedly the best science museum in Miami and one of the best in Florida, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a fantastic place to explore everything from the ocean to the stars. With immersive and hands-on exhibits throughout the multi-level building, the facility has something for all ages and combines learning with fun.
The aquarium itself has three levels, each covering a different unique ecosystem found in the layers of the ocean. The aquarium also supports the museum’s mission to educate about marine science, wildlife conservation and coastal protection. Below the lower level of the aquarium you can visit the state of the art planetarium where a 16 million colour 8K projection screen is complemented by a surround sound system for immersive shows.
Museum of Graffiti
While comprehensive art museums are a fantastic way to explore many genres and mediums at once, sometimes it’s fun to visit a museum that delves into one specific facet of the art world. At the Museum of Graffiti, visitors can learn about the history and significance of an easily overlooked art form.
The museum has received rave reviews in publications such as Forbes Magazine, the New York Times and the Miami New Times. Visitors can view exhibits that include photographs of iconic works, 2D drawings and paintings, and even entire rooms designed by talented artists in an indoor exhibition space and a fine art gallery. There are also eleven large outdoor murals and the gift shop sells exclusive and limited edition merchandise from talented graffiti artists from around the world.
If you’re looking for a museum with a recognisable seal of approval, the HistoryMiami Museum is an excellent choice. The exhibits are of a high standard and the museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The museum houses more than 37,000 artefacts dating from the 20th century to prehistoric times, and the Archives and Research Center holds more than one million historical images. The facility serves as the official repository for all archaeological finds collected in Miami-Dade County and has an extensive collection of items made by the Seminole Indian Tribe over the thousands of years they lived in South Florida. There are also collections of technology, household items, maritime and aviation materials, and documentation of local community life.
Perez Art Museum Miami
The Perez Art Museum in Miami, also known as PAMM, is another of the city’s more famous art museums. It’s dedicated to exhibiting contemporary and modern international art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Many of the collections highlight Miami’s important role as a major port city for international trade throughout the centuries, influencing and shaping economic and cultural events around the world.
Outside the museum, visitors can explore the Sculpture Garden, where large-scale constructions are displayed in an outdoor setting. Inside, there’s always something new to explore, with a revolving programme of new exhibitions every few weeks, providing a continually enriching experience for both newcomers and repeat visitors. For a more in-depth experience, you can join a tour on selected days of the week, where you’ll learn more about the sculptures outside, as well as information about the museum’s architecture. Tours are small and on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan ahead and speak to the Visitor Services desk if you’re interested.