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6 Places To Experience Art & Culture In Miami

March 01, 2018

Jason Briscoe Unsplash
Image credit: Jason Briscoe

Miami. Beach bodies, palm trees, ocean waves, sand beneath your feet. But so much more! Miami and Miami Beach are celebrated for their artsy attractions, Art Deco architecture and cultural institutions too. You can get lost for days on the coastal streets of Coconut Grove or in historically rich Little Havana or Coral Gables, which has been dubbed The City Beautiful, or countless other towns that make up The Magic City. But we narrowed down a few of our favorite must-see spots to get you started. Take a peek and get out your planner—you're about to be very busy!

George Segal_Fredrik Nilsen Studio_ICA Miami
Image credit: Fredrik Nilsen Studio / Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami / Collection of Martin Z. Margulies

Its arrival was highly anticipated and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami is living up to the hype. Designed by Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, the 37,500-square-foot geometric metal structure is as contemporary as the art you'll find inside, along with a vast landscape that was designed by Fernando Wong to allow for rotating sculpture and museum events. Because while you'll delight in works by Donald Judd, Terry Adkins, Chris Ofili and other talents, the museum doesn't stop at their exhibits. It's all about community engagement here, so expect speaker forums, workshops, school programs and artist residencies. And, guys, admission is free. (But they'd like you to reserve tickets online in advance of your visit.)

Wynwood Walls
Image credit: Facebook / The Wynwood Walls

Ah, the Wynwood Walls. The OG when it comes to making street art mainstream. In 2009, Jeffrey Deitch and the late great Tony Goldman decided to take this rickety warehouse district of Miami and breathe life into it. Renowned artists like Kenny Scharf, Futura, RETNA, Ron English, Lady Pink, Maya Hayuk and Miss Van have since come from all around the world to leave their colorful mark. There's also Wynwood Doors, Wynwood Garden, and murals all throughout the neighborhood, which has been populated with shops, restaurants and the yummy hipster coffee spot Panther. Check it out especially on the second Saturday of every month, when Wynwood is taken over by food trucks, foodies and art lovers for one big block party. 

The landscape of the cultural and arts scene in Miami has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Along with the growth of Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami/, we've also seen a new Miami Design District emerge. Thanks to developer Craig Robbins of Dacra and help from urban master planners Duany Plater-Zyberk, the District has become an epicenter for architecture and luxury brands like Gucci, Hermes and Louis Vuitton and, oh, the ICA is here, too. Spend the day strolling past Buckminster Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome and 2 x 4's Jungle and Vortex murals, and don't forget to step inside the Moore Building, an event venue featuring a site-specific installation by the forever-missed Zaha Hadid.

Frost Science
Image credit: Frost Science

Science lovers, rejoice! Frost Science (or rather, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science) offers endless exploration from the heart of downtown's Museum Park, which is also home to Perez Art Museum Miami and its famous hanging gardens. Spend the day checking out Frost's fascinating exhibitions about the mind, body and technology; the planetarium with its 16-million-color 8K projection, surround sound and a dome screen that spans 67 feet; and the three-level aquarium that journeys through Florida's ecosystems and marine life.

Nadine Robbins Lady Marmalade
Image credit: Lady Marmalade, oil on linen, by Nadine Robbins

But Wynwood and ICA aren't the only places where art lovers and collectors can relish in works by talented artists. Head just a little north to Hallandale Beach and create your own gallery walk: Start out at Sher Gallery, brimming with glass and metal sculpture, photography, and orginal paintings by international artists. Then take a stroll down Silks Run to Sirona Fine Art, where you'll find inspiring pieces by the likes of Nadine Robbins, whose paintings challenge societal norms regarding gender identity and sexuality. (It's OK, you can stop into Le Macaron and indulge in a sweet treat first—the art will wait for you!) And finish off your gallery hop just around the corner at Barker Animation, where animation and pop culture art and collectibles will make you long for yesteryear. 
Papaver Rhoeas Unsplash
Image credit: Papaver Rhoeas

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is already a cool destination: Not only can you catch world-class performances in the Knight Concert Hall or Ziff Ballet Opera House, and not only can you grab a pre-show bite to eat at Brava by Brad Kilgore or among your favorite authors at the cafe inside Books & Books, but you can also enjoy a visit when there's no show at all. Books & Books and Urban Oasis Project bring Market Mondays to The Arsht Center every Monday, a farmer's market featuring fresh local produce and prepared foods, and cultural workshops from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. 

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