Miami is a true nirvana for any museum and art gallery lover. You could spend a month going from one to another and still not have visited them all. They're all world-class too, but thankfully, as you'll find out in the section about free museums in Miami below, not as expensive to visit as you might think.
It doesn't matter what your age is or what your personal taste in museums is, in Miami you'll find one to suit. In Miami there's every type of museum from hands-on science museums for kids, to contemporary art galleries to history museums with artifacts dating from the 7th century.
Most museums prohibit entry if you're carrying a large bag or rucksack. Save yourself the disappointment of arriving at the entrance then being turned away because you have a suitcase with you. Leave all the bags you don't need with Bounce luggage storage Miami and just take a small handbag with you.
Your belongings will be in a safe place and the security staff at the museum you go to won't have to worry you're about to run off with the American version of the Mona Lisa, so that's a win-win situation all round.
History And Science Museums In Miami
When you're visiting anywhere it's a good idea to find out more about the past of the place you're in. The place to do that in this Florida city is History Miami. History Miami is a museum dedicated to preserving the rich history of the city through collections of documents, photographs, and artifacts.
History Miami is housed in the Dade-Miami Cultural Center in Downtown Miami where its galleries occupy over six thousand square meters of exhibition space. That much exhibition space is needed as some of the larger exhibits include the remains of shipwrecks from the 1800s, a dugout canoe, a trolley car dating from the early 1900s, and a raft used by Cuban refugees.
As well as the permanent static exhibition, History Miami also hosts live performances, rotating exhibitions, and organizes guided history tours of the city.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
If there's one Miami museum the kids will get excited about visiting then it'll be the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Located in Maurice A. Ferre Park on Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami, which is also where you can get some of the best street food in Miami, the site is much more than a museum as it contains a planetarium and gulf stream aquarium with coral reefs.
The exhibits at the science museum concentrate on creating curiosity and answering questions about how humans function, the world's various ecosystems, and technology, among many other things. The aquarium stretches over three different levels and demonstrates life underwater from the surface to the bottom of the ocean, while in the planetarium the sky's no limit as the theater catapults you into outer space to explore the universe. If you're wanting to know what the best things to do in Miami with kids are, put this on your list as it's definitely one of them.
Miami Children's Museum
It's never easy to make learning fun no matter what age your kids are. They'll get a completely different slant on education if you take them to the Miami Children's Museum and quite possibly never want to stop discovering all about something new.
Just getting to the Miami Children's Museum will be a learning curve for the kids as it's located on Watson Island just offshore of the Maurice A. Ferre Park and you have to cross a causeway to get to it.
Once they're inside the science museum they'll be in a colorful world full of multidimensional interactive exhibits based on the world around them that will introduce them to construction, the arts, and technology.
Jewish Museum of Florida
The Jewish Museum of Florida is located on the campus of the Florida International University on Washington Avenue near South Beach. Housed in two Art Deco buildings that were originally synagogues, the museum preserves the history of the Jewish people, Jewish life, and Jewish culture in Florida.
The collection of documents and artifacts was started in the early 1980s with a small number of items loaned to the museum. That collection of loaned items has now surpassed a hundred thousand and includes everything from newspaper clippings to religious articles and oral histories.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
If you couldn't afford to jetset off to Italy for your vacation and went to Miami instead, you won't want to miss visiting the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The Vizcaya Villa is a little bit of Italy right in the heart of Miami's Coconut Grove district that could well have been transported straight from the Mediterranean country to Florida.
Once a private estate, the grounds contain a magnificent mansion full of period pieces, valuable artworks, and a unique pool area with a Chanler mural, ten acres of manicured gardens, and a historic village. It's unique and even if you're not into art and opulence, it's somewhere you should go so you can see how the truly wealthy lived in the early 20th century.
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is a must-do for any train enthusiast. Located on Southwest 152nd Street, the installation houses rail cars, freight cars, locomotives, a Thomas the Tank Engine play area for young visitors, and lots of railway-related equipment and artifacts.
The Best Art Museums In Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami
The Pérez Art Museum Miami, known as PAMM in short, is a contemporary art gallery in the Maurice A. Ferre Park or Museum Park as it's often called. Over the thirty-five years since the museum first opened, the PAMM has accumulated an incredible amount of artwork by both international and American artists and sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The PAMM is housed in a three-story high building that is in its own right a work of modern art with two thousand square feet of display space fronted by Biscayne Bay. Apart from the permanent collection displayed in the art museum internally, there's a special outdoor sculpture garden for the sculptures that are too large to be displayed inside.
The contemporary art collections at The Bass Museum in Miami were started by one man, John Bass, who the museum is named after. The collections are not all modern art, unlike the building they're housed in, but date as far back as the 15th century where the paintings are concerned and earlier for other works like tapestries and religious items.
The Bass, which is on Collins Avenue, isn't just about hanging art on the wall or putting a sculpture in a flowerbed. The Bass museum also hosts workshops for adults and children, community programs, and has a virtual creativity center.
Museum of Art and Design - MOAD
Art styles change with the times and the Museum of Art and Design, or MOAD, in Miami pushes the boundaries of modernity with its 21st-century exhibits. Housed in the eye-catching National Historic Landmark called the Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard, the museum displays up-to-date works from artists and designers that stimulate all of the senses.
Visit here and you need to be prepared to have your idea of what a museum is totally shattered. There are exhibits of conceptual art, pop art, films, videos, and a host of other things that will break into a thousand pieces any preconceived ideas you had on art, which makes it one of the best museums in Miami.
Frost Art Museum at FIU
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum is on the campus of the Florida International University on Southwest 17th Street. Its current home, a purpose-built structure with forty-six thousand square feet of gallery space, opened its doors to the public fourteen years ago. It has innovative features and lighting systems that help display the artworks to maximum effect.
As well as the nine internal galleries where the museum's collection of American art, Haitian art, and art from Latin America are displayed, the museum has an outdoor sculpture garden containing almost sixty individual works.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, in Miami is a square block of a building fronted by a pond-like lagoon that's much more attractive inside than it is out. Located in North Miami on 125the Street, the modern gallery has twenty-six thousand square feet of exhibition space where it displays works from known as well as up-and-coming contemporary artists.
As well as a permanent collection there are rotating exhibits, plus the contemporary art museum holds temporary indoor and outdoor exhibits, workshops, and online creativity sessions for kids from the age of one upwards, summer art camps for teenagers, and tutorials for adults.
Van Gogh The Immersive Experience
Van Gogh is one of the most renowned international artists and you can discover the magic of his work with the latest technology at the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience Museum. This is an art museum that displays Van Gogh's most famous paintings in a really totally new way.
The walls of the galleries have been converted into projection screens two stories high and that's where his paintings like Starry Night and Sunflowers take on new life. You can also take a virtual reality walk through a day in the life of the painter which is totally surreal and definitely an immersive experience.
Best Free Museums In Miami
Museums can be some of the top free things to do in Miami as long as you pick the right day to go. Each of the museums in Miami holds one or two days per month when museum admission is free. These are mostly weekends or within a specific time frame on a weekday.
For example, History Miami has free admission to all visitors on the second Saturday of the month while Miami Children's Museum is free on the third Friday of the month between three in the afternoon until nine in the evening.
The best thing to do is double-check on the official website of the museum you want to visit before you go as days and hours can vary from time to time.
Best Museums In Downtown Miami
Downtown is one of the best places in the city to spend the day touring museums as there are several of the best museums in Miami within a short walking distance of each other there.
By far the best museums in Miami Downtown are:-
- History Miami
- Perez Art Museum Miami
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- Van Gogh The Immersive Experience
Are there any cheap museums in Miami?
Miami isn't known for being the most affordable city in the world. However, you can save a few dollars by taking advantage of the free Museum days listed above. And if you're a local, or you no one, visit the public library where you can check out a museum pass. The pass is good for seven days and allows you admission to several of the city's top museums absolutely free.
No matter which of the museums in Miami you end up visiting you're guaranteed a great experience and one that'll you'll come away from, if not richer in your pocket, richer in knowledge.