Beach, bikinis and bottle service. That’s the buzz about Miami, and let’s not forget about one other significant “B”, Basel, the arts festival the takes over the city every December. But this South Florida city is actually an arts and cultural hub year round. To only beeline to the Miami’s sun and surf in South Beach would be like going to a Michelin-starred resto and leaving after the amuse bouche. Listen to the very wise Will Smith—”Welcome to Miami” is not only still one hype summer jam, it’s loaded with truths. Tack on extra days to your visit and stay to feed your soul in addition to getting your vitamin sea.
Museum-hop around the city
Before even entering the Pérez Art Museum of Miami it takes your breath away; with a soaring canopy above, on an elevated on a platform and views of Biscayne Bay, this Herzog and de Meuron design is lush with greenery (and, bless, shade) on the outside. Inside, the galleries are filled with modern and contemporary pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries, including a current exhibit on Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Surrounded Islands. Over at The Bass, which you can easily spot with Ugo Rondinone’s Magic Mountain in its front yard, contemporary art is celebrated with phenomenal exhibits from artists including Paola Pivi and Aaron Curry, whose striking installations we found ourselves magically enveloped in.
Walk this way to Art Deco gems with the Miami Design Preservation League
Once a thriving vacation spot, the Great Depression hit in 1926 and wiped out the Mediterranean-inspired resort spots. It took 10 years before anyone looked at rebuilding due to the Depression. Then, keen to create an affordable vacation destination for Americans, developers began the Art Deco revival of the strip, and the look took hold. Ever pondered why many of the hotels are white, elevator-less and how the heck the Versace Mansion design fits into all of this? Geek out over these historical details on the Art Deco walking tour with the Miami Design Preservation League and change forever what you notice as you stroll down Ocean Drive.
“Bug out” in the Wynwood Arts District
What are throwies? Graffiti versus street art… what the difference? Is getting paid by a corporation for a work of street art selling out? So many questions, and we know where you can get so many answers. Everything you ever wanted to know about street art is served up straight from graffiti artists themselves in the historic Wynwood Arts District. Make your visit to Wynwood more than just doing it for the ’gram by learning about the world of street art. For a primer on the world of street art—and a fun ride in a buggy (trust us, you’ll appreciate zipping you around the neighbourhood in the hot sunshine rather than being on foot)—a tour with Wynwood Buggies will give you the downlow, the history and the stories behind the incredible artwork. See the significant works that have defined this once gritty area, and gain a greater appreciation for how far the art form has helped the neighbourhood evolve, much of which was kickstarted with the Wynwood Walls.
Spend some time in therapy (of the retail variety)
Fashion lovers will not want to miss hopping from boutique to boutique in the Design District, where many couture items straight from the runway can be found. Besides exclusive luxury fashion house finds, the flagship boutique themselves are celebrations of interior design. Take Balenciaga’s graphic solar panels, Christian Louboutin’s tree bark exterior, and Dolce & Gabbana’s teatro-inspired shop as a few examples. If decor is more your jam, in the creative community of Ironside, you’ll discover sexy slabs of gorgeous granite at Coverings Etc., drop-dead gorgeous Brazilian furniture with a mid-century modern aesthetic at Espasso and bold modern and contemporary art from the likes of Banksy, Jeff Koons and Gavin Rain at the Smith David Gallery.
Picnic to live classical music
Take the beauty of an orchestra playing classical music, minus the stuffiness and add fresh air, picnic blankets (or camping chairs) and your fave snacks and you have the New World Center’s Wallcast concerts. With the New World Symphony performing inside the luxe theatre for paying patrons, their performance is broadcast just outside in SoundScape Park. Admission is free, which you may appreciate after your afternoon in the Design District.