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Pérez Art Museum Miami
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The best museums in Miami for a sweet culture fix

Get your art on at the best museums in Miami, showcasing an array of artists, recognizable works and 'gram-worthy finds

Falyn Wood
Virginia Gil
Written by
Falyn Wood
Contributor
Virginia Gil
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Now that Art Basel has come and gone, it’s our duty to remind you that art in Miami is very much a thing year-round. Seriously! Apart from the sunny sands of South Beach and the infamous Miami nightlife, our city is home to world-class artists and cultural institutions people go out of their way to visit. It’s true, Miami museums have grown in popularity over the years, giving rise to experiential exhibitions, indoor graffiti retrospectives and community-focused programming. Ready for a worthwhile culture fix? Here’s our guide to the best museums in Miami.

Best museums in Miami

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Allapattah

What began as a family collection more than 50 years ago has evolved into one of the city’s most sought-after art spaces. Recently relocated from its Wynwood home to a sprawling converted warehouse space in Allapattah, the museum features 48 exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations curated from the collection’s impressive 7,200 works by more than 1,000 artists.

  • Things to do
  • Downtown

PAMM is a cultural hotspot in more ways than one. Obviously, you’ll find plenty of stunning contemporary art scattered inside the modern museum. But PAMM’s waterfront steps also serve as a meeting point for Miami creatives, hosting events that range from indie concerts and drag shows to Q&As with legendary artists. On your way out, enjoy bayfront views as you peruse the sculpture garden and PAMM’s interactive outdoor installations.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Downtown

Frost Science is a family-friendly museum with state-of-the-art technology and a mind-blowing planetarium. The kids are going to love bouncing from floor to floor, walking through the interactive exhibits and looking at the wildlife. And the adults are going to feel like kids again. The crowd-pleasing “Deep,” the last of the aquarium’s three levels, is where you’ll learn about the vast depths of the Gulf Stream. Your journey culminates with a 31-foot oculus lens forming the bottom of the Gulf Stream Aquarium (and an iconic photo opp), where tuna and sharks cruise overhead.

  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • South Beach

A cultural island flanked by nightclubs and late-night eateries, its permanent collections offer a fascinating perspective into various historical events told through elements of design: paintings, graphic designs and advertising. Wolfsonian is the perfect place to put away your phone and appreciate the older forms of human rhetoric, and admission is always free.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • Design District

Hip, trendy, sleek and—best of all—free! ICA Miami presents contemporary works and site-specific installations across six galleries and a 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden. You won’t spend hours and hours here but it’s a perfect dose of wonderfully curated works. For something more interactive, check out ICA Speaks, a series of free art talks from museum artists that happens periodically at the Design District’s open-air palm court. Check ICA’s website for dates.

  • Things to do
  • Downtown

Established in 1940, HistoryMiami is the second oldest cultural institution in South Florida and a microcosm of Miami lore. Anytime a famous person makes history in Miami, it’s documented here—including the time the Beatles performed sold-out shows in Miami Beach. All exhibits at HistoryMiami are fun and interactive so kids of all ages will enjoy learning about a time they may or may not remember. Step off the premises and embark on one of the museum’s city tours, which include a boat excursion to Stiltsville (a series of colorful wooden houses built on the flats of Biscayne Bay that date back to the 1940s) led by resident historian Dr. Paul George.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • South Beach

At the center of Miami Beach’s Collins Park is the Bass, an Art Deco building recently renovated to include more exhibition space, four new galleries, a gift shop, a café by Thierry Isambert and an educational facility called the Creativity Center. Outside, you’ll find Ugo Rondinone’s colorful sculpture Miami Mountain, one of the coolest pieces of public art in the city. Weekends at the Bass are extra special thanks to the Bass Highlights Tour, an interactive, behind-the-scenes rundown of the museum’s best works, guided by a trained educator. Tours run for 45 minutes every Saturday at 2pm and are included with the cost of museum admission.

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • North Miami

MOCA was a trailblazer in Miami’s 1990s art scene, assembling a collection of contemporary works when no one else was. A bit off the beaten path and more low-key than the museums clustered in downtown Miami, you’ll still find big Art Basel debuts and avant-garde exhibitions from international artists here. In 2022, the museum welcomed curator Adeze Wilford, who's already spearheaded a handful of temporary public art projects focusing on local artists

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  • Things to do
  • University Park

The Frosts sure like their museums. This one (the only Smithsonian-affiliated art museum in Miami) is on the FIU campus and admission is always free and open to the public. Permanent collections include African artifacts, pre-Columbian art and a substantial collection of American prints from the 1960s.

  • Things to do
  • Coral Gables
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This small but notable museum comes courtesy of the University of Miami. Lowe was actually the first art museum in Miami (opened in 1950) and paved the way for a number of newcomers, introducing the city to international artists thanks to a number of traveling exhibitions it welcomes annually. Don’t miss Lowe’s lovely sculpture garden on UM’s campus. It's absolutely worth a stroll. 

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  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Wynwood

Wynwood's only art museum is dedicated to the very medium that put the neighborhood on the map: graffiti. Learn about the history of tagging, from its genesis in 1970s New York to its ascendance as a respected global art form. The museum features a permanent collection of iconic taggers’ indelible work as well as special exhibitions. Be sure to take advantage of the ongoing programming for kids and adults alike, including graffiti lessons for the little ones and bike tours for the grown-ups interested in seeing more street art. Check its website for the latest.

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Allapattah

Collector, philanthropist and real estate developer Jorge M. Pérez (the same guy behind the PAMM) founded this contemporary art space in 2019 with thousands of personal pieces as well as the works of many others. Expect to see rotating exhibitions plus a lineup of artists in residence and special event programming in this massive repurposed warehouse in Allapattah.

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  • Things to do
  • Miami

Here’s a museum for the little ones. No fancy champagne or strict rules here. Located on Watson Island, most of the museum operates as a large, interactive playground, giving children the opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences and activities designed to coincide with the Miami-Dade Public Schools curriculum. Remember that big piano Tom Hanks plays with his feet in Big? They have one.

 

  • Things to do
  • Coral Gables

This museum will give you some perspective into one of Miami’s most lavish areas, and its historic building is the former site of Coral Gables’ old fire and police stations. Coral Gables Museum is smack in the middle of the neighborhood’s most vibrant area, which means you can make an afternoon out of the trip. The museum also offers guided tours, twice a month on foot and on the third Sunday of the month via bicycle.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • South Beach

Home of the six-foot-tall penis, an impressively diverse collection of sex toys, a wall of vulva and even a Picasso, the 12,000-square-foot World Erotic Art Museum pays homage to erotic expression in the erotic land of South Beach. WEAM offers all sorts of programming, from talks and roundtable discussions to nude sketching. Whether it’s through conversations, art or general immersion, there’s really no safer space to express your sexuality than at WEAM. 

  • Things to do
  • Miami

You'll find the Gold Coast Railroad Museum only a hop, skip and a jump away from Zoo Miami. Here you can wander through over 40 rail cars of yore, including the Presidential Rail Car Ferdinand Magellan, which carried presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and—for one day during the 1984 election campaign—Ronald Reagan. Since it's a relaxed affair, it's perfect for family day trips, and kids can enjoy a ride on the Edwin Link Children’s Railroad for less than the price of a cup of coffee. 

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