During my visit to Miami (1st time and definitely many more to come….I can’t believe that was my first time!), I immediately fell in love with this city and wanted to stay! While it was snowing in NY, I was soaking up some sun at both the beach and hotel pool. However, the beach ISN’T everything in Miami, and I quickly learned that. If you love food (I mean, who doesn’t?), you’ll love what Miami has to offer. The Cuban food in Miami surpassed all my expectations…me & my friends talked about it for days. I can definitely say that in New York, I have not had Cuban food like the one I had there (in Calle Ocho in Little Havana). And ohhh the smell and taste of that Cuban coffee. Also note, there is a generous variety of very good Latin American restaurants in Miami.
Another great thing about Miami is it’s Art Deco architecture and the overall art scene. Currently, as you’ll read below – Miami has 72 theatres, 18 museums, 1 concert hall, and 27 art galleries. And did I mention no Florida state tax?! What’s not to love?
Miami is America’s Arts Capital
Miami, the land of plastic surgery, bikinis, nightclubs, and drugs, right? Wrong, if you’ve been to Miami lately, you’ll understand that it offers a rich culture beyond the prototypical hipster dreams of Williamsburg or Seattle.
While New York has traditionally been considered America’s art capital (The Met, Broadway), a list published by This Is Insider listed Miami above New York as the world’s fourth most artistic city.
Miami has come a long way since the era of poverty and partying of the 1960s to become an exploding art mecca of the past decade. Miami has taken these changes on its chin, while proudly embracing its rich history and heterogeneous culture. Between a mixture of community investment and the opening of several new theaters and art galleries, Miami residents can proudly claim to be America’s capital of arts and culture.
A Little Background
Miami is a melting pot of various Latin American cultures and this is expressed in everything from its eclectic culinary scene to the art deco districts of Downtown, Little Havana, and Wynwood. The city has always served as a magnet for youth. Miami real estate remains relatively affordable in its developing neighborhoods and rent was historically cheap all around the city, albeit, until recently.
A large part of Miami’s restoration of the downtown and art deco districts can be owed to a few private individuals and Miami’s thriving LGBT community. In the 1980s, Leonard Horowitz and Barbara Baer Capitman founded the Miami Beach Design Preservation League to preserve buildings in the downtown. One way they drew attention to the deteriorating state of Miami’s downtown was to paint pastel murals on the exterior of local buildings and point attention to the rapidly deteriorating state of the neighborhood.
The downtown and South Beach soon became a safe haven for many LGBT members during the AIDS crisis of the late 80s. What resulted from these two events was the birth of the unofficial home of Miami’s art preservation projects in South Beach.
Currently, Miami has 72 theatres, 18 museums, 1 concert hall, and 27 art galleries. Of course, one walk down the brightly painted streets of Wynwood will allow you to fully comprehend Miami’s artistic vision. Wynwood represents the source of an invisible network of Miami’s artistic underground, leading the way in Miami’s revilization. Old industrial warehouses have been converted to clubs and foreclosed storefront are now quaint cafes. One could compare it to SoCal of Austin.
Miami’s Exploding Art Projects
One of Miami’s most famous art celebrations is the Miami Beach festival held each year. Growing from 30,000 visitors in 2002 to 77,000 in 2015, people from all around the country come to Miami to tour over 250 different pop up galleries and art venues across Wynwood and Downtown Miami.
Art Basel Miami is a five-day annual celebration, hosted each year around December and featuring over 250 artists from galleries across the world.
Aside from these there are literally pop up galleries and local art events held every day in Miami. The Wynwood Art Walk is held every second saturday of the month and features hundreds of artists and pop up galleries for people to tour throughout Wynwood.
Through a slew of private donations, a growing number of local art galleries, theatres, and organizations have sprouted up since the 1980s:
- The Adrienne Arsht Performing Center, which is now over a decade old.
- The Perez Miami Art Museum featuring award-winning architects Herzog and de Meuron.
- The Miami-Dade Arts in Public Places project, which has donated countless architectural works along downtown.
Beyond the mere art itself, Miami has transformed itself into one of the most unique cities of the country. Miami’s Cuban coffee will make that macchiato from your local coffee shop taste like motor oil. Even its music scene is making a new name for itself across the world, blending tons of different influences into something truly special. From every angle and every statistic, Miami reigns supreme as Miami’s most culturally diverse and artistic city.