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With swaying palm trees and turquoise waters, Miami is a popular destination for travelers looking for sun-soaked beaches. And while Miami is the perfect place for a relaxing, tropical vacation, it’s also known for its diverse community and compelling history.
And what better way to explore Miami’s vibrant culture than by visiting one of its museums? If you can tear yourself away from the beaches, you’ll be rewarded with a world of fascinating history, one-of-a-king art, and stunning art deco architecture.
We’ve put together this complete list of our favorite museums to Miami. So if you need a break from the heat, you’ll know exactly which places to visit!
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Located in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park, the Pérez Art Museum Miami contains an impressive 2,000 pieces of 20th century and contemporary art. And while most of the pieces come from artists from the Americas, there’s also a wide variety of Western European and African art as well.
The Pérez Art Museum Miami also pays homage to Jorge M. Pérez’s roots with one of the largest collection of Cuban art in America.
Get free admission to the Pérez Art Museum with the Go Miami Card.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, or MoCa, has been an iconic staple in Miami since the early 80s. Although it only has around 400 pieces of art, it still manages to capture the hearts of thousands of visitors each year.
Artists include Pablo Cano, Teresita Fernandez, and Keith Haring, to name a few. But besides the gallery, MoCa also hosts live events for the Miami community, including their weekly Jazz concert series.
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Located in two restored synagogues on the Florida International University campus, the Jewish Museum of Florida is one of the best cultural museums in Miami.
There are over 100,000 art pieces, objects, and artifacts curated over the years from Jewish immigrants that reside in Florida. But if you want to dive deeper into history, there’s also a wonderful exhibit on how Jewish life has evolved in Florida over the last 250 years.
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Set inside the magnificent villa and estate of James Deering, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was developed to preserve the natural, tropical landscape of Miami. You can venture inside the villa and admire the lavish and original furnishing and decor, or explore the lush gardens that surround the area.
The 20th-century building is worth a visit on its own, and looks as if it was plucked right from the rolling hills of Tuscany!
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If you want to learn more about Miami’s vibrant history, then look no further than the HistoryMiami Museum. With four permeant galleries and three rotating exhibits, the HistoryMiami Museum dives back in history 12,000 years and focuses on key events like Native American settlements, the Spanish Exploration, and even WWII.
Some important objects on display include a 1920s trolley car and life rafts that were used for refugees.
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Let your imagination and creative flag fly at the fun and educational Miami Children’s Museum! Here, children (and children of all ages) will discover a world of color, music, and science.
There are dozens of interactive exhibits, such as the Castle of Dreams, the Multi-Sensory Room, and even rooms from a Carnival Cruise Ship! You can even rock climb your way up to the top of a mini Machu Picchu!
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Another family-fun museum is the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Learn about the human body, watch a laser show in the state-of-the-art planetarium, or explore the world of space travel. And once you’re done visiting the exhibits, you can unwind by admiring the sea life in the on-site aquarium!
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Learn all about the lavish Coral Cables neighborhood at the Coral Cables Museum in Miami! Located inside a historic fire and police station, the museum explores what makes this charming neighborhood one of the best places in Miami.
Besides several rotating art collections, there’s also a permanent exhibit on George Merrick, the visionary behind the Coral Gables neighborhood.
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At the World Erotic Art Museum, you’ll see a side of art that you won’t see in most other art galleries! In this tasteful museum, you’ll find over 4,000 erotic paintings, drawings, and photographs from world-renown artists like Picasso and Rembrandt.
You can also see how sexuality is portrayed throughout the world by visiting the Tibetan, African, and Native American showrooms. And don’t forget to visit the six-foot-tall penis statue (you can’t miss it if you tried)!
Home to over 40 antique and modern railway cars, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is guaranteed to delight any train fanatic. Some historic cars include the Western Pacific “Silver Crescent” and Florida East Coast “113.” engine.
The museum also teaches you about the history of railroads in Florida through videos and photographs. And, you can even take a ride in one of the working locomotives.
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Focusing on Cold War-era military aircrafts, the Wings Over Miami Air Museum is a great place for both aviation and history enthusiasts! Most notably, the museum is home to the F-14D Tomcat aircraft that was used in Operation Iraqi Freedom missions.
However, there’s also a large collection of other vintage trainers and jets. The museum also hosts a variety of events, like classic car shows and Drone flying days.
Focusing on international and contemporary modern art, the Bass is one of Miami’s coolest museums. Opening in 1964, the Bass has grown to include some of the most influential works from world-famous artists, including El Anatsui, Isaac Julien, and Eve Sussman.
You’ll find exhibits on paintings, design, fashion, and architecture, just to name a few. After your visit, take a stroll around the lush and tranquil sculpture garden outside.
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If you’re looking to impress your Instagram followers with beautiful backdrops, head to Miami’s newest museum, the Unicorn Factory! Covered wall to wall in vibrant colors and neon lights, it’s the ultimate spot to let your imagination and creativity run wild.
Jump into a pool of sprinkles, pose under a glowing rainbow, and swing on a giant banana! Just remember to bring your camera, because you’re going to want to take as many photos as possible!
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For a different art experience, head to The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami. Located inside a sprawling 45,000 square foot warehouse, the museum hosts a variety of larger-than-life installations and exhibits.
Mixed-media is king here, and you’ll find plenty of unique and memorable installations throughout the warehouse rooms. There are also permanent exhibitions for creative artists including John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, and Donald Judd.
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Focused on the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, the Bay of Pigs Museum and Library is an educational and insightful experience. Although its small in size, the museum contains an interesting collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the failed military invasion. You can even see the original Brigade 2506 flag that was held by John F. Kennedy!
How many museums are in Miami?
There are several dozen museums scattered around the beautiful city of Miami. You can find everything from art galleries to history museums. Not to mention, Miami is also home to a few unique and quirky museums too!
How many free museums are in Miami?
Most museums in Miami require entrance fees, anywhere from $5 – $30 on average. However, some museums are free to visit, including the Bay of Pigs Museum. And if you register for a Miami-Dade library card, you can visit most museums in Miami for free!
What are the hours of Miami museums?
Museums in Miami open around 9 or 10 am and close around 5 or 6 pm. While most museums are open on the weekends, some close one day a week, usually on a Monday or Tuesday.
What can I bring into Miami museums?
While many museums allow photography, selfie sticks and tripods are usually prohibited. And in many outdoor spaces and museums, drones are also not allowed. However, bottled water and light snacks are generally allowed inside most museums.
There you have it! The ultimate list of our favorite museums to visit in Miami!
As you now know, there’s so much more to Miami than beaches, bikinis, and boardwalks. And while Miami does have it’s fair share of outdoor activities, some of the city’s coolest attractions can be found indoors.
In fact, the city is teeming with fascinating museums and art galleries waiting to be explored. Whether you’re interested in history, aviation, or even erotic art, you’re guaranteed to find something that sparks your interest.
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!