By Jennifer Agress
While arts and culture have always been defining points of the Magic City, it wasn’t until the beginning of the Millennium—when Art Basel Miami Beach first made its appearance—that Miami’s cultural side really began to shine. Today, roam up and down Collins Avenue, the vein of Sunny Isles and Miami Beach, and you’ll find a bevy of art museums, concerts, and theaters just waiting to be explored.
Here are three experiences you shouldn’t miss.
Visit one of Miami Beach’s standout art museums
Between Miami’s Art Deco history, the glittering Sunny Isles skyline, and the pristine, oceanfront architecture, there’s a bit of artistry everywhere you turn along Collins Avenue. Walk inside Miami Beach’s classic art museums, and you’ll find some of the Magic City’s most prized collections. Nestled in the heart of South Beach, The Wolfsonian – FIU, owned by Miami’s Florida International University, is home to 120,000+ relics of American and European decorative fine arts and art exhibitions, all dated between 1885 and 1945. Designed to make its viewers reflect on America’s colorful history, its collections have everything from propaganda posters to World’s Fair memorabilia, all of which examine the power of art to persuade and influence future generations.
Head further north to Collins Park, and right between 21st and 22nd Street, look for an obviously Art Deco building straight out of the 1930s—you’re at The Bass Museum of Art. Touted as South Florida’s first public exhibition space for art, this museum is known for its design, fashion, and architecture collections and, with the addition of the Creativity Center, the largest art museum education facility in Miami-Dade County. After undergoing a $12M renovation, during which guests could only visit a temporary “BassX” extension of the gallery at the Miami Beach Regional Library, the long-awaited reopening of The Bass Museum of Art is finally here. It reopened to much acclaim on October 29th with a grand opening celebration and members-only preview day.
Located at 1001 Washington Avenue, The Wolfsonian – FIU is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and on Sundays from Noon to 6 p.m. Admission starts at $8 for adults and is free on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Bass Museum of Art is located at 2100 Collins Avenue. Check the website for operating hours.
Photo: The Wolfsonian–FIU, Miami Beach, FL
Go see a show
If you’re a thespian at heart, get your theater fill at The Colony Theatre or The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater. The first sits right on famed Lincoln Road, in the same location it opened as a Paramount Pictures movie house in 1935. After undergoing a $6.5M renovation to restore its Art Deco façade, today, The Colony Theatre plays host to music, dance, comedy, and theatrical performances by Miami New Drama. The Fillmore Miami Beach, however, is even more of an area staple. Go here for performances by Circa Survive, ALT-J, and Paramore, the South Beach Comedy Festival, and even individual comedians.
The Colony Theatre is located at 1040 Lincoln Road. The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater is located at 1700 Washington Avenue. To find out what’s playing and when, check out their performance calendars here and here.
Photo: Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater / Dylan Rives
Get your orchestra fix at the New World Center
Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the New World Center plays host to Miami’s leading orchestra group, the New World Symphony. Led by Michael Tilson Thomas—artistic director, New World Symphony founder, and conductor extraordinaire—this prestigious group of musicians puts on both classical and avant-garde concerts inside its theater and, like the most cutting-edge of orchestras, simultaneously broadcasts live to the public on New World Center’s outside wall. This season, get a taste of Miami’s performing arts scene with a show by the New World Symphony. There are plenty to choose from, like an Appalachian Spring concert featuring violinist Nicola Benedetti to kick off Art Basel on Saturday and Sunday, December 2nd and 3rd and a Sounds of the Season performance on Friday, December 15th.
The New World Center is located at 500 17th Street. To find out when you can see the New World Symphony in action, check out their performance calendar here.
Featured Photo: The Bass Museum of Art
About the Contributor
Jennifer Agress is a freelance writer covering food, drink, and culture. When she’s not combing the streets of Miami for a bagel and a latte, she’s likely covering luxury travel and dining for Dining Out Magazine, Private Air Luxury Homes Magazine, Haute Living Miami, Upscale Living Magazine, and Epicurean Charlotte.