10 Florida Art Museums Perfect for the Creative Traveler

Most tourists visit Florida for the sun, sand and surf. But that doesn’t mean visitors shouldn’t check out the Sunshine State’s art scene while they’re there. Florida is full of art museums, making it literally a paradise for creative people. From contemporary art and history to a vibrant mix of cultures and diverse media, if you’re passionate about all things art then you’ll be delighted with all the options here. What’s more, marveling at world-class artwork is the perfect retreat from the hot sun and occasional afternoon thunderstorms. However, these are ten of the best art museums in Florida that are perfect for the creative traveler.

10 Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

One of the first art museums travelers should visit is the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA). FMoPA is a truly unique space in Tampa that is entirely dedicated to the exhibition of photographic artwork. Here, creative travelers will immediately fall in love with the wide variety of stunning photographs that range from critical pivotal events in history to everyday contemporary life and culture. FMoPA is an excellent choice for history buffs, photographers, and anyone who can appreciate these preserved exhibits of historical and contemporary works from around the world.

9 Nova Southeastern University Art Museum

For artists who find themselves in Fort Lauderdale, the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, also known as the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, is an absolute must. This modernist architectural space has several current exhibitions, dozens of galleries, an extensive auditorium for various events, a music store and a café. Plus, this wonderful museum is located in the heart of South Florida’s Art Coast. So visitors can explore the scenic Riverwalk, nearby shops, other galleries, great bars and several waterfront restaurants after touring the site.

8 The Mennello Museum of American Art

At the Mennello Museum of American Art, cultural travelers can admire incredible works of art and a wide array of paintings by some of the most extraordinary talent around. What’s more, this Orlando-based art gallery with a semi-intimate setting has comprehensive programs, a variety of classes, special events, educational initiatives, and a variety of current exhibitions that highlight all things American. So if you’ve been wanting to peek into the past, present, and future of American art, here’s your chance to do so. This art museum displays a diverse range of artists, genres and time periods.

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7 Perez Museum of Art in Miami

For those travelers enjoying the sun in Miami, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is a must-see. Here, the main focus is on international art of the 20th and 21st centuries. There is an extensive permanent collection of works by several acclaimed artists, including Jenny Holzer and Sam Gilliam. This larger-than-life museum also has a legendary facade, hanging gardens, a sculpture garden overlooking Biscayne Bay, and phenomenal exhibits. Many of these art studies cover the post-colonial condition, the art of the African diaspora, current topics consuming society, and much more. Plus, one of the nice things about this museum is that it has timed tickets that can be booked online in advance. So you can enjoy the museum without feeling like you can’t see past the crowd.

6 Ernest Hemingway’s house

If you happen to be in the Key West area, you probably already know that Ernest Hemingway is kind of a big deal. So do yourself a favor and check out the Ernest Hemingway Museum. Not only is it a fascinating peak into the life of one of America’s most beloved writers and his entire creative process, it’s also a simply delightful experience. Ernest Hemingway’s former residence/now museum still has much of its 1930s charm and decor — along with generations of six-toed cats. As a bonus, for all literary enthusiasts, you can actually see Hemingway’s writing studio, so be prepared to get your fangirl/boyfriend on while you visit.

5 Mount Dora Museum of Modernism

At first glance, the Mount Dora Museum of Modernism seems very eclectic and oddly focused on uniquely beautiful yet fully functional furniture. But don’t let that deter you; this museum’s informational video illustrating the Memphis art movement of the 1980s is practically life-changing. Plus, a surprising fact here is that much of the museum’s collection once belonged to David Bowie’s private estate. So if you’re looking for an unexpected trip down the rabbit hole that pushes boundaries and subverts expectations, then this is more than likely the museum for you.

4 Tampa Museum of Art

Another great museum in Florida that travelers and art lovers are sure to love is the Tampa Museum of Art. With a historically significant permanent collection that displays a wealth of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian art and artifacts ranging from 600 to 300 BC, this museum is perfect for both history buffs and creative types. There are also amazing temporary exhibitions and updates that happen here regularly, so check the schedule on this museum’s website to find out what wonderful events and performances await you.

3 Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsicality

Located in Sarasota, The Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy, as its name suggests, is all about bringing items of artistic and whimsical significance to the masses. As a result, museum visitors can explore a wide variety of artwork from living artists, different art mediums, and more. If you decide to visit, be sure to check out the outdoor Lee Family Gardens, especially if you enjoy taking artistic and whimsical photos of unique spaces.

2 Institute of Contemporary Art

Located in Miami’s famous design district, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is a feast for the eyes. Not only is this museum bold and eye-catching, but it also has current and special exhibits that showcase emerging local artists. So if you’re into Latin American artists in particular, then you’re in for a real treat here. All in all, it’s the perfect place for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the artsy side of Miami while on vacation. Notable permanent collections at the ICA include works by Pablo Picasso, Yves Klein and Roy Lichtenstein – just to name a few.

Related: Miami: How to Visit Florida’s Best City on a Budget

1 Salvador Dali Museum

Finally, creative travelers should check out the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg at least once in their lifetime. Dali’s works helped make Surrealism what it is today, and this phenomenal gallery celebrates his work from at least every possible angle. So if you haven’t had the chance before to check out this glittering balloon-shaped museum with mirrored windows or fall head over heels in love with Dali, then now is your chance. Here, museum visitors can see Dali’s most notable works and thousands of his lesser-known works.

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