(Also check out a more recent post Miami Rainy Day Indoor Fun Part II)
Growing up in the “rainy” Pacific Northwest I heard quite often the statistic that Portland gets less rain annually than many other cities, even ones perceived to be “sunny.” Miami is in fact one of those cities. While Portland gets 36 inches precipitation per year Miami gets 55.9 inches per year! The difference is that while Portland gets its rainfall in pretty constant drizzle from late Fall to early Spring (and sometime longer), Miami gets it in more isolated, quick bursts throughout the year (especially those summer downpours that seems to happen like clockwork every day around 3 or 4 PM). The rest of the time (even the rest of the day) is bright and sunny. Sometime however in Miami we have a period of a few gray and/or rainy days in a row (like this past week and weekend). That makes a lot of Miamians very cranky!
While Miami is best known for its many opportunities to take advantage of in the sunny weather, there also are some great options to explore indoors on those rainy days (or sunny days). Below are some places to check out when the weather might not be cooperating with your vacation or weekend.
Art Exploration Day
-My friend Jess and I did an art exploration day and checked out a number of different art museums around Miami and Miami Beach to get a much overdue art fix. They included Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami, the Bass Art Museum, and the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum. I am going to hold off on reviewing Vizcaya here because it’s best enjoyed on a sunny day due to the gardens (so a separate review will be forthcoming).
After going to Vizcaya we headed to the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami. Of the museums we visited this was definitely my favorite. It has a lot of variety of styles and periods of art, but also quite a number of paintings for each. The rooms for the different collections are titled- Contemporary, Ancient American, Pacific Islands, Asian, African, Native American, 17th-20th Century American and European, Renaissance and Baroque, and Antiquities. In addition to spaces for special exhibits, there also is a slightly detached Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts gallery, which has some very cool and unique pieces. I appreciated that the layout of the museum allows for a great flow between the different styles and periods. I definitely plan on visiting the Lowe again.
The Lowe is currently celebrating its 60th Anniversary and has a special exhibited titled “In the Vault: Building a Legacy, Sixty Years of Collecting at the Lowe Art Museum,” and features 137 rarely or never scene pieces from the permanent collection. It runs until March 25th (2012) and I definitely plan on checking this out.
Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami- 1290 Stanford Drive Coral Gables, FL
After lunch at Thai Moon on US 1 we headed over to South Beach to the Bass Art Museum, which I’d describe as a mid-size art museum in Miami Beach. The building itself has some great architecture on a long grassy quad. The museum has a number of paintings in a variety of styles and periods. What is cool is that it currently has the only Egyptian gallery in Florida and I did enjoy several of the individual pieces. There seemed to be less paintings in some of the styles represented and some less defined spaces that the Lowe, which made the collection feel a bit eclectic. As we were walking around I felt like I was turning in circles a lot trying to make sure I saw everything since there a number of partial walls with pieces on both sides. I enjoyed the Bass Art Museum and glad I visited, but I think I’d visit again only if saw a temporary exhibit that interested me.
Bass Art Museum- 2100 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL
Our final stop was the Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum in South Beach. The museum is very small and only has a limited number of pieces. The permanent collection seemed to be a variety of prints and posters, as well as a number of pieces of “everyday life” from different points in the previous century. The visiting collection I saw was an exhibit about British posters for transportation. The exhibit was interesting, but I would make sure you check out what exhibits are currently there and decide if you’d be interested in visiting.
Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum- 1001 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL
A few places next on my list for art adventures are the Miami Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the private collections in the Wynwood Arts District (Rubell, Margulies, and de la Cruz). Add them to your list if you’re looking for some more art in Miami.
An additional place that I’d recommend on a rainy day would be the Aventura Mall. Unlike other shopping centers like CocoWalk or Bal Harbour Shops, which have a lot of outdoor space, Aventura Mall is all indoors. The mall is the 5th largest in the country, with three floors and 300 stores. The anchor stores include Nordstroms, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Sears and JC Penny, plus many upscale shops, including my favorite store Restoration Hardware. Plus a food court and numerous chain restaurants- average and upscale. There’s something to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day.
Aventura Mall- 19501 Biscayne Blvd Aventura, FL