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The Miami Guide

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When most people think of Miami, they picture the glitzy hotels and parties of South Beach. And while that quintessentially South Florida scene is as fabulous as ever, in the fifteen years since Art Basel made its second home here, the city has gained a reputation as one of the world’s cultural capitals as well. Both the Miami Art Museum (now the Pérez) and the Bass Museum have undergone significant renovations in recent years, with a brand-new building for the newly formed ICA on the way, and two of the major neighborhood renaissances of recent years—the Wynwood Arts District and the Design District—have centered around the city’s newfound sway in the art world. You’ll find evidence of the city’s artistic sensibility across Biscayne Bay, too, touring South Beach’s historic Art Deco gems or peeking inside the newly unveiled, Rem Koolhaas-designed Faena Forum, on the same block as a showstopping hotel of the same name. Below, our favorite places to stay, eat, shop, and play in the Magic City—with options for every occasion from a romantic getaway to a girls weekend.

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Bass Museum of Art

2100 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach | 305.673.7530

South Beach's only public contemporary art museum is about to reopen after two years—their most recent renovation, which doubles the amount of available exhibition space with a major expansion of their original, 1930s-built Art Deco building, forced them to post all exhibitions, performances, film screenings, and other programming remotely. The much-anticipated reopening, scheduled for Fall 2017, will feature major exhibitions by Ugo Rondinone, Mika Rottenberg, and Pascale Marthine Tayou in the new space.

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Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation

1018 N. Miami Ave., Edgewater | 305.415.6343

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros' private collection is focused on Latin American artists—which is unsurprising, as Cisneros herself was born in Cuba and came of age in Venezuela. The exhibitions are housed in a former boxing gym near the Arts District—a squared building that's significantly spruced up by a stunning tile mural, which creates the illusion of a bamboo forest to the approaching visitor. Her foundation, for its part, gives annual commissions to mid-career Latin American artists who then become part of group shows at the space—an opportunity that not only exposes them to Miami's global art community but also gives them space to create their work outside the pressures of the market. Like other private collections in Miami, entry is free.

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De La Cruz Collection

23 NE 41 St., Design District | 305.576.6112

Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, who made their fortune with Carlos' bottling and distribution company, CC1, made their art-filled home open to the public for more than 25 years before they finally built a dedicated, and privately funded, space to house their collection. Since 2009, the public has been able to view the works in their collection free of charge in an Arts District building the couple operates as an extension of their home. The exhibitions here rotate on an annual basis to showcase a wide selection of works, while performances, films, workshops, and artist tours dot the calendar throughout the year. Like most private collections in town, entry is free.

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Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

4040 NE 2 Ave., Design District | 305.901.5272

This newish Design District institution was formed when the Board of MoCA North Miami split off from the original institution (the politics and ethics of which have been thoroughly debated within the art world, to no firm resolution). The past firmly behind them, ICA is looking forward to a bright future, with a brand-new, 35,000-square-foot building scheduled to open in late 2017 just around the corner from the de la Cruz Collection. Until then, they're working out of the historic Moore building on 2nd Avenue, where they host some of the most interesting exhibitions in the city, in no small part due to the influence of their young and (justifiably) hyped Chief Curator Alex Gartenfeld. Gartenfeld is known for bringing in some of the world's most forward-thinking contemporary artists, and he's also got an incredible collection at his disposal, with some of the city's most important collectors—Martin Margulies, the Braman family, and the de la Cruz's—among the donor pool. It's a critical stop on any walk through the Design District.

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Margulies Warehouse

591 NW 27th St., Wynwood | 305.576.1051

Billionaire real estate developer Martin Z. Margulies has been a fixture of the Miami art scene for more than 40 years—his private collection, housed in a 45,000-square-foot warehouse in Wynwood (he opened it just a few years after the Rubells, when the neighborhood looked very different than it does today) houses major works from contemporary artists across mediums, with an emphasis on sculpture and photography. The Margulies collection separates itself from other private art spaces in the city with its long-time and highly respected curator, Katherine Hinds, who is Margulies' right-hand on all collection-related matters. It has built a reputation for spotlighting ambitious sculptural works and immersive installations, like mirrored tile works by Olafur Eliasson, and one of Do Ho Suh's famous silk apartment works. Exhibitions rotate seasonally.

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O Cinema Wynwood

90 NW 29th St., Wynwood | 305.571.9970

Housed in a converted warehouse, this nonprofit indie theater is steps from the Rubell Collection and the Wynwood Walls—though it's tucked away behind the street, so it can be a bit tricky to find. O Cinema regularly screens independent, foreign, art, and classic pop culture films inside the cozy 112-seat theater, and occasionally hosts outdoor film screenings on the patio. The Wynwood location is the original, but they now have theaters in Miami Beach and Miami Shores, too.

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Emerson Dorsch Gallery

5900 NW 2nd Ave., Little Haiti | 305.576.1278

When EDG opened in Wynwood more than fifteen years ago, it was one of the first to anoint a neighborhood that’s now saturated with local art. Today, the pioneering gallery—founded by former engineer Brook Dorsch and his curator wife Tyler Emerson—has a new home in Little Haiti, where you’ll presently find a beautiful solo show from Brooklyn-based South Floridian Elisabeth Condon. Photo: Unnatural Life, by Elisabeth Condon

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Pérez Art Museum

1103 Biscayne Blvd, Edgewater | 305.375.3000

Opened in 2013, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed building has been largely responsible for the renewal of downtown Miami. Funded partially by collector Jorge Pérez, for whom the museum is named, the 20,000-square foot glass-and-concrete space houses some 1,800 works from the likes of John Baldessari, Olafur Eliasson, and Dan Flavin; there are also works on display by important Latin American artists including José Bedia and Beatriz González. Don’t miss a walk through the outdoor tropical plant-dotted sculpture garden, with large-scale sculpture gardens that are breathtaking against the water's edge.

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Rubell Collection

95 NW 29 St., Wynwood | 305.573.6090

One of the most special collections making up Wynwood’s art-filled galleries, the private holdings of collectors Mera and Donald Rubell are a must-stop on the global art go-around. (They were neighborhood pioneers, after all.) The Rubells’ at once controversial, eccentric, and thought-provoking pieces include Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Keith Haring in spades; they’re known for supporting young American artists as well. Opt for the audio tour, which is included in the price of admission, but if you can time it right, plan your visit around the twice-daily guided tours (at 11am & 3pm). After 23 years in the neighborhood, the family recently announced they’ll be moving their collection to a 2.5-acre campus designed by Selldorf Architects in 2018, which will include 40 galleries, a research library, and a tropical sculpture garden.

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Wynwood Walls

2520 NW 2 Ave., Wynwood | 305.531.4411

Easily one of the most instagrammed places in Miami, Wynwood Walls is the brainchild of developer Tony Goldman, who was key in the neighborhood's transformation from a forgotten industrial zone into a hipster paradise. The industrial buildings here, many of which lack windows, made the perfect canvas for Goldman to bring in what reads like a who's who of graffiti artists, including Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Os Gemeos, and Barry McGee to paint major large-scale murals. Though Goldman has since passed away, his wife and children bring new artists to the project every year, breathing fresh life into his colorful legacy. While the best way to experience these pieces is simply to walk around the neighborhood, street art nerds may want to book a tour, as they dig into the specifics behind some of the major pieces.