5 Best Sights in Downtown, Miami and Miami Beach

HistoryMiami Museum

Fodor's choice

Discover a treasure trove of colorful stories about the region's history. Exhibits celebrate the city's multicultural heritage, including an old Miami streetcar and unique items chronicling the migration of Cubans to Miami. Truth be told, the museum is not wildly popular with tourists; however, the museum's tours certainly are. You can take a wide range of walking, boat, coach, bike, gallery, and eco-history tours with varying prices, including culture walks through Little Haiti, informative and exciting Little Havana Arts and Culture Walks, and an evening of storytelling during the Moon Over Miami tour led by HistoryMiami historian Dr. Paul George, where you'll float through Downtown on the Miami River, learning all about Miami's early history circa the Tequesta tribe's days.

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Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Fodor's choice

Equal parts style and science, this hypermodern, $300 million–plus museum along Biscayne Bay is totally worth forgoing time at the beach. The high-design museum transitions the indoors and outdoors over multiple levels and an impressive 250,000 square feet, crowned by a see-through, shark-filled, 500,000-gallon aquarium. Beyond exhibitions dedicated to oceans, engineering, and the Everglades, look forward to one of the most sophisticated planetariums in the country, which uses 16-million-color 8K projection.

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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Culture vultures and other artsy types are drawn to this stunning performing arts center, which includes the 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House, the 2,200-seat John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, the black-box Carnival Studio Theater, and the outdoor Parker and Vann Thomson Plaza for the Arts. Throughout the year, you'll find top-notch performances by local and national touring groups, including Broadway hits like Wicked and Hamilton, intimate music concerts, and showstopping ballet. Think of it as a sliver of savoir faire to temper Miami's often-over-the-top vibe. The massive development was designed by architect César Pelli. Complimentary one-hour tours of the Arsht Center, highlighting the architecture and its public art, are offered every Saturday and Monday at noon. Arrive early for your performance to dine at BRAVA, where a prix-fixe menu allows you to enjoy three courses with plenty of time to make it to your seats for the show.

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Fredric Snitzer Gallery

The gallery of this longtime figure in the Miami arts scene highlights emerging and mid-career artists, providing them that tipping point needed for national and international exposure and recognition. It maintains its warehouse roots, letting the art speak for itself amid the raw walls and ample natural light. Though a commercial gallery, the selection is highly curated. Rotating monthly exhibitions are usually thematic, with works by one of its represented artists, including Hernan Bas, Alice Aycock, Enrique Martínez Celaya, and Jon Pylypchuk. For the art novice, the team, including Snitzer himself, is readily available and willing to share their knowledge.

Miami Children's Museum

This Arquitectonica-designed museum, both imaginative and geometric in appearance, is directly across the MacArthur Causeway from Jungle Island. Twelve galleries house hundreds of interactive, bilingual exhibits. Children can scan plastic groceries in the supermarket, scramble through a giant sandcastle, climb a rock wall, learn about the Everglades, and combine rhythms in the world-music studio.

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