From the classic splendor of Coral Gables to the parade of vanities that is South Beach, few American cities are so vibrantly beautiful — and so profoundly aware of it. Miami legally belongs to the United States, but it's also the cultural capital of Latin America, and the lingua franca here is Spanish in all its myriad accents: Cuban, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Puerto Rican. The last decade has seen the ascendancy of several cultural institutions, including the symphony and Basel Art Fair, and a resurgent downtown in the Design District. Outside of the city, several lavish resorts offer self-enclosed experiences popular with families and those looking for some straightforward rest and relaxation.
A Thriving Art Scene
There’s something about the exuberance of Miami that I find very appealing: for example, the gusto with which the city has embraced the contemporary-art scene. The striking Pérez Art Museum Miami (1103 Biscayne Boulevard), formerly the Miami Art Museum, is emblematic. The building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, was made possible by a $40 million gift from board member Jorge M. Pérez. It is meant to resemble “Stiltsville,” which is the name given to a group of wooden houses built on stilts that stand off the coast of Key Biscayne.
At Art Basel Miami Beach (December 5-8, 2019), around 250 galleries show work from both modern masters and emerging artists. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs and films are displayed in the exhibition hall, while performances take place at Collins Park and SoundScape Park.