Sick of the beach? Sunburned? Is it raining? For whatever reason, you may find yourself in this beach-centered destination with the need or desire to do something non-beachy. Here are three great ideas.

1. South Beach Miami Botanical Garden

The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a visible display of community action, and an ongoing effort of South Beach Miami residents to make their town even more beautiful than it already is. The site, located at the northern end of South Beach Miami, is nestled in between the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Holocaust Memorial, at 2000 Convention Center Drive, South Beach, and it’s been here for forty years. After decades of neglect, it’s now making a comeback and includes the following types of gardens and collections:

  • Conservatory
  • Japanese
  • Herb
  • Orchid
  • Native Plant
  • Tropical
  • Display Garden
  • Xeriscape
  • Research
  • Kitchen

The site covers about five acres and offers visitors a calm spot of solitude to balance the frenetic and glitzy pace of South Beach Miami. It’s free admission, and there’s a gift shop. You can arrange for walking tours of the Botanical Garden or a walking tour of nearby Lincoln Road. If you happen to be in South Beach Miami on the second Thursday of any month, you can catch a cultural performance at the Miami Botanical Garden. Each Fall they also host the Herb Festival, and in early Spring the Palm Festival takes place.

2. South Beach Miami Bass Museum

The Bass Museum of Art is an eclectic collection of European art mixed with special exhibits housed in an original 1930s Streamline building decorated with Mayan carvings. Housed on permanent display here are The Holy Family by Peter Paul Rubens, and works of art by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Albrecht Dürer.

The Museum has recently been expanded to include a cafe and exterior sculpture gardens, as well as a whole new wing for collections. The expansion was designed by Arata Isozaki, a prominent Japanese architect. The original building was once the home of Miami Beach’s first library. Now, housed inside are more than 3,000 works, 500 of which were donated by John and Johanna Bass, who lived on Miami Beach.

The entire collection inside the Bass Museum of Art contains works dating back to the 1400s, up to the present. The collection also represents works from all over the world, such as Asian, Caribbean, North American, Latin American art from the seventh century up to the present. There are tapestries, ecclesiastical vestments, textiles, and contemporary design artifacts. Of particular interest are architectural photographs and drawings depicting the history of design in South Beach Miami. Most of what’s in the newer Isozaki wing is temporary, contemporary exhibitions.

The Museum is part of an arts conglomerate in historic Collins Park. Here you’ll find the Miami Beach Culture Park, which houses not only the Bass but also other cultural organizations as well. Calling the cultural park home are the Miami City Ballet and the Miami Beach Regional Library. The Ballet’s facility is an Arquitectonica design. If you peek inside you might see the dancers practicing their steps.

The Building

The building that the Bass Museum of Art is housed in is an architectural attraction for many visitors to South Beach Miami. The original building was designed in 1930 by famous architect Russell Pancoast. The 25,000-foot addition was built in the 1980s by Arata Isozaki, who was known for innovative designs and thoughtful creations. The original Art Deco style museum now houses offices, cafe, and lecture hall/gallery. The newer wing is for exhibitions. Located at 2121 Park Avenue, take a stroll to view the Bass Museum, both inside and out. See the keystone exterior and Gustav Gohland’s bas-reliefs at the entrance. Don’t miss the peaceful reflecting pool in the newer addition.


Each of these non-beachy things to do in South Beach can easily fill up an entire day. Feel free to linger, soak up the ambiance, and enjoy yourself, too. You may even end up learning a thing or two while you’re on vacation!

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