HistoryMiami celebrates Miami's unique legacy with rotating exhibits tracing the area’s history from prehistoric times to the modern day. On the first Wednesday of every month, HistoryMiami throws down an open smorgasbord of live jams, fine wine, and tempting tidbits to flutter the wings of local social butterflies. July's Wine Down Wednesday celebrates the new Aviation in Miami exhibit with a special performance by the Oscar Fuentes Combo, whose poetic, Latin-fused rhythms evoke the history of Florida's skies, from Howard Gill's cardinal flight a century ago to today's majestic herds of domesticated clouds. Imbibe from the open wine and food bar while enjoying access to the museum galleries, outdoor courtyard, and spectral Crockett and Tubbs. Free parking is available at Cultural Parking Garage at 50 Northwest Second Avenue.
Thanks to a generous $35 million donation, the Miami Art Museum is now called the Perez Art Museum Miami, and has a shiny new home to match the label change. The Museum serves as the anchor to new 29-acre Museum Park, which overlooks glimmering Biscayne Bay. The updated digs were designed by Pritzker-Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron and are dedicated to international art of the 20th and 21st centuries, laid out across three stories. At more than triple the floor space of their previous home, the Perez is modern and contemporary, housing more than 1,300 works across a range of media. There is also Verde, a lovely waterfront restaurant and bar, where the menu is locally-inspired and created with seasonal ingredients.
The Patricia and Philip Frost Museum has spent most of its life outgrowing its digs. It debuted in 1949 as a children's museum, which took off quickly and soon expanded into the Museum of Science and Natural History in 1952. In 1960, it again needed more space and moved to its current site, and now an even larger space is being built, set to open in 2016.
But throughout all its physical changes, its mission remains the same, "We inspire people of all ages and cultures to enjoy science and technology, in order to better understand ourselves and our world."
Size: as of now, the site stands at 48,000 square feet; plans for the new space will expand that to 250,000 square feet over five levels
Eye Catcher: tour the Wildlife Center, where the staffers care for injured wildlife?specifically majestic birds of prey?and release them back into the wild
Permanent Mainstay: the Planetarium, where PBS's Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer was filmed, boasts a 65-foot-diameter domed projection screen
Don't Miss: in the late afternoon, the planetarium hosts Legends of the Night Sky Laser Show, which teaches kids how to find constellations using lasers and Greek myths
Hands-On Experiments: in Nano, kids manipulate large-scale mechanisms as they familiarize themselves with the principles behind nanoscience
Special Programs: the museum?s Sea Lab features beautiful underwater creatures and coral reefs. Guests can get up close and personal as they reach out to touch a starfish or a sea urchin or have a cleaner shrimp nibble at their nails
Sporting Miami-Dade's oldest liquor license, Tobacco Road has been the city's quintessential bar for more than 100 years. A speakeasy where Al Capone reportedly once drank and gambled, Tobacco Road now specializes in what Frommer's lauds as "good and greasy bar fare." Bites range from houesmade empanadas and smoked baby-back ribs to the "death burger"—Angus beef crowned with grilled onions, jalapenos, and jack cheese.
As bartenders pour top-shelf liquors and beers, musicians rock out every night on the same stage once graced by blues luminaries, such as John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy. The party lasts until 5 a.m. every night, leaving just enough time for Tobacco Road's vampire maintenance crew to clean up before sunrise.
A white sail propels a 50-foot sailing catamaran out into Biscayne Bay. The wind-powered watercraft belongs to Playtime Watersports, whose captains narrate ocean sailing tours or host private and corporate events as sunsets paint the sky. Elsewhere on the bay, wave runners and pontoon boats—two of Playtime Watersports' other rental watercraft options—churn up water as they drag race with thrill-seeking dolphins.
Despite its name, Playtime Watersports doesn't limit itself to on-water revelry. The staff hosts corporate outings such as Beach Olympics, with events including beach volleyball, sand sculpting, and scavenger hunts.
In the heart of Miami’s Wynwood art district sits a repurposed Drug Enforcement Agency facility, which today holds one of the world’s largest privately-held contemporary art collections. The 45,000 square foot space is the work of Donald and Mera Rubell and their creation of the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation, which has put the collection on view for all to see. Since 1993, the Rubell family has been sharing their collection of works from such world-renown artists as Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. The collection also offers a lecture series, a special partnership with the Miami Dade-County Public Schools and complimentary audio tours on Saturdays.