Florida is full of unique cultural experiences, where you can learn something new at a museum, explore an iconic historical landmark and watch a live performance. Stretching from Panama City to the Florida Keys, these attractions contribute to the state’s cultural identity and offer you a taste of authentic Florida. From the mermaid shows in Weeki Wachee to fine art in Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, here are the best cultural experiences you can have in Florida.
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Learn about surrealism at The Dali Museum (Nearby Hotels)
One of the most popular museums in the Sunshine State, the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg offers you a dose of culture with its impressive collection of Surrealism art. Let your imagination run wild as you gaze at the colorful thought-provoking creations that include oils to watercolors, sketches and sculptures. Here you can see eight out of Dali’s 18 famous “Masterworks”, which is considered the most comprehensive collection outside of Europe.
Visit the Perez Art Museum Miami (Nearby Hotels)
Located in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park, Perez Art Museum Miami is a modern and contemporary museum that sits alongside Biscayne Bay. Spend an afternoon walking through the fascinating exhibits and international art from the 20th and 21st centuries, then enjoy the waterfront views and elaborate hanging gardens. The facility also offers interactive programs for families that include hands-on, art-inspired activities, in addition to music and theatrical performances.
Meander through Bok Tower Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
Set among the rolling hills of Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens boasts a remarkable landscape in its National Historic Landmark gardens that date back to 1929. Soak up views of citrus trees and subtropical gardens that sprawl across 25 acres, then listen to the beautiful sounds of the 205-foot Singing Tower carillon. You’ll find romantic spots to explore amongst its lush foliage, which includes colorful displays of camellias, azaleas, orchids and irises.
Explore the Ringling Museum of Art (Nearby Hotels)
The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota is a Renaissance-style museum that features 21 galleries which showcase some of John Ringling’s most impressive art pieces. You can meander through the complex to marvel at beautiful sculptures, European antiques and world-class masterpieces from notable artists, then visit the original Circus Museum and Ringling Art Library to see its unique clown memorabilia.
Honor a literary great at Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Museum (Nearby Hotels)
An iconic piece of history in Key West, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum allows literary enthusiasts of all ages to explore the residence where Hemingway lived from 1931 to 1939. This beautiful Spanish Colonial home offers you a chance to tour the home and hear colorful stories of the celebrated author. You can also meet the 50+ cats that are descendants of the late author’s former pet, Snow White.
Admire beautiful foliage in Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
Located in Miami, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a 35-acre historic waterfront property that is internationally recognized for both its rich history and nature preservation. Explore the architecturally rich mansion grounds or take a romantic stroll through the lush manicured gardens to find a display of 2,000 orchids. A perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Miami, enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes of this attraction for a day of peace and quiet.
Marvel at fine art in the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
Home to one of the finest art collections in the Southeast, the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens in Jacksonville holds nearly 5,000 objects in its permanent collection. There are interactive features that the kids will enjoy, while history enthusiasts will be impressed with the American and European paintings that date back to 2100 BC. Outside you’ll find a collection of beautifully manicured gardens with reflecting pools and ornate fountains.
Visit the historic Castillo de San Marcos (Nearby Hotels)
Castillo de San Marcos is St. Augustine’s top attraction, celebrated as one of the most iconic historic landmarks in the state. History enthusiasts will want to explore this cultural attraction, where you can soak up 500 years of history in America’s oldest city. Walk along the walls of this 17th-century fort to imagine its centuries-old historic battles that took place and learn about the oldest masonry fort in North America.
Watch a performance at the Miami City Ballet (Nearby Hotels)
Among the largest professional ballet companies in the United States, the Miami City Ballet has more than 50 dancers and 100 ballets in its repertoire. Based in Miami Beach, you can catch a classic performance around town at venues such as the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale and Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Here you can be mesmerized by performances of The Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Catch a mermaid show at Weeki Wachee (Nearby Hotels)
Located on Florida’s Adventure Coast, Weeki Wachee Springs is home to one of the Sunshine State’s most magical attractions. It’s here that you can sit in a 400-seat submerged theater and watch a live show with beautiful mermaids performing their version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, proudly billing itself as “The Only City with Live Mermaids”. Delighting guests with its mermaid shows since 1947, it is the perfect example of Old Florida.
Admire antiques at The Lightner Museum (Nearby Hotels)
Housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine showcases an impressive collection of 19th-century art that includes Tiffany & Co. glass and Victorian-era antiques. The museum dates back to 1888 and features unconventional items, where a walk through this architectural masterpiece reveals an eccentric collection of shrunken heads, salt and pepper shakers and cigar labels. Admire costumes, furnishings, mechanical musical instruments and paintings from around the world.
Admire historic aircraft at National Naval Aviation Museum (Nearby Hotels)
The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is the world’s largest Naval Aviation Museum. Step inside to discover around 150 beautifully restored aircraft that showcase a slice of Florida history. Browse through the fascinating exhibits that highlight the state’s naval history and see more than 4,000 artifacts that highlight the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation.
Catch a live performance at Florida Theatre (Nearby Hotels)
Dating back to 1927, the opulent Florida Theatre is an iconic piece of Florida history in Jacksonville. It serves as one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces in the state and is a premier destination for arts and culture enthusiasts. Make sure to visit this cultural gem to see the stage where Elvis Presley once played, or catch a captivating ballet or opera performance or live music show.