Florida Art 01 Header
© Jurriaan Teulings
© Jurriaan Teulings

Artistic hotspots

Offbeat Florida

Florida is known for its beaches, oranges and the Kennedy Space Center. But within the US, the state also has a reputation for being eccentric and quirky. Its warm climate and long coastline have always been a magnet for artists, writers and other unconventional characters. 

Discover Florida’s eccentric side
Florida Art 02 Intro Bghalf
© Richard Cummins / Alamy Stock Photo

The most obvious hotspot for art and culture is Miami. But a short tour of Florida’s south and west will reveal that inspiration extends far beyond the big city. The Florida Keys exude a real island vibe, while the small town of St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast packs a surprising punch. Here are the five most artistic — and somewhat eccentric — hotspots of the Sunshine State. 

Destination: Florida, United States
KLM flight: X a week
Population: 19 million
Location: the most south-eastern point of the United States

Florida Art 02 Intro Bg Mobile

The most obvious hotspot for art and culture is Miami. But a short tour of Florida’s south and west will reveal that inspiration extends far beyond the big city. The Florida Keys exude a real island vibe, while the small town of St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast packs a surprising punch. Here are the five most artistic — and somewhat eccentric — hotspots of the Sunshine State. 

Destination: Florida, United States
KLM flight: X a week
Population: 19 million
Location: the most south-eastern point of the United States

Wynwood

Trendy warehouse district

Once a neighbourhood filled with derelict warehouses north of downtown Miami, today’s Wynwood is a haven for lovers of street art. The entire district looks like an enormous collage of graffiti artwork. Thanks to an unorthodox partnership between artists and city developers, the warehouses have gradually been transformed into galleries, studios and artist residents, interspersed with coffee bars, trendy cafes and unique shops — the vibe is alternative and artistic. A great spot for an afternoon stroll or a fun evening out on the town. 

Florida Art 03 Wynwood 1
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Florida Art 03 Wynwood 2
© Jurriaan Teulings
Florida Art 04 Wynwood Large
© Jurriaan Teulings

Tip

To learn more about the street art scene, take a tour on a tandem bike with a local graffiti artist.

See www.miamisbestgraffitiguide.com

Miami Design District

Glamour design

The Design District, towards the north of Midtown Miami, is Wynwood’s more elegant, upscale sister: creative but accomplished, with over 130 art galleries and luxurious interior design stores and fashion boutiques. Here you will find famous labels — such as Hermès, Cartier and Louis Vuitton — whose grand flagship stores centre around the upscale Palm Court mall. The entrance to the underground parking garage is marked by the retro-futuristic Fly’s Eye Dome. 

Florida Art 05 Miami Design District 1
© Jurriaan Teulings
Florida Art 05 Miami Design District 2
© Jurriaan Teulings
Florida Art 05 Miami Design District 3
© Jurriaan Teulings
  • Florida Art 06 Islamorada Large
    © Jurriaan Teulings
    © Jurriaan Teulings
Florida Art 07 Islamorada 2
© Jurriaan Teulings

Every first Thursday of the month the community hosts the Islamorada Art Walk, boasting live music and food from local restaurants. Friendly, small and no-nonsense: a refreshing change from Miami. 

Florida Keys – Islamorada

Artistic pit stop

Islamorada, a small ‘Village of Islands’ about halfway down the Florida Keys, is home to the delightful Morada Way Arts and Cultural District. The village was once a popular destination for recreational fishers and this is still reflected in the paintings of floundering fish on display in the handful of galleries. There is also a quirky shop packed with Tibetan clothing and trinkets, and a micro-brewery that is worth a visit. 

Florida Art 07 Islamorada 1
© Jurriaan Teulings
  • Florida Art 08 Key West Large
    © Jurriaan Teulings
    © Jurriaan Teulings

Key West

Duval Street

Key West is the most southern corner of the United States, just 150 kilometres from Cuba. Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams found in this outpost, far from the average American routine, to be their perfect writer’s retreat. 

Florida Art 09 Key West 2
© Jurriaan Teulings
Florida Art 09 Key West 1
© Jurriaan Teulings

Even today Key West still exudes a carefree spirit of blissful isolation, which culminates in a host of eccentric parades and events. Drag races on Duval Street, Key West’s main street, can be followed by a parade of kinetic sculptures on bikes. There is always something interesting going on. During the annual Hemingway Days — celebrated in July — there is even a parade of Hemingway lookalikes. 

  • Florida Art 10 Saint Petersburg Large
    © Jurriaan Teulings
    © Jurriaan Teulings
Florida Art 11 Saint Petersburg 2
© Jurriaan Teulings

St. Petersburg

A surprise on the Gulf Coast

St. Petersburg, a modest town of about 250,000 residents on the Gulf of Mexico, features a surprising number of museums and galleries scattered across seven official art districts. The Central Arts District exudes a hippy vibe with colourful graffiti murals. The stately Waterfront Museum District displays the largest collection of works by Salvador Dalí outside of Europe. And the Warehouse District is not only known for its craft beer but also for artistic glass-blowing. 

Florida Art 11 Saint Petersburg 1
© Jurriaan Teulings
  • Florida Art 12 Outro