Many know Miami for its stunning beaches, beautiful people, fancy cars, Cuban food, and raucous parties. But what you might not know is that Miami holds a hidden treasure: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This National Historic Landmark is one place that is definitely worth leaving Miami and South Beach to visit. Villa Vizcaya (as it was formerly named) was commissioned by wealthy businessman James Deering as his winter home and was built in Miami beginning in 1914. The estate was designed in the Mediterranean Revival style and contains extensive Italian Renaissance gardens that are the perfect place to recover from a late night and enjoy some peace and quiet in the shade of the lush landscaping.
Currently, the estate sits on 50 acres. The grounds and estate are incredibly beautiful and worth spending a few hours to meander around and imagine what life was like at the home during the 1920s. There are informational signs throughout the property that explain how many of the 34 rooms were used, along with photographs of the Deering family during their time there. The museum holds a great deal of the original art and furniture, much of which was purchased in Europe.
A crowd favorite is the “Barge” which appears like an island in the water. When the Deerings had parties, their guests would be ferried to “Barge Island” on motor boats or gondolas for cocktails. Unfortunately, visitors cannot actually access the Barge today due to its fragile condition, but it provides a beautiful backdrop for photos!
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33129
Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to Monday, $18 entry for adults, $10 for students
Photo Credit: Crystal Anderson