Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens spans 50 acres (20 hectares) of waterfront property. It was once a stately holiday home, built by wealthy industrialist, with livestock and a staff village. Today it’s an historical museum and bayside park that offers a peek inside the lives of the rich and famous.
When you look out over the calm Biscayne Bay it is easy to imagine why so many people come to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens to relax. Walk through the carefully designed gardens and explore the orchidarium, then tour the house. For a more informed experience, rent a 90-minute audio tour.
James Deering chose the site for its tropical climate and proximity to the ocean. Being from Chicago, Illinois, the farm machinery entrepreneur came to Miami to enjoy the warmer weather in winter. The Italian-inspired architecture combines styles from the 15th century through early 20th century. The 34 decorated rooms of the house are full of furniture imported from Europe.
By 1955, the house and village had become the property of Dade County and was used for diplomatic purposes. The residence has since hosted many famous leaders, such as Queen Elizabeth II, President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos I of Spain. To help preserve the facility, the once open-air courtyard was enclosed by glass. Nowadays, you can catch a film a here during the popular movie nights.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is situated near downtown Miami in north Coconut Grove. It is open every day, except Tuesdays, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. Visit the café for a bite to eat, as you are not allowed to bring in outside food. Souvenir hunters can stock up at the Gardens Shop.