The Vizcaya Museums and Gardens is an opulent villa, a tribute to the Italian Renaissance, constructed in 1916 as a winter retreat. The museum is surrounded by lush, formal gardens and features many original pieces of furniture and artwork. Tourists traveling to Miami often have this museum on their itinerary as a must-visit site in their itinerary. So, if you plan to visit these museums, here is everything you need to know.
The affluent people of South Miami always knew how to live life-king-size and this castle-type villa is just one example of their penchant for luxury. Long before the two-story penthouses and speedboats of today’s elite class were in vogue, there was John Deering’s seaside mansion Vizcaya built in the 1920s. The four-story, 45,000-square-foot house has 54 rooms, three-foot walls, and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay. It was constructed in the manner of Europe’s grand castles.
Why are Vizcaya Museums and Gardens Famous?
The lavish estate, which once had 180 acres of marvelously manicured greenery, is as much a wonder of landscaping as it is of architecture. Although it is now a little bit smaller, visitors can still explore the grottos, mangroves, and labyrinths. One of Miami’s most picturesque locations and a lesson in the city’s pre-air conditioning history, Vizcaya is a go-to place for weddings and special events.
How to Get There?
Just towards the south of Miami’s soaring skylines and at north of the lush Coconut Grove are the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. It’s on South Miami Avenue, close to the busy US-1, and is only 15 minutes easy drive from South Beach. The two parking lots on the east and west sides of South Miami Avenue each offer plenty of free parking. Those who do not have car access can travel via Metrorail as Vizcaya has its own stop.
Best Time to Visit Vizcaya
Visit Vizcaya between roughly November and April if you want to avoid experiencing the heat. Of course, everyone else will also be going at this time because the museum is busiest from the weekend after Thanksgiving through March. It is best to visit on Wednesdays and Thursdays early in the morning. Planning during those months is always a gamble because those are the peak hurricane months, from early August to late October.
Things to Do at Vizcaya Museums and Gardens
1. The Barge and the Biscayne Bay
In the 1920s, it was difficult to transport hundreds of pieces of furniture as well as 85 various types of marble stones to Miami. To enable large ships to approach Vizcaya directly, engineers dug a canal through Biscayne Bay. The loading dock, however, is not just a plain slab of concrete. It is a Mediterranean barge with statues, stairs, and a tea house for midday leisure. Though it can no longer be reached from the museum, Vizcaya’s signature site is still worth the walk outside to see.
2. John Deering’s Suite
The decor in Deering’s bedroom is by no means the most striking. But his bathroom is a work of art, with a marble ceiling and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay. You will have to put in additional effort to view the master suite because it is located upstairs. It is not covered by the standard house tour.
3. The Secret Garden
Given that it appears to be the location of virtually every Quinceanera photo in Miami, The Secret Garden isn’t all that “secret.” However, Vizcaya’s coral walls and elevated walkways make for the best “mini-tour.” There are numerous opportunities for pictures in limestone chairs and beneath vine-covered arches. The garden was originally intended for orchids, but when the orchids failed to grow, it was replaced with succulents.
Visiting Hours and Ticket Prices
The first admission to Vizcaya is at 9:30 AM, and the last one is at 4:30 PM, with the exception of Tuesday. Upon entry, you are permitted to remain in the main house until 5:00 PM and the gardens until 5:30 PM. At 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM, the house is open for guided tours, which cost $5 each. Self-guided audio tours are another service offered by Vizcaya and are accessible on the app for no additional cost.
Fees: $25 for children aged 6 to 12 and adults
Free for children below 6 years, veterans, specially-abled people, and active-duty military personal
The beautiful Vizcaya museums and gardens must be your top priority in Miami. The ancient palatial house will rekindle a historic nostalgia in anyone who visits it.