Art, Culture, and Cuisine: A Cultural Journey Through Florida’s Cities

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Florida is a state full of vibrant cities, each with its own unique culture, art, cuisine, and character. From Miami’s Latin flare to the historic architecture of St. Augustine, there is so much to explore across the Sunshine State. Join us as we embark on a cultural journey to discover the arts, culture, and cuisine that help define five of Florida’s most captivating cities.

Miami: Capital of Latin Culture   

Our cultural tour begins when you hop on a flight to Miami, which has rightfully earned its reputation as the capital of Latin culture in the US. There are few better places to experience Latin music, food, and art than the Magic City.

Spend an evening swaying to the sounds of Cuban salsa music at venues like Ball & Chain in Little Havana before dining on delicacies like vaca frita (fried beef) and tostones (fried plantains). Afterward, head to Wynwood Walls to marvel at the colorful murals and street art or explore major cultural institutions like the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Frost Museum of Science.

With its colorful buildings, palm trees, and beaches, the vibe in Miami is infectious – so be prepared to fall in love with its Latin rhythm.  

Sarasota: Arts Heaven

For our next stop, make your way up Florida’s Gulf Coast to Sarasota, the state’s hub for arts and culture. Dubbed the “Cultural Coast,” Sarasota offers the density of museums and performing arts venues you’d expect to find in a big city but with a decidedly friendly and approachable small-town vibe.

The Sarasota Orchestra at the Sarasota Opera House is a must-see, while the Ringling – an art museum situated on the gorgeous grounds of the former Ringling family estate – hosts an impressive collection of Baroque art.

When hunger strikes, sample the fresh local seafood, like lightly fried grouper sandwiches served with tangy lime sauce. With so many cultural amenities combined with gorgeous beaches and weather, Sarasota makes the perfect site for an artistic getaway.  

St. Petersburg: A City Recharged

Just across Tampa Bay from Sarasota sits St. Petersburg, a bayfront city experiencing an exciting cultural renaissance. Downtown St. Pete has wonderfully maintained early 20th-century architecture and a recharged arts scene anchored by museums like the Dalí Museum, the Chihuly Collection, and the craftsman-style Morean Arts Center.

For a bit of performing arts, attend a concert by the Florida Orchestra or catch an independent film at one of several charming historic theaters. Of course, no discussion of St. Pete’s culture is complete without mentioning its buzzing restaurant scene.

For fine dining, Parkshore Grill offers harbor views to complement its seafood-focused menu, while casual cafes like Black Crow Coffee supply fuel for observing the city’s vibrant street life. Friendly, walkable, and full of youthful energy, St. Pete has crafted a winning combination for the creatively inclined.  

Key West: Island Bohemia 

Now let’s venture further south for a change of pace to Key West, an island city famed for its laid-back bohemian vibe. The days here unfold at an unhurried pace, with locals and visitors ambling down Duval Street, popping into art galleries and boutique shops housed in Bahamian-style buildings.

Cuba’s proximity has also left its mark, with Cuban cuisine options like classic black bean soup and roast pork faultlessly prepared at restaurants like Azur and El Siboney. When the sun sets, catch a cabaret show on Mallory Square or live music ranging from country to calypso. The island’s diverse cultural influences combined with its tranquil tropical setting have sustained Key West’s reputation through the years as a creative refuge for writers, artists, eccentrics, and free spirits.

As we conclude our cultural tour across Florida, it is clear that the diversity of each city, rooted in lively arts, unique cuisine, and rich histories, makes a journey through the Sunshine State incredibly rewarding. From Miami’s salsa beats to Key West’s bohemian vibe, Florida promises memorable cultural encounters to those who revel in its many treasures.

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About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

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