The state of Florida, located on the East Coast of the USA is approximately 4,270 miles from our small home the UK. Welcoming annually around 2 million tourists from the UK alone, that’s more than the combined total from Germany, Mexico, Australia, China and India, the British traveller collectively spends around $1.5 billion dollars on their visit (around £1.2 billion pounds!). Predominantly traveling for the theme park adventure, the commercialisation of Florida has lead the average tourist to look no further than its sunny beaches and Disney heroes.
But there is so much more to Florida than you might think. Here are a few cultural cities you could visit to experience the bursting culture available in Florida, even if it’s only one day of your holiday!
Apart from the Disney parks, Orlando is a vastly cultural city. Deep in the heart of Orlando is its thriving Film culture, holding its annual Florida Film festival spread across Downtown Orlando every October, including works from independent and international cinema. Inviting film experts from around the world, its film also holds the annual Fringe Festival which started in 1992, and runs over 2 weeks, celebrating all genres of film; and costs only $10 dollars for entry!
If this isn’t your type of thing Orlando has so much more to offer with its lively music scene such as Universal Orlando CityWalk, it’s all-American sporting games, like the Amway Centre home to its NBA basketball team the Orland Magic and its Museums, such as the Morse Museum cultivating various art works and known for its one of its most famous exhibits from Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The Amway centre
Usually seen as the party venue for the A list celebrities and the nightlife of South Beach, Miami is actually full of fresh culture. Its art deco Design District, 2.8 miles from Downtown Miami, rose in the early 2000’s, revamping its area bringing in cultural contributors from the art world. It is now full of contemporary art, with its exhibitions, street food fayres and art galleries. Its promotion of innovation from new and old artists created a whole new hub and cultural city for those wishing to show their art.
Photo credit Miami Design District
Its street art in the Wynwood Arts District which holds over 70 art galleries is one of the largest open street art places in the world. Founded in 2003 by various artists and curators, the Wynwood arts district has become a space for artists to create and display their art. The creation of the Wynwood walls in 2009 by arts visionary Tony Goldman is said to have brought attention to the artist genre of graffiti and has said to be monumental in its growth in popularity. With its ever growing restaurants, galleries and attraction for up-and-coming artists, this rising arts and cultural scene is a must!
On the West Coast of Florida on the Gulf Coast is the beautiful city of Sarasota. Already categorised as the Cultural city of the Southwest it is home to a vast range of culture. With, to name a few, the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Ballet, its city is the home of the traditional arts. Its musical theatre companies such as, The Players Centre for Performing Arts, which started in 1936, was once home to the budding Hollywood stars Bette Davis and Charlton Heston. If you have time, visit its relatively small city bursting at the seams with culture. (And its beaches are beautiful too!)
Feature image picture credit Bob Rountree