There’s more to Naples than pristine beaches, emerald green fairways and relaxing resort spas – the area also has a longstanding appreciation for the arts and a deep-rooted history connected to the Everglades. Visitors to Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City can take a break from the sun in one of the many art galleries or museums on Florida's Paradise Coast.
Art Museums & Exhibits
A hub of art and culture in downtown Naples, the Naples Art Association is dedicated to enriching the community with visual arts and education. While the center does showcase a variety of exhibitions in its galleries, the non-profit organization also offers many classes and workshops and hosts some of the area's top annual festivals. With no admission charge, add this stop to your downtown agenda.
Acquaint yourself with Naples' masterpieces at The Baker Museum at Artis–Naples. The foremost fine arts museum in Southwest Florida displays modern and contemporary art along with compelling traveling exhibitions. Set your eyes on beautiful, spiraling glass sculptures in the three Dale Chihuly installations, and explore the glass dome conservatory during your visit. (The museum will be closed for upgrades until Fall 2018).
Looking for a more eclectic gallery scene? You'll find it throughout downtown Naples. Numerous fine art galleries line Broad Avenue at Third Street South, featuring a variety of work from realist to abstract paintings. You'll find more on Fifth Avenue South and at Crayton Cove near the Naples City Dock.
With passionate local gallery owners and fine art galore, art lovers in search of something "uniquely Naples" are in for a treat.
The Marco Island Center for the Arts offers free galleries for browsing, an excellent gift shop with items made by island artists, a variety of classes and workshops, special musical performances and several popular outdoor art shows and festivals. You'll find local artists at galleries in the Esplanade Shoppes and Collection at Olde Marco shopping centers.
Deep within Big Cypress National Preserve outside of Everglades City artist-photographer Clyde Butcher captures the essence of swamp life in his stunning black and white, fine art photography on display at his Big Cypress Gallery. Stop by the gallery for a look at Southwest Florida’s landscape, and then experience nature for real with a guided swamp walk tour from Big Cypress Gallery.
On the way to or from the Big Cypress Gallery, be sure to stop at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center to view a fascinating film on the western Everglades region, and enjoy artistic and informative special exhibits.
Visual & Performing Arts
Blending both the visual and performing arts, Artis-Naples is the premier center for the arts in Southwest Florida, incorporating The Baker Museum with 15 art galleries, the resident Naples Philharmonic orchestra, and numerous Broadway shows and concerts with top musical artists. For more live theater, visit The Naples Players. With more than 220 performances a year at the Sugden Theatre on Fifth Avenue South, most of which sell out, and passionate local casts, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of shows including musicals and dramas.
Step back in time at Naples’ history museums. The Collier County Museum is a must-see for ancient Florida history with prehistoric visions of the coast and those who once inhabited it. Learn about first settlers, little-known wars in South Florida and the Seminole people. After the tour, head into museum’s native gardens to explore restored cottages and Seminole village.
A quaint cottage at the corner of 12th Avenue South and Gulfshore Boulevard just one block from Naples Pier serves as the oldest house in Naples and home of the Naples Historical Society. Built in 1895, Historic Palm Cottage is a two-story home built by one of Naples’ founding residents, Walter N. Haldeman. Filled with artwork and antique furniture, this is an authentic nod to Southwest Florida’s charm and a tour you won’t want to miss. The society also offers walking tours of the Old Naples Historic District.
Learn about Marco Island's fascinating history from the time of the ancient Calusa through the pioneer days in the early 20th century through modern times at the Marco Island Historical Museum. The hotly anticipated Key Marco Cat sculpture exhibit opens here in November 2018 and will remain on display for several years. This priceless piece of early American Calusa art was discovered during a Smithsonian archeological expedition on the island in 1896 and has been in the Smithsonian's possession since.
Travel back in time to the early days of Florida's cattlemen at the Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Robert's Ranch. While in Immokalee, you might also want to enjoy an airboat ride on Lake Trafford or enjoy some dining, entertainment or gaming at the Seminole Casino.
For a historic view of the Everglades, ancient artifacts and vintage photos are on display at the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City. Here, permanent exhibits tell the story of adventurers in Florida’s Last Frontier. The adjacent Pauline Reeves Gallery also hosts monthly exhibits from local and regional artists.
Historic Smallwood Store on Chokoloskee Island tells a story of Florida’s great pioneers. Surrounded by natural wildlife and swamp views, this store sits on stilts overlooking the water and is packed with Old Florida history, intrigue and charm.