Best Museum - 2005
Norton Museum of Art
Sometimes, if you come from New York, Boston, San Francisco, Bogotá, or Buenos Aires, it seems that South Florida is a cultural wasteland. But then you visit the Norton. It's a beautiful piece of property located a stone's throw from the Intracoastal Waterway. There, you can immerse yourself in the work of Duane Hansen, Jose Bédia, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollack, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, and Paul Klee, among others. Indeed, the permanent collection includes more than 5,000 pieces. Founded in 1941 by an industrialist named Ralph Hubbard Norton, the Art Deco/neoclassical gem has grown like crazy in the past 12 years. It doubled in size in 1993, then added a wing in 2003 that included 14 new galleries -- and almost doubled the gallery space again. It is, in our view, the one place in this overcrowded subtropical morass where you can lose yourself in the great thoughts of great thinkers. You say you live in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood or Boca Raton and you've never been there? Well, dumbbell, go! Maybe jump on the TriRail and pack a bag lunch. It'll be a trip you will never, ever regret, no matter how many times you do it. During the summer, the Norton is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $8 for adults.