As of July 1, The Dalí Museum in St. Pete has officially reopened to visitors, inviting you to again experience the awe-inspiring surrealist works of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.
The spacious outdoor garden, waterfront setting, artful café and impressive collection make for an awesome day date sure to spark creativity and connection. Let our guide below inspire your next adventure to this fabulous museum right here in Tampa Bay.
A note about admission procedures + safety: Tickets for timed entry are currently available online in 30-minute increments to help manage capacity and ensure social distancing. Visitors and staff are also required to wear masks. If you want to be fully on theme, pick up a mustache mask or one of many masks created by volunteers and students from The Dalí Museum’s Fashion Design program available at the museum’s gift shop for $6. Expect a non-invasive temperature check before entry, too. You can read through the museum’s full safety plan here.
Explore the Galleries
You’re likely familiar with at least a few of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí’s infamous works, like those widely recognizable melting clocks. But visiting The Dalí gives you a rare glimpse into his progression as an artist, starting with his early impressionist works, followed by surrealism and the huge masterworks completed later in his career.
The museum houses more than 90 of Dalí’s paintings in all and also hosts rotating exhibits that beautifully complement the main works.
While there are typically free audio tour devices available, that’s been paused for the time being. Instead, download the free Dalí Museum App and bring along headphones for a self-guided audio tour. There are so many details in each of the paintings (especially the masterworks) that are easy to miss, but the audio tour does a fantastic job of pointing out these subtleties while providing more context for each piece.
Public docent tours are currently not available, but when they return I highly recommend joining one. The free docent-led tours provide additional information not presented in the audio tours. The staff members throughout the museum are also incredibly friendly and helpful in answering your questions about the artwork.
Dine at Café Gala
Named after Dalí’s wife, Café Gala is the The Dalí Museum’s eatery, situated on the first floor within The Enigma, the unique architectural feature that wraps around the back and side of the museum itself. The setting is beautiful, with light pouring in from the triangular-shaped glass windows, and the food is presented artfully. Plan to make a stop here after strolling the galleries to indulge in some shared tapas (I love the cheese and charcuterie platters) and sip on wine.
To-go options are also available.
Connect with the Artist
In May of 2019, The Dalí unveiled a new AI experience, Dalí Lives. This interactive installation allows visitors to engage with Salvador Dalí himself by way of screens throughout the museum. You can even take a selfie with the famous artist, which will be texted to your phone. It’s just one of many innovative additions to the museum designed to help you connect with the artist’s work in new ways.
I also love Dreams of Dali, a free virtual reality experience that lets you frolic about in Dalí’s painting Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus.” There are 16 points throughout the painting to discover during the 3-minute experience. This experience is currently closed since it’s a high-touch activity, but when it resumes it is so worth doing! The Museum’s app also includes an Augmented Reality feature for uncovering details within Dalí’s masterworks.
Stroll the Avant-Garden
The back of The Dalí Museum is situated facing Tampa Bay providing a unique setting for the museum’s Avant-Garden. It’s here you’ll find a huge sculpture of Dalí’s mustache, a peaceful labyrinth, a melting clock bench and the Wish Tree. It’s tradition for visitors to write a wish on their admission wristband and tie it to one of the streamers dangling from the branches before leaving.
Attend Special Events
The Dalí Museum regularly hosts special events if you’d like to experience the museum in a new way. If you’re on a budget, plan your visit for a Thursday evening when admission is 50% off after 5pm. Like with regular admission, you’ll need to purchase a timed ticket online in advance. The galleries and cafe will be open late until 8pm.
Coffee with a Curator is another regular event series involving themed themed presentations on Dali-related topics. There’s no cost to attend these free talks, but you will have to pay for parking upon arrival.
Special events are currently on hold; see a list of all upcoming events here.
Know Before You Go
Current hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 11am-6pm (8pm Thursdays and Fridays).
Admission is $25 for adults and tickets must be purchased online in advance. Are you a healthcare worker? Enjoy free admission July 1 – 5, 2020 (no pre-purchased ticket necessary).
Parking in the museum lot is $10. If you want to save a few dollars on parking, download the ParkMobile app. This allows you to pay for metered parking at one of the many street parking spots within walking distance.
All images by Stephanie Patterson