Across sparkling Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach is a living mural, a splash of pastel buildings
lined neatly along the white Pompano sand, all set against the brilliant aquamarine sea.
Here, the famed Art Deco District of South Beach, more commonly referred to as SoBe,
beckons vacationers to stop and explore. This one-square-mile area is an architectural
treasure of more than 800 buildings in the Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and Spanish
Mediterranean Revival style. For historical perspective as well as juicy tidbits,
take a 90-minute guided walking tour of the area, conducted by the Miami Design
Preservation League, the group largely responsible for renovating and refurbishing
the district. And making use of favorite South Beach modes of transportation, the
League also offers bicycle and in-line skating tours of the district on the first
and third Sundays of the month. Couples lose themselves among streets packed with
popular restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. Stop at one of Ocean Drive’s
inviting sidewalk cafes for a gourmet meal and an expansive view of the Atlantic.
South Beach’s broad, immaculate strand ranks as one of the Travel Channels’
top ten beaches in the world. The Surfrider Foundation voted it the premier urban beach in the U.S.
But there’s more than fine white sand to this fantasy land of exuberant architecture,
pulsating night life and spectacular shoreline in a scene as cool as the sun is hot.
Occupying less than two square miles on the southern tip of Miami Beach,
South Beach’s subtropical sandbar has an identity of its own.
South Beach has been called the American Riviera and an Art Deco Playground.
The area has taken on new life as a big, ultra-chic, 24/7 street party.
With its beautiful beach and whimsical architecture, the area has also become
a favored location for films, music and television shows and a backdrop for fashion shoots.
The renaissance of South Beach was a factor in Greater Miami and Beaches’ growth as a
nationally recognized center for film, television and print production and Latin music.
The Art Deco Historic District, with the largest concentration of 1920's and 1930s
architecture in the world, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and
recognized globally as one of Greater Miami and the Beaches’ unique attractions.
Start at South Pointe Park, the southernmost tip of Miami Beach,
for a close-up view of ships heading through the deep water channel
known as Government Cut to the Port of Miami. Across the channel rise
the Mediterranean-style buildings of Fisher Island, accessible only by ferry.
A visit to South Beach redefines how you look at buildings – the corner curves,
soaring finials and glass brick expanses of the Art Deco architectural style create
a time warp here. Stand in Lummus Park, a green expanse bordering the wide beach and
note how the pastel pinks, bright aquas and canary yellows of the Ocean Drive hotels
fight for space in the sky. Outdoor cafes are ideal for people-watching.
To feel the area’s buzz you can join a walking tour given by the Art Deco District
Welcome Center or explore the area on your own. Look out for South Beach’s other attractions:
the Wolfsonian/FIU collection, housed in a 1927 Mediterranean Revival building;
The Bass Museum with a new Grand Gallery to display its art collections;
the Jackie Gleason Theater, where Broadway Shows come to town and the Miami
Beach Convention Center, site of major expositions and events.
The Lincoln Theatre on Lincoln Road is home to the New World Symphony;
the Colony Theater, a performing arts center, and the Alliance Cinema,
specializing in foreign, art, documentary and independent films. Second
Thursdays turn South Beach streets and venues into a monthly cultural celebration
with open dance, music and theater rehearsals, lectures, art gallery opening and meet-the artist receptions.