Insider's Guide  

Historic Overtown

Historic Overtown

Today, this vibrant corner of Greater Miami displays its cultural and civic pride with colorful murals of African-American heroes, its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and the historic Lyric Theater. The Lyric Theater was the anchor of the area once known as "Little Broadway" and hosted performances by such big names as Count Basie, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin. The Lyric Theater thrived between 1913 and the 1960s, but the facility went through a lull after that. Today, the Lyric Theater is reopened, renovated and working to reclaim its former glory.

The neighborhood is also home to local's favorites like the beloved People's Bar-B-Que, non-profit music projects, arts festivals, farmers markets and more.

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Back in the day, Historic Overtown was known as Little Broadway. And this lone, surviving building holds its golden memories. Icons like Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Count Basie once graced the stage. Renamed the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Welcome Center Complex, it’s undergone a massive head-to-toe restoration and is back to reclaim its glory. If you’re here for the first Friday of the month and love variety shows, like Amateur Night at the famed, Apollo Theatre in NYC, be sure to catch Lyric Live.

Historic Overtown is full of churches and gospel music, but many people will insist that on Sunday’s this where they find their soul. Fried catfish, smothered pork, fresh-baked biscuits, mac and cheese, fresh locally-sourced greens - it’s honest, down-home cooking – even if you’re from the North. It’s the kind of place where you want to try everything on the menu and you wish you had two stomachs.

Purvis Young learned about art when he was a teen - serving time in a Florida prison. Self-taught, his Chagall-like urban works can be found nationwide in museums like the Smithsonian in D.C. More than 3,000 pieces were purchased by a notable Miami art collector– yet sadly, Purvis died in 2010, destitute. You can feel the love for his hometown in his public murals– at the overpass wall at NW 11th St./ NW 3rd Ave. Another, at the Public Library branch at NW 13th St. and yet another outside the Northside Metrorail station.

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