Mention “Miami” and the first thing that may come to mind is the beach. Mile after mile of sparkling waters, golden sands, tanned tourists, celebrity-studded hotels, nonstop nightlife... the images are glamorous, but they are surpassed only by the reality. Miami Beach — from South Beach to North Beach — is legendary as a resort destination, setting the gold standard for hospitality, but constantly renewing and renovating to catch the latest waves of visitor expectations.
Miami Beach offers a variety that goes far beyond sun and sand, encompassing world-famous nightlife and world-renowned art galleries, first-class hotels and second-to-none dining, designer shopping and a unique architectural style that makes it one of the world’s most visually distinctive regions.
Art Deco History
It all started with Art Deco. When they first debuted in the 1920s and 30s, South Beach’s Art Deco hotels and apartments faced the ocean like rows of tropical jewel boxes, sporting the rounded corners and geometric ornamentation that defined the era of Art Deco architecture.
Today’s Art Deco District is one of Florida’s must-see attractions. Other architectural styles are prevalent throughout Miami Beach, including Miami Modern (MiMo) — defined by asymmetry, cheese-hole cutouts and futuristic forms. A completely different look altogether can be found along South Beach’s Española Way, which was modeled after the romantic Mediterranean villages of France and Spain and today is home to charming outdoor cafes and bistros.
Culture: From Museums to Memorable Bites
Some of the area’s most striking buildings also house intriguing museums, such as the Bass Museum of Art, the Wolfsonian—Florida International University, and the Jewish Museum of Florida.
In addition to such illustrious museums, South Beach is known for its many art galleries, which can be found nearly everywhere here but tend to concentrate around the Lincoln Road area. Lincoln Road is a pedestrian-only promenade stretching across South Beach, offering unique shops, countless sidewalk cafes and a constant parade of locals and tourists alike.
People come from all over the world to explore Miami Beach’s culinary scene, and it’s no wonder — the variety is simply astounding. The feeding frenzy starts on South Beach, where there’s a dish for every appetite, whether your tastes are upscale or down home, pan Asian or pan-fried, haute cuisine or fusion cuisine. From the freshest local seafood and succulent stone crabs in season to all-American steaks and burgers, there are flavors and culinary styles from literally every continent on earth. Depending what food mood you’re in, you’ll find famous restaurants where the chef and food are world-renowned, along with out-of-the-way eateries only a lucky few know about.
Clubs, Bars, and Lounges
But don’t plan to eat and run on South Beach. Après dinner, the best of the zest is waiting in countless clubs, bars and lounges that stay up all night and have earned this oceanside enclave its well-deserved reputation as one of the country’s top nightlife cities. For many visitors and visiting celebrities, South Beach is square one, the velvet rope everyone wants to cross, humming with club action till sunrise as crowds head to dozens of establishments lining the streets.
While the perfect Miami Beach evening may include incredible dining followed by dancing the night away, for many visitors the night begins when the curtain goes up at one of the area’s live performance venues.
Of course, the ocean may be your primary destination when you come to Miami Beach, and all you really have to do is head east until you hit water. A number of beach-based parks offer special activities to make beachgoing even better here, including South Pointe Park. Recently renovated, this park at the southern tip of Miami Beach offers spectacular views of cruise ships sailing by on their way out to sea.
For more information on Miami Beach, visit DiscoverMiamiBeach.com.
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