In between lazing on the beach all day and dancing all night, you might find the time in your trip to Miami to stroll around. If so, South Beach’s Art Deco areas offer the perfect opportunity to give up your people watching for some building watching.
Art Deco is the style of architecture that developed in the early 20th century in response to the X of the X. You’ll recognise the palette of bright pastels as quintessentially Miami, the original 50s Americana. If you love the look of classic cars, dinners and old rock ‘n’ roll mixed with a touch of Great Gatsby glamour, Floridian Art Deco will delight your eyes.
A lot of the highlights are along the promenade which is Ocean Drive – rows of low and mid-rise classic boutique hotels and restaurants. In the evening the street is a hive of activity, with locals cruising along slowly in their expensive cars and tourists pounding the streets looking for the best drinks and entertainment. It’s also home to the signature landmarks of the Park Central and The Breakwater, along with the Official Art Deco Gift Ship for all your stylish souvenir needs.
If you want to see more of Miami’s Art Deco away from the crowds, head inland 2 blocks to Collins Avenue for highlights such as Jerry’s Famous Deli and the Cadillac Hotel. On the south end of the road, you can browse boutiques including the Kardashian’s ‘Dash’ store and see even Gap and Sephora use strong Art Deco influence in their exteriors.
The residential blocks between 5th and 11th Streets feature some of the nicest but overlooked architecture in South Beach, and exploring these streets can provide some much-needed shade on hot Miami days. This is likely you give you serious house envy but is worth your time.
Top up your sun lotion every 30 minutes
Plan to walk around at least twice, once in the day and once at night to enjoy the neon lights the buildings often use
Pace yourself – Miami is a city of leisure, with the sun so hot there’s no point rushing
Stay hydrated and stick to the shade where possible
Be prepared with lots of memory on your camera, you’ll want to snap aware freely
Stop by the Art Deco Gift Shop for their illustrated postcards
Budget Meal: Grab some tacos at the super budget Fresh Mexican Taco Bar at 1251 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Dining Experience: Try the 11th Street Diner, a converted airstream trailer with classic American menu
Budget Accommodation: Bed’n’Drinks – a converted hotel into hostel with a central locaiton
Accommodation Experience: The Cleavelander is the ultimate hot spot with pool parties throughout the day and a sought after rooftop bar
Along with Art Deco and beaches, South Beach is a great jumping off point to explore more of Miami from. Grab a rental car or Uber and explore the Wynwood art district for blocks upon blocks of street art and hipster bars, or head down to the next island of Biscayne Key for a more traditional, slow paced beach with natural dunes and scenic lighthouse.