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The dazzling nightlife, international vibe and art deco architecture of South Beach are what most people think of when they picture Miami. And in many ways this area does live up to its reputation - after all it has many of the city's iconic restaurants and clubs within walking distance from the world's most famous beach. However, beneath the surface lies a diverse community who have been drawn together by their love for water sports and the unique culture found only on Miami Beach.
Miami Beach has been a popular vacation destination since 1915 because of its distinctive architecture, diverse international population, and colorful culture. The city started as an avocado farm, but quickly became a hotspot for tourists due to its location on the coast of Florida.
WHAT TO EXPECT
While this neighborhood has some quieter residential options, the party capital never truly sleeps. The locals are anchored by the beach itself, which brings them great joy despite the urban congestion it causes.
South Beach is a neighborhood in Miami known for its glamorous reputation, being home to celebrities and the ultra-wealthy elite. Despite its reputation as an exciting urban enclave, it draws a diverse mix of people from around the world due to its intoxicating blend of beach culture, Art Deco architecture and vibrant nightlife.
South Beach has had a history of success since its early beginnings as a coconut farm. In the 1930s, the architectural revolution brought Art Deco and Streamline Moderne architecture to the area. However, this all changed by the 1980s when crime rates soared and the neighborhood fell into decline. But in 1987 fashionistas began moving in which sparked a social and cultural renaissance that continues today.
Nowadays, South Beach is an eclectic neighborhood that offers residents a variety of attractions. It is home to many iconic nightclubs and restaurants, as well as world-class shopping. Additionally, the area is home to several high-rise luxury condo buildings which house some of the most prestigious real estate in the world. Despite being known for its nightlife and beaches, South Beach also has many peaceful morning strolls available for residents looking for tranquility. Furthermore, the neighborhood features historic neighborhoods that are perfect for exploring on foot.
Many of Miami Beach's most prestigious restaurants and nightlife hotspots can be found in the central area around Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive etc. These are the main spots for experiencing the South Beach experience complete with luxury dining and nightclubs like LIV at The Fontainebleau Hotel. However for most locals these places would be avoided in favor of sunrise jogs along the boardwalk at South Pointe Park or a day on the beach followed by dinner somewhere smaller yet more imaginative. There are also some major cultural institutions located on this coastline such as The Fillmore live music venue which is located on 17th Street near 8th avenue.
The lifestyle in South Beach is centered around its famous stretch of sand. Brightly colored Art Deco-inspired lifeguard stands provide an iconic backdrop, and locals never tire of the aquamarine water and white, sugary sand. Early mornings bring local joggers and cyclists to the beach, while beautiful people can always be found relaxing, sunbathing and people watching in the afternoons.
The weather in South Beach is always pleasant, with the coastal breeze from the Atlantic Ocean tempering the humidity that can suffocate Miami.
South Beach comprises several neighborhoods, each with unique attractions and each with its own vibe.
WHAT NOT TO EXPECT
Quietness and peacefulness areas and easy parking.
Peace and quiet is scarce where Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Lincoln Road run into the beach, but the residential areas to the north and west are generally much more silent.
South Beach nightlife is the best around, and locals can party with the best of them. With so many world-class options, like LIV and Story, choosing a club is no easy task. Basement at the Miami Edition is a little different, though, and definitely stands out.
Basement offers several rooms, including Disco Box, a “micro-club” designed to represent the ultimate clubbing experience. With state-of-the-art sound, lights, and projections, this room is inspired by the legendary Studio 54 and features a constant rotation of eclectic music.
Basement also adds to the clubbing experience unexpectedly, offering a 4-lane bowling alley and a small ice skating rink.
Also, the infamous South Florida traffic is in full effect here, and parking can be almost impossible to find.
The most exclusive properties in the county can be found on South Beach. This area is home to a concentration of condos which are almost exclusively located around the central island. Many buildings in this section date back to the mid-20th century and have notable Art Deco architecture as a result. Further north, pricier single-family homes line the streets along Biscayne Bay and The Everglades Golf Club - an 18 hole course designed by Ted Robinson II . Meanwhile, private islands just off shore represent some of the world's most expensive real estate markets.
West Avenue is a residential and commercial area in South Beach that offers stunning views of the Miami skyline and Alton Avenue. The neighborhood is made up of both single-family homes and condo towers, as well as commercial development like The Shoppes at West Avenue. This vibrant local development provides shoppers with a wide variety of options and serves as the neighborhood's social hub.
South Beach is home to some of the most exclusive real estate in the country. The central portion of this neighborhood features condos housed mainly in older, mid-rise buildings with notable Art Deco architecture. More expensive single family homes can be found in the northern part of South Beach as well as along Biscayne Bay.
Bayshore is a prime example of an area that attracts those who want to be close to the South Beach action but in a more family-friendly, residential neighborhood.
YOU’LL FALL IN LOVE WITH
Miami Beach is an exciting place to live, even if it can be hectic. The distinct luxury of living directly on the ocean is something only available to residents of Miami Beach.
Ocean Drive is a famous street in Miami with many bars, clubs and restaurants. It's also a place for fashion designers and it's where trends are born.
South Pointe Park and Beach has a family-friendly atmosphere, while Lummus Park, with its "Muscle Beach", is where the chiseled come to strut their stuff.
South Beach is home to some of the world's most exclusive clubs and restaurants, as well as popular shopping destinations like Lincoln Road. Nearby Sunset Harbor offers a more low-key alternative, with innovative cuisine, unique boutiques and local roasters.
South Beach is home to many festivals and events that attract visitors from all over the world. Some of the most popular include the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Miami Beach Pride, and Miami Fashion Week.
South Beach is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, and locals prefer not to drive. Walking or biking is the way to go!
South Beach is home to the nation's largest concentration of Art Deco architecture, and has been a National Register District since 1979. Hotels such as the 1935 Colony Hotel and the 1936 Beacon are popular local favorites.
In the evening, Ocean Drive is the place to be for bar and club hopping. Washington Avenue becomes jammed with revelers and some of the world's most famous clubs can be found here.
The cultural hub of City Center is home to the beloved Fillmore Theater, a mid-size concert venue and popular art deco icon. The sobering Holocaust Memorial is also in City Center. Lincoln Road is the party mecca of outdoor shopping and dining.
Often referred to as either “Flamingo” or “Lummus,” this large neighborhood, named for the early 20th-century Flamingo hotel, is the beating heart of South Beach. Flamingo Park, one of the most popular local hangouts, is at the center of this neighborhood, and the Art Deco Historic District is here, too. Flamingo/Lummus is also home to Española Way, a unique and vibrant historic street that provides some of the best shopping and nightlife in South Beach.
South of Fifth provides a peaceful enclave for celebrities and the super-wealthy, and its high-rise condos offer incredible views of Miami and the South Beach neighborhood.
There’s an impressive array of fine restaurants and clubs in the neighborhood, even if the vibe is more tranquil.
Located at Ocean Drive and 10th Street, the Art Deco Welcome Center is the office of the Miami Design Preservation League.
Española Way is the historic area between 14th and 16th Streets, lined with boutiques and eateries. The pink stucco buildings with tiled roofs create a quaint, picturesque atmosphere.
Art Basel is an innovative organization with a mission to promote art galleries, connect artists with collectors, and showcase new talent worldwide. Each year, Art Basel descends on South Beach, with the Miami Beach Convention Center hosting the core events.
This is, by far, the biggest event of the year in South Beach and is also the most significant art show in the country. Tens of thousands of people attend Art Basel every year, and the show has expanded to encompass satellite exhibitions, parties, and fashion shows. Crossover events at local restaurants are common, with celebrities showing up regularly. Everyone wants to be involved in Art Basel!
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