Visit South Beach


South Beach Hotels, Attractions, and Information

Written by Beth Garrett

Walk through the streets of South Beach in Miami, Florida. Notice the shoppers bustling in and out of high end retail stores, wonder at the cafes and restaurants filled to capacity, and gawk at the club goers lining up outside of some the world's hottest night spots. It's hard to imagine that merely fifteen years ago South Beach was a dying city with crumbling buildings and a sinking economy. All of that has changed.

History of South Beach Miami

South Beach is a barrier island that is surrounded by Biscayne Bay on one Ocean Drive in South Beach side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Once a coconut plantation, John S. Collins bought the property in hopes of building a beautiful beach town. Between the 20's and 50's South Beach was the gambling Mecca of South Florida. Prohibition didn't stop the liquor from flowing nor did it stop the frequent visits from the notorious gangster Al Capone. The buildings that stand as testament to the Art Deco Style were built in the 1930's. Then World War Two came along and turned the city virtually into a military base. Since it's early days South Beach has become home to Cubans, South Americans, Europeans and retirees making it one of the most diverse populations in the world. Celebrities of all walks, such as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Nikki Taylor, have also gravitated here.

The 10 mile long beach gives sun bums more than enough room to catch some rays. Numerous volleyball courts are set up along the sand where traditional beach volleyball can be played or the more complicated Brazilian style game-no hands allowed. South Beach is also home to the yearly Fitness Festival which takes place right on the beach. Athletes from all over compete in various activities and events in hopes that they will Collins Avenue in South Beach have the honor of competing in the World Fitness Festival in Italy. Day to day, rollerbladers, joggers and cyclists can be seen taking advantage of the promenade that runs parallel to the beach. Bicycles and scooters are available for rent.

Fun in the Sun

South Beach's Art Deco district sets the town apart from other beach towns. The Art Deco Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Approximately 800 buildings make up this area and range in styles from Mediterranean Revival to Streamline. Visitors to South Beach are encouraged to take a tour of this unique area which is offered by the Art Deco Welcome Center. In addition to the history of the Art Deco buildings, guides also explain what constitutes this specific style. Bicycle and cassette walking tours are also available.

Art Deco in South Beach Miami

For those who have a passion for shopping, South Beach won't disappoint. The Lincoln Road Shopping District offers unending amusements. This pedestrian expanse is full of shops, five-star restaurants and sidewalk vendors who offer everything from fresh flowers to fresh squeezed lemonade. Galleries line the sidewalks where many local artists display their artwork and where they also keep their studios. Two museums also reside in this area. The Wolfsonian Museum possesses over 70,000 pieces in it's collection and the Bass Museum has been recognized for it's exquisite tapestry collection.

Shopping in South Beach Miami

The 8th District Designer District will quench anyone's thirst for shopping. A Sunrise in South Beach Well known stores such as Urban Outfitters, Gap, Quicksilver, and Todd Oldham dot this area. Locally owned independent shops and boutiques only add to this extraordinary shopping experience.

Restaurants in South Beach

In South Beach the same amount of attention that is given to shopping is given to dining. Restaurants and cafes begin to fill up between nine and ten at night. Go to Beds and enjoy the unusual experience of dining on a bed and receiving a massage at the same time. Sushi Rock offers a wide array of sushi, sashimi and hand rolls. Things heat up nightly at Mezzanote where the patrons and staff are encouraged to let their hair down, climb atop the tables and dance the night away.

Clubs in South Beach

After dinner line up with the rest of South Beach at the door to one of the many clubs. Over the last decade or so the South Beach club scene has became famous for it's celebrity spottings, body gyratings and wild ways. The Crow Bar is usually packed with celebrities. Line up early because on some nights it's impossible to get in. Climb on top of a speaker at Chaos and dance the night away to the loud beats of the guest DJs. As with all of the other clubs in South Beach, expect a wait.

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