Often compared to the Riviera or Saint Tropez the south end of Miami Beach, known in shorthand as SoBe, is really a place all its own.
No other destination quite compares to this fashionable beach scene where a square-mile historic Art Deco district and a wild and crazy nightlife scene add exotic and cosmopolitan flair.
Ocean Drive is the beachfront thoroughfare, and it’s really best to walk it because traffic inches most of the day and night. You can stroll the paved beach walk or the sidewalk fronting South Beach’s famous Art Deco hotels and their sidewalk cafés.
Be ready to dodge in-line skaters, servers hawking café menus, and crowds of the curious.
Stop at any of the cafés for a drink or a meal.
Well-loved by locals is News Cafè (800 Ocean Drive), where you can find almost any newspaper, in case you tire of people-watching.
It’s open 24 hours. Nearby, you’ll often see gawkers taking pictures at the former home of Gianni Versace, today a famous luxury hotel Casa Casuarina, recognizable from national news footage covering the famous designer’s murder.
Lummus Park runs along this stretch from Fifth Street north to where Ocean Drive ends.
It is fully stocked with playgrounds, water sports rentals, and all the other necessary beach paraphernalia. The beach is known as a hangout for wannabe models, who often sport the topless look. Buff beach boys balance the high-hormone scene.
At the tenth block, stop at the Art Deco District Welcome Center (1001 Ocean Drive).
It conducts 90-minute guided and audio self guided walking tours of the 800 or so classic Art Deco buildings, the largest collection in the world.
Learn how these gems were salvaged from the bulldozer.
Parallel to Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue hold more Art Deco buildings, hotels, restaurants, and stores. At 1001 Washington Avenue, the Wolfsonian Foundation specializes in decorative, graphic, architectural, and propaganda art from the late 19th to early 20th century.
If you continue north on Washington or Collins, you will come to Lincoln Road Mall, a very romantic pedestrian-only street lined with galleries, restaurants, theaters, and stores.
Late at night, the walking tour of South Beach – most of the Clubs are located in Washington Avenue – changes from beachy sunny to a teeming nightclub scene where dressing drag and being outrageous are the norm.
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