Miami Beach is the stuff of legends, stretching from the tip of South Beach to Sunny Isles Beach, more than 15 miles of white sand, considered one of the nation’s top ten beaches. While many visitors come to Greater Miami for its world-renowned hotels, restaurants, and nightlife – and, of course, its spectacular beaches – you’ll discover that this beautiful destination has all of this as well as a variety of other exciting activities.
While it may be easy to find the best Miami beaches or the best Miami Beach hotels, it is much more difficult to find fun things to do in Miami Beach. It’s not easy out there. There are numerous tourist traps and underwhelming attractions in the area. Fortunately, there are also plenty of high-quality options. All you have to do is know where to look. And we’ve already done the legwork.
On South Beach, wander over to Ocean Drive for a cool drink and people-watch at an outdoor café, or head to quieter North Shore Park in the heart of Miami’s rapidly transforming MiMo North Beach neighborhood.
South Beach glistens with nightlife – all day. It’s hip and quirky, and – hey, watch out for that guy on roller skates – it’s just a good time. South Beach attracts the wealthy, famous, and young, but it is now recognized around the world as a destination worthy of everyone’s stay or visit.
Most visitors, and rightly so, head straight for Lincoln Road. The mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare is lined with brand-name stores and independent boutiques, as well as a variety of restaurants, street entertainment, and excellent people-watching opportunities. Similar distractions can be found a few blocks south on charming Espaola Way, another pedestrian-only street.
Art Deco District
Located at the southern end of Miami Beach, South Beach’s Art Deco District is a whimsical collection of more than 800 architecturally protected buildings from the 1930s and 1940. It has been anointed the “American Riviera” in a nod to the unmistakable air of casual chic that permeates the district. The transformation of South Beach from a downtrodden slum into a pastel wonderland of painstakingly renovated architectural treasures has brought global fame for the historically protected Art Deco District and its glorious beaches and fabled nightlife.
The Art Deco Historic District has the highest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the country, with over 800 historic buildings. The Miami Design Preservation League offers guided walking tours through this area, between 5th and 23rd Streets, as well as along Collins Ave, Ocean Drive, and Washington Ave, to provide interesting and historical architectural insight.
An international symbol for Miami, this popular visitor destination is home to a wondrous mix of luxury resorts, boutique hotels, inexpensive hostels and moderately priced national chain hotels. Ocean Drive is known worldwide for its see-and-be-seen cafes, bikini-clad in-line skaters and beaches packed with beautiful young sun seekers, while trendy Lincoln Road has emerged as a lively magnet for culture, entertainment and shopping.
The rest of Miami Beach continues to thrive, reaping the benefits of its proximity to the Art Deco District’s plentiful entertainment and dining offerings. Neighborhoods like funky Surfside and a revitalized North Beach draw many with unpretentious charms, great local restaurants and easy beach access.
North Beach’s Ocean Terrace – a five-block stretch just south of expansive North Shore Park – is fast becoming a smaller version of South Beach with its inviting oceanfront cafes. Hotels, restaurants, quaint shops, and an uninterrupted concentration of MiMo (Miami Modern) 50s and 60s era apartment buildings give the entire neighborhood a unique character, as does a recent influx of Brazilian and Argentine immigrants who have added character and flavor to the neighborhood with numerous shops and eateries.