Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Miami’s famous South Beach (a.k.a. SoBe) is one of the best examples of gentrification in the US. Ever since the land was purchased for coconut farming in the late 19th century, it witnessed severe changes from architectural revolution to a destructive hurricane in 1926, from high crime rates and poverty to prosperity and luxury. Today, it is the heart of entertainment in Miami with its nightclubs, restaurants and the rising LGBT culture. One can easily get lost in all the chaos, so here are a few suggestions on where to visit.
1 - OCEAN DRIVE
This major avenue is often considered to be the center of art and popular culture. Because of its characteristic look, if was featured in many movies, TV shows and video games. If you were a fan of the video game GTA: Vice City, you would even remember the exact replica of the area. When you set foot in Ocean Drive, you will realize the distinct architecture of the hotels and restaurants that were all built in Art Deco style. The biggest highlight among these buildings is Casa Casuarina that used to be the residence of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace before being transformed into a hotel & museum. The restaurants are also quite attractive with a blend of Italian and Caribbean cuisines as well as regular cabaret and drag queen shows.
2 - SOUTH POINTE PARK
If you get overwhelmed by the crowd and the noise, the best getaway location is found at the southernmost tip of Miami Beach. You can visit South Pointe Park if you want to take a walk in the nature against stunning views of the ocean. The area is also suitable for families with kids and pet-friendly. There is even a dog park to say the least. The other attractions to do in the park include renting a bike to cycle through the park or fishing. Overall, this park is a brief demonstration of how retirement looks like in Miami.
3 - LINCOLN ROAD MALL
Although the idea of visiting malls during holidays can be intimidating, Lincoln Road is not just your regular mall. We can admit there this is the heart of shopping in the South Beach due to numerous brands including Banana Republic, Gap and Apple; however, there is much more to it than shopping. The restaurants have an extensive selection of world cuisine and fine dining. Sushi at Sushisamba and French macaron at Ladurée are quite popular these days, to name a few. There are also several art galleries and multiple movie theaters as well as live music, outdoor concerts and even yoga classes. The range of attractions is guaranteed to appeal to people of different age groups and different tastes.
4 - ESPANOLA WAY
As the name suggests it clearly, the district of Espanola Way is the bohemian corner of the South Beach with the architecture inspired by the quaint Mediterranean villages in France and Spain. The European influence can be observed at every corner of the pedestrian-only street. Restaurants are full of tapas menus and Mexican cuisine since there is a significant amount of Mexicans in the area. The three hotels and shops also serve a great combination of Mediterranean hospitality and luxury. Nights are even more vibrant than days with regular Latin Dance events, where you can see people doing salsa until early morning. Looking at all this, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that you will forget that you are actually in the US.
5 - LUMMUS PARK
Every corner of Miami’s South Beach s worth noting, but Lummus Park is the most iconic area with palm trees line up along the ocean, volleyball courts, skater parks, all next to the kilometers-long sandy beach. The layout of the area was inspired by Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, which should give you an idea of what to expect. You can join bikers, skaters and volleyball players, simply jog along the beach, surf, tan and take iconic photographs or simply do people-watching. The list goes on. Last but not least, make sure to attend the Nautica South Beach Triathlon Event that features competitions including 1.5 K ocean swims, 10 K runs and 40K cycling courses.
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