South Beach has been called the American Riviera and an Art Deco Playground. Yet there's more than fine white sand and colorful buildings to South Beach's fantasyland of exuberant Deco architecture. South Beach offers an eclectic mix of world-class boutiques, galleries and stores. It's also a culinary hot spot for everything from gourmet to casual beachside cuisine. At night, South Beach comes alive with crowds ready to go out and have a world-class evening out.
South Beach is the Miami of postcards; the skyline of Ocean Drive has been featured on television what must be millions of times, and yes, the people are as beautiful and as they look on the tube. South Beach may be a world class partying hotspot, and that's not to be overlooked, but the daytime destinations on the island are as notable, and perhaps, more memorable, than the nightlife.
The clear blue water and the white sand beaches are a must-see for any Miami visitor; even for locals, the beautiful beach just doesn't get old. If you're taking a break from the sun, check out one of the many museums, shops or historic buildings in the area. Take a stroll down Lincoln Road for the best people watching in Miami or cozy up to a fancy bar with haute cocktails.
Places to Go
- Lummus Park - Lummus Park is a public beachfront park on Ocean Drive, between 5th and 15th Streets. You’ll find beach volleyball courts, sidewalks for rollerblading, power walking or jogging - a beautiful place to get in your workout. So forget the gym, and just go for a swim in the ocean or for a jog with a view that will make the miles tick by.
- Espanola Way - is a small and charming area within South Beach with Spanish colonial architecture and overhanging café lights, on a pedestrian friendly European style street. Only about two blocks long, it’s a must-stop to shop, eat, dine, drink and people watch amongst an international crowd of tourists and locals.
- Ocean Drive - The street is the center of the Miami Art Deco District, which is home to about 900 preserved buildings. Streamline Moderne evolved from the Art Deco style, and dominates the street. The street has a magazine named after it, Ocean Drive magazine. British easy-listening duo The Lighthouse Family released a single entitled "Ocean Drive", which reached #11 on the UK Singles Chart. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City also based the setting on Miami and has a replica of Ocean Drive with exactly the same name.
- Versace Mansion - The wrought iron gates of the Versace Mansion, lined with the designer’s signature Greek key pattern and Medusa logo in gold bas relief, have been a fixture of fascination for passersby on Ocean Drive ever since Gianni Versace’s untimely murder on its steps in 1997 at age 50. With a velvet rope and stern security guard ever present at the entrance, curiosity about the lavish world that exists beyond those gilded gates lends the home its mystique, yet it’s not open to the public for tours or a look inside. The historic mansion, originally built in 1930 by Alden Freeman who modeled the Mediterranean Revival marvel after the Alcazar de Colon in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was purchased by the fashion designer in 1992.
- Doraku is the go-to sushi spot on Lincoln Road, offering its guests two ways to drink on the cheap. The sushi restaurant features happy hour during lunch (weekdays, 12-3 p.m. and weekends, 1-3 p.m.) with $5 chicken avocado salad, $6 sashimi combos and $4 draft beers and sake, alongside an evening happy hour (daily, 5-7 p.m.) with $6 tuna tataki, $6 eggplant miso and $6 lychee martinis.
- Cecconi’s is nestled in a tree-lined outdoor garden inside the Soho Beach House, and presents a revamped “4 to 7” happy hour (Tuesday-Saturday, 4-7 p.m.). Now, instead of only being offered at the intimate bar, the new happy hour can be enjoyed throughout the main dining room, serving up signature dishes of eggplant caponata bruschetta, ham and cheese croquettes paired with classic cocktails like Negroni, Caipirinha, and select wines by the glass.
- Haven is known for its afterwork mingling scene during to its popular happy hour (Tuesday-Sunday, 6-8 p.m.) with $4 beer, $7 wines by the glass and $7 craft cocktails like Fever made with lychee and prosecco. As for food, there’s $5 tater tots with blue cheese, $7 hamachi with jalapeño and $5 weekly rotating burgers.
- One of Miami’s hottest rooftop bar scenes, especially during happy hour on Fridays, Area 31 at Epic Hotel is a place to see and be seen in downtown. Sway to the sounds of a live DJ by the pool and soak up the stunning city views featuring the Brickell Avenue skyline to the south and Biscayne Bay to the east. On Fridays, “chase the clock” with $5 drinks and bar bites at 5 p.m., $6 at 6 p.m., $7 at 7 p.m. and so on until closing.
- For a posh poolside experience, check out La Cote, the bi-level bar and restaurant at the iconic Fontainebleau hotel, where light Southern French fare and a DJ bar scene elevate poolside dining to a new level. Friday through Sunday there’s a DJ spinning tunes from 12 to 7 p.m. to suit the fashionable crowds.
Places to Eat
- Katsuya - a sushi restaurant run by Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi and designed by Philippe Starck.
- The Bazaar by José Andrés - who reigns in the upper echelon of culinary names worldwide. He’s popularized his particular brand of whimsical, molecular gastronomy and modern Spanish cuisine.
- The Restaurant at The Raleigh - serves modern American cuisine created by chef Jose Icardi, with fresh touches inspired by the property's rich history. The menu features shareable plates in addition to traditional starters, entrees, sides and snacks. Chef Icardi adds new dishes to the restaurant's menu daily, showcasing the latest fresh, seasonal ingredients from farmers, ranchers and fishermen near Miami.
- BLT Steak at The Betsy Hotel - the menu includes American steakhouse favorites with a modern twist, a signature brunch, and a savvy wine and cocktail list.
- Zuma at The Epic Hotel - brings its internationally renowned cuisine to downtown Miami. Dine in the informal Japanese izakaya style (Japanese tapas or small shared dishes) and get a taste of traditional Japanese flavors, but expect a new and modern spin on classics.