There’s something magical about South Beach’s Art Deco District. It’s at once like taking a step back in time, yet seeing all the modern world has to offer. All rolled up into one.
At some point in your life, you’ve seen bits and pieces of the art deco district – be it the old “Miami Vice” television show, the movie “Scarface”, or some fashion advertisement, it is hard to miss the beautiful architecture dating back to the 1920s.
As you stroll through the streets that house most of these buildings (Washington Ave., Collins Ave., and Ocean Dr.), you’ll be struck by the soft pastel colors and the finishing touches that are the trademark of this design style.
Many of the buildings that were once run-down homes for elderly, indigent, and drug dealers, now house boutique hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops.
The best way to experience this area is to start at the Art Deco Welcome Center, located at Ocean Dr. and 10th St. to get a bit of insight, and then just wander through the streets. I usually park in the very low numbered streets (6th St. or lower) and walk north to Lincoln Rd. or reverse that and park at one of the many parking garages and lots near Lincoln Rd. and walk south.
Lincoln Rd. is a pedestrian only shopping and entertainment area that is quite enjoyable – if nothing else the people watching is great!
As a photographer, I love the colors in these buildings and this area, but there is also something magically beautiful about this area in pure black and white photographs. It gives it a timeless quality.
On some Sundays, there is a small market that sets up on Lincoln Rd. I love local markets and this one had a broad selection of items to keep me entertained as I wandered around.
Heading back south, if you walk along Ocean Dr., you can walk on the west side and battle the crowds at the restaurants, shops, and bars, or simply cross the street and walk along the South Beach “boardwalk”. It is worth taking a short detour into Española Way to temporarily step into what feels like a European street and plaza. There are several restaurants here and I always like to stop at Boteco Copacabana (one of the restaurants I was introduced to during my first SoBe Tour de Forks back in 2013) to buy some of their amazing made-in-house hot sauce. Wow – that stuff is good!
This is probably my favorite part of Miami Beach and one that I love to wander around in every time I visit. Admiring the architecture never gets old!