South Beach is a district in Miami Beach from South Pointe Park to around 23rd Street.
In 1870, South Beach was completely different from what we know and vision South Beach as it is today. In 1870, South Beach was predominantly unsettled farmland. In that year the Lum brothers decided to purchase the 160 acres of land to grow coconuts. From this a daughter of one of the Lum brother’s named the land “South Beach” and the name did not stick until later on. The brothers decided in 1894 to leave the land to John Collins and after receiving the property he then discovered fresh sea water and expanded his parcel further to what is now 67th street.
Later in 1912, two Miami businessmen bought 400 acres of land from Collins to create their vision of turning the land into “single-family” homes. With the idea to build these “modest” single family homes, Collins felt that there would need to be a bridge built from Miami to the island and construction for this bridge took place in 1913 after the support of many local bank investors. Due to the enormous amount of money this bridge was costing as always John Collins ran out of money and a year later the project was taken over by Carl G. Fisher who had a different vision for an independent city from Miami. The bridge was built a year later after a nice price for fifty thousand dollars. The drive and determination that each business men had for Miami’s South Beach, it was not incorporated until 1915 and the land boom for the location did not set in until 1920. With automobile accessible roads that includes the famous streets like Collins avenue, 5th street, Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive, these areas were built for the rich and possibly the famous.
During World War II, Miami’s South Beach became the location for many soldiers as a training location and after the war many of soldiers wanted to make Miami Beach their permanent place of residency, which help double the population for the area. Forty years later Miami Beach became an area filled with new buildings and had a new reputation as the “Art Deco District” and took on the famous name “South Beach” or nickname “SoBe”. It was not until later on in 1964, that South Beach became more popular from the help of TV personality Jackie Gleason. His comedy hour show that would broadcast once a week would display, a sunny and warm endorsement for the beautiful Miami Beach.
Years after many advertisement of this beautiful destination began to gain more popularity; especially with the retirement community. Many retirees planned on relocating from the cold bitter atmosphere and retire to Miami’s South Beach for warm and relaxing location and could experience this all year long. Unfortunately some of these retirees did not take into consideration the upkeep that would have to be put into a property that was closer to the beach. After the decline for the senior citizen population in this area, South Beach took a downturn in appearance and was considered rundown for an amount of time, affecting the appearance and the reputation for the city.
However this change of scenery for the town helped when it came to the filming the famous gangster movie “Scarface”. The movie was then released in 1983 and this helped put South Beach on the map and interest began to rise again to its once beautiful location and a playground for the rich and famous. Throughout the rest of the 1980’s and 1990’s; South Beach infused many more investment opportunities that has helped it transform once again into a destination for business, tourists and others to make South Beach their new home. South Beach is advertised more through television and has adapted to the city for nightlife with many dance clubs, bars, restaurants and shopping. With the help from these investments, South Beach today has a new wonderful, fun and relaxing reputation, which makes it the perfect destination for all ages.
What to do
Give yourself an opportunity to enjoy South Beach while lodging in a condo rental or your own rental villa. Visit sites like Lincoln Road pedestrian mall, considered South Beach's premier shopping area. It is home to many restaurants and several nightclubs, such as Score and Function, as well as many retail outlets. Ocean Drive is the easternmost street in South Beach, and stems from south of First to 15th Street, running in a north-south direction. Ocean Drive is responsible for the South Beach aesthetic that most out-of-town visitors expect. It is a popular Spring Break and tourist area, including the famous, yet predominantly local, Pearl and Nikki Beach night spots. It is also home to several prominent restaurants (including "News Cafe," "Mango's," and the MTV-popularized "Clevelander") and is the site of Gianni Versace's former ocean front mansion. South Beach has a very active club and bar scene. It is host to over 150 clubs and other destinations, most of which close at 5AM.
Dining opens up a great variety for all taste and culinary preferences. With the most known restaurants of South Florida, South Beach has the best reputation in international cuisine. Classic dinners, cafeterias and fast food restaurants give more option to a day by day casual meal. South Beach is also home to all kind of variety of cultural, art and exhibition events. Miami Beach Convention Center hosts most of the events, and conventions that you could find in Miami.
To get to South Beach, there are several ways to do it:
Take I-95 North or South to 395 over Biscayne Bay which turns into 5th Street.
Shared Taxi/Shuttle Service- For a cheaper ride to your destination in South Beach, you can opt to use a "shared taxi/shuttle service". The cost of this is about $18/per person plus a tip (about $23/person). You can find the shuttles outside of the baggage claim area. No need for reservations. For your trip back to the airport, you can contact the company to pick you up from your hotel and take you back at the same rates.
Taxi- Initial rate is $2.50 and $0.40 for every 1/6 mile and there is a flat rate from the airport to Miami Beach based on 5 different zones and ranges from $24 to $52.
Miami Beach is served by two airports: Miami International Airport which is 10 miles west of Miami Beach and all major domestic flights and some international flights arrive daily at the airport. The other airport is Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and is 25 to 30 miles from Miami Beach and all major domestic and international flights serve this airport.
From Miami Airport, you can take the J or 150 bus.
From Fort Lauderdale Airport, you can take the #1 Broward County bus to Aventura Mall for the Miami-Dade S bus.
Miami/South Beach Culture
Miami/ South Beach culture is consistently focused on the Arts and History. The city contains an opera company, two dance companies, several arts galleries and theaters. In downtown Miami/South Beach houses the main library, the Miami Art Museum, as well as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. When it comes to musical culture in South Beach there are the popular New World Symphony Orchestra, Bass Art Museum, Miami Convention Center plus many more art galleries.
- Art Deco District, 1001 Ocean Drive, ☎ 1 305 672-2014, . It only takes a stroll down Ocean Drive and through much of the neighboring blocks to see the world's largest collection of modern Art Deco architecture. The Miami Design Preservation League runs an Art Deco Welcome Center that serves as the base of operations for all things Art Deco: they hold lectures, show films, and other special events here. They also conduct guided walking tours of the district for a fee; call ahead for times and to make reservations.
- Casa Casuarina (Versace Mansion), 1116 Ocean Drive. Built by Gianni Versace in 1993, this famous house is also the site where he was tragically murdered in 1997. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in South Beach, but it is not open to the public. It is now owned by retired telecommunications tycoon Peter Loftin, who operates it as a private, members-only hotel.
- Espanola Way, Collins West to Pennsylvania. Modeled after Mediterranean villages found in France and Spain.
Jackie Gleason Theater
The Jackie Gleason Theater opened in 1950 and is also known as The Fillmore and is located at 1700 Washington Avenue in Miami/South Beach. The theater grew in popularity during the Golden Era and has held many performances from dancers, musicians, comedians and on occasion several boxing matches. Some of legends during the Golden Era that would grace the theater regular were the infamous Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Jack Benny.
The television boom in the 1960’s led to many shows to be filmed in the auditorium such as The Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan Show, along with the televised Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. In 1964, the famous comedian Jackie Gleason was given the opportunity to film his weekly comedy hour in the theater and helped bring a lot of publicity to Miami. From the 1970’s till the late 1980’s the theater was renovated by Morris Lapidus and was renamed the Miami Beach Theater of Performing Arts and became the head theaters for many Broadway performances. In 1987 the city of Miami decided to rename the theater to The Jackie Gleason Theater of Performing Arts because of the many contributions Jackie made himself to the city and South Beach community.
In 2007 the theater yet again experienced a new multi-million dollar renovation to showcase a new genre of performances. Today, the Jackie Gleason Theater is known for having the biggest names in the music industry and is now operated by Live Nation.
Museums and Exhibits
- Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave, ☎ +1 305 673-7530, . Tu-W and F-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-5PM. This art museum, expanded by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, houses several European artworks from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Baroque and Northern European artworks are the highlights of the Bass Museum’s permanent collection of over 3000 pieces from Old Masters and modernist works. The Bass Museum also hosts touring exhibitions and the New Information Workshop, a computer laboratory that allows visitors to create their own artwork. $12 adults, $10 students and seniors, children under 6 years of age free. Free admission the second Thu of each month from 6PM-9PM.
- The Holocaust Memorial, 1933-1945 Meridian Ave (at Dade Blvd), ☎ +1 305 538-1663, . 9AM-9PM daily. Located adjacent to the Botanical Garden, the memorial was created with the help of Miami Beach Holocaust survivors and sculptor Kenneth Treister in 1984, and was funded by a private, non-profit organization. It was opened to the public in 1990. The most noticeable features of this memorial include a sculpture of a giant outstretched arm covered with climbing Holocaust victims and an Auschwitz tattoo; the Garden of Meditation, with a 200-ft diameter reflecting pool with a dedication to victims; and sculptures of a dying mother and her children surrounded by Anne Frank quotes. In addition, there is a memorial wall etched with the names of victims with candles placed by visitors honoring the memory of the dead. Free.
- Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr, . A collection of subtropical palms and plants and includes a Japanese Garden, orchid collection, exotic plants and varieties of subtropical palms.
- Miami Beach Cultural Campus, The Beach to Park Ave, between 20th and 22nd St. Known as the museum district which includes the Miami City ballet building, the Bass Museum, Miami Beach Regional Library and Collins Park.
- Jewish Museum of Florida, 301 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 672-5044, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Closed Mondays and civil and Jewish holidays.. This museum, located in a 1936 synagogue that hosted Miami’s first Jewish congregation, has a permanent exhibit detailing how Florida’s Jews arrived in Florida as well as their history in Florida and their customs. The museum also has videos to view while you’re inside the museum, temporary exhibits in the center of the synagogue and a gift shop. A small and fairly uninteresting museum. Adult admission $6, senior and student admission $5, family admission $12, children under six and members of the Jewish Museum of Florida free. Admission is also free on Sat.
- Red Bull Art of Can Miami Exhibit, Ocean Drive. When this exhibit is in town it is definitely a must see. It is an exhibit showing 47 original pieces all made out of Red Bull cans. The pieces range from shoes to birds to face masks all made from the different cans that Red Bull makes. The show is not always there, but when it is, it is for sure a must see.
- Wolfsonian-Florida International University Museum, 1001 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 531-1001, . M-Tu and F-Sa 11AM-6PM, Th 11AM-9PM, Su 12PM-5PM. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, this building was the headquarters of the Washington Storage Company, a facility where the rich could stash their valuables whenever they were out of town. Movie theater heir and Miami native Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. stored so much artwork here that he bought the storage company, and later gave the building to Florida International University, hence the museum’s odd name. The Wolfsonian hosts a large Modernist-era (around 1885-1945) art collection that includes propaganda posters and postcards, Art Deco household items, and other touring exhibits. There is also a café, bookstore, fountain and a modernist-inspired artwork on the first floor. Adults $5, seniors, students with ID and children 6-12 $3.50.
A state-of-the-art theater, home to local and national artists and institutions from the worlds of theater, dance, music, comedy and film. Location is 1040 Linclon Road - 305-674-1026
- Flamingo Park, 11th St. and Jefferson Ave. Lush outdoor park that offers facilities such as tennis, racketball and basketball courts.
- Lummus Park, Ocean Dr. from 5th to 15th St. The famous beachfront park of South Beach located along all the party destinations on Ocean Drive. Huge grassy areas and giant palm trees make for a great backdrop for photo shoots, which happen frequently, alongside volleyball courts and pull up bars. A wavy pedestrian walk called the Promenade weaves through the north end of the park and up along the beach to 21st St, where it turns into boardwalk. The bathrooms, located at around 11th Street, are in a stunning Art Deco boat-shaped building but have rusty fixtures and are dirty.
- South Pointe Park, 1 Washington Ave. Good park to sit and watch the cruise ships as they pass by.
- Go to the beach, Ocean Drive and 5th St. to Collins Ave. and 21st St. A trip to South Beach would not be complete without going to its beautiful beach. You will be able to find food and drink concession stands; rent beach chairs and umbrellas; find restrooms and shower facilities; walking trails; volleyball; rent watersports; and feel protected with lifeguards and beach patrol. Topless bathing is allowed here, and a mostly-gay crowd sunbathes around 12th Street.
- Rent a bike or scooter. South Beach has a number of bike rental places. Bikes are a convenient way of traveling around South Beach very quickly, particularly if you want to see a lot in a short amount of time, but it will be hard to ride a bike through large crowds on busy weekends. Lummus Park and Lincoln Road will have bike racks if you want to stop and get around on foot. Scooters can also be rented, but these must stay on the road, and again it will just be frustrating if there is a lot of traffic. Rentals will cost around $8/hour or $30/day (a 24-hour time period from the time you start).
- Miami Beach Golf Club, 2301 Alton St, . Home to some of the best golf courses with the best weather around. Seasonal rates: Peak season (December to April) costs $200 and the summer season (May to October) costs $95. Rentals and tax are extra.
- South Beach Food Tour, . 6:00 pm. A 3 hours walking cultural and historical guided journey while tasting Miami Beach's most delicious foods. Given by locals through the historic neighborhood of the Art Deco District. From five-star gourmet to hole-in-the-wall delicious — a scene that’s as varied as the communities that make up the area. cost $59.
- Spa at The Setai, 2001 Collins Ave., .
- Sanctuary Salon & Spa by Agnes, 1745 James Ave., .
- Ritz-Carlton Spa South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd., .
- Nirvana Spa, 8701 Collins Ave, .
- The Standard Spa, 40 Island Avenue, ☎ +1 (305) 704-3945, .
- "The Clinton South Beach Spa" located 825 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL Phone= " +1 (305) 938-4040"
- Lincoln Road Mall (runs east-west from Collins Ave. to Bay Road between 16th and 17th St.): One of the hottest shopping streets you can find in the country. Home to a 7 block pedestrian mall with 400 businesses and it is located outside. You can also find the Lincoln Road Market as well which is a farmer's market that is open from 9AM to 6PM on Sunday year round.
- Collins Avenue Fashion District (Collins Avenue from 5th to 9th St.): Max out your credit card on this strip which plays host to plenty of hip designers from Versace, Armani, and so on. For example:
- Guess, 736 Collins Ave., +1 305 673-8880 – National retailer specializing in men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. Two-story building.
- Nicole Miller, 656 Collins Ave., +1 305 535-2200 – Women’s clothing and accessories.
- United Colors of Benetton, 668 Collins Ave., +1 305 538-3777 – Women’s shoes, clothing and accessories.
- Kenneth Cole, 190 8th St., +1 305 673-5151 – Open Fri-Sat 10AM-9PM, Thu 10AM-9PM, Sun 12PM-8PM. Men and women’s clothing and accessories. Two-story building with a minimalist feel.
- Barney’s New York Co-op, 832 Collins Ave., +1 305 421-2010 (email [email protected], fax +1 305 421-2006) – Open Mon-Thu 11AM-9PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10PM, Sun 12PM-7PM. Men’s and women’s clothing such as A Bathing Ape. Supposedly more affordable than a regular Barney’s New York, but prices can be a bit steep.
- Diesel Jeans, 801 Washington Ave., +1 305 535-9695. Italian retailer that specializes in jeans for men and women. Sometimes hosts special events such as a showcase for electronic labels Ghostly and Spectral Sound at the 2007 Winter Music Conference.
- Ocean Drive (Along the entire street of Ocean Drive): You will find a collection of funky, youthful boutiques and unique accessories.
South Beach has plenty of places to eat. Restaurants and cafes along Ocean Drive are convenient for beach-goers and popular amongst tourists, but they can be prohibitively expensive. On the other hand, Lincoln Road offers a wide range of quality food at good prices and cater to locals and tourists alike. For a more European flavor, check out Espanola Way which looks and feels just like an Italian street.
If you plan on eating on Ocean Drive, look for specials: some places offer half off of certain items for lunch, for example, or have promoters out on the sidewalks with flyers advertising deals for the evening.
- 11th Street Diner, 1065 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 534-6373. Really cool and is on the corner of Washington and 11th St in South Beach. They serve breakfast all day. $8-$15.
- Big Pink, 157 Collins Ave (near and across from Privé and Opium Gardens), ☎ +1 305 532-4700, . Comfort food. Once you enter this restaurant, head for its large menu near the entrance to see its selection of burgers, breakfasts and other items that have been brought to the present day. Stay if you're interested in what's playing on the televisions. If you’re not in the mood to head to the restaurant, Big Pink offers free takeout in a pink VW bug (and occasionally to bouncers at Privé). $3-$20.
- BLT Steak at The Betsy, 1440 Ocean Drive, ☎ +1 305 673-0044, . BLT Steak, Laurent Tourondel’s iconic modern American steakhouse, occupies the Betsy’s beautiful lobby. Combining the highest quality ingredients with enticing, exacting French technique, Chef Tourondel and BLT Steak have won an array of awards from experts at Esquire, Travel & Liesure, Saveur, and Wine and Spectator magazines.
- David’s Café, 1058 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 534-8736, . Open 24 hours. Cheap, legendary Cuban food. Free delivery on South Beach. There is a second location near the Lincoln Road Mall, at 1654 Meridian Ave. $2-$19.
- The Frieze Ice Cream Factory, 1626 Michigan Avenue (one block south of Lincoln Road), ☎ +1 305 538-0207. This self-designated "world's greatest ice cream company" is something of a local favorite, and though you might not consider it any better than your ice cream shop back home, their selection of homemade flavors are fairly creative and varied. They also have a large selection of "healthier" sorbets, an important component for image-conscious Miami. If you're hankering for something cold, this is a better choice than the chains on Lincoln Road that overcharge. $2-$7.
- ISHQ, 530 Ocean Dr, ☎ +1 305 532-4747, . SHQ serves the best Indian and vegetarian/vegan cuisine in South Beach. They have a great brunch on Sundays, and serve delicious cocktails $5-$23.
- News Café, 800 Ocean Dr, . Open 24 hours. Breakfast, pizzas, sandwiches and paninis, burgers, Middle Eastern cuisine, appetizers, entrees and dessert. Because of its location on the corner of 8th St and Ocean Dr, News Café is the perfect place to see anything from models to shoppers to Duck Tour buses. Note: a 15% tip is added to your order automatically. Internet access also available here for a fee. $2-$25.
- Pizza Rustica, 863 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 674-8244, . This small chain is also branching out in LA and locations all over South Florida. In Miami, there are locations in Downtown Miami, Cameo and Lincoln Road Mall. It serves Roman-style pizza. Pizza is made by the foot and cut to a desired length and then folded over like a sandwich. Salads are also served. Accepts cash only. $3-$18.
- Van Dyke, 846 Lincoln Road, ☎ +1 305 534-3600. Serving a good range of salads, sandwiches and pastas at a reasonable price. $7+.
- 660 Mediterranean Kitchen at The Angler's, 660 Washington Avenue, ☎ +1 786 594-5811, . Cozy and magical indoor and outdoor spaces provide for a romantic and intimate dining experience, full liquor bar, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Blue Door Restaurant (located in the Delano Hotel), 1685 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 697-1791, . Breakfast 7PM-11:30AM, lunch 11:30AM-4PM, brunch (Sundays) 10:30AM-2:30PM, prix fixe dinner 7PM-11PM, a la carte dinner 7PM-12AM.. French/Brazilian fusion. Reservations required for the prix fixe dinner. Reservations can be taken online.
- Blue Sea Restaurant, 1685 Collins Ave (located in an alcove off the main lobby of the Delano Hotel), ☎ +1 305 674-6400, . Su-Th 7PM-12AM, F-Sa 5:30PM-1AM.. Sushi.
- Larios on the Beach, 820 Ocean Dr, ☎ +1 305 532-9577. Su-Th 11:30AM-12AM, Fr-Sa 11:30AM-1AM. Cuban. One of Gloria Estefan’s many restaurants in South Florida, this place is said to have some of the best mojitos in South Beach. $8-$27.
- Nexxt Cafe, 700 Lincoln Rd, ☎ +1 305 532-6643, . European sidewalk cafe offering a choice of excellent value international cuisine. Save room for one of the delectable fresh French pastries Nexxt concocts daily.
- Nobu, 1901 Collins Ave (located in the Shore Hotel), ☎ +1 305 695-3232, . Japanese. One of the many Nobu restaurants around the world known for its amazing Japanese food. Good luck trying to get a reservation though. $3-$70 (the NOBU signature menu is $110; the Omakase, a meal determined by the chef, is $150).
- Pascha's, 900 Lincoln Rd, ☎ +1 305 673-3919, . Healthy Mediterranean fare that is as tasty as it looks. Good location on Lincoln Road and the staff are attentive.
- Rice House of Kabob, 1318 Alton Rd, ☎ +1 305 531-0332, . Clean lined decor inside serves plentiful and filling Iranian cuisine. Great for a lunch time bite.
- The Van Dyke Cafe, 846 Lincoln Rd., ☎ +1 305 534-3600. This alfresco style restaurant serves an eclectic, moderately priced menu of dishes such as grilled fresh tuna and pasta with portobello mushrooms, artichokes, spinach and roasted peppers. The umbrella shaded tables are located right on the sidewalk, which is prime for people watching! Located right on Lincoln Road, you can put your name in for an outside table and go shopping while you wait. Upstairs there is an amazing jazz club, quite possibly the best in town. Every Sunday they start a week of nightly jazz. As the week rolls on, big-name regulars like pianists Brian Murphy and Mike Orta, vocalist Nicole Henry and drummer Don Miller make appearances and rock through the night. The cover charge at the door usually runs from about $5 to $15.
- A Fish Called Avalon, 700 Ocean Dr, ☎ +1 305 532-1727, . Fresh seafood restaurant that has locals and visitors raving. While the service can be better, the food is impeccable. Be sure to try the Lobster Cavatelli or the Cilantro Cured Swordfish. $12-$45.
- Barton G. the Restaurant, 1427 West Ave, ☎ +1 305 672-8881, . Su-Sa 6PM-12AM. Experimental American cuisine, with plates and drinks outrageously designed by chef Barton G., South Beach's most famous event planner and caterer. He uses the same showy presentation and food in his restaurant as he does with his catering. Reservations are requested. Dine with socialities and celebrities, and don't forget your credit card, it's quite expensive. $8-$30.
- BED, 929 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 532-9070, . Dinner Mon, Wed-Sat 8-11PM, bottle service Mon, Wed-Sat 11PM-3AM.. Fusion. BED (which actually stands for Beverage, Entertainment and Dining) is the only small chain club/eatery where patrons can eat food on beds. The food is excellent, but be aware that BED has a dress code and no signage during the daytime (like most South Beach clubs). BED unfortunately attracts hipsters that may not have the ability to get into South Beach’s more exclusive clubs, but to ensure you at least have a spot at dinner BED accepts same-day reservations. $12-$38.
- Casa Tua, 1700 James Ave, ☎ +1 305 673-1010, . If it's good enough for Sting then it might be good enough for you. If you want to go up-market for dinner, it's hard to beat--but be prepared to pay for the experience.
- China Grill, 404 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 534-2211, . Lunch M-F 12-5 PM, dinner Sun 5PM-11PM PM, Mon-Thu 6PM-12AM, Fri-Sat 6PM-1 AM. Chinese-fusion cuisine. Courses are served in family style (order to share) $20-$40.
- Joe’s Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 673-0365, . Seasonal hours. Opened in 1913, this Miami landmark is famous for three things: stone crabs, which they claim to have discovered, key lime pie and the long lines for its dinner service. Lines should be shorter or non-existent during lunch or at its sister restaurant, Joe’s Take-Out. Stone crab claws can cost as much as $60 per serving, depending upon the size and current market prices. If you're looking for something different, there are plenty of other seafood and meat entrees on the menu in the $20-$30 price range.
- Mango’s Tropical Café, 900 Ocean Drive, ☎ +1 305 673-4422, . Su-Sa 11AM-5AM. Caribbean and American. Mango’s appearance in the cinematic bomb From Justin to Kelly—sparsely populated, well-lit at night and quiet enough to have a conversation about conniving girlfriends—is the exact opposite of how Mango’s is on a typical day. This infamous South Beach spot is known for its dancers and bartenders in cat suits gyrating on the center bar to live music. There are also two side bars and plenty of tables if you want to be away from the action in the middle of the restaurant. After 6PM, it is a 21+ only establishment, and there will be a cover charge that ranges from $5-$20 depending on the entertainment.
- Porcao, 801 Brickell Bay Dr, ☎ +1 305 373-2777. A fixed price ($41) offers a variety of food options, but vegetarians beware, this is a meat lovers mecca. Although you can snack on healthy options at the buffet - caesar salad, sushi, pasta, and various vegetables and cheeses, the main event is the meat. Roaming waiters present you with various types of meat carved for you at your table (rodizio service). All cuts of meat are exceptional and tastes even better accompanied by Chilean wines offered on the wine list.
- Tantra (on the corner of Espanola Way), 1145 Pennsylvania Ave, ☎ +1 305 672-4765, . Sun-Sat 7PM-5AM. Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/Indian. This restaurant/club is heavy on the Middle Eastern vibe—grass land its floors. Booths can be closed in this eatery for privacy and hookah pipes and aphrodisiac cocktails are passed around. $24-$52.
Nightlife in South Beach starts late and ends early in the morning. Getting to a club well after midnight is common. If you're not famous, wealthy, or not with someone famous or wealthy, expect to be charged full price for cover (that includes the ladies!) at some of the swankier clubs. If there's a cover, make sure you find out what the crowd is and what kind of music or DJ is playing on any particular night before you buy in to anything you might not enjoy. No matter how exclusive the location is, drinks anywhere will be plenty expensive, which is why anyone without money to throw around will have had a few drinks already before they show up anywhere else.
- Caffè Tramonto, 235 Washington Ave (between 2nd and 3rd), ☎ +1 305 672-2137. Daily 6PM-Close. A bar with a fun international atmosphere in South Beach.
- Clevelander, 1020 Ocean Drive, ☎ +1 305 532-4006. Beautiful, Fun, and a great night life spot. The Clevelander Bar is fun for all ages over the age of 21. They usually begin the night with a live band and then as the night goes on the DJ is spinning all the latest tunes. They have a stage that is designated for dancing and right behind the stage is the pool bar. They have fun tropical drinks along with classic drinks that many are used to at home. At night the bars are lit up with beautiful neon lights to set it apart from the other bars that line the Ocean Drive. Drinks range from about $10-$14 dollars, but gratuity is included.
- Laundry Bar, 721 Lincoln Ln, ☎ +1 305 531-7700, . Daily 7AM-5AM, happy hour at 4PM-9PM.. True to its name, this one of a kind bar lets you do your laundry while dancing playing pool and drinking with friends. (Note: alcohol isn't served until after midnight.) Welcomes a mixed crowd of straight and gay people.
- Mac's Club Deuce, 222 14th St, ☎ +1 305 673-9537. Sun-Sat 8AM-5AM. Miami Beach’s oldest bar, founded in 1926, is not as pretentious as several other bars around Miami. An affordable, local hangout with a jukebox and a pool table.
- Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305-532-1525, . 10PM-5AM. Large popular nightclub set in the heart of Washington Avenue. Set over two floors, the slightly-pretentious yet buzzing club is a display of urban chic and is popular largely with tourists and locals depending on the night. The club boasts big name DJ's that you would find in any Ibiza superclub, such as Roger Sanchez. The club is part of the Opium Group which owns some of the other clubs in South Beach. There are a mixture of nights ranging from techno/commercial house to hip hop and RnB. If you are visiting Miami, your hotel should be able to provide you with concierge passes which will get you to the front of the line, although on big events expect to argue with the doorstaff about the wait. Expect to pay $50 for entry when big names appear, $15-30 midweek, well worth a visit.
- Nikki Beach Miami, 1 Ocean Dr (behind), ☎ +1 305 531-5535, . Teepees and beds surround this outdoor space, which feels smaller in person than it does in television shows and movies such as From Justin to Kelly. This club is infamous for welcoming the likes of celebrities such as Brooke Hogan (Hulk Hogan’s daughter and a singer in her own right). Part of a small chain of Nikki Beach clubs, others most notably in St. Tropez and Hollywood, Ca. The nightclub has a fun yet pretentious vibe, the doorstaff often operate a strict 70/30 rule on women to men on busy nights, which can often mean male groups having difficulty gaining entry. The only way to ensure entry is to purchase a table costing anywhere between $500-$1000. The clientele is a mix of socialites, models and some tourists. Sundays are the most popular night, definitely worth a visit.
- Opium Garden, 136 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 531-5535. Th-Sa 11PM-5AM. This 32,000 sq. foot Asian inspired nightclub is a well-known hot spot in South Beach. With two levels, this nightclub has a capacity of up to 2000 guests. There is always a line to get in so get there early! If you make it through the doors, there is a $20 cover charge. This beautiful Zen-like nightclub plays dance, hip-hop, and Top 20's music all night long. They feature 16 different specialty drinks and they offer table service with a $200 minimum. Opium is a little pricey, but it is worth the experience!
- Purdy Lounge, 1811 Purdy Ave, ☎ +1 305 531-4622, . M-F 3PM-5AM, Sa-Su 6PM-5AM. A funky local dance joint, the world famous Purdy Lounge is open till 5AM every day of the year. Daily drink specials, live reggae on Mon and live local bands on Tuesday. The joint gets packed on the weekends and most of the crowds starts coming in at 11PM. Drinks are inexpensive and pours are generous.
- Rose Bar at the Delano, 1685 Collins Ave (located in the Delano Hotel), ☎ +1 305 672-2000, . Created by Ian Schrager, the bar has several rose-colored glasses surrounding it. Drinks are expensive, so be prepared to wear out your wallet.
- Skybar, 1901 Collins Ave (located at the Shore Club), ☎ +1 305 695-3100, . Times vary depending on rooms within the Skybar. Consisting of several places in the space behind the Shore Club with whimsical names like the Redroom, the Sandbar and the Rumbar, the Shore Club is tough to get into for people not on the A-list or guests at the hotel. Another hotel creation by Ian Schrager.
- Tantra, 1445 Pennsylvania Ave, ☎ +1 305 672-4765. 7PM-5AM. A sensual Middle Eastern atmosphere complete with real grass on the floor, Tantra is the place to feel sleek and sexy. Aphrodisiac martinis add to the ambiance, while the house music playing makes you feel that you've found the 'it' spot in South Beach.
- Wet Willy's, 760 Ocean Drive, ☎ +1 305 532-5650, . 40+ different Daiquiri flavors. What is there no to love while/after soaking up the sun in this beautiful city. Wet Willy's is known for their delicious daiquiris and exotic mixed drinks. This is a great fun atmosphere that every one will enjoy. They also serve great food to satisfy every ones taste buds.
While some of the most famous and well-known hotels and resorts are located in South Beach, the area can be noisy, crowded and expensive. Hotels and resorts are located along the entire length of Miami Beach, so travelers should also consider places further north of 23rd St.
- The Clay Hotel and Hostel, 1438 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 534-2988 (toll free: +1 800 379-2529, fax: +1 305 673-0346), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. 120 rooms. Member of the International Youth Hostel Federation. Dorm rooms are single sex and have four to eight beds per room. Some rooms have balconies, TVs, phones and baths. Kitchen, laundry, TV, refrigerator, air conditioning. $74-$133 per night (off-season, hotel rooms), $150-$240 per night (winter, hotel rooms), $24-$28/bed.
- Jazz on South Beach Hostel, 321 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 672-2137 ([email protected], fax: +1 305 672-4227), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Backpackers hostel in Miami just 1 block from the beach. $21-$35 (dorms), $135 (privates).
- Miami Beach International Travelers Hostel, 236 9th St, ☎ +1 305 534-0268 (toll free: +1 800 978-6787, [email protected]), . checkin: 3:15PM; checkout: 11AM. This hostel has 100 rooms. Dorm rooms have four beds. Half of the non-dorm rooms are private. Kitchen, internet access (on a dated computer), video rental library. $13-$15 per room (dorm rooms), $32-$59 per night (regular rooms, low season), $49-$89 per night (regular rooms, high season).
- South Beach Hostel, 235 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 305 534-6669 (fax: +1 305 672-5495), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. The hostel offers shared or private rooms for 4, 6, and 8 people. Security lockers in-dorm, large kitchen and TV area with pool table and internet access. They also have a large bar that is open until 5AM for the party animals with lots of great drink specials. Free transportation to Miami International Airport offered twice a day. If you are traveling on a tight budget, this is a great opportunity to experience South Beach without going overboard. $40 (2 bed room), $24-$28 (single bed).
- Tropics Hotel & Hostel, 1550 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 531-0361, . Dorm rooms have four to eight beds per room. Private rooms have TV and phone. Barbecue, pool. $27-39 (dorm rooms), $90-$180 (private rooms).
- Villa Paradiso, 1415 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 532-0616, . This hotel has 56 rooms. Rooms have queen sized beds, double beds or couch-beds. Air conditioning, TV, kitchen, refrigerator, coffeemaker. $99+.
- Albion Hotel South Beach, 1650 James Avenue, ☎ +1 305 913-1000, . Modern Art Deco hotel ideally situated a couple of blocks to Collins Ave, Ocean Drive. The hotel is stylised as an Ocean Liner and is excellent value for money. The hotel has a large mezzanine level pool, hotel bar and rooms with very comfortable beds - you have been warned! The concierge staff are very helpful and will organise most things for you, there is also valet parking available.
- Beacon Hotel, 720 Ocean Dr, ☎ +1 305 674-8200, toll-free +1 877 674-8200 (fax: +1 305 674-8976), . Rooms are equipped with flat panel LCD TVs, cable television, IP-phones with voicemail and dataport features, in-room mini-bar, and Wi-Fi. $140-$460.
- Clevelander Hotel, 1020 Ocean Drive, ☎ +1 305. The Clevelander Hotel is known as one of the hottest party places to stay while in South Beach. The pool is surrounded by glass blocks and neon bars, while the dance floors and outdoor stage are often filled with fantastic entertainment. Situated right on Ocean Drive, the sexy outdoor bars are always hopping and they have the highest liquor sales of any bar in Florida. The 54 rooms are well furnished and are all equipped with AC and cable TV (if you have time to watch TV at all). The rooms average at about $120/night, depending on time of travel. If you are ready to party, this hotel won't let you down. Due to the party scene at this hotel, no one under 21 can stay here.
- The Hotel of South Beach, 801 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 531-2222, toll-free +1 877 843-4683 (fax: +1 305 531-3222), . Formerly the Tiffany Hotel (as implied by its spire on the top of the building), it was renovated by clothing and home decorating designer Todd Oldham. The Hotel has a blank façade on the outside but a multi-colored space on the inside. The 53 rooms are decorated with mirrors rather than artwork and have plenty of storage space around the room to compensate for room size. There is also a gem-cut swimming pool and lounge on the upper decks, room service, air conditioning, TV, stereo, and Wish, The Hotel’s French-Brazilian restaurant which also has a bar. $245-$285 (winter rates), $144-$245 (off-season rates).
- Hotel St. Augustine, 347 Washington Ave., ☎ +1 (305) 532-0570, . A "boutique" style hotel in the SoFi District with Art Deco architecture and 24 loft-style rooms.
- The Kent Hotel, 1131 Collins Avenue, . A boutique Art Deco hotel offering cool stylish elements of Miami Beach including modern themes, unique colors and furniture.
- The Loft Hotel, 952 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 534-2244 ([email protected], fax: +1 305 538-1509), . This hotel has 57 rooms. Air conditioning, TV and VCR, clock radio and kitchens in rooms. Starting at $99 per night.
- Pelican Hotel, 826 Ocean Dr, ☎ +1 305 673-3373, . Pelican Hotel claims it is a “toy-hotel” rather than a hotel because every one of its 30 rooms and suites is designed around a theme rather than the hotel itself being designed around a theme. Magnus Ehrland, a Swedish designer, created rooms like the “Psychedelic(ate) Girl,” “Jesus Christ Megastar” and the “Best Whorehouse” (which is said to be the most popular, and hardest to score, room in the hotel). Ehrland used his imagination and a lot of flea market goodies to design the rooms. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves breakfast well into the day, a bar, a concierge, laundry service, air conditioning, TV, refrigerator, hair dryer, iron, safe, and a stereo. $180-$440 per night (winter rates), $155-$310 per night (off-season rates)..
- The Raleigh, 1775 Collins Avenue, ☎ +1 305 534-6300, . The 105-room Raleigh hotel is a masterpiece of Art Deco grandeur, designed by legendary architect L. Murray in 1940, and has been a staple of South Beach since its renovation in the 1980's. The pool is fantastic.
- San Juan Hotel South Beach, 1680 Collins Avenue, .
- Townhouse Hotel, 150 20th Street, . Modern design & old-fashioned comfort.
- The Bentley Hotel, 501 Ocean Drive, . Yet another Art Deco Hotel in an oceanfront building dating back to from 1934. The Bentley's meticulously restored art deco architecture provides a luxurious, yet intimate environment. One of few upscale options on Ocean Drive.
- Cardozo Hotel, 501 Ocean Drive, . The Cardozo hotel, owned by singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan Jr., offers a variety of deluxe suites, as well as superior ocean view, and standard accommodations.
- Delano, 1685 Collins Avenue, ☎ +1 305 672-2000, . Hotel has poolside bungalows, the Blue Door restaurant, the Blue Sea restaurant, the Rose Bar, the Agua Spa, penthouse suites and meeting facilities. Known in the past for Madonna hanging around the hotel, nowadays you may find the likes of Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis in the hotel whenever she's in town. The famous hotel lobby has become a nightclub destination in its own right, which is great if you want somewhere to party, not so much if you're just trying to get back to your room. $315-$925 (standard room), $1,000-$2,100 (suite), $1,500-$3,000 (bungalow/two bedroom), $2,400-$3,800 (penthouse).
- The Setai, 2001 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 520-6000, . Contemporary Asian style hotel in a reconstructed Deco building. Managed by GHM hotels, operator of the high-end Chedi chain. Quite possibly one of the most expensive boutique hotels in Miami (let alone South Beach). $950-$9000+ per night (ask about their prices for their four bedroom penthouse).
- The Shore Club Hotel, 1901 Collins Ave, ☎ +1 305 695-3100, . Hotel has the Beach House (a private villa), two pools, a spa, the Skybar, Nobu & Ago restaurant, penthouse suites and meeting facilities. $450-$1500 per night.
- The Tides South Beach Hotel, 1220 Ocean Drive, ☎ +1 305 604-5070, . An icon of Art Deco architecture. Debuted a provocative new design in the fall of 2007 by trendsetting designer Kelly Wearstler. The glamorous new design re-dresses the hotel's interiors incorporating elements from the sea, rich textures, sunset colors and vintage recreations with a nod to its illustrious past while setting new standards for future hotel design.
The Versace Mansion
Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A. Versace was known for creating fashionable clothes influenced by the infamous Andy Warhol and historical art pieces from Roman and Greek art works. Sadly, at the age of 50; Gianni Versace was murdered at his South Beach property formerly known as Casa Casuarina by the spree killer Andrew Cunanan after coming back from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. The Versace mansion is now a popular touring spot in South Beach.
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