South Beach Miami holidays - Bright, lively and intoxicating
If it's wicked art deco architecture and a lively nightlife scene you're looking for, you've come to the right place. Home to colourful clubs, celebrity-chef led restaurants and cool Ocean Drive with its famed Muscle Beach and trendy shops, this is the ideal destination for a discerning traveller hoping to enjoy Florida's grown-up side.
An iconic Floridian city with colourful charm
South Beach is generally defined as a 20 block area to the south of Miami Beach. Here you will find beautiful Art Deco architecture, designer boutiques and world famous nightlife – South Beach is where the action is.
Miami’s beaches are the main attraction, with South Beach the liveliest, offering watersports and lounge chair/umbrella rental. Between 1st and 5th streets the beach is popular with surfers. The boardwalk runs along the beach, and is a great place to stroll, run or cycle at all times of day, to soak up the views.
For outdoor shopping in the South Beach area there is the lovely Espanola Way – a historic Spanish villages featuring unique boutiques and restaurants, and around the corner Washington Avenue is the destination for designer jeans and the latest club wear. Lincoln Road is a pedestrianized road with a massive range of designer and brand name shops, plus lots of restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating where you can watch the world go by. Collins Avenue is where you will find Armani and Versace, and along Ocean Drive the boutiques are funky and fashionable.
A good starting point for restaurants is Lincoln Road – a pedestrianized road in South Beach. You won’t have far to stroll anywhere in the South Beach area to find a wide choice of eating places – Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue are lined with bars and restaurants.
There is every sort of food on offer in Miami, and the portions are usually huge, so be careful not to over-order. Some of the best restaurants such as Yardbird offer Southern food, with popular dishes including Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, and Mississippi Mud Pie. There are some excellent Italian restaurants, plentiful beer and burger joints, and good steakhouses abound. The main attractions of Miami cuisine are the fish and seafood and “Joe’s Stone Crab” is a popular place to enjoy sea bass, lobster claws, Quahog clams, and of course stone crab.
If you’re looking for fine dining, then look no further than the hotels of South Beach, which tend to have a signature fine dining restaurant, often Michelin starred, and are magnets for the beautiful people and celebrities. You will find Mr Chows at the W South Beach, Nobu at the Shore Club, with the Fontainebleau featuring both Gotham Steak and Hakkasan.
Lincoln Road, a pedestrianized road in South Beach, is famous for its people watching, late dining, and jazz bars. The area south of Fifth Street is particularly busy at night, attracting people who want to experience Miami's famed nightlife. Here you’ll find “Salsa Mia” the place to enjoy dinner, mojitos and salsa classes with a live tropical band. Also on Lincoln Road is the Van Dyke Café where there is live music nightly.
The big hitting hotels feature ultra cool nightclubs and “see and be seen” bars, whether it is LIV at the Fontainebleau, WALL at the W, FDR at the Delano or Sky Bar at the Shore Club. Then there is the Nikki Beach Club, originating in St Tropez and now spreading the cool beach vibe on Ocean Drive Miami.
But there are bars and clubs for normal people too, and the Clevelander on Ocean Drive has a good reputation for reasonably priced drinks and a fun, relaxed atmosphere.