Miami Beach, a slender, nine-mile-long barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean, is divided into three distinct neighborhoods. South Beach – from South Pointe Park north to 23rd Street – is the most famous of the trio, home to sandy strands, swaying palms, and the pastel-colored Art Deco buildings that have become synonymous with this iconic destination and render it so undeniably photogenic.
If you’re not staying in South Beach, the Venetian Causeway and the MacArthur Causeway are scenic routes connecting to the mainland, offering stunning views of palatial waterfront homes. Already in South Beach? Slip-on your sneakers or rent a CitiBike and join locals at sunrise or sunset for a run or ride on the waterfront path.
Most visitors make a beeline for Lincoln Road, and rightly so. The mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare boasts brand-name stores and independent boutiques, an array of restaurants, street entertainment, and superb people-watching. A few blocks south, you’ll find similar diversions at charming Española Way, another pedestrian-only street with Mediterranean Revival architecture evoking quaint villages in Spain and France.
Right next to Española Way is Washington Avenue. Art and design buffs will find inspiration in the world-class collection at the Wolfsonian–FIU museum. From here, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to Ocean Drive, where hotels and restaurants in iconic Art Deco buildings preside over a broad, palm-fringed beach. Guided architectural walking tours start at the Art Deco Welcome Center at Ocean Drive and 10th Street.
The beach is, of course, the neighborhood’s biggest draw, so spread a towel on the sand and enjoy ocean breezes and sun, year-round. Beachfront green spaces like Lummus Park and South Pointe Park (at the island’s tip) deliver the best of both worlds – land and sea – and the opportunity to enjoy this quintessential Miami Beach scene.