The not-so-sleepy resort island of Miami Beach provides the pulse and heartbeat for all of South Florida. Located just across Biscayne Bay from Miami, “The Beach” is much more than just a barrier island. Thriving nightlife, great weather, celebrity sightings and clothing-optional beaches are just a few of the reasons people come to Miami Beach.
The population of Miami Beach mirrors that of the rest of South Florida. Nearly half of the 91,000 residents are Hispanic, with “Spanglish” spoken freely all around the area. High-end fashion, jewelry, art, fine dining and boutique pet shops are commonplace in Miami Beach, catering to the city’s many wealthy residents.
Life moves just a touch slower on Miami Beach. Locals often prefer to bike around town, leaving the day-trippers to fight through traffic for parking spaces. The bike population surges as you get closer to boardwalk areas, providing front-row access to the Florida coast and the non-stop nightlife. Miami Beach is also home to DecoBike, a bike sharing operation allowing visitors and locals to borrow a bike and enjoy a slow, salty ride along the coast. The highly utilized public transportation system connects Miami Beach to the other districts in Miami. The most famous neighborhood is certainly South Beach, however many unique neighborhoods stretch upward to the island’s northernmost neighborhood, Biscayne Point.
For those on a budget, admission to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is always free. Recently renovated in 2011, the attraction offers over two-and-a-half lush acres of calming gardens sure to inspire anyone who passes through. Weekly farmers markets, yoga classes and group meditation sessions are offered throughout the year. The community supports a wide range of creative ventures, including multicultural music and dance, multiple theatre options and public art projects. Art Basel brings international artists to Miami Beach every year, drawing critics, collectors and curators to browse some of the most innovative art in the world along with historical masterpieces.
Lincoln Road Mall ? A historic and architecturally significant open-air mall lined with restaurants and shops. Miami Beach Boardwalk ? A scenic path that extends 40 blocks along the ocean. Art Deco Historic District ? This popular area of southern Miami Beach has been preserved for its architectural heritage. New World Symphony ? An orchestral academy based in Miami Beach that also features performances in a building designed by Frank Gehry. Art Basel Miami Beach ? An international art event held every December that brings thousands of people from the art world to Miami Beach.
Art Deco hotels give Miami Beach its personality. (Photo courtesy of Phillip Pessar.)
Miami Beach has drawn visitors for more than a century. (Photo courtesy of Miamiboyz.)