by Female Abroad

Since the cruise I'm headed on departs from Miami, South Beach is a must see I've been told. After doing some research and asking people "why" it's a must I've been able to determine that if I'm going to South Beach it really depends on what I want to see. The first reason I keep coming across is because of the cruise port is so close. No matter the proximity, I want to know if the place I'm going to is worth my time and energy. Clearly SoBe is popular as everyone has heard of it so it has to have more going for it then just being close to the cruise port right? Well after some digging I've come up with the main three reasons:

  1. watching for celebrities on Collins Ave
  2. shopping in the area between 6th to 8th street and Lincoln Road Mall (one of the country's first pedestrian malls)
  3. night clubbing

There must be more than those so I started with the obvious, if it's call South Beach then there must be a beach. Is it just one big one? After some digging I've found that beach's quickly become crowded on the weekends and there are lots of critters to watch for (ie. stomp on the ground so you don't step on a sting ray or stay away from piers as this is where fish conjugate bringing sharks). There are also multiple beaches not just one big one. If being active or outside is your thing then besides the beaches there are also a bunch of parks as well as must explore streets:

  1. Lummus Park: 10 block beach (5th st north) is a must visit with volleyball nets and thatched chickee huts
  2. 12th street beach is LGBT friendly and marked with rainbow flags
  3. 3rd Street beach "SoFi" (South of Fifth) is a local hot spot with foot volley
  4. South Pointe Park is a local favorite
  5. Ocean Drive: strolling, skating, biking from 6th st and up. News Cafe is a popular place for breakfast
  6. Espanola Way: (14th and 15th St) was a favorite for Miami Vice and has lots of cafes as well as offbeat art galleries. Originally built as an artist colony in 1922 it became the red-light district instead
  7. beachside boardwalk from 23rd st to 46th st for amazing views over the water.

If you are looking for the Art / Tropical Deco and history that has made SoBe what it is then make sure to check out:

  1. Art Deco Welcome Center (1001 Ocean Drive) is the most recommended place to start and also sells self guided tours of the area
  2. The Villa by Barton G: this is where Gianni Versace lived and died. It's now a hotel with a restaurant
  3. Lifeguard Huts: fun looking, art created stations between 10th and 16th - Art Deco District "Tropical Deco": covers 800 preserved buildings along Ocean Drive
  4. Park Central: nautical themed
  5. Beach Hotel: abstract decorations as an example of Deco Dazzle from the 1980's
  6. Old City Hall: houses the Miami Beach cinematheque movie theatre and is a very distinctive landmark
  7. Colony Hotel: blue neon sign has been used in lots of movies & TV series
  8. Waldorf Towers: known for its lighthouse on the roof
  9. Breakwater Hotel: known for its blue & white racing stripes
  10. Tides: resembles a luxury ocean liner
  11. Essex House: closely resembles a ship with a neon lit spire
  12. Leslie Hotel: white and yellow with a jazzy façade, inside its turquoise and flamingo
  13. Cardozo Hotel: owned by singer Gloria Estefan
  14. Cavalier Hotel: temple themed with ornate stucco friezes

Five of our Favorite Tours

Interested in exploring the area even more? These tours are sure to help you sink your teach into the culture of South Beach. Click the titles for more information, to check availability, and to purchase.

  1. South Beach Cultural Food and Walking Tour
    Eat your way through the Latin flavors of South Beach on this food‐filled walking tour. Accompany your guide on a sensory journey to 5‐star restaurants and foodie hideaways. The tour serves the following cuisines: Peruvian, Italian, Colombian, Mediterranean, Cuban, and Spanish. Along the way, learn about the commingling of Latin American cultures that define Miami’s culture, neighborhoods, and culinary history.

  2. Miami South Beach Art Deco Walking Tour
    See the gorgeous Art Deco architecture in South Beach on a guided walking tour that explores landmark buildings and out-of-the-way gems. You’ll learn the history of South Beach as you walk through the ocean-side neighborhood, with fascinating stories about mob life, Hollywood glamour, and modern design, and you'll hear about the area's outrageous characters and scandals. Since this tour begins and ends in the heart of South Beach, it’s a great way to get oriented in one of Miami’s most vibrant neighborhoods, with a local guide to lead the way.

  3. Discover South Beach Golf Cart Tour
    Cover ground in South Beach quickly with a small-group golf cart tour. Discover the Art Deco architecture and vibrant culture of this Miami neighborhood during a sightseeing tour by electric-powered golf cart. Zip along Ocean Drive, see South Pointe Park, and check out the Art Deco Historic District along the way. Explore Miami in an environmentally friendly way with this tour.

  4. The Famous South Beach Bicycle Tour
    Skip the typical bus tours and explore South Beach on two wheels. This private tour is exclusively for your group and traveling by bicycle means that you can see places bigger vehicles can't reach. You'll pedal around in the company of a guide who is intimately familiar with the area and can show you a side that you wouldn't find on your own.

  5. 2Hr Private Boat Rental Miami Beach see the Homes of Millionaires & Celebrities
    Hop aboard our 22ft Bayliner 2022, This beautiful Boat is fully equipped with Bluetooth Sound System. Enjoy your own music, food & drinks, Water, Champagne, Ice & Cooler Included Your U.S Coast Guard certified Captain will have you sailin by Biscayne Bay, See the Homes of Millionaires & Celebrities, See some dolphins along the way, We’ll anchor at the Sandbar or on an island. Where can enjoy the picturesque views of the crystal blue waters, You can snorkel, swim or sunbathe!