Famed for its Art Deco architecture and rich Cuban-American culture, Miami, The Magic City as it is known, has much to explore behind the colourful facades of South Beach.
The city has ranked as America’s cleanest city, and its richest, by Forbes and UBS respectively within the last 10 years – and it clearly demonstrates how clean air and streets and open natural spaces can sit comfortably alongside one of America’s largest business hubs.
The architecture on display at South Beach – Image courtesy of Miami And Beaches
Discover the unique architecture
For a city only incorporated in 1896, the city has seen prodigious growth, leaving signs along the way for visitors to still enjoy. Conceived by Julia Tuttle, the only woman to found a major city in America, Miami’s best-known architecture in South Beach grew out of the necessity to rebuild after a devastating hurricane in 1926.
And build they did. South Beach is the place to see some fine and striking architecture, starting with the then very chic Art Deco style and developing into Miami Modern. With over 800 buildings formally recognised as Historic Places there are too many to name, but key examples to spot are The Carlyle on Ocean Drive, Jerry’s Famous Deli on Collins Avenue and The Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road.
The Carlyle – Image courtesy of Guillaume Gaudet
Set within these architectural delights are fine hotels, shops, galleries and excellent dining rooms. If you want to escape the throngs at South Beach try Gianni Versace’s old mansion right on Ocean Drive. Originally built by architect and philanthropist Alden Freeman, the palatial home is now a boutique hotel, The Villa Casa Casuarina. Here you can dine or host an event, or choose it as your base to stay in one of the magnificent suites.
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Visit Soho House
If you prefer a quieter setting away from the tourists, Soho House Miami remains a favourite. There is also the very colourful Mondrian South Beach, which has space to spread itself out, situated as it is away from Ocean Drive on the west side of South Beach towards Biscayne Bay. Described as modern baroque, Marcel Wanders’ creation offers a bustling bar scene, elegant pool vibe and all you can imagine from its luxurious suites and spa.
Enjoy the views whilst relaxing – Image courtesy of Soho House
Experience Miami’s design district
Once relaxed choose whether to shop, explore the art scene or hit the beach – or simply enjoy a beachside cocktail and experience the buzz of the South Beach scene. The Design District is a must and showcases the best in interior design and fashion, and also is home to The Institute of Contemporary Art. The area’s numerous smaller galleries are perfect too, to whet the appetite for Art Basel Miami Beach held in December. Just as its Swiss elder cousin draws galleries and dealers from around the globe, here too you can enjoy the very best in contemporary art and the latest emerging talent.
Explore – Image courtesy of Miami’s Design District
For fine dining there is The Forge. Its opulent dining room has seen Presidents and film stars, from Nixon to Burton and Taylor. Often winning prizes for the best steak in America its real draw is its world-renowned wine collection of more than 300,000 vintages housed in an 8-room cellar, featuring personal gifts of turn-of-the-century bottles from Baron Philippe de Rothschild to the restaurant’s owner in the early 1980s.
relax at the beach
And of course you cannot overlook the beach. With a huge variety to choose from a visit to Miami can offer whatever type of setting you crave. Escape the party atmosphere and instead head to Key Biscayne with its immaculate white sand and the chance to immerse yourself in nature in its 400 acre state park.
Mixing beautiful, unspoilt beaches, Art deco delights, a cocktail of heady nightlife and one of the most vibrant art scenes in America, Miami is truly one magical city. Book your flights to Dade-Collier Airport, Miami International Airport, Miami Muni Airport, Kendall-Tamiami Airport, or Opa-Locka executive Airport instantly with Stratajet.
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