South Miami Beach, also known as SoBe, or "The Beach" is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world! South Beach is famous for its luxury condos, waterfront homes, white sand beach, shopping, dining, and extravagant lifestyle. Hollywood movies such as Miami Vice, Moon Over Miami, Scarface, and Bad Boys II are just a few of the movies that have chosen South Beach and Miami Beach as their backdrop. Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, streets located in Miami Beach, are nationally recognized “spots” for great shopping, dancing and dinning. South Beach is one of the top travel destinations in the United States, and it is considered one of the most affluent commercial and residential areas in Florida.
South Beach (more specifically) is a world-renowned area encompassing from approximately 23rd Street South to South Pointe Park and known by the abbreviation SoBe - South Beach - the area south of the city, which is full of shops, nightclubs, sophisticated restaurants and luxurious hotels ranging from ultra modern convention-type complexes (such as the Lowe's to Art Deco masterpieces to The Delano on Collins Avenue).
Always at the heart of fashion, music and trends, Miami Beach reinforces the ideas of fun, passion and being carefree. The main street Ocean Drive, where many Hollywood films have been filmed in the past several years- Fast 2 Furious, Reno 911, Transporter 2, Cocaine Cowboys, Scarface, CSI Miami, Nip/Tuck, The Birdcage, Blow, Bad Boys, True Lies , Miami Vice, Fair Game, and Italian film Natale a Miami (Christmas in Miami) - is the centre of SOBE at all hours. Bars, restaurants, niteclubs, music, etc. are all located within close proximity to each other, with such world-renowned nightclubs as Crobar (The Cameo Theatre), Mansion, Mynt, Opium Garden, BED, and Dek23 are just a few of the more popular evening destinations for the nightclub crowd!
All of the Art Deco designed hotels along Ocean Drive boast a gorgeous ocean views, and are located just a few feet from one of the most famous beaches in the world. You can also choose from many boutique hotels on South Beach along Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, Lincoln Road and now on West Avenue with the soon to be opening Mondrian South Beach (see Mondrian South Beach on this same site).
A few of the premier waterfront buildings in South Beach completed in the past few years are The Continuum North and South Towers, Apogee built by The Related Group, The Murano at Portofino, Murano Grande, Icon South Beach, The Bentley Bay and The Bentley Beach / Hilton, The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, The Shore Club, The Flamingo on South Beach, The Floridian, The Il Vilaggio on Ocean Drive, and The Setai. Currently under construction are the Viceroy Resorts and Residences on South Beach, The Carribean Condo, South of Fifth Resort and Residences, Vitri Condos, Cipriani South Beach, W South Beach Resort and Residences, the Gansevoort South Beach Hotel & Residences, and the incredible Mondrian South Beach located on West Avenue.
One of the South Beach “trademarks” are the numerous oceanfront luxury hotels along Ocean Drive- The Delano, Shoreclub, Ritz Carlton, Lowes, Royal Palm, and Setai hotels, which regularly attract top stars such as P. Diddy, Maddona, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney and Matt Damon. These actors and other top talent are attracted by the gorgeous white-sand beaches, incredible nightlife, and world-class cuisine. Tourists from around the world travel to enjoy the nightlife and dynamic lifestyle of South Beach and it’s unique Art Deco District.
South Beach is home to a number of growing communities, and a magnet for thousands of diverse families, retirees, and the so called “snowbirds”- which peaks when the cold season takes hold up north. If you are in the market for a waterfront home or condominium, South Beach offers a variety of increasingly unique and sophisticated options.
Contemporary South Beach
Today, the South Beach section of Miami Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants and boutique hotels. The area is popular with both American and international tourists, with German being the third most spoken language after English and Spanish. The large number of European tourists explains South Beach's tolerance of topless sunbathing, despite being a public beach.
Another unique aesthetic attribute of South Beach is the several colorful and unique lifeguard stands, still used today by South Beach's lifeguards. After Hurricane Andrew, Architect William Lane donated his design services to the city and added new stops on design tours in the form of lifeguard towers. His towers instantly became symbols of the revived City of Miami Beach.
South Beach is traversed by numerical streets which run east-west, starting with First Street and the largely pedestrianized Lincoln Road (between 16th and 17th). It also has 13 principal Roads and Avenues running north-south, which, from the Biscayne Bay side, are Bay Road, West Avenue, Alton Road, Lenox Avenue, Michigan Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Meridian Avenue, Euclid Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Drexel Avenue, Washington Avenue, Collins Avenue (Route A1A), and Ocean Drive. There are three smaller avenues (that do not run the entire length of the beach) in the Collins Park area, named Park, Liberty, and James. Most locals agree that South Beach's northern boundary runs along Dade Boulevard from Lincoln Road on the bay side of the island, and heads east-north-east until it connects with 23rd Street, which forms the northern boundary on the ocean side.
Residential neighborhoods: As of 2005, it has Miami Beach's highest property values. Although mostly residential, the area is also home to several large scale development projects and large buildings such as Portofino Tower and sister buildings such as ICON (spearheaded by designer Philippe Starck), Continuum II, and Murano at Portofino. This area has several notable nightlife destinations, including Opium Garden, Privé, Nikki Beach Club, and Pearl. It also has several smaller, upscale bars and restaurants, including Joe's Stone Crabs, Smith & Wollensky's steak house, and China Grill. South Beach is also home to two schools in the area; Miami Beach High School and South Pointe Elementary.
Flamingo Park is the neighborhood directly north of Fifth and expands from Alton Road on the west to Washington Avenue on the east, with its northern boundary being Lincoln Road; it does not include Lenox. This area consists mainly of low rise apartment buildings, with commercial development largely limited to Alton Road, Washington Avenue, and Lincoln Road. Presently, there is little notable nightlife, with the exception of Tantra on 15th Street. It is also home to Flamingo Park, one of South Beach's public parks, which includes recreational facilities such as tennis, racketball and basketball courts.
Flamingo West is a neighborhood of single family homes that spans from north of the Park to Lincoln Road on Lennox and Michigan Avenues.
Collins Park is South Beach's most "up and coming" neighborhood, according to the Miami New Times. The newspaper cites the new Sanctuary Spa Resort, an updated public library, and several open projects as evidence for its claim. Collins Park is contained by 17th Street to the south, 23rd Street to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and Washington Avenue/Pinetree Drive to the west. It is directly across from the Miami Beach Convention Center. Collins Park consists mainly of low rise art deco buildings built in the 1930s and 1950s; it is also the location of the Bass Museum of Art. The area is currently undergoing gentrification, as many of the old apartments from the 1980s (many of which still have bars on their windows) are being purchased by major New York and South Florida real estate developers to be converted into condominiums.
Additionally, many high-rise buildings are located along Bay Road and West Avenue, and there are multifamily residences located north of Lincoln Road and east of Collins Park. The Flamingo, the world's largest apartment complex, is located on Bay Road.
Lincoln Road is an open-air pedestrian mall, considered South Beach's premiere shopping area. It is home to many restaurants and several night clubs, such as Score and Funktion, as well as many retail outlets. While Lincoln Road was one time rather downtrodden, with its unique boutique shops and restaurants, since the 1960s it has had "an esoteric chic that maintains its trendy appeal." (ref. Ocean Drive Magazine) It is located in between 16th Street and 17th Street and spans the beach in an east-west direction. Among the late 1990s restaurants on Lincoln Road was one owned by actor Michael Caine, and managed by one of his daughters. The restaurant has since closed. Lincoln Road commerce is greatly facilitated by the 17th street parking garage.
Ocean Drive is the easternmost street in South Beach, and stems from south of First to 15th Street, running in a north-south direction. Ocean Drive is responsible for the South Beach aesthetic that most out-of-town visitors expect. It is a popular Spring Break and tourist area, including the famous, yet predominantly local, Pearl and Nikki Beach night spots. It is also home to several prominent restaurants (including "News Cafe," "Mango's," and the MTV-popularized "Clevelander") and is the site of Gianni Versace's former ocean front mansion.
The Carlyle Hotel on Ocean Drive near 13th Street is an iconic Art Deco landmark. Built in 1939, it is one of the most sought after settings for photo shoots, televised programming, Hollywood and independent film-making. It was the outside setting for the 1996 MGM film The Birdcage.
Girls dancing at Mango's bar on Ocean DriveSouth Beach has a very active club and bar scene. It is host to over 150 clubs and other destinations, most of which close at 5 am. South Beach can be expensive, and access to nightclubs is often difficult for non-locals who do not have connections, or do not plan their evenings in advance. Access to the more popular nightspots can cost anywhere from $20-60 for entry (depending on event and venue) and sometimes comes with a wait of several hours, in addition to evaluation by door staff.
Nightlife in South Beach is dynamic and ever-changing, although some watering holes like The Clevelander and Mac's Club Deuce have remained steadfast tourist destinations on Ocean Drive for well over a decade. Clubs constantly change decor, name, and owner, so it is difficult to state at any given time which clubs are popular. The average club is only open for about a season or less. Recently, the local government has been taking steps to prevent these short-lived venues from establishing themselves at all.
Fashion shooting / Modelling Agencies
South Beach is one of the world's foremost locations for fashion shoots, making the Miami area the model shoot capital of the United States. Approximately 1,500 models live in the area, with many more arriving during the prime fashion shooting season, running from October to March. Ocean Drive is the most popular place for shoots, but back streets are often used as well.
Collins Avenue runs parallel to Ocean, one block west. It is also State Road A1A. Collins is home to many historic Art Deco hotels, and several nightclubs to the north, including Mynt and Rokbar.
Española Way, which runs from Collins Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue, was conceived by N.B.T. Roney (of the Roney Plaza Hotel) in 1925 as "The Historic Spanish Village," modeled after the romantic Mediterranean villages found in France and Spain. Today it consists of art galleries, restaurants, and quirky shops.
Alton Road is the main westside north-south street located 1-3 blocks from Biscayne Bay. On the part that traverses South Beach, the road is host to many local businesses, including dry cleaners, small furniture stores, small grocery markets, non-chain restaurants and fast food restaurants. It is mainly residential once it crosses Michigan Avenue north of South Beach.
Washington Avenue is one of the best-known streets in South Beach. Running parallel with Ocean and Collins, Washington is notorious for having some of the world's largest and most popular nightclubs, such as Crobar and Mansion. During "season" (October 15 to May 15th) the street is jammed with traffic until early in the morning (as late as 6 am) every night of the week. In the 1990s explosion of South Beach as a nighclub venue, its nightclub moguls included Ingrid Casares, whose investors included the singer Madonna Ciccone.