Miami Beach

 

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Palm trees, wide sandy beach and blue ocean waters — Miami Beach’s picture-postcard winter playground has blossomed into a sophisticated, diverse community that warmly welcomes Greater Miami and the Beaches’ visitors at any time of year.
Miami Beach’s lush, tropical environment evokes one great movie set, a fantasy world peopled with models and celebrities. But on this stage everyone can enjoy the same alluring lifestyle, relaxing poolside or beachside, lunching at umbrella-shaded tables, even zipping along Ocean Drive on ‘blades. At night the non-stop action moves to sizzling clubs, bars and restaurants.

And when sun and surf don’t suffice; enjoy shopping, sightseeing and sampling exotic food in trendy restaurants in always-fascinating Miami Beach.
Miami Beach offers a great opportunity to get some exercise or just enjoy some time in the sun! In this article, I take a look at a few of my favorite beaches, including a couple of lesser-used spots where you’ll be able to avoid the tourist crowd.
SIGHTSEEING

 

Miami Beach offers more than fantasy Art Deco buildings, it is blessed with diverse cultural in stitutions. The new Cultural Campus houses the Bass Museum of Art with a permanent collection of important European art, the public library and the Miami City Ballet headquarters. On Washington Avenue, the Spanish Baroque facade of The Wolfsonian/FIU is as distinctive as the eclectic collection of more than 70,000 objects inside. The Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida is housed in a beautifully restored Art Deco synagogue and the Holocaust Memorial is built around a stark sculptured hand pointing skyward. Public beaches define the 10-mile strand along the Atlantic Ocean, enlivened by colorful, funky lifeguard stands. A raised boardwalk along the beach invites strolling. Collins Avenue, Miami Beach’s main artery, carves out a scenic route parallel to the beach.

For a different view of Miami Beach take a boat tour around the private Biscayne Bay islands – Star, Palm and Hibiscus – where celebrities reside on elaborate estates. Or, get close-up to Art Deco architectural gems on a walking, biking or in-line skating tour offered by the Miami Design Preservation League.

 

SHOPPING

 

Boutiques and specialty shops put a designer spin on shopping in Miami Beach. On Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive, the names on the shopping bags reflect the range of designers — Benetton, Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, Versace, Kenneth Cole and Hugo Boss among them — selling clothes on the cutting edge of cool.

Lincoln Road Shopping District, once known as “the Fifth Avenue of the South,” is now a pedestrian-only oasis of tropical vegetation, Art Deco structures and street theater. High-style stores, art galleries and restaurants attract visitors until late at night. Here you will find avant-garde design in lamps and home furnishings, books, original gift items and the latest hip gear. An Outdoor Antique and Collectibles Market complements a smaller flea market among the funky stores on Spanish-inspired Española Way.

 

 
DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

 

Miami Beach’s trendy charms revolve around its sizzling clubs and night spots and the plethora of dining and entertainment options for every taste from Asian, Cuban and Floribbean to no-nonsense fare. Outdoor eating is appealing all over, where watching-the-world-go-by is as fascinating as the cuisine. And in Miami Beach’s famed restaurants, celebrity chefs work their magic for the most discerning palate.
The cultural scene thrives too on music of every genre; modern and experimental dance programs, film festivals and art shows. Broadway regularly comes to Miami Beach with performances of top hit shows. Both on and off the stage, Miami Beach plays a starring role as the place where you are most likely to have fun!

 

 COCONUT GROVE

 

“The Grove” has been dubbed “the village with a rhythm all its own.” A rhythm that is played out in tree-lined streets, scores of shops, restaurants and night-spots and a throbbing, upbeat street life that vibrates with a character all its own.

Coconut Grove may have changed since its days as a bohemian village populated by artists and radicals, but its zany charm and energy are as potent as ever. Located on Biscayne Bay just ten minutes south of Downtown Miami, The Grove is unlike any other neighborhood in Greater Miami and the Beaches.

 

 

SIGHTSEEING

 

Coconut Grove’s waterfront parks offer the best vantage points for observing manatees, wildlife and the sailboats in Biscayne Bay. Dinner Key, originally the base for Pan American World Airways’ seaplane flights from Greater Miami in the 1930s, now houses Miami City Hall — which was converted from the original hangar. Earlier Grove history is evident at The Barnacle, the 110-year old home of pioneer Commodore Ralph Munroe.

The grandest home of all is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the Italian Renaissance-style villa built by millionaire James Deering in 1916. Set on 10 acres of formal gardens and fountains with Biscayne Bay as backdrop, the 70-room estate is filled with fabulous furnishings and antiques. Vizcaya was purchased by Miami-Dade County in 1952 and opened to the public as museum. Nearby, the Miami Museum of Science & Space Transit Planetarium features hands-on exhibits on everything from robotic dinosaurs to virtual reality basketball, as well as star and space shows.

Festivals and street fairs such as the extraordinary Coconut Grove Arts Festival; the Coconut Grove Food and Music Festival (formerly Taste of the Grove); the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival and the Banyan Arts Festival, add to Coconut Grove’s excitement.

Miami Beach – Central
Collins Ave. – 21st St. to 46th St.
Miami Beach
305/673-7714

Raised boardwalk over the dunes popular for strolling and jogging. Proximity to sidewalk cafes along Collins Ave. Lifeguard towers, food/drink concessions, beach chair/umbrella rentals. Parking fee.

Features:

Food/Drink Concession Stands
Beach Chairs/Umbrella Rentals
Shower Facilities
Walking Trails

Volleyball
Watersports Rentals
Lifeguard/Beach Patrol

 

Miami Beach – North
Collins Ave. – 46th St. to 78th St.
Miami Beach
305/673-7714

Community center and old-fashioned bandshell in adjoining park at north end. Palm-shaded grassy area. Proximity to sidewalk cafes and fast-food restaurants. Lifeguard towers, food/drink concessions, beach chair/umbrella rentals, shower facilities. Parking fee.

Features:

Beach Chairs/Umbrella Rentals
Restrooms/Shower Facilities
Volleyball
Watersports Rentals
Fishing
Lifeguards/Beach Patrol

 

Miami Beach – South Beach
Ocean Drive & 5th St. to Collins Ave. & 21st St .
Miami Beach
305/673-7714

Entrance through the park at 1 Washington Ave. Beach located at the southern tip of South Beach. Great place to watch cruise ships sailing out to sea. Parking fee.

Features:
Food/Drink Concession Stands
Beach Chairs/Umbrella Rentals
Restrooms/Shower Facilities
Walking Trails
Volleyball
Watersports Rentals
Lifeguards/Beach Patrol

 

Miami Beach/South Pointe Park
Ocean Dr. at 5th St .
Miami Beach – Art Deco District/South Beach
305/673-7730

Entrance through the park at 1 Washington Ave. Beach located at the southern tip of South Beach . Great place to watch cruise ships sailing out to sea. Parking fee.

Features:

Picnic Tables
Beach Chairs/Umbrella Rentals
Restrooms/Shower Facilities
Walking Trails
Fishing
Lifeguards/Beach Patrol