South Beach

South Beach (aka SoBe) is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach well known for its nightlife, clubs, hotels, beaches, restaurants, and shopping on Lincoln Road. It comprises the roughly 23 blocks of the main barrier island south of Indian Creek / Dade Boulevard between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The main access roads from the main land are MacArthur Causeway (I-395), Venetian Causeway, and Julia Tuttle Causeway (I-195).

South Beach lives and dies by tourism. Its mainstay attractions include Joe’s Stone Crabs (est. 1918), Lincoln Road, Art Deco hotels like the Delano, Raleigh, Lowes, and Shore Club, and annual festivals like the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and Art Basel Miami Beach. More recent editions include 1111 Lincoln Road, a parking garage designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and the home of the New World Symphony, designed by Frank Gehry.

Locals favor “off the beaten path” establishments like Abraxas, The Room, The Abbey, Tap Tap, Sylvano, and Oliver’s. (Abraxas and The Room are both located in the SoFi section of South Beach, so-called for its location south of Fifth Street.) Zeke’s Roadhouse on Lincoln Road draws locals and tourists alike for its extensive $4 beer selection. While Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue attract droves of tourists, South Beach locals tend to avoid them. Espanola Way (EspaƱola Way) also draws more tourists than locals, though certain establishments — e.g., Tapas Y Tintos and A La Folie — have loyal local customers.

South Beach is one of Miami’s densest residential neighborhoods with a population of almost 34,000 as of 2010. It has eight parks, including South Pointe Park and Flamingo Park, and several public schools and libraries. The neighborhood has a large gay population and every year hosts the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and Miami Beach’s Gay Pride Celebration.

As for transportation, traffic and parking are both problems in South Beach, so a car is not the best option. The neighborhood is small enough to get around by walking, unless of course you’re wearing six-inch heels. For residents, the bicycle is the ideal vehicle, especially since South Beach has implemented bike lanes on Washington Avenue and recently become more bike friendly in general. Tourists can take advantage of a recently rolled-out bike share program called Deco Bike that allows riders to check out and park bicycle cruisers at stations all over South Beach.

Tip

If you’re looking for a relatively quiet beach, go at least a block or two south of Fifth Street. If you’re looking for the best place to watch the sunset, go to South Pointe Park and watch the sun go down behind the Downtown Miami skyline as giant cruise ships drift by.

Restaurant Recommendations

— Joe’s Stone Crabs
— Sylvano (Italian)
— Tap Tap (Haitian)
— Doraku (sushi)
— Spris (pizza)

Bar Recommendations

— The Abbey
— Abraxas
— The Room
— Zeke’s Roadhouse
— Kill Your Idol

Cafes

— Segafredo (Lincoln Road and Espanola Way)
— Panizza Bistro
— A La Folie (Espanola Way and Sunset Harbor Drive)
— David’s Cafe (off of Lincoln Road on Meridian Avenue)

Museums

— Bass Museum
— Wolfsonian-FIU
— Jewish Museum of Florida
— World Erotic Art Museum
— Miami Holocaust Museum
— Art Center/South Florida

Theaters + Venues

— Jackie Gleason Theater
— Fillmore Miami Beach (same as Jackie Gleason Theater)
— Lincoln Theatre
— Colony Theatre
— New World Symphony Campus
— Miami City Ballet
— Regal Cinemas South Beach
— Miami Beach Cinematheque

Major Events

— Art Basel Miami Beach
— South Beach Wine & Food Festival
— Winter Music Conference
— Miami Fashion Week
— Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
— Miami Beach’s Gay Pride Celebration


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