South Beach Miami Holidays 2017/2018
South Beach is the bustling, neon-lit entertainment capital of Miami, best known for its nightclubs, boutiques, high-rise hotels and pristine golden sands. Glitzy, energetic and extravagant, it's a party town where new experiences are never far away: whether it's music, art, fashion or beach life that attracts you to SoBe, you'll find endless varieties of them all here.
From the beautiful sea views of Ocean Drive and the stunning buildings of the Art Deco District, to the clubs, bars and restaurants found all over, South Beach constantly urges visitors to relax, let their hair down and have fun – it's the Miami way.
And with temperatures rarely dipping below 20 degrees C all year round, it's the perfect climate for anyone who loves fun in the sun: play beach volleyball under the palm trees, have a dip in the crystal blue waters or simply lie back and sip a cocktail on Miami Beach.
As the USA's main gateway to Cuba, expect a distinctly Latin flavour to the food, music and architecture all over South Beach. From the street art to the sandwiches, Miami is heavily influenced by the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who settled here in the 1960s – creating a vibrant, dynamic culture you won't find anywhere else in America.
Things to do in South Beach Miami
While the nightlife is one of South Beach's biggest attractions, there's plenty more going on in the area than just bars and clubs. Art, history, nature and wildlife also make up a hugely important part of the local life and culture.
For anyone interested in Art Deco, South Beach's Art Deco quarter is the place to be. Here you'll find the Wolfsonian-FIU museum, providing a fascinating look at industry, art and design between 1885 and 1945, as well as the nearby Art Deco Welcome Center, managed by the Miami Design Preservation League. Explore further and you'll find dozens of artists' studios and galleries sprinkled throughout the area.
Get back to nature at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, home to hundreds of beautiful (and beautiful-smelling) flowering trees, tropical shrubs and a relaxing Japanese garden. Free to enter, it also includes a delightful edible garden of pineapples, coffee, papaya, figs and starfruit – keep an eye out for the regular events where you can sample the fare!
Go for a stroll on Lummus Park, which has served as the backdrop for many movies and TV shows. This beachfront park is the perfect place to wind down and people-watch – or alternatively, get involved with the many fitness activities including volleyball courts, outdoor gyms and cycle paths.
Where to eat in South Beach Miami
Food is a huge part of the South Beach way of life, and whether you're grabbing a quick snack from a street stall or dining in a fancy gastro-hotspot, you'll be bowled over by the choice of flavours on offer. Restaurants abound in South Beach, and you'll find many of the most popular ones along Washington Avenue and the nearby beachfront.
However, look a little further and you'll discover some truly special eateries. The bluesy Yardbird on 16th Street is known for its creative takes on Southern fare, from barbecue sauce sorbet to alligator sausage and frogs' legs in sweet and sour jelly. (Don't be nervous – there's plenty of traditional items on the menu to choose from too!)
Joe's Stone Crab is a local institution that's older than the City of Miami Beach itself. Founded in 1913, its two signature dishes – stone crab and key lime pie – have been attracting diners for over a century.
If you'd prefer something a more authentically Cuban, Havana 1957 is the perfect place to enjoy grilled and marinated chicken, shredded beef stew and of course the world-famous Cuban sandwich. There's also a huge selection of rums behind the bar to sample.
Where to shop in South Beach Miami
Lincoln Road is South Beach's number one shopping destination: from designer outlets to jewellers, cosmetics shops and department stores, it's the place to be if you've got cash to spend.
A mile-long promenade by the beach, Lincoln Road's big names include Lucky Brand, Forever 21, Alchemist and 7 For All Mankind, among many others. As well as its huge array of clothing, shoes and accessories stores, it's got plenty of al fresco cafés where you can enjoy an iced latté in the sun after a spot of retail therapy. Bookworms should keep an eye out for Books & Books, a huge and historic independent bookstore that's regularly visited by famous authors.
For souvenirs and curios, head down to Ocean Drive. Located in the heart of the Art Deco quarter, it's packed full of galleries and antique shops – the perfect spot to find something unique for a loved one back home, or to simply browse and soak in Miami's unique culture.
If you're still hungry for more, try Espanola Way, Washington Avenue and Sunset Harbour – while not quite as huge as Lincoln Road, these locations all have a great mix of independent shops and big-name chains.
Nightlife in South Beach Miami
Nightlife is the local pastime here, and whether you want to dance the night away in the clubs or relax with a rum and coke in a traditional jazz bar, South Beach has got you covered. The biggest concentration of night spots can be found on the beachfront area between Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue, although venture further afield and you're sure to discover many more.
If clubbing's your game, don't leave South Beach without visiting Story, run by the same team behind Miami's world-renowned LIV club – which is just a few miles up the coast. A bit more underground than its sister club, it's still a high-energy spot that regularly attracts some of the world's biggest DJs.
For something a little different, try Basement. Located in an Art Deco hotel, this disco-infused club somehow also packs in a fully-featured ice skating rink and bowling alley where patrons can relax if the dancing gets too much for them.
The Cabaret South Beach is a piano bar offering live performances throughout the week – perfect if you're not a dancer or just in the mood for a more relaxing evening. With jazz, soul and burlesque all on the menu, there's something for everybody.
For more information on all the exciting things going on in and around South Beach, check out our Secret Florida guides.