The Art Deco District of Miami Beach was the very first 20th-century neighborhood to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as it is home to around 800 structures that each have historic significance. Since some of the area’s finest examples of Art Deco-style architecture can be found in quite a condensed area of the district, taking a stroll through the neighborhood is the best way to appreciate its retro beauty.
Art Deco Welcome Center
Situated on Ocean Drive, the Art Deco Welcome Center is the best place to start when exploring the area for the first time. It is here that the Miami Design Preservation League is based, and they are responsible for saving a large number of the buildings in the district. For those that want to ensure that they do not miss out on any highlights of the area, guided and self-guided tours can be arranged from the Welcome Center. Directly across from the Welcome Center is The Clevelander, a historic and creative hotel that boasts a popular sophisticated patio bar.
There are several points of interest along Ocean Drive, and since Lummus Park runs alongside it, it only makes sense to take in the incredible Art Deco skyline of South Beach from underneath the swaying palm trees. The Villa Casa Casuarina, which is known for being the oldest residence in the western hemisphere, can be found on Ocean Drive, and this mansion was once owned by Gianni Versace. A short walk from here is the edgy Tides Hotel, as well as the bright yellow Leslie, which combines Art Deco with many elements from modern architecture. The Carlyle Hotel is next up, and has been featured on the big screen several times, in everything from Scarface to Bad Boys 2. The Cardozo Hotel is another one that you will recognize from movies such as There’s Something About Mary and Any Given Sunday, while The Cavalier stands out from its neighbors with its distinctly vertical style of design.
Just like on Ocean Drive, there is a beautiful collection of Art Deco structures to be found on Collins Avenue. The Essex House boasts quite a unique design, in that it is shaped like a cruise liner, personifying the Art Deco spirit of being bold and taking chances, while the National Hotel features bold colors and many of its original furnishings. The Delano was built in 1947, and, at the time, became the tallest building in Miami Beach. It was renovated in 1994 by a world-renowned architect, and has since then become one of the hottest hotels in Miami, with frequent celebrity guests such as Jay-Z, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kim Kardashian.
It takes at least a couple of hours to walk through the Art Deco District, although you will need to give yourself more time if you plan to stop off at the various shops and businesses along the way. While Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive have some of the most stunning Art Deco examples in the area, there are plenty more to be found all over South Beach, so be sure to always have your camera close by.