Miami’s famous strip is not only a gathering point for partiers but well worth the visit for lovers of 1920s art deco architecture.
Nothing says Miami quite like the neon signs of Ocean Drive shining into a muggy evening as the sounds of music and laughter drift into the street. Built almost entirely during a huge construction boom in the 1920s, the street is both an aesthetic wonder, with its coordinating pastel-colored art deco façades, and one of Miami Beach’s hottest spots for nightlife. Move from bar to hotel to restaurant in search of a new drink fruitier and more tropical than the last. Return in the daytime to admire Miami in its full glory.
See Ocean Drive first in sunlight, on the way to or from the beach, when the pastels of the hotels seem perfectly chosen to complement the bright blue of the sky and the equally colorful classic cars parked or whizzing by. Walk up and down the palm-tree-lined sidewalk.
For more information, join one of the tours run out of the Art Deco Welcome Center to learn about the evolving history of these buildings, which went from 1920s glamour to the seediness made famous by Miami Vice and back again.
When it’s time to party at a hotel along the street, change into a swimsuit and join in. Dance and relax by the pool during events that take place most days of the week. Otherwise, shop at the high-end boutiques and mass-market stores lining the streets of the district. In the early evening, have a cocktail on a terrace and watch the neon glow as the sun goes down.
Ocean Drive follows the line of South Beach for 14 blocks. Take the bus from Miami International Airport in 50 minutes or drive in 35 minutes. Parking is limited along the street itself, but ample metered parking is available in the area and in garages. Look for a CitiBike station to rent a bike. Architectural walking tours are offered from Wednesday to Sunday. Opening hours vary for the area’s different establishments and some places may require reservations.
The area can get rowdy, particularly on weekend nights, with parties and noise going on into the early morning hours.