Miami Beach/South Beach

South Beach

South Beach is a district in Miami Beach from South Pointe Park to around 23rd Street.



In 1870, South Beach was completely different from what we know and vision South Beach as it is today. In 1870, South Beach was predominantly unsettled farmland. In that year the Lum brothers decided to purchase the 160 acres of land to grow coconuts. From this a daughter of one of the Lum brothers named the land “South Beach” and the name did not stick until later on. The brothers decided in 1894 to leave the land to John Collins and after receiving the property he then discovered fresh water and expanded his parcel further to what is now 67th street.

Later in 1912, two Miami businessmen bought 400 acres of land from Collins to create their vision of turning the land into “single-family” homes. With the idea to build these “modest” single family homes, Collins felt that there would need to be a bridge built from Miami to the island and construction for this bridge took place in 1913 after the support of many local bank investors. Due to the enormous amount of money this bridge was costing as always John Collins ran out of money and a year later the project was taken over by Carl G. Fisher who had a different vision for an independent city from Miami. The bridge was built a year later after a nice price for fifty thousand dollars. The drive and determination that each business men had for Miami's South Beach, it was not incorporated until 1915 and the land boom for the location did not set in until 1920. With automobile accessible roads that includes the famous streets like Collins avenue, 5th street, Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive, these areas were built for the rich and possibly the famous.

During World War II, Miami's South Beach became the location for many soldiers as a training location and after the war many of soldiers wanted to make Miami Beach their permanent place of residency, which help double the population for the area. Forty years later Miami Beach became an area filled with new buildings and had a new reputation as the “Art Deco District” and took on the famous name “South Beach” or nickname “SoBe”. It was not until later on in 1964, that South Beach became more popular from the help of TV personality Jackie Gleason. His comedy hour show that would broadcast once a week would display a sunny and warm endorsement for the beautiful Miami Beach.

Years after many advertisement of this beautiful destination began to gain more popularity; especially with the retirement community. Many retirees planned on relocating from the cold bitter atmosphere and retire to Miami's South Beach for warm and relaxing location and could experience this all year long. Unfortunately some of these retirees did not take into consideration the upkeep that would have to be put into a property that was closer to the beach. After the decline for the senior citizen population in this area, South Beach took a downturn in appearance and was considered rundown for an amount of time, affecting the appearance and the reputation for the city.

However this change of scenery for the town helped when it came to the filming the famous gangster movie “Scarface”. The movie was then released in 1983 and this helped put South Beach on the map and interest began to rise again to its once beautiful location and a playground for the rich and famous. Throughout the rest of the 1980s and 1990s; South Beach infused many more investment opportunities that has helped it transform once again into a destination for business, tourists and others to make South Beach their new home. South Beach is advertised more through television and has adapted to the city for nightlife with many dance clubs, bars, restaurants and shopping. With the help from these investments, South Beach today has a new wonderful, fun and relaxing reputation, which makes it the perfect destination for all ages.

What to do

Give yourself an opportunity to enjoy South Beach while lodging in a condo rental or your own rental villa. Visit sites like Lincoln Road pedestrian mall, considered South Beach's premier shopping area. It is home to many restaurants and several nightclubs, such as Score and Function, as well as many retail outlets. Ocean Drive is the easternmost street in South Beach, and stems from south of First to 15th Street, running in a north-south direction. Ocean Drive is responsible for the South Beach aesthetic that most out-of-town visitors expect. It is a popular Spring Break and tourist area, including the famous, yet predominantly local, Pearl and Nikki Beach night spots. It is also home to several prominent restaurants (including "News Cafe," "Mango's," and the MTV-popularized "Clevelander") and is the site of Gianni Versace's former ocean front mansion. South Beach has a very active club and bar scene. It is host to over 150 clubs and other destinations, most of which close at 5AM.

Dining opens up a great variety for all taste and culinary preferences. With the most known restaurants of South Florida, South Beach has the best reputation in international cuisine. Classic dinners, cafeterias and fast food restaurants give more option to a day by day casual meal. South Beach is also home to all kind of variety of cultural, art and exhibition events. Miami Beach Convention Center hosts most of the events, and conventions that you could find in Miami.

Get in

To get to South Beach, there are several ways to do it:

By car

Take I-95 North or South to 395 over Biscayne Bay which turns into 5th Street.

Shared Taxi/Shuttle Service- For a cheaper ride to your destination in South Beach, you can opt to use a "shared taxi/shuttle service". The cost of this is about $18/per person plus a tip (about $23/person). You can find the shuttles outside of the baggage claim area. No need for reservations. For your trip back to the airport, you can contact the company to pick you up from your hotel and take you back at the same rates.

Taxi- Initial rate is $2.50 and $0.40 for every 1/6 mile and there is a flat rate from the airport to Miami Beach based on 5 different zones and ranges from $24 to $52.

By plane

Miami Beach is served by three airports: Miami International Airport which is 10 miles west of Miami Beach and all major domestic flights and some international flights arrive daily at the airport. The other airport is Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and is 25 to 30 miles from Miami Beach and all major domestic and international flights serve this airport. Locka Executive is also another airport that offers jet charter services to the Miami area. Companies such as Landmark Aviation and Incredijet offer charter flights out of Opa Locka.

From Miami Airport, you can take the J or 150 bus. From Fort Lauderdale Airport, you can take the #1 Broward County bus to Aventura Mall for the Miami-Dade S bus.


South Beach in March


Miami/South Beach Culture

Miami/ South Beach culture is consistently focused on the Arts and History. The city contains an opera company, two dance companies, several arts galleries and theaters. In downtown Miami/South Beach houses the main library, the Miami Art Museum, as well as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. When it comes to musical culture in South Beach there are the popular New World Symphony Orchestra, Bass Art Museum, Miami Convention Center plus many more art galleries.

Jackie Gleason Theater

The Jackie Gleason Theater opened in 1950 and is also known as The Fillmore and is located at 1700 Washington Avenue in Miami/South Beach. The theater grew in popularity during the Golden Era and has held many performances from dancers, musicians, comedians and on occasion several boxing matches. Some of legends during the Golden Era that would grace the theater regular were the infamous Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Jack Benny.

The television boom in the 1960s led to many shows to be filmed in the auditorium such as The Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan Show, along with the televised Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. In 1964, the famous comedian Jackie Gleason was given the opportunity to film his weekly comedy hour in the theater and helped bring a lot of publicity to Miami. From the 1970s till the late 1980s the theater was renovated by Morris Lapidus and was renamed the Miami Beach Theater of Performing Arts and became the head theaters for many Broadway performances. In 1987 the city of Miami decided to rename the theater to The Jackie Gleason Theater of Performing Arts because of the many contributions Jackie made himself to the city and South Beach community.

In 2007 the theater yet again experienced a new multi-million dollar renovation to showcase a new genre of performances. Today, the Jackie Gleason Theater is known for having the biggest names in the music industry and is now operated by Live Nation.

Museums and Exhibits

The Holocaust Memorial

Colony Theater A state-of-the-art theater, home to local and national artists and institutions from the worlds of theater, dance, music, comedy and film. Location is 1040 Linclon Road - 305-674-1026





  • Guess, 736 Collins Ave., +1 305 673-8880 – National retailer specializing in clothing and accessories for men and women. Two-story building.
  • Nicole Miller, 656 Collins Ave., +1 305 535-2200 – Women's clothing and accessories.
  • United Colors of Benetton, 668 Collins Ave., +1 305 538-3777 – Women's shoes, clothing and accessories.
  • Kenneth Cole, 190 8th St., +1 305 673-5151 – Open Fri-Sat 10AM-9PM, Thu 10AM-9PM, Sun 12PM-8PM. Men and women's clothing and accessories. Two-story building with a minimalist feel.
  • Barney's New York Co-op, 832 Collins Ave., +1 305 421-2010 (email, fax +1 305 421-2006) – Open Mon-Thu 11AM-9PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10PM, Sun 12PM-7PM. Men's and women's clothing such as A Bathing Ape. Supposedly more affordable than a regular Barney's New York, but prices can be a bit steep.
  • Diesel Jeans, 801 Washington Ave., +1 305 535-9695. Italian retailer that specializes in jeans for men and women. Sometimes hosts special events such as a showcase for electronic labels Ghostly and Spectral Sound at the 2007 Winter Music Conference.


South Beach has plenty of places to eat. Restaurants and cafes along Ocean Drive are convenient for beach-goers and popular amongst tourists, but they can be prohibitively expensive. On the other hand, Lincoln Road offers a wide range of quality food at good prices and cater to locals and tourists alike. For a more European flavor, check out Espanola Way which looks and feels just like an Italian street.

If you plan on eating on Ocean Drive, look for specials: some places offer half off of certain items for lunch, for example, or have promoters out on the sidewalks with flyers advertising deals for the evening.





Nightlife in South Beach starts late and ends early in the morning. Getting to a club well after midnight is common. If you're not famous, wealthy, or not with someone famous or wealthy, expect to be charged full price for cover (that includes the ladies!) at some of the swankier clubs. If there's a cover, make sure you find out what the crowd is and what kind of music or DJ is playing on any particular night before you buy in to anything you might not enjoy. No matter how exclusive the location is, drinks anywhere will be plenty expensive, which is why anyone without money to throw around will have had a few drinks already before they show up anywhere else.


While some of the most famous and well-known hotels and resorts are located in South Beach, the area can be noisy, crowded and expensive. Hotels and resorts are located along the entire length of Miami Beach, so travelers should also consider places further north of 23rd St.




The Versace Mansion

Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A. Versace was known for creating fashionable clothes influenced by the infamous Andy Warhol and historical art pieces from Roman and Greek art works. Sadly, at the age of 50; Gianni Versace was murdered at his South Beach property formerly known as Casa Casuarina by the spree killer Andrew Cunanan after coming back from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. The Versace mansion is now a popular touring spot in South Beach.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.