Model-gorgeous bathers in bikinis, buff dudes on rollerblades and granny and grandpa bench-sitters make up South Beach’s eclectic beach scene. The people-watching goes into hyperdrive on Lincoln Road (below), eight blocks of a gorgeously landscaped shopping street lined with indoor-outdoor cafes, restaurants and flagship stores of leading brands. After dark, dress up to get down and dance the night away at oceanfront clubs such as the iconic Liv.
Miami Beach has more than 800 Art Deco-style buildings, and among them are classic hotels stunningly renovated by today’s leading designers. Delano South Beach, built in 1947, features Philippe Starck’s sleek interiors and a glam pool scene. Kelly Wearstler’s redo of The Tides South Beach (below), first constructed in 1936, offers more subdued ocean motifs. Meanwhile, The Carlyle has starred in movies like Scarface since it was completed in 1941.
Generations of Miamians have power-lunched at Joe’s Stone Crab since 1913, on huge crab claws and key lime pie for dessert. Ten-year-old Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink started the trend of local, organic New American cooking in town. And Pao by chef Paul Qui – winner of a James Beard Award and TV’s Top Chef series – is a contemporary classic, with its very modern mix of Filipino, Japanese and Spanish flavours (below).
Every December, South Beach becomes the world’s epicentre of contemporary art when about 270 galleries set up shop for Art Basel Miami Beach (below). The event draws more than 70,000 art lovers. During the rest of the year, view pieces by contemporary art luminaries in the Rubell Family Collection or at Perez Art Museum , which was designed by Swiss starchitects Herzog & De Meuron.
Miami’s Southwest 8th Street is the spiritual home of south Florida’s 980,000-strong Cuban- American community. Here, you can shop for guayaberas, traditional Cuban men’s button-down shirts (below), at Ramon Puig Guayaberas. After that, stop for fresh-pressed papaya, passion fruit and tamarind juices at El Palacio de los Jugos.
– TEXT BY ANDREW BENDER
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED, INMAGINE, LINCOLN ROAD MALL FACEBOOK, RAMON PUIG GUAYABERAS FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.