South Beach is known for its beaches and the glamorous scene around its happening nightspots and celebrity-chef eateries.
Chain stores and indie fashion shops line pedestrian shopping strip Lincoln Road Mall.
On Ocean Drive, known for its well-preserved art deco architecture, outdoor cafes offer a ringside view of the scene.
Museums include the Wolfsonian-FIU, which has a collection of modern art and objects
In the 1920s, the millionaires started moving in, then came the architects who gave the island its Art Deco facade and, by the 1950s, South Beach was the most glamorous beach town in America. You had the Rat Pack performing at the Fontainebleau and well-to-do snowbirds diving into the Raleigh’s pool and shopping up and down Lincoln Road, the Fifth Avenue of the South.
From the ’60s through the ’80s, Miami Beach traded in its golden years for retirees celebrating their golden years. Then, in the ’90s, everything changed. Here came the artists, the models, the musicians, the fashion set. Nobody had a cell phone camera and South Beach was still recovering from its bad reputation, so there was a sense of freedom and liberation for the rich, the famous and the gay. This was the era of Gianni Versace and Twist, of rollerblading models and good house music, of Will Smith’s “Welcome to Miami.” In the ’00s, they tried to box up that ’90s vibe for the masses. South Beach was still fun, sure, but it was also cheesy. Every hip hop star rented a yacht for a music video, clubs charged too much for too little value (wait, they still do) and LMFAO was in Miami, Bitch.
Throughout the 2010s and today, South Beach has once again had a renaissance, thanks in no small part to the influence of Art Basel and the wealthy international set who love to winter here.