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Nowhere is the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere of Miami so distinct as in trendy South Beach. This is where stereotypes are confirmed: roller skaters swish along the palm tree-bordered Ocean Drive, surfers ride azure blue waves, and models pose on pearly white beaches for fashion shoots. Welcome to Miami!
The American Riviera or simply SoBe: South Beach has many nicknames, but all with the same premise: South Beach is hot. The district covers the southernmost tip of the long peninsula of Miami Beach and is home to the most beautiful beaches, best restaurants and trendiest night clubs. So grab your sunglasses, roller skates and stilettos because it’s always party time in South Beach.
Characteristic of South Beach is the pastel-coloured Art Deco architecture found throughout almost the entire neighbourhood. Even the lifeguard stations are Art Deco masterpieces. The historic Art Deco District is home to more than 800 buildings from the 30s and 40s that together form a beautiful townscape. Ocean Drive has a long row of hotels in this style, with round windows and railings reminiscent of the large ships that docked here in the 30s. The Park Central Hotel from 1937 in particular is a real eye-catcher. It has been completely restored to its original state. At the 7th Street intersection, walk towards the beach and then turn around: the iconic views of the Art Deco skyline are easily recognisable from the travel guides. The Art Deco Welcome Center is also located on Ocean Drive, where you will find brochures, maps and books about the district. Walking tours are also organised and the guide will explain all the highlights in impressive detail.
The Lincoln Road Mall is one of the best places to shop in South Beach. This pedestrian street offers plenty of room for street vendors who sell handmade jewellery, art and sarongs from their stands. Naturally, you will also find the customary American chain shops here. The Bal Harbour mall has such shops as Prada, Gucci and Versace and also a tropical garden with waterfall in the middle. You might want to consider taking an extra suitcase with you when flying to Miami.
When the sun sets into the sea and the neon lights switch on, South Beach really comes to life. From impressive night clubs to intimate lounges, the choices are overwhelming. Mansion is particularly high-class, where stars like Jay-Z and P. Diddy often throw parties and DJs like David Guetta and Skrillex spin tunes. Mansion boasts several floors, exclusive VIP lounges, and a perfect sound system. Those looking for a Miami-style night in town reserve a table here with ‘bottle service’. It costs a bit, but the service is world-class and the experience worth writing home about.