Miami Beach & South Beach
Miami Beach Florida has been setting the bar for cool for decades. From the Rat Pack to Versace, this has been home to the world’s elite celebrities. South Beach, the tip of Miami Beach south of Dade Avenue, is best known today for runway models and exclusive nightclubs. As long-time Miami Beach fan Jackie Gleason used to say, “How sweet it is!”
If you come to Miami South Beach is the place to see and be seen. Along the sparkling Miami shores at the Nikki Beach Club, supermodels slip out of teepee cabanas wearing only the bare necessities. The ultra hip crowd comes to Mynt to chill against a backdrop of sleek space age décor and cool-hued lighting.
You’ll reach nightclub nirvana at the multi-level dance floors of Opium Garden, with its lush Asian themes, and the exclusive Prive lounge. Three poolside theme rooms converge at the Shore Club’s Skybar. DJs rule at Crobar, featuring three state-of-the-art dance floors. Mansion is home to events like the Winter Music Conference and White Party benefits. If you’re into the gay scene, you can rave on till dawn at Score or Twist.
The High Life
Bal Harbour Shops, is a Riviera-style mix of palm trees, fountains, and chic shops like Cartier, Fendi, Hermes, Prada, and Tiffany.
After the famous fashion designer was gunned down on the front steps of the Versace Mansion on 11th and Ocean, it became a rather somber local curiosity. But this beautifully intricate and palatial estate, originally called Casa Casuarina, is a 1930s architectural gem designed as a replica of Columbus’s son’s home in Santo Domingo.
Although rumors of a Versace Museum never bore fruit, you can take solace by viewing the treasures of the Bass Museum of Art. The striking new building includes an outdoor sculpture garden, and has featured artists such as Picasso and Kahlo. The museum’s permanent collection focuses on Renaissance and baroque art.
Stroll along a self-guided tour of the pastel architectural styling of the Art Deco District. Or visit the historic Mediterranean-revival neighborhood of Plaza De Espana. A convertible is the perfect vantage point to view to clean architectural lines of restored mid-century hotels like the Fontainbleu and Eden Roc while cruising up Collins Avenue.
Miami Beach lies on a barrier island, with beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side. Most of this stretch is bumper-to-bumper hotels and condos, but public beach access is plentiful, with lifeguards, bathroom, and concession stands.
The sands are hard packed, but a wooden beachside boardwalk runs from 21st to 46th streets. On the north end of Miami Beach, you’ll find Haulover Beach, home of the only clothing-optional stretch of beach in town. Lummus Park (aka South Beach) is a swath of star-studded white sands from 5th to 15th Street. Here you’ll find supermodels on their Miami Beach vacation sunbathing topless. The 12th Street stretch is a popular gay beach.