Saturday, February 27, 2010
Miami Beach restaurants, shops
Made up of 17 islands in Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach is a separate city from Miami. In recent years “American Riviera” has received the carefree spirit of the early 1920s by renewing its South Beach area. Today South Beach revels in world glory as a lure for models and millionaires. The hub of South Beach is the 1 square mi Art Deco District which stretches along Ocean Drive and is the most talked about beachfront in America. About 800 significant buildings in the district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places – it is the nation’s first 20th century district to be honored as such.
Begin your tour of the Art Deco District at the Art Deco District Welcome Center. Proceed north past pastel hue Art Deco hotels (outlined in brilliant neon at night) on your left and the palm fringed beach on your right. You will also pass the magnificently restored Casa Casuarinas home of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace. The neighborhood’s two main commercial streets are Collins Avenue, on block west of Ocean Drive and one block farther west Washington Avenue. The latter is a colorful mix of Jewish, Cuban, Haitian and more familiar American cultures, containing delicatessens, avant-garde stores, produce markets, shops selling religious artifacts, and many of the city’s best restaurants and night clubs. Espanola Way off Washington is a quaint avenue with a youth hostel, clubs restaurants and ethnic shops a later afternoon flea market is held here each Sunday. Three blocks north is the Lincoln Road Mall, a lively pedestrian shopping street with upscale restaurants, eclectic shops and great people watching.