An Art Deco Tour through Miami, Flickr: wallyg

South Beach Nightlife!


Miami is prominent for a few things: great weather, fun shopping and dining and its fascinating art deco district. It’s technically the first 20th century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, with structures dating back to the roaring 20’s. These colorful buildings that remind us of a time that was prolific to big cities are a great way to penetrate the understanding of Miami on a personal art deco tour.

Park Central: Smack in the middle of South Beach is Park central, located right on the Ocean waterfront. The hotel dates back to 1937 and was the first of the old hotels to be renovated to its glory days. Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth called Park Central their playing grounds. Get a glimpse of it at night when the bright neon lights shine and invite you back into a carefree time where Miami’s fun nightlife began.

Art Deco Welcome Center: There’s no visit to Miami or any understanding of the art deco district without a visit to the Art Deco Welcome Center. This organization preserves the very buildings that make Miami famous for being an art deco neighborhood. For this organization, it’s vital to preserve the historical and architectural splendor that these buildings represent to Miami and American culture. The Welcome Center is extremely inviting for tourists who want to learn more about this era or to even book a hotel room in one of these art deco hotels.

Casa Casaurina: When Miami’s gliterrati began to call this waterfront paradise their home, many mansions were built to accompany the hotels they often played in. One was Casa Casaurina, a 1930 Spanish styled mansion that was once the home of late Italian fashion designer, Gianni Versace. You can catch a glimpse of this gorgeous building from the outside, or pay for an exclusive tour of the property that is a fine example of luxe 1930s Miami.

The Tower Theatre: Ironically enough to say, the art deco district isn’t the only area in Miami where you’ll find fine examples of this elegant architectural design. Head towards Little Havana to The Tower Theatre, one of Miami’s oldest cultural landmarks on Calle Ocho. Break out your camera to get a crisp black and white photograph of the shiny sign that simply says “Tower.” for a shot that’ll look like it was taken in the 1920s. The theatre has been playing movies since its opening in 1926 and became one of the first theaters to show movies with Spanish subtitles in the 1960s with influence of Cuban natives. The building itself was restored in the 1990s and is currently managed by Miami-Dade College, who now shows art programming and films that represent Cuban art.

Ocean Drive: For the simplest do-it-yourself art deco tour in Miami, why not take a stroll down Ocean Drive? It is the most happening place in South Beach as it was decades ago. You’ll find sidewalk cafes, colorful hotels and beautiful people that call this city their home. Get a drink at the famous Wet Willie’s with to-go 32-ounce drinks in plastic cups. Or, if you’re taking it easy, grab a cup of iced coffee at News Cafe, a European-styled coffee house.  Nonetheless, you’ll find plenty of art deco-styled buildings down Ocean Drive.
Book your flight to Miami today and embrace the art deco!


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photo: wallyg

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