Art Deco Historic District
Fritz's Skate, Bike & Surf
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Agua Bathhouse Spa
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Miami Duck Tours
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Pool Bar at the Sagamore
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Art Deco Historic District information
South Beach’s heart is its Art Deco Historic District, from 18th St and south along Ocean Dr and Collins Ave. It’s ironic that in a city built on speculative real estate, the main engine of urban renewal was the preservation of a unique architectural heritage. See, all those beautiful hotels, with their tropical-Americana facades, scream ‘Miami.’ They screamed it so loud when they were preserved they gave this city a brand, and this neighborhood a new lease on life. Back in the day, South Beach was a ghetto of vagrants, druggies and retirees. Then it became one of the largest areas in the USA on the National Register of Historic Places, and then it attracted models, photographers, hoteliers, chefs and…well, today it’s a pastel medina of cruisers, Euro-fashionistas, the occasionally glimpsed celebrity and tourists from Middle America.
Your first stop here should be the Art Deco Welcome Center , run by the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). To be honest, it’s a bit of a tatty gift shop, but it’s located in the old beach-patrol headquarters, one of the best deco buildings out there. You can book excellent $20 guided walking tours (plus audio and private tours), which are some of the best introductions to the layout and history of South Beach on offer. Tours depart at 10:30am daily, except on Thursday when they leave at 6:30pm. No advance reservations required; just show up and smile. Call ahead for information on walking tours of Lincoln Rd and Collins Park, the area that encompasses upper South Beach.