By Deborah B Woods
SoBe as it is called by its residents, or South Beach Miami for the rest of us, sits between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and includes all of the islands of Miami Beach south of Indian Creek. South Beach Miami's transformation from farmland into the vacation paradise it is today started in the 1910's with the construction of the Collins Bridge making the first land link between mainland Miami and the beaches. In 1926, a hurricane destroyed most of the new area but now there are around 40,000 residents living in South Beach, and many more residences are second vacation homes.
Before Miami Vice hit the television screens in the 1970's South Beach was really a very poor and undesirable area with a shocking crime rate which is no doubt what inspired the subject of Miami Vice! Today however South Beach Miami is a world away from that den of iniquity and is one of the wealthiest, desirable and most prosperous commercial areas favored by celebrities, fashion designers, business tycoons, sports enthusiasts and tourists. Miami offers an all - year - round vacation climate, and even if it does rain - there are countless choices of activities to keep you and your family occupied on your vacation.
South Beach Miami is a major entertainment destination with over 150 nightclubs, countless restaurants, fashion boutiques and hotels making the area popular with both American and international tourists. Here you can choose from boutique luxury hotels, bed and breakfast or budget hostels making the resort available to everyone including students on a budget and budget conscious families can now also enjoy amazing fun packed vacations in safety on South Beach.
Fashionistas and shopping enthusiasts can choose from glorious and unique selections in the Lincoln Road Malls, spanning the beach between 16th Street and 17th Street going in an east-west direction. South Beach Miami is a place where new fashion is showcased and where you can be the first to try, buy and wear it! The shopping malls are just teeming with fashion boutiques, galleries and small intimate restaurants that succumb to all tastes.
Clubbing fans can head for Washington Park and Washington Avenue, one of the best-known and cosmopolitan areas in South Beach. Washington has some of the world's largest and most popular nightclubs including Cameo and Mansion as well as chic shops and boutique hotels. It can be an art gaining admission to the top nightclubs in Miami - you need to practice buttering up the somewhat enthusiastic doormen, and always have a plan B ready for action! You will soon perfect your technique but do be prepared for one or two refusals. Admission costs anything from $20 to over $100 and can include a line requiring several hours of patience to gain entry to the hottest night spots frequented by celebrities.
Spring Break and Easter are very popular times to visit Miami for everyone. Celebrities of all genre come for the International Film Festival, the Winter Music Conference and Fashion Week which all happen in March. This is perhaps where new trends are set for the coming summer season and being here to witness these annual events is a very special and unique experience. Weather is very pleasant in the spring for beach activities, golf, tennis and watersports with temperatures of high twenties and low thirties so families with children can enjoy the beaches without suffering an overdose of sun on their pale winter skin. Ocean Drive is a very popular Spring Break and tourist area which includes Lummus Drive and the famous Pearl and Nikki Beach nightclubs. Gianni Versace lived here - can't be bad! Popular Ocean drive restaurants include News Cafe, Mango's and Clevelander which was featured and made the cool place to be seen in on MTV.