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.
I sweat for days waiting for the singular ugly colored blue Cadillac to drive up the driveway.
She scared me, and then I glimpsed her face. Tanned, lips painted with “Orange Flip” lipstick, her one and only, and the dreaded be-hive up-do. Oh God! My mother was going to kill me. I liked cool clothing at 11 years old. I wanted the red kilt for school, with the matching kilt pin like all the other girls. Instead, I wore a mustard and gray Italian knit skirt and matching top. While she was away, I was seduced by these new black stretch pants I’d received for Christmas. They were cool, and I had to wear them. I would feel gorgeous as I walked with apathy by the boys on the snowy hills in New England.
I knew how to iron from ironing my brother’s socks. He was quirky about what he wore too. I set up the board, heated the iron, and in the emptiness of my house, with my adult sitter, and my brother always absent, I went to work. It happened so fast. The iron napalmed the ski pants into the silver covering on the board. There it was. It became one, the black heavy iron, pants, and board. I collapsed the board and hid it under my bed. It could have been a Rauschenberg. It sat there for days.
And, now, I had to confess. I ran out to the driveway screaming, terrifying my mother that something terrible had happened. I told her in one sentence, clenched my fists and bit my tongue. Then, I was yelled at for alarming her. Maybe, she thought for a second that our sitter wasn’t vetted well enough. Asking her if she could cook anything would have been a good place to start. Relevant too. My mother’s daily index cards with recipes written in her perfect feminine handwriting remained in their elastic band. We only knew how to make green beans and some hamburgers. My brother cooked for us.
My mother had fallen in love with Miami Beach. And, they never parted. She stayed at the finest hotels on Collins Avenue and dreamed of owning a house there one day. She would never forget the Bal Harbor boutiques across from her hotel. Nor, could she stop talking about the pool boys. The job for all young guys in Miami. If you could walk straight, were a bit of a looker, and could carry a fresh towel, you made a decent living. In the morning when the women took to their self-designated chaise-longues, while the husbands golfed or went to play elsewhere, the pool guys, on cue moved in to take care of their ladies.
Family Activities in Miami
By: Stephen A
While Miami has a reputation for being a pretty wild town, it is also family friendly destination with plenty of things to see and do for visitors of all ages. Here are some of the sights to see in Miami that you and your family definitely do not want to miss.
Top Miami Tourist Attractions
As the most culturally diverse city in Florida, there are things to see and do in Miami to suit every taste. Of course, South Beach has long been considered the place to be in Miami, but some families might find the atmosphere to be a little too wild for younger children. Other top tourist attractions in Miami include the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the beautiful and historic Venetian Pool. For a much needed break from the busy urban setting of Miami, consider making a quick jaunt over to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The park has a beautiful lighthouse that has stood for nearly 200 years and numerous hiking and biking trails.
In fact it’s barely in the USA. Walking down Ocean Drive is like walking in Nice, only safer, and almost everyone speaks English here… as their second language. I eavesdrop on conversations while buying Italian Roast for my French Press from a Cuban barista who spoke German. On my way to a tapas dinner I saw a tourist give five Euros to a baffled homeless man.
Like almost every beach community there are leathery transients interwoven with the over-excited party-goers, spring breakers, regular tourists and locals. They don’t cause a lot of trouble, just enough. Stop for breakfast at the News Cafe and ponder the last moments of Versace. Take off your top and get baked on America’s greatest beach. Walk the historic Art Deco district in your flip shades and panama hat, winding up on Lincoln Road at dusk. Spend a quarter to ride the South Beach Shuttle down to Joe’s for stone crab before the season ends in May. Hit a few clubs or a dark dive bar or two, then retire to your cinematic hotel with a slice of Brooklyn pizza and a New York Times. Or not.
The bold colors and swagger belie the fragility of the place; a wisp of sand in a rising tide. Luxury all around but everyone makes their money someplace else. The neon-lit cast of characters work on their lines, exaggerate their poses and try to figure out their next move. As I posed my model in South Pointe park one Saturday I saw, through the viewfinder, two men dressed as bride and groom stride into the frame and stop. Looking up from my camera I politely asked them to move on just a few more feet. “No, this is a photo shoot” snapped back their hipster photographer. “So is this” I replied.
Why is South Beach So Cool?
By: Mark Andersen
The better question here is what is not cool about South Beach? If you are looking for a hot vacation spot that has a taste of something for everyone, South Beach in Florida is exactly the place for you. Crystal clear ocean water that never goes below 70 degrees, perfect beaches, incredible food and a great nightlife sounds like the perfect spot, doesn’t it? You would have to be a fool to go anywhere else.
South Beach gets a bad rep for being expensive, when if you know what you are doing, it is far from the truth. Sure, if you want to spend $1,000 a night on your room you can, but there is no need to do that.
There are plenty of hotels and rentals that are very reasonably priced. Now these are not buried back way off the strip either, these are beach front properties that will have you right in the middle of the action. Take a place like The Royal Palms. This is a great hotel that is located right next to the Loews that always has a reasonable rate. It is a beautiful property with 2 pools that is located right on the beach and you can stay there for under $170 a night.
Once you get your accommodations straightened away, it is time to start enjoying the beach. Unlike most areas, your beach chairs and towels are part of the room rate of your hotel. They all have specific areas on the beach that are reserved for them so you are guaranteed a chair regardless of the time of the day that you wander down to take a splash in the ocean. If you are smart though, you will get down there nice and early and take advantage by getting a spot close to the water.
The temperature difference in being down there versus back further can be amazing sometimes, besides who wants to look at the back of other people all day when you can look out into that beautiful ocean.
Speaking of the ocean, WOW! You will night find a better place to cool off. The water is usually between 70 and 80 degrees and it is always clear blue. The breakers that they have built into the ocean assure everyone of being able to just relax and enjoy the water without fear of getting beaten up by the waves. If you are looking to surf, there are also plenty of spots where the ocean runs wild.
The restaurants are probably one of the best features of South Beach, Florida. You simply will not find the quality of food and the variety anywhere else that you will find here. They are stacked up one after another on the main strip, so they don’t have a choice other than to serve great food with great service. You will need to hit them up before dinner though because when you get off of that beach and are dying for something to drink, there is no better place to go for a perfect Mango Margarita than Tequila Chicas.
It is located right off the beach on 15th Street and they run a happy hour every day from 4 7pm. Half price drinks and half price appetizers to get your night rolling in the right direction. They have an absolutely incredible selection of tequila’s and even have a pole dancing contest during the week where the winner gets money towards their bar tab. How much better can it get?
When you are ready to slide out for dinner, you are assured of a great meal just about anywhere you go. Competition is so fierce for customers that you will often find some great 2 1 specials and plenty of great drink deals going on up and down the main strip. One thing that you need to make sure you do though is visit The Cavalier Crab House on Ocean Drive. Great outside seating and some of the best tasting crabs on the strip.
When night time rolls around and you are ready to do some serious partying, you have to start the night off at Mango’s. This place is guaranteed to get you in the right mood as nobody walks out of their unhappy after the bartenders and servers jump up on the bars and do their thing. It is a great show and a great time that gets everyone involved and in the mood to have a good time.
You can then let your night wind down at The Clevelander. This place has just undergone a remodel and is now better than ever. Far and away one of the best outside bars on the strip, you get great drinks, incredible entertainment and just an all around great experience. There is nothing like being around a bunch of people that want to have a good time and that is exactly what The Clevelander is.
If you need more reasons why South Beach is so cool, there are plenty of them. Incredible dance clubs, great ethnic dining on Espanola Way and plenty of romantic spots when you are looking to tone it down a little are just a few more reasons to head south. You want cool? South Beach is the definition of cool!
Author Resource:-> Mark Andersen writes for MiamiSmarts, a website that offers a wealth of original information on Miami, FL. At http://www.miamismarts.com learn about South Beach, things to do at night in Miami and more.