Here is a great idea for a morning after breakfast, take the Art Deco Walking Tour by the Miami Design Preservation League. It leaves most mornings from the Art Deco Welcome Center at 1001 Ocean Drive at 10th Street.
Great, informative guides leave from an interesting tourist center and gift shop. You'll learn all about the cool Art Deco architecture and the history of the area. Wear comfortable shoes and casual clothes and you are good to go. Check the schedule on the website or call first.
One of the most famous sights in Miami Beach is the beautiful display of Art Deco buildings. Miami Beach contains around 800 buildings which represent the world's largest concentration of 1920s and 1930s resort architecture. They represent an era when Miami was heavily promoted as a tropical playground.
These days, many of the buildings are now occupied by boutique hotels whose price range starts at the reasonable and head all the way to the tops of expensive!
Not far from our Hotel on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco district is located Casa Casuarina, home of the famous designer. The Spanish-style mansion which features decorative columns, arched windows, clay barrel tile roofs and rough stucco walls, was built as an imitation of the Alcazar de Colon in Santo Domingo, a home built by the son of Columbus.
After Versace’s tragic death it was turned into a member’s only club being full of tapestries, sculptures and paintings.
If you want to make a reservation, you have to first become a Member which was by invitation only. Members have to pay a $US40,000 one-time fee.
At the moment the general public are allowed to book suites also as temporary members and bypass the large membership fee. The individually designed rooms cost between $US1,200 and $US10,000 per night.
In the restaurant, open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays, you can take your dinner for at least $US150, a lunch is cheaper, about $US20 to $US50 per person.
Reservation: (305) 672-6604.
Outside, tourists at the cast-iron gates are taking pictures all hours of the day. A tour in the house is allowed anyone willing to pay $US65 for it.
The southern end of the barrier island of Miami Beach is home to the Art Deco National Historic District, that best represent Miami’s classic architecture.
It is comprised of a few dozen hotels and apartment buildings built primarily in the heyday of the art deco movement in 1930's and are soaring examples of pre-war modernism with charactertic rounded corners and geometric ornamentation.
They were popular up until the mid-50's when big swanky places like the Fontainebleu were built. Little hotels became home to the poor and the eldery; in the 1970's South Beach was called "God's waiting room."
In the mid 1980's, however, South Beach became again trendy place to stay and be seen.You can scout Art Deco on your own by simply walking along Collins and Washington avenues. Here's some of the classic South Beach Art Deco architecture.
The Avalon, 700 Ocean Dr, The South Seas 1751 Collins Ave, The Park Center Hotel 640 Ocean Dr. among others.
Guided tours are organised by Miami Design Preservation League for $20.
Meeting point at the Art Deco Gift Shop at 10:30am every day
One can not go to Miami and not experience the Art Deco that makes Miami unique.
Once considered a eyesore these building are revered... It's magnificent to see this district as a whole. It works here. Elsewhere you'd think the place needs a renovation.
Best of all a walk along the promenade costs you nothing.
And the beach is across the road.
The restaurants along the strip are reasonable in price.
If you have a day of bad weather in Miami Beach, check out this attractive little museum. They have an eclectic collection of art and decoration, and often have exhibitions covering Art Deco and/or Miami history and design.
South Beach is well renowned for its Art Deco style. No matter where you go in this part of town you'll find this great style mainly in buildings and hotels. I really liked it as the "screaming at you" colors are not used but rather very soft pale and pastel ones.
This cost $20 and was well worth it. We spent about 2 1/2 hours seeing hotels (mostly from the outside, but a few inside). The tour guide was very informative and I really enjoyed it. Definately a must see.
The Art Deco welcome center gives tours of the neighborhood - There are private tours, general guided tours and even a self-guided tour.
We did the $15 per person guided tour, that starts at the Art Deco Welcome center on Ocean Dr (1001 Ocean Dr). A local architect/designer guides the tour and you walk with him/her through the Art deco and mediterrean revival neighborhoods as he/she explains art deco and points out significant landmarks along the way. You are invited to enter the grand lobbies of several hotels along the way to check out the art deco features.
If you are interested in architecture or are simply looking for something different to do after all that crazy nightlife, this is wonderful!
For more info on tour times, check out thier official website here
The digital camera has made the browse among buildings so much more enjoyable. Just like bird watchers that thrill at the photo of the rare specimen, I'm enjoying finding the interesting architectural shot.
For More Examples
For Miami Design Preservation League a non-profit offering among other things Architectural tours.
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