Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District is a colorful, vibrant section of the trendy South Beach neighborhood. The area includes about 900 unique buildings—from nautical-themed hotels to pastel-colored mansions—and was the first 20th-century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Building elements in the district include sleek curves, glass blocks, terrazzo floors, pastel exteriors, and porthole windows and railings that are reminiscent of the ocean liners that docked in the area during that time. Ocean Drive is one of the best-known streets in the area, home to many Mediterranean Revival-style houses. Notable buildings include Casa Casaurina, a 1930s Spanish-style mansion that was once the home of Gianni Versace, and the 1937 Park Central Hotel, where Hollywood legends like Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth were noted regulars.
A walking tour is the most popular way to explore the area around Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road. Some Miami tours, by vehicle or Segway, include art deco–themed walking tours in the Miami Beach Historic District. Group tours available through the Art Deco Welcome Center include themes like gay and lesbian life, Jewish heritage, Miami scandals, and self-guided audio tours; they offer private tours as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Art Deco Historic District is a must for architecture aficionados.
- Restrooms and other amenities are available at the Art Deco Welcome Center, but once you start on a walking tour, there are few public facilities along the way.
- The welcome center houses an art deco museum and gift shop.
- Those with special mobility needs should contact the Art Deco Welcome Center 72 hours in advance of any tour to seek assistance.
How to Get There
The Art Deco Welcome Center, home to the Miami Design Preservation League, is at Ocean Drive and 10th Street, and is a good starting place to pick up brochures and books. The neighborhood stretches to the Atlantic Ocean in the east, Sixth Street to the south, Alton Road to the west, and Dade Boulevard to the north.
When to Get There
The Art Deco Welcome Center is open from 9am to 5pm every day, and different tours run throughout the day. In the summer heat, it’s advisable to book a walking tour in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday sun—and the crowds. You may want to avoid Miami’s rainy season, June to September.
Art Deco Weekend
The historic district hosts the popular Art Deco Weekend every year, during which Ocean Drive is closed to traffic and vendors showcase vintage and handmade paintings, photography, jewelry, sculptures, posters, and more. There are classic cars, food vendors, and street entertainment, all set against the famous art deco backdrop.