With miles of radiant beaches surrounded by parks, golf courses, world-class dining, shopping, arts and culture, if there is a heartbeat to Miami's barrier-island communities, Miami Beach is it. A ribbon of Atlantic sand marks one side of the 7-square mile city. On the other side is Biscayne Bay, overlooking the islands of Miami's Intracoastal Waterway. The history of Miami Beach not only reflects the history of Southern Florida, but also the revitalization of the area that began in the 1920s and 1930s and resumed in the late 1980s.
Miami Beach is a city dressed up in its past and pointed toward the future. The cool, clean lines of its Art Deco Historic District and the models-and-moguls-in-shades attitude of South Beach have been made famous by TV and the movies, from Miami Vice to The Birdcage. But to see Miami Beach as merely a shiny bubble of pastels and sunglasses would be shortsighted. This thriving community has put itself on the cutting edge of cultural change.
Founded in 1915, Miami Beach was created as a beach resort community, and it still is. The 1980s and 1990s brought boom times as the city garnered fresh attention from its role as the setting of so much Hollywood entertainment. During that period, a multi-billion dollar push reshaped its skyline and modernized its transportation systems. Suddenly, Miami Beach welcomed a new influx of visitors and residents. This further enriched its already long-established identity as a cultural melting pot, a place where people of various ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds lived, worked, and played. The once dilapidated South Beach Art Deco district became the site of a new and vibrant community.
Whether you live here or are just visiting, there's more to Miami Beach than its legendary waterfront. The New World Symphony Orchestra is based in Miami Beach, as are popular cultural hubs like ArtCenter/South Florida and the Miami Beach Cinematheque and Gallery. Art Basel Miami Beach brings gallerists, artists and dealers from the four corners of the world to Miami for a week of art and parties. The sheer size of this fair has led to many spin-off fairs among the arts community which feature everything from more cutting-edge art to music and other arts-related offerings.
From galleries and home decor studios to fashion and jewelry shops you'll most likely find it along Lincoln Road, along with sidewalk dining and prime people-watching at restaurants and cafes. A stroll among the brilliant colors of Ocean Drive might lead you into the Art Deco district, named a historic landmark in 1979. After dark, rooftop lounges and subterranean grottoes become an energy-packed scene. Luxury resort hotels offer state-of-the-art spa pampering, top restaurants and of-the-moment nightspots. All of this and it's only moments from the metropolis of Miami proper yet another reason Miami Beach embodies the South Florida trifecta of location, lifestyle and accessibility.
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