South Beach- The Story Behind

South Beach

Although most visitors never differentiate between the two, Miami Beach and South Beach are not synonymous. South Beach is the lower third of Miami Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles of Miami Beach.

South Beach is a sexy, overwrought city, with hundreds of dramatic hotels and party settings, a worthy backdrop to Art Basel and many more significant international events. Art Basel Miami Beach is the largest contemporary art fair in the U.S., drawing a record of 50,000 visitors.

South Beach (also known as SoBe, or simply The Beach, the area from 1st street to about 25th street) is one of the more popular areas of Miami Beach. Topless sunbathing by women is illegal, but is officially tolerated on South Beach. Before the TV show Miami Vice helped make the area popular, SoBe was under urban blight, with vacant buildings and a high crime rate. Today, it is considered one of the richest commercial areas on the beach, yet poverty and crime still remain in some places near the area.

South Beach is home to the New World Symphony, established in 1987 under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. In January 2011, the New World Symphony made a highly publicized move into the New World Center building designed by Canadian American Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry. Gehry is famous for his design of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. The new Gehry building offers Live Wallcasts™, which allow visitors to experience select events throughout the season at the half-acre, outdoor Miami Beach SoundScape through the use of visual and audio technology on a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) projection wall.

Ocean Drive is one of the most picturesque streets on Miami Beach with numerous Art Deco hotels lining the west side of the street north from 5th Street to 14th Place.The whimsical, pastel-painted buildings today are gentle reminders of a reawakening city after the dismal Depression era.
But it’s a lot more than just color. If you look carefully, you will see the intricacies and impressive craftsmanship that went into each building back in Miami in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and today, thanks to intensive restoration.

Lincoln Road, running east-west between 16th and 17th Streets, is a nationally known spot for outdoor dining, bicycling, rollerblading and shopping and features and galleries of well known designers, artists and photographers such as Romero Britto, Peter Lik, and Jonathan Adler. Lincoln Road Mall presents a world-class pedestrian shopping center full of renowned boutiques and inspired dining. The New World Symphony also calls the Lincoln Road area its home. The Fillmore theatre offers yet another show experience just down the street. Luxury hotels and resorts are also common place along the shorelines of Miami Beach. Some of these include the Fontainebleau, the Eden Roc, the W Hotel, the Gansevoort, as well as many others. A top-of-the-line convention center adds to the tourist appeal, bringing in tremendous shows and exhibits. Among these are the yacht and boat show, Art Basel, the auto show, the antique show, and many others.

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