Walk or bike some of the 77 blocks of Miami’s Boardwalk extending from South Pointe Park, through the winding ocean walk on South Beach to North Beach. The 2-mile Central Beach section (21st-46th Street) has a number of nearby cafes and boutiques to stop, shop and people watch. CONTRIBUTED BY BRITT J. ROSEN
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

A weekend in Miami Beach/South Beach, Fla.

Weekend in Miami Beach/South Beach, Fla., one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.

Trip tips: Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, is home to over 800 art deco structures, built between 1923 and 1943. Most art deco and other historic buildings line Ocean Drive between Fifth Street and 15th Street and from 15th Street to 18th Street on parallel Collins Avenue.

SoFi, the enclave South of Fifth Street, has a laid-back neighborhood vibe and runs from Biscayne Bay east to the beautiful Atlantic beaches. If you go, check out Tap Tap, part art gallery, cultural center and part restaurant with authentic French-based Haitian Creole cooking, www.taptapsouthbeach.com.

The pedestrian-only Lincoln Road Mall (runs east-west between 16th Street and 17th Street) is north several blocks with sidewalk cafes, lounges, gift shops and luxury boutiques, http://lincolnroadmall.com.

Miami Beach’s beautiful boardwalk is a dedicated paver trail for walkers, joggers, bikers, skateboarders and Segways. It begins at Indian Beach Park at 46th Street and Collins Avenue and continues to South Pointe Park (south tip of the peninsula), www.miamibeachboardwalk.com. Rent a three-speed Citibike (with a basket) from dozens of locations across town. Your credit card acts as an access card at all stations during the rental period. Ride an hour for $6.50; $18 for four hours; and up to $24 for a one-day access pass, www.citibikemiami.com.

Check dining receipts before paying. Many restaurants add a gratuity to bills.

Most rates at hotels and resorts are exclusive of resort fees averaging $25 per night.

Getting there: One-way rates range from $43 to $75 depending on day of the week and advance purchase; nonstop American, Delta and Frontier.


Stay: The Bentley is a five-story art deco building with spacious suites. All have fridges, microwaves, wet bars, coffee/tea makers and dinnerware. Choose from city, ocean or courtyard views. The hotel’s rooftop pool and Jacuzzi overlook the Atlantic and South Beach. Guests have access to the Beach Club (across Lummus Park) with lounges, cabanas, beach beds and beach butlers. The hotel is 5 miles to the Port of Miami, making it a convenient overnight stop. Studios from $119. 510 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 305- 538-1700, http://meninhospitality.com/collection/hotels/bentley.

Eat: Grab a taco ($3.50) and a cold beer on Taquiza’s large patio. This eatery serves up authentic Mexican and street fare until midnight (2 a.m. weekends). 1506 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-748-6099, www.taquizamiami.com.

Experience: Take in the panoramic sights of the Art Deco District and South Beach from the top deck of the Big Red Bus. Hop off and back on after sightseeing at Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and Little Havana (over 30 stops). One-day ticket from $40.50; two-day tickets with a Biscayne Cruise, $67.50. Shop Groupon.com for $25 one-day tickets. Purchase tickets in advance and wait at a designated bus stop to begin the tour. www.bigbustours.com/en/miami/miami-bus-tours.

The 34-room Vizcaya Mansion on Biscayne Bay was built in the 1910s and is surrounded by acres of European-style gardens, fountains and sculptures. Self and guided tours offered daily (closed Tuesdays). Adult admission is $18. CONTRIBUTED BY MARC AVERETTE
Photo: For the AJC


Stay: The new Julia Hotel, a 29-room adults-only boutique hotel in the South of Fifth neighborhood, is slated to open on July 1. The hotel has a prime location just steps to the beach and within walking distance to great shopping, nightlife and dining. Crisp guest rooms feature wood flooring and local artwork. Amenities include French continental breakfast and daily wine and cheese happy hour. Rates start at $189 a night. 336 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 1-888-336-9841, http://thejuliahotel.com.

Eat: The iconic Pool + Patio at the Clevelander Hotel has daily entertainment, including the Splash Saturday Pool Party. Go for brunch (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), $16-$22; lunch, $13-$20; or happy hour (4-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays) with drinks from $6 and $9 bites. 1020 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 1-877-532-4006, www.clevelander.com.

Experience: The iconic curved pool at the Raleigh Hotel served as the backdrop for Esther Williams’ films in the 1940s and ’50s. This dreamy “grande dame” art deco oceanfront hotel offers a day pool pass for non-guests for $30 per person weekdays; $60 weekends (chaise, towel included). 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-534-6300. Many area resorts offer day pool passes, https://book.daypassapp.com/pool-daypass/united-states/miami.

The ornate pool at the Raleigh Hotel has been a South Beach icon since it served as a backdrop for many Esther Williams films. It’s one of the top Miami pools you can visit with a non-guest day pass. CONTRIBUTED BY WWW.RALEIGHHOTEL.COM
Photo: For the AJC


Stay: The Betsy makes Conde Nast’s 2017 Gold List along with Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond awards. Many guest rooms feature balconies overlooking the Art Deco District or an atrium. The hotel has a beachfront location, a rooftop pool (complimentary morning yoga), the third-floor Ocean Front Deck with a Wellness Garden spa, 24-hour fitness center and the B Bar with a strict door policy. Rates from $245. 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 305-531-6100, www.thebetsyhotel.com.

Eat: Laurent Tourondel’s LT Steak & Seafood restaurant offers appetizers, raw bar specialties and sushi ($12-$26), prime beef and seafood entrees ($29-$63) in the Betsy Hotel. Start with a complimentary warm Gruyere Cheese Popover. 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 305-673-0044, www.thebetsyhotel.com/dining.

Experience: Learn to Salsa at the Yuca Lounge (second floor) at 8:30 p.m. every Wednesday and Friday. The two-hour class is given by several instructors teaching basics to advanced steps. A one-night pass is $40 per person. No partner or experience is necessary. 501 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. 305-532-9822, www.yuca.com/lounge.

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.


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