Surfside was perfect for us and we could have happily stayed in that area the whole holiday, but we did think we should make the effort to go to the more touristy area at least once.
And South Beach is very touristy. It was a bit of a culture shock, going from the 5 people walking passed you on Harding Avenue to dozens of people, cars, restaurants blaring music. It was almost a little too much.
But the art deco building were extraordinary so it was worth it. We could have booked on one of the walking tours but they were so busy, and the written free walking tour guide on the National Geographic website was pretty good so we just used that. After a quick coffee at a Starbucks on 2nd St. (where we oddly saw two people that we’d seen in Aventura the night before – spies!), we made our way up Ocean Drive.
You trip over amazing buildings all over Ocean Drive and the surrounding area. It is a real shame that the area isn’t pedestrianised though, as you want to be able to crisscross all over the place but there’s so much traffic.
It was so hot on the Sunday, unpleasantly so, and we’d duck into shops just to soak up the air conditioning. We wanted to see what the beach was like so took a quick detour off the Nat Geo walking route, and could not believe how many people were out there. It was rammed! After Ocean Drive, we headed for Lincoln Road for the Sunday market (it was ok, nothing special). I may have stopped by another Sephora as well.
Just after lunch, the heat got to us and after a quick stop at Shake Shack for fries and lemonade, we headed back to our northerly haven for a bit of peace and quiet.
As a neon worshipper, I was tempted to go back at night to see the hotels in all their glory, but we knew that South Beach after dark wouldn’t be our kind of place.
Completely astonishing buildings though – I mean, look at the Gap! Good old crazy America.
Coincidentally, one of my favourite jewellery designers – Designosaur Yeah – was in Miami shortly before I was, and has made the most amazing Ocean Drive necklace. You best believe it’s already on it’s way to my house.