What can you do with only three days in South Florida? Turns out quite a lot, and although more time would have allowed me to dig deeper, I think I did pretty well with the amount I had. The was a solo adventure, which meant I was able to focus almost completely on art and photography, and by organizing my list of potential activities into neighborhoods and then into must, want and hope I prioritized my time, and hit the ground running…
Miami Beach, and more specifically the South Beach neighborhood is famous for it’s large concentration of Art Deco architecture (the largest in the world), and its vibrant nightlife has been featured in films, television and books.
However, it was the collection of colorful and unique lifeguard towers dotting the beach that cemented Miami Beach’s place on my Florida To Do List. Delighted by their cheerful candy colored existence I had to see them. All! Half walking and half running, I went up and down the beach stopping at each one, snapping photos from every angle.
These iconic stands, many of which have been around since the 1980s, have withstood not only sun, sand and time, but hurricanes as well. Six of them were recently auctioned off and will be used as everything from DJ booths, to tree houses and backyard art pieces. Here’s hoping their new, more resistant aluminum, replacements will be equally as enchanting.
Once I’d checked my number one Miami Beach “must see” off the list I set about exploring the rest including, a stroll along Ocean Drive, a peek into some of the area’s glamorous hotels, and a delicious Cubano sandwich on Lincoln Road.
Art Week is a great time to explore the area’s famously chic hotels as most of them will be hosting art shows and parties many of which are free and open to the public.
Art Week saw the historic National Hotel transformed inside and out by alumni of the University of the Arts Philadelphia.
The gorgeous pool deck at The National Hotel is a great place to grab a bite to eat or a drink, and if you fancy it you can pay an additional fee to while away the afternoon lounging by the pool.
This neon sign in the Sagamore Hotel bar was a favorite, though I admit I’m not sure it was part of the art show.
Renowned for its art deco architecture on the outside, and its playful yet chic styling on the inside it’s no wonder the Delano South Beach has stayed so popular. The cool dark interiors are a welcome respite from the bright hot Florida sun and the light airy curtains coupled with large columns create secret spaces in which one can retreat out of the spotlight.
While the origins of the Cubano sandwich are surprisingly less than clear, what isn’t in question is their popularity, and that meant having one was high on my list. I admit to grabbing mine in quite a touristy spot, but the Cuban bread layered with marinated pork, sweet ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and a mustard mayo spread paired with a traditional mojito not only met my expectations, it exceeded them.
When asked what he might like me to bring back from Florida, my younger son had what might be considered an unusual or even difficult request, a photo of a large lizard, unless of course you’re visiting a place with an exploding iguana population. Though I only saw this one “little” fellow during my stay, I think he more than met the requirements.
Given it’s touristy reputation I was surprised at how much I enjoyed South Beach, and I hope to find myself there again one day.