Miami Beach Travel Guide
Lincoln Road on South Beach has seen a lot of changes lately, with glossy new retail stores pushing out local eateries. (RIP Van Dyke Cafe and Pasha's.) The tourists who come to shop up a storm are no doubt happy, but locals have long lamented the loss of Lincoln Road's character. Perhaps the revitalization plans, as reported by Racked Miami and The Next Miami, will lift their spirits.
The most striking feature in the master plan proposed by James Corner Field Operations (they of The High Line) is the stretch of green running from one side of the South Beach island to the other. With temperatures in the 90s and little shade, Lincoln Road is a sunburn death trap in the middle of the day and this plan should make it a much more pleasant place to stroll. And isn't that the point of Lincoln Road in the first place?
As Racked reports, the proposal calls for more easy access to the cool MiMo water features that already exist in the middle of the Lincoln Road strip, as well as more stylish seating, an outdoor art and sculpture gallery and an outdoor market.
With much cooler spaces like Wynwood and the Perez Art Museum Miami around town, it sounds like South Beach has put itself on notice. Fingers crossed this plan gets approved and goes ahead.
[Image: Master plan rendering via The Next Miami]
[Image: Master plan rendering via The Next Miami]
Usually, there's nothing better than arriving at your destination and finding the airport taxi line completely wide-open. That means there's no waiting; just drop your bags in the car, give the driver the address of where you're headed and you're off.
The other day this editor arrived at Miami International Airport at 5:30am after a red-eye flight from Los Angeles. The taxi line was free and clear so I took the first taxi available. Before I got in, I made sure the taxi took credit cards. The taxi line agent assured me this taxi did and the driver himself assured me as well. (It's also a new law in Miami that taxis must be equipped to accept credit cards.)
But once we got moving, the driver asked me if I had cash. "Er, no," I said. "I need to pay by credit card." He sighed and then got on with the driving. During the quick drive (about 20 minutes), he seemed to struggle with keeping his eyes open. Which I could understand since he was probably at the end of a long overnight shift. But he also wasn't wearing a seatbelt and he was driving about 80 miles per hour on a highway. And I thought turbulence was bad.
Once we got over the bridge and into Miami Beach proper, he turned around and told me, "I'll take you to ATM now and you can get cash." There was no way I was going to have a cab driver take me to an ATM at 6am so I could get cash. I responded firmly with "No, I'd like to pay by credit card." When he dropped me off at my hotel, I gave him a cash tip. On the bright side, the fare was just $35, by far one of the cheapest airport taxis we've ever taken. But also, one of the scariest.
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Snow? Slush? Ice? Never heard of it. Unless it comes in the form of a slushy, boozy drink. Welcome to Miami, where it's a sunny 75 degrees in the middle of winter and the arrival of The Season means that the town is full of the bold, the beautiful and the highly entertaining.
Here are five ways to get into the swing of things here on South Beach:
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Fashion designer/global mogul Diane von Furstenberg needs no introduction. There's so much we could say about her, from her international career path to her time as a member of the "jet set" when that term meant something, but it's the simplest thing we'll speak of now: her relationship with water.
DVF's mantra is a simple one: "Love is Life." Recognizing that one cannot live to love without the sustaining power of water, she's collaborated to design the 2013 limited-edition designer Evian bottle, wrapping it with that very mantra. To promote it, Diane jetted up to Art Basel Miami Beach from Brazil this past weekend, which is where we caught a moment with her, heels sunk into on the sand at Soho Beach House.
The water (as you can see from our photos) was ridiculously tempting that day. Little aqua waves broke on shore and so we asked the globe-hopping Diane for a few of her favorite places to go for a dip.
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: Miami Beach's Art Deco District
This week's Travel Cat comes from yours truly! We're chillin' in Miami during Art Basel 2012 and, while walking down 14th Street towards Collins earlier this afternoon, we spotted both a black and white kitty cat also relaxing in the 79-degree weather. If you're familiar with the lolcat meme, just think of them as ceiling cat and basement cat.
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Ahoy! If you're hanging out in Florida and are anywhere near the coast from Miami on up to West Palm Beach, break out a pair of binoculars to spot us. Just look for a white sliver on the horizon, that'll actually be the ginormous white Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Reflection. We promise to wave back.
There's no ultimate destination other than a return to Miami for the start of the Art Basel festival of contemporary art. You see, this is a preview cruisethe ship's maiden US voyage. It's a bit like an airport practice run, when terminals invite people to come simulate operations so, on opening day, the kinks have been well worked out. We would say we're "kicking the tires" of the Reflection but, well, it's a boat with a massive hull...and a multi-million modern art collection with 6,059 original pieces from the likes of Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor, Christo, Marina Abramovic, Richard Prince and Robert Rauschenberg.
We have some news: roller skates still exist! Rollerblading did not totally vanquish the original form of getting around on two legs and a clunky set of wheels, after all!
The revelation comes courtesy of the folks at Evian, who are hosting an attempt this Saturday to set the world record for the longest roller-skating conga line. It's all happening in (where else?) South Beach, where we see few roller skates these days but plenty of roller blades and, sadly, Segways.
Yes, it's all a corporate PR stuntjumping off of those roller-skating babies in evian's commercialsbut if it involves free skate rental and use of a temporary rink, does it matter?
While this may be a familiar scene any day of the week in South Beach, this is not your regular beach volleyball tournament. Those people? Models. And if you're in Miami this weekend, you're in luck because The Ludus Athletics Model Beach Volleyball Tournament takes place Saturday and Sunday--and it's free and open to the public.
So if you couldn't get tickets to the wine and food fest, or missed out on Madonna's surprise appearance at Ultra last weekend, console yourself with the fact that you still have time to hit South Beach and catch one of the prettiest events of the year.
The tournament--which pits modeling agency against modeling agency, men and women--is in its third installment, with this year's lineup including real-life women's pro team April Ross & Jennifer Kessy Champions and 2012 Sports Illustrated model Nina Agdal.
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There’s no longer the need to walk from Fontainebleau all the way down to Shake Shack—trust us, it’s far—as car sharing is now making its way to South Beach. Sure there are plenty of two-wheeled options available in Miami, but sometimes you just need to put the pedal to the metal. After all, cruising down Collins isn’t quite the same with streamers coming out of the handlebars.
There’s no cutesy name or gimmick associated with the city’s new program, as they’re simply partnering with Hertz to bring the car share scheme to the masses. Thanks to Hertz on Demand, Miami Beach will now be the first city—at least by their math—to offer up a city-sponsored car sharing system in the Sunshine State. Things officially get underway starting today, and there’s even some kind of ribbon cutting ceremony at the Miami Beach City Hall Garage to celebrate.
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Apart from being a new architectural landmark for Miami Beach, the New World Center is a cool place we highly recommend checking out. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and is worth gawking at for that fact alone.
The venue's main role is to be the home of Miami's New World Symphony and its slate of live performances. But even if you don't dig on classical or orchestral music, don't start yawning just yet. You might just like one of other activities the New World Center has going on. For example, you could...
1. Walk Your Dog Through the Parkor Sit and Eat a Sandwich
We love walking our dog here because, unlike Lumus Park down by the beach, it's almost always quiet. The grass is landscaped with little hills and pathways, and there are curved concrete seats to sit on and take five. Sure, you may share the park with the occasional homeless person, but they're usually just catching some zzzs and not bothering anybody. Besides, there is a security guard who rides around on a bike to keep you nice and safe.
Miami may kick off the year as vice city for hordes of NYE revelers, but as January gets underway, the beach goes back to its pre-Cocaine Cowboys roots to celebrate all things Deco.
From January 13–15, the Miami Design Preservation League (the folks who keep South Beach looking so pretty) kick up their heels Charleston style with the annual Art Deco Weekend.
This year's three-day festival will include a fashion show, car show, musical performances, furniture fair and, as always, a lineup of walking tours to show off all the glorious buildings the MDPL has managed to save over the years.
Models steal children, tell story about 'uncle Gianni'.
It's easy to think that everyone knows the stories that make South Beach the glitzy, sleazy, underdressed spectacle it is, but luckily a brand new company, Discovery Miami Beach, has come along to educate the uninitiated with a new self-guided audio tourone that 'showcases 29 of the most important places in South Beach’s past and present.'
Of course, this includes a stop outside the Versace Mansion--now known as The Villa By Barton G. You can't go inside unless you want to have a very fancy meal or rest your head on a $1,000-a-night pillow, but you can take a peek at the photos our sister site HotelChatter snapped beyond the gate last fall.
As for the story about how Gianni was slain right there on the steps along Ocean Drive--how's that for education, kids?!