The Miami Art Deco District is where the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world is found.
The area which encompasses over eight hundred buildings from the 1920's 30's and 40's is a true legacy to Miami's 20th century design and creative trend that marked the renaissance of the city.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Art Deco District is truly one of Miami's gems, and specially to architecture and design buffs a not-to-be-missed visit.
The Miami Beach Architectural Historic District although referred simply as the "art deco district", actually contains several architectural styles beyond art deco interwoven in the mix.
From classic and elaborate forms of Mediterranean Revival to the simplistic lines of Streamline Art Deco and everything in between, including the tropical and
nautical perspectives, and the newer 1950's inspired trend, Miami Modern, or MiMo, prevalent in the North Shore and Normandy Isles district.
All these styles converge to create the
very unique image and chic atmosphere that identify our wonderful city.
Exploring Miami's Art Deco District
Miami Art Deco District Highlights Map
The Miami Art Deco Welcome Center and the Art Deco Museum
The Art Deco Welcome Center right in the heart of the district on Miami's trendy Ocean Drive is a great starting point to get to know and learn about the sensational buildings, their history, the hip trends and the many colliding styles. It includes the Visitor Center and the Art Deco Museum.
Located on Ocean Drive and 10th Street, the Art Deco Welcome Center is a wealth of information about all the
different design styles found within the District: Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, Streamlined Moderne and Miami Modern (MiMo).
The Welcome Center also conducts guided and self-guided walking tours that will get you acquainted with this very unique corner of Miami.
The Museum is a great starting point to get to know the history of Miami Beach, which in 2014 celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The Welcome Center is an offshoot of the Miami Design Preservation League, a non-profit group and arts organization dedicated to the promotion and conservation of 20th Century architecture and design.
Be sure to stop at the Gift Shop, they carry all sorts of nifty Art Deco paraphernalia, posters, cards, books, you name it, shop for your souvenirs, take something home other than (or in addition to) the usual t-shirt and cap and support the League!
Here's more info on the Visitor Center and the Art Deco Museum at the Art Deco Welcome Center.
A DIY walk around the Art Deco District
Start at the Art Deco Welcome Center, you are already in the middle of the District. This is a compact area and a short walk can give you a glimpse of some gorgeous examples of Art Deco.
Most buildings have been restored to their former glory and retain the original elements from when they were first erected. You don't have far to go to catch some serious eye candy. Even better, drop by the lobbys and bars of some of these gems, sit back, relax and take it all in! Enjoy this unique Open Air Museum of 20th Century Architecture!
This simple DIY walking tour will take you first through the properties along Ocean Drive north of the Welcome Center, then head inland to take a look at the gems on Washington and Collins Avenues, and finally circle back to Ocean Drive and the art deco buildings south of the Welcome center where this walk ends, just in time for a little snack or cocktail! Let's get started!
Part 1: Art Deco Buildings on Ocean Drive North of 10th Street
From the (A) Welcome Center on 10th Street start heading north along Ocean Drive, we find...
(B) The Congress Hotel
The hotel actually occupies three buildings. The corner building stands out with its nautical touches reminiscing of the big cruise liners...
(C) Versace Mansion - The Villa Casa Casuarina
Built in the early 1930s in Mediterranean Revival style, The Villa Casa Casuarina was the former home of Italian designer Gianni Versace, who was tragically murdered in front of its steps in 1997.
Now a luxury boutique hotel, the property has retained the extravagant and over-the-top features designed by Versace, including its 54-foot mosaic-tiled swimming pool lined in 24-carat gold.
(D) Hotel Victor
Built in 1937 and designed by architect L. Murray Dixon, the Victor is today a luxury boutique hotel. The lobby retains its historic Art Deco charm with the original terrazzo flooring, decorative logo paneled walls, and a mural by Earl LaPan depicting an Everglades idyll that was the fashion in South Beach hotel lobbies in the 1930s. Ice block detailing is found in the lobby bar, as well as along the rim of the ornate baroque pool. Worth a stop for refueling at the Sugar Factory which opened downstairs!
(E) The Leslie
Like a burst of sunshine, The Leslie's 1937 façade stands radiantly on Ocean Drive. Recently renovated with meticulous attention to preserve the original architecture which now coexists with modern detailing.
(F) The Carlyle
Another iconic landmark, its façade remains virtually unchanged from the original hotel erected in 1939. The Carlyle has been the backdrop of many movies, Scarface, The Birdcage, Random Harts, Bad Boys... This is a good example of the Art Deco rule of thirds.
(G) The Cavalier
Designed by architect Roy F. France in 1936 as a masterpiece of the Art Deco movement, The Cavalier Hotel maintains its original exterior façade of bright pastel colors in an Art Deco design.
(H) Winter Haven
Built in 1939 by Art Deco master Albert Anis, the architecture embraces qualities of both the Art Deco and Streamline Modern design movements. In 2008, the Winter Haven's Ocean Drive exterior was given a facelift to restore and repair the unique stucco eyebrows and prominent symmetrical stepped façade.
(I) Marriott Vacation Club Pulse
Built in 1936, this lovingly restored hotel is one of the Ocean Drive's most iconic properties. This Mediterranean Revival gem showcases a landmark red tile roof and graceful columns, combining a historic exterior with modern and contemporary amenities.
(J) The Pastel Trio: The Penguin, The Crescent, The McAlpin
The trio on Ocean and 14th Street is a popular example of Art Deco architecture with the softer pastels and simple and stylish design, often featured in tourist brochures and some of the most instagrammable properties in South Beach. These are chic boutique hotels.
Continue this DIY Walk on to the gems on Collins and Washington Avenues.
South Beach and Art Deco
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