Lucy Tobias’ 50 Great Walks in Florida peaked my interest in the Art Deco Walk in Miami Beach. Finally, after talking about taking this walk for years, we finally found time to go to South Beach and take a self guided tour of the Art Deco district, the first 20th century neighborhood recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
In her book, Lucy takes the official guided tour of the Miami Design Preservation League. They offer 90 minute tours daily at 10:30, but of course, we decided to try it on our own following the Miami Walking Tour: Art Deco District I found on the National Geographic website. Their easy to follow guide includes 13 buildings on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue with a short detour down Lincoln Road to a popular pedestrian-only outdoor mall. We skipped the mall, but walked the Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue section locating the Carlyle, Sagamore, Delano and many others not included on their list.
According to the National Geographic guide there are more than 800 structures, mostly built between 1923 and 1943 with historical significance in the district, and I love their description:
The fanciful pastel buildings, with porthole windows, ship-like railings, sleek curves, glass blocks, shiny chrome, and gleaming terrazzo floors are prime eye candy.
We’re already planning our next trip to further explore the area. Another walk is in our future, this time in the evening, with the addition of the neon lights. Maybe we’ll even break down and pay the $20 to join one of the guided tours since tours gain access to the interior of buildings and visit roof top pools. Walking, the beach, and art all in one place!