One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city is walk along the streets with my camera pointed at the sky. My traveling companions will often admonish that I “look like a tourist!”, to which I reply, “I am a tourist!”
Miami Beach‘s South Beach offers a unique and distinct skyline rich with history and pop culture folk lore.
Any self guided walking tour through the Art Deco Historic District should include a look at (and several pictures of) these buildings:
The Carlyle Hotel – this art deco building has been featured in many films, including The Birdcage and Scarface and is still a sought after location for photo and movie shoots. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see fashion shoots taking place on the sidewalk in front of the building as you walk by. The Carlyle is now home to private, luxury condos – so you’ll have to take your pictures from the sidewalk.
The National Hotel – located on Collins Avenue, this hotel has hosted glamorous events by MTV and fashion magazines. The palm tree lined infinity pool at the back of the lobby provides a postcard perfect photo opportunity.
The Ritz Carlton – right next door to The National, this unique Ritz property blends in perfectly with the art deco towers on either side of it.
Casa Casuarina – the infamous former mansion of Gianni Versace, this luxurious building was all the site of Versace’s highly publicized murder in 1997. Despite it’s gruesome past and break from the classic art deco, it still serves as an excellent testament to the rich architectural history and a must see spot in Miami Beach.
Colony Hotel – a shining example of the impact of neon lights on the South Beach skyline, the Colony Hotel is frequently featured in photographs. The building’s tacky blue glow at night could only appear at home on Ocean Drive.
While these are just a few of the highlights and notorious spots to enjoy in South Beach, nearly every building you come across has an architectural story to tell. I’m using that as my excuse for taking about 200 pictures in roughly 2 hours.
For those visitors looking for more than a pretty picture, The Miami Design Preservation League offers a variety of tours and historical information about the buildings you’re gawking at.
All photos by Britt Reints.