Miami’s Top 5 Must-See Art Deco Buildings

south beach miamiThe city of Miami has a lot to offer, but it’s not just beaches and bars, food and fun. Tourists, as well as residents, who are looking for a little more in terms of culture will absolutely love the city’s Art-Deco district. One side of South Beach may offer warm ocean water, cool breezes, and beautiful beaches, but all you have to do is turn around and you’ll see vibrant colors, iconic architecture, and some of the most amazing Art-Deco buildings you’ll ever see. In total, Miami has hundreds of Art-Deco buildings, and while it’d be great to get a look at all of them, here are five that you simply must see.

The Carlyle

This building has been around since 1941 and is a perfect example of the Art Deco style rule of third, with three vertical sections that divide the building. Its color scheme of white and sea green is unique for the area, and make it a perfect fit for the building’s home on Ocean Drive, mere feet from South Beach. It’s quite possible you’ve seen the façade of The Carlyle previously, as it’s been used in a few movies such as Scarface and Bad Boys 2, and actually acted as the setting for the 1996 film The Birdcage, which stars Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, and Nathan Lane. It’s also not a bad place to stay, with plenty of modern amenities and spectacular views.

Colony Theatre

Seeing this building in person will make you think you’ve gone back in time to 1935, when the Colony Theatre was built. The theatre’s marquee and façade have been perfectly maintained throughout the years, while the ticket box and entryway have also been restored to produce a genuine 1930’s look and feel. Located at the corner of Lincoln Road and Lenox Avenue, Colony Theatre is one of the most beloved and treasured Art Deco buildings in Miami, and it still functions as a 430-seat performing arts center, making it an important part of the surrounding neighborhood.

The Breakwater

With its great height, glowing neon lights, and strong emphasis on symmetry, the Breakwater stands out, literally and figuratively, as one of Miami’s pre-eminent Art Deco buildings. Built in 1936, the Breakwater was renovated in 1999 to give it modern hotel amenities, but the façade of the building remains intact and is one of the most recognizable spots on Ocean Drive. With its neon lights, nighttime is the best time to take a good, long look at the beauty of the Breakwater.

The McAlpin

This is another picture-perfect example of Art Deco style, as the McAlpin follows the rule of third perfectly and has incredible symmetry. With pastel colors of pink and turquoise, the McAlpin is one of the most awe-inspiring buildings on Ocean Drive, and has been since it was built in 1940. Take one look and you’ll understand why the McAlpin remains one of the most photographed buildings on South Beach.

Bass Museum

Art on the inside and a work of art on the outside is the best way to describe the Bass Museum. Built in 1930 and located on Collins Avenue, the Bass Museum is arguably the pre-eminent Art Deco building in Miami. The outside of the building has incredible texture because it’s covered with fossilized Paleolithic coral, a feature that’s hard to find elsewhere and gives the building a natural aged look. The outside is also decorated with bas-reliefs that depict everything from cruise ships to pelicans to Spanish conquistadors. No other building may define Miami’s Art Deco district and the city in general than the Bass Museum.

Things to do at South Beach Wine and Food Festival

summer time travelOne of the highlights of the calendar year for those who are visiting or live in Miami is the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, taking place from February 24 – 28. Over those five days, there is a smorgasbord of meals, tastings, seminars, and events for lovers of fine food and drink. The festival would be over by the time we run through everything it has to offer, but here are a few of the highlights food and wine lovers may be most interested in checking out.

Seaside Eats, Wednesday February 24, 7:00 p.m.

Be there with chef Robert Irvine for the start of the festival, which is taking place at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, representing an expansion of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. This will be a casual, walk-around tasting in a beautiful setting featuring some of the best restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area: the perfect way to begin an amazing weekend of food and drink.

Paella & Tapas by the Pool, Thursday February 25, 7:00 p.m.

For the second straight year at South Beach Wine and Food Festival, chef Jose Andres will be hosting this event that brings together some of the best food creators in South Florida. Taking place at the SLS Hotel, Andres will be preparing his special brand of paella, while the chefs he invites will be creating a unique variety of tapas dishes. If you enjoy eating Spanish food in a beautiful setting, this is an event worth checking out.

Amstel Light Burger Bash, Friday February 26, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted by Rachel Ray, this is the 10th anniversary of the Burger Bash presented by Amstel Light. Celebrity judges will be on hand on the beach behind the Ritz Carlton to hand out this year’s Very Best Burger Award. While they judge, you can walk around tasting the latest creations from some of the world’s best burger chefs, while also sipping on Amstel beers and Florida wines courtesy of Southern Wines & Spirits. If you enjoy burgers, beer, and beaches, this event has everything you could ever want.

Croquetas and Champagne, Saturday February 27, 10:00 p.m.

For some late-night fun at Palm Court Miami’s Design District, check out Croquetas and Champagne, hosted by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In addition to the iconic Vongerichten, some of the best chefs from South Florida will be present, creating some delectable variations of croqueta and flan, the perfect dessert options after a day at the festival. If that’s not enough, the champagne will be flowing and Latin rock band Suenalo will be setting the mood and giving guests some music they can dance to with their dessert.

Southern Kitchen Brunch, Sunday February 28, 11:30 a.m.

If you can handle getting up relatively early after a night of partying, the Southern Kitchen Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood is a great event. The Grammy Award-winning Yearwood is coming to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel and bringing with her an array of chefs that will be cooking up Southern delicacies for what should be an unforgettable brunch. For a fine mix of food and music on a Sunday morning, be sure to attend the Southern Kitchen Brunch.

 

For information on all of the events of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival and how to sign up, visit www.sobefest.com.

4 Wonderful and Romantic Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day in Miami

perfect honeymoonMiami may not be Paris, or Florence, or even New York, but it’s a romantic city, and there are far worse places for you and your significant other to spend Valentine’s Day this year. With beautiful beaches, elegant restaurants, and plenty of special events and shows, there are a lot of options for couples to spend their special day. Here are four great ideas for couples looking to make Valentine’s Day plans in Miami.

An Evening with Andrea Bocelli

If you and your significant other like music, what better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to treat your date to a concert put on by one of the world’s most renowned singers? Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli is coming to South Florida on Valentine’s Day for the sixth straight year, and this is becoming a tradition that is not to be missed. Bocelli is performing on both Saturday the 13th and Valentine’s Day night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino up the road in Hollywood, FL, so you can go Sunday night to cap off a romantic Valentine’s Day or go Saturday night as a preamble to your V-Day celebration. Either way, spending an evening with Andrea Bocelli is one of the most romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Broadway Love Songs

Andrea Bocelli isn’t the only musical option on Valentine’s Day; you can also take in a performance from members of Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists program. These are some of the best young musicians in the world playing a wide range of romantic songs. The concert is being held at Steinway Piano Gallery in Coral Gables, and tickets are free. The best part is that the concert starts at 3 in the afternoon, so you can take in the matinee show and still have plenty of time to go to your favorite restaurant and take a romantic walk on the beach before your Valentine’s Day comes to an end.

Turnberry Isle Resort

Up in Aventura, Turnberry Isle Resort has everything you need for a memorable Valentine’s Day. It starts at the club’s Spa & Fitness Center, which is offering a Couples Fijian Body Butter Massage all weekend long, as well as a Fijian Ritual featuring a milk bath soak and body exfoliation using Fijian sugar scrub. You and your beau can be pampered while also enjoying complimentary champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Afterwards, you don’t have to go anywhere, because both the Bourbon Steak and Corsair restaurants at the Turnberry are offering three-course meals that will have your mouth watering, not to mention the romantic setting. You could spend your entire Valentine’s Day at Turnberry Isle Resort and not regret it one bit.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

If all else fails, it’s never a bad idea to spend Valentine’s Day at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the spot that many consider to be the most romantic in Miami. Aside from a house full of spectacular rooms and incredible artwork, the grounds of Vizcaya are full of breathtaking gardens, sculptures, and grottos, not to mention a great view of Biscayne Bay. You and your date could walk around all day and not grow tired of the astonishing scenery at Vizcaya Museums & Gardens, making it the perfect romantic spot to visit on Valentine’s Day.

Romantic and Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Miami

Portrait of happy African American parents with son in swimmingFor young and middle-aged couples, planning a trip to Miami can be a bit like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Miami can be a wonderful place for a romantic getaway, while on the other hand when you bring your whole family along for the trip it becomes necessary to find places that are kid-friendly. However, Miami may actually be the perfect vacation destination for parents in such a scenario. South Florida offers plenty of restaurants that are classy, stylish, and romantic, but at the same time are good places to bring your kids. Here are just a few of the Miami restaurants that are both romantic and kid-friendly.

Makoto

If you’d like your kids to get a taste for Japanese food, Makoto is a great place to go. There’s comfortable, Japanese-style seating and dim (but not too dim) lighting that creates a great mood and ambiance in the restaurant. There’s also outdoor seating available, and because Makoto is located the fishponds at Bal Harbour, there’s something there for the kids to enjoy. If you’re looking to get some sushi, there are few places in Miami better, but if your kids aren’t ready to stomach anything raw, there are plenty of great chicken dishes on the menu for them to enjoy.

Essensia

Located inside the Palms Hotel & Spa, Essensia is a beautiful restaurant where a couple can enjoy an intimate, candlelit meal. The restaurant has its own organic garden, which guests can tour and see first hand where the restaurant gets many of its farm-fresh ingredients. At Essensia, there’s no rush, so you can relax and enjoy yourself while they prepare a delicious meal with fresh and organic ingredients. For such an upscale restaurant that puts so much emphasis on sustainability, Essensia does not skimp when it comes to the kid’s menu, so you don’t have to be afraid to bring the kids with you to such a romantic setting.

Tongue & Cheek

With a relaxed atmosphere and a unique kids’ menu that includes delicious milkshakes, Tongue & Cheek is the perfect place to have an adult meal with your kids alongside you. The décor inside the restaurant is beautiful, and it’s not too loud to have a conversation, but with background music emanating throughout the dining room, no one will notice if your child has a minor outburst. Of course, the food is outstanding as well, as Tongue & Cheek has a tasty and upscale menu, whether you come for dinner or brunch.

La Cote

If your kids insist on being close to the beach, La Cote is the perfect outdoor setting for a romantic meal. In case you need to get the kids to bed early, La Cote is the perfect setting for a late lunch or early dinner. Located in the Fontainebleau Hotel, there’s plenty to see in and around the hotel that your kids will enjoy, including the nearby beach and the hotel’s five pools. Of course, you won’t mind the late afternoon breeze, the ocean view, or the Mediterranean cuisine you’ll find at La Cote.