The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.