The Colony Hotel

In the 1960s and 1970s, it became known as a meeting place for aspiring musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

Miami Beach Post Office

It features a circular lobby with a conical roof topped by a tiny dome and a 10-foot-high glass block wall over the entrance.

The Carlyle

Iconic Art Deco hotel featured in many films including The Birdcage.

The Bass

Historic art deco space with diverse art, artifacts and a sculpture garden, as well as films and lectures.

Beach Patrol Headquarters

A prime example of Tropical Deco - a style that mimics the lines of 1920s ocean liners.

Art Deco Historic District: Everything You Need to Know Before a Visit

by Andres Castro

Immerse yourself in the symphony of the vibrant Art Deco Historic District. Known for its distinctive and flamboyant 1920s and 1930s architecture, the Art Deco District is nothing less than a time capsule that transports you to a bygone era of exuberance and elegance. This carefully crafted guidebook invites you to immerse yourself in the fascinating essence of the district, where every street offers a seductive serenade of design, culture, and history.

Impressive art deco building in pastel blue and pink papaya in Miami BeachImpressive art deco building in pastel blue and pink papaya in Miami beach. Photo by

Unveiling Art Deco: A Brief Overture

Before we embark on our journey through the neighborhood, let us first unravel the mystery of Art Deco. The Art Deco movement, characterized by streamlined and geometric motifs, emerged as a symbol of technological progress and modern luxury. It is this style that gives the Art Deco District its irresistible charm, transforming the ordinary landscape into a radiant tableau.

Where is the Art Deco District Located?

The Art Deco District is located in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach. It extends roughly between 5th Street on the south and Dade Boulevard & 23rd Street on the north along the Atlantic Ocean. It is particularly centered on Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue.

How to recognize Art Deco architecture in Miami Beach

Art Deco architecture is characterized by its unique features. The following are some ways to recognize Art Deco Architecture in Miami Beach:

  1. Symmetry and Geometric Shapes: Art Deco buildings often have a symmetrical facade and include geometric shapes such as chevrons, zigzags, and sunburst motifs.
  2. Streamlined and Sleek Design: Art Deco style is about sleekness and aerodynamics. It was influenced by the rapid industrial and technological advancements of its time. Buildings often have a streamlined appearance with smooth wall surfaces.
  3. Bold Colors: Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach are known for their bright, pastel colors, which is a distinct feature of the city's architectural scene.
  4. Decorative Elements: Check for elaborate detailing, especially around windows, doors, and at the tops of buildings. These decorative elements often include floral, fauna, and abstract geometric motifs.
  5. Use of Neon: Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach often have neon signs and neon lighting, adding to their striking and distinctive appearance, particularly at night.
  6. Terrazzo Floors: Many Art Deco buildings have terrazzo floors, which are made from chips of marble or granite set in concrete and polished to a high shine.
  7. Eyebrow Ledgments: In Miami Beach, a common characteristic of Art Deco buildings is the use of eyebrow ledges over windows, which provide shade from the Florida sun.
  8. Glass Blocks and Porthole Windows: Glass blocks were often used in Art Deco design, and porthole windows are a maritime-inspired feature common in Miami Beach Art Deco architecture.
  9. Stair-step and Set-back Facades: As a result of the 1916 Zoning Resolution in New York, Art Deco buildings often feature set-back designs, which make it appear as if the building is 'stepping back' from the street as it rises. This gives Art Deco buildings a tiered appearance and was also a response to the desire to allow more light and air to reach the streets below.
  10. Bas Relief Friezes: Bas relief friezes that depict various scenes or geometric patterns are a common decorative element in Art Deco buildings.

The Most Iconic Art Deco Buildings in Miami Beach's Architectural District

Experience 1930s glamour with a visual feast of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach's Architectural District. From the glamorous hotels on Ocean Drive to the beachfront condominiums on Collins Avenue, these buildings offer a visual spectacle that helped define the beachfront esthetic of one of America's most famous cities. Let's explore the architectural beauty and enduring influence of Miami Beach's Art Deco structures.

The Carlyle Hotel

Carlyle Cafe in Miami BeachPhoto by Khosro /

Address: 1250 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Carlyle Hotel, an iconic Art Deco gem featured in many films such as The Birdcage, is a true testament to the architectural brilliance of the 1930s. Its sleek and symmetrical design with bold geometric patterns and luxurious details reflects the elegance of the era. With its eye-catching pastel facade, curved edges and bright neon accents, the Carlyle is a timeless symbol of Miami Beach's vibrant past, captivating visitors with its unique charm and appeal.

Delano South Beach

Delano South Beach Hotel & Beach ClubPhoto by Daniel J. Macy /

Address: 1685 Collins Ave, Miami Beach

Delano South Beach is a sophisticated and luxurious 5-star hotel that exudes a captivating blend of playfulness and refined Art Deco esthetics. Its luxurious design transports guests to a whimsical world where elegance meets creativity. Attention to detail and first-class amenities make this hotel a truly delightful experience.

The Breakwater

Hotel Breakwater South BeachPhoto by Wangkun Jia /

Address: 940 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Breakwater's iconic facade showcases the elegance of Art Deco architecture. The hotel's design and streamlined forms pay homage to the 1920s and 1930s, and with its distinctive neon signage and geometric patterns, the hotel captures the essence of this design movement. The combination of sleek lines, vibrant colors and intricate details make the hotel a stunning and historically significant landmark in the heart of South Beach.

The Colony Theatre

Colony Theatre - Lincoln RdPhoto by Kamira /

Address: 1040 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach

The Colony Theatre, located on Lincoln Rd, is a captivating historic venue renowned for its impressive marque and sleek design. This theater holds a significant place in history, boasting a streamlined aesthetic that perfectly blends with its surroundings. Its iconic marquee grabs attention, inviting theater enthusiasts and passerby to indulge in the cultural experience it offers. Once inside, visitors can revel in the enchanting atmosphere and enjoy a wide range of captivating performances. The Colony Theatre truly stands as a timeless gem on Lincoln Rd.

The Essex House

Essex House HotelPhoto by Anna Krasnopeeva /

Address: 1001 Collins Ave, Miami Beach

The Essex House by Clevelander embodies the essence of Art Deco style with its checkered floors and sleek exterior. This iconic hotel perfectly captures the essence of the era with its distinctive design elements. The checkerboard floors add a touch of sophistication and elegance, while the sleek exterior reflects the clean lines and geometric shapes of Art Deco architecture. The Essex House Hotel epitomizes the Art Deco movement and invites guests to be enchanted by its timeless charm.

The Cavalier

Cavalier Hotel South BeachPhoto by Wangkun Jia /

Address: 1320 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Cavalier South Beach Hotel showcases a stunning facade adorned with vibrant detailing and captivating geometric patterns. This striking design element adds an invigorating burst of color and visual interest to the hotel's exterior. The combination of bold hues and intricate shapes perfectly captures the eye-catching nature of the hotel. The Cavalier is a remarkable demonstration of the captivating charm and enchanting appeal that can be achieved through intricate detailing and geometric designs. Situated along Ocean Drive and within the vibrant Art Deco district, it offers an unforgettable experience for both its esteemed guests and passersby.

The Bentley

Bentley Hotel South BeachPhoto by Just dance /

Address: 510 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Bentley Hotel South Beach showcases its unique architectural details on each floor, featuring a set of elegant octagonal windows nestled in the beveled corners of the building. Adding to its charm, the roof corner is adorned with a beautifully raised pattern and capped off with a proud flagpole. As you enter, your eyes are drawn to the captivating tri-color chevron design that adorns the terrazzo flooring near the corner entrance, adding a touch of flair and sophistication.

The Victor Hotel

Hotel Victor South Beach

Address: 1144 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

Hotel Victor South Beach blends the elegance of Art Deco with the timeless beauty of Mediterranean Revival architecture. With its unique design, the hotel displays a perfect combination of these two iconic styles. The Art Deco elements bring a sense of glamour and sophistication, while the Mediterranean Revival details evoke a sense of tranquility and grandeur. The result is a captivating and harmonious aesthetic that sets Hotel Victor apart, creating a truly memorable experience for guests.

The Webster

The Webster MiamiPhoto by Malachi Jacobs /

Address: 1220 Collins Ave, Miami Beach

The Webster Miami offers a luxurious and upscale shopping experience in a magnificent Art Deco building. This iconic structure combines classic architectural elements with a stunning design that exudes elegance and charm. The historical significance of the building adds a touch of nostalgia and romance to the shopping center, creating a unique atmosphere for visitors. With its combination of timeless charm and high-end fashion offerings, The Webster Miami is a symbol of sophistication and style in the heart of the city.

The Marlin

The Marlin HotelPhoto by Joe Tabacca /

Address: 1200 Collins Ave, Miami Beach

The Marlin Hotel is renowned for its vibrant façade adorned with elaborate decorative elements. This iconic establishment stands out for its striking colors and intricate design, captivating the attention of both locals and visitors. Each detail of the hotel's exterior has been meticulously crafted to create a visually stunning experience. The Marlin Hotel's unique aesthetic has become a symbol of artistic excellence, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable and visually inspiring stay.

The Sagamore

Sagamore Hotel South BeachPhoto by Kamira /

Address: 1671 Collins Ave, Miami Beach

The Sagamore stands out with its sleek and minimalist Art Deco design. This elegant hotel embraces a chic aesthetic, combining simplicity and sophistication effortlessly. The clean lines and subtle color palette create a sense of modernity and refinement, appealing to those with an appreciation for minimalist style. The Sagamore's commitment to the Art Deco movement is evident in every aspect of its design, making it a popular choice for those seeking a contemporary and tasteful retreat.

The Clevelander

Clevelander South BeachPhoto by Felix Mizioznikov /

Address: 1020 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Clevelander South Beach is a prime Art Deco hotel situated on Ocean Drive, known for its iconic neon-lit façade that illuminates the night. This establishment is celebrated for its vibrant nightlife scene, attracting guests seeking an energetic and lively experience. With its perfect location and reputation for hosting unforgettable parties, the Clevelander South Beach has become a hotspot for those looking to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Miami Beach.

The Cardozo

Cardozo South BeachPhoto by Sergio TB /

Address: 1300 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

Cardozo South Beach, an iconic Art Deco hotel, occupies a special place because it belongs to the famous singer Gloria Estefan. This legendary property displays the timeless elegance of Art Deco architecture and reflects the artistic influence of its owner. With its sophisticated design and rich history, the Cardozo South Beach offers guests a unique blend of luxury and cultural significance. The Cardozo is a must for those seeking an unforgettable sight that embodies the essence of Miami Beach and the music industry.

The Tony

The Tony Hotel South BeachPhoto by Felix Mizioznikov /

Address: 801 Collins Ave, Miami Beach

The Tony Hotel South Beach, formerly known as The Tiffany, stands as a historic Art Deco landmark boasting an impressive tower and a breathtaking rooftop pool. This architectural gem exemplifies the elegance and grandeur of the Art Deco era. The hotel's magnificent tower serves as a majestic focal point, while its rooftop pool offers guests a stunning retreat with captivating views. The Tony Hotel is a testament to the timeless allure of Art Deco design and provides a truly unforgettable experience for its guests.

The Beacon

Beacon South Beach HotelPhoto by Sergio TB /

Address: 720 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Beacon South Beach Hotel is renowned for its timeless Art Deco design and captivating neon lighting. This classic establishment exudes an aura of elegance and charm, encapsulating the spirit of the Art Deco era. The hotel's gleaming neon signage adds a touch of nostalgia and allure, creating a vibrant atmosphere that is both captivating and inviting. With its iconic design and nostalgic ambiance, the Beacon South Beach Hotel is a beloved destination for those seeking a truly authentic Art Deco experience.

The Park Central Hotel

The Park Central Miami BeachPhoto by Just dance /

Address: 640 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Park Central Miami Beach captivates with its stunning pastel-colored façade and striking central tower. This prominent establishment is instantly recognizable for its vibrant, eye-catching hues that create an atmosphere of elegance and charm along Miami Beach. The tall central tower adds a touch of grandeur and serves as a focal point, making The Park Central a standout amongst the Art Deco architecture that graces the city.

The Leslie

Leslie Hotel South BeachPhoto by Sergio TB /

Address: 1244 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach

The Leslie Ocean Drive is a remarkable Art Deco hotel with a candy-colored exterior and eye-catching bas-reliefs. This charming establishment boasts bright and playful colors that add a touch of whimsy and charm. The intricate bas-reliefs add a touch of artistic flair and visual interest, making The Leslie a true highlight of Miami Beach architecture. With its unique and colorful design, this hotel offers visitors a delightful and visually inspiring experience.

Here are additional remarkable Art Deco buildings that showcase their beauty:

  • The Crescent Hotel (1420 Ocean Dr): Distinctive for its streamlined façade and zigzag frieze.
  • The Penguin Hotel (1418 Ocean Dr): Notable for its playfully painted façade and neon signage.
  • The Barbizon Hotel (530 Ocean Dr): Highlights include a sunburst relief on the façade and a pastel color scheme.

The cradle of Art Deco: Miami Beach

The Miami Beach Art Deco Historic District is undoubtedly the prime example of the Art Deco style. With over 800 surviving buildings, this region is home to the largest ensemble of Art Deco architecture in the world. Surrounded by a mesmerizing panorama of azure waters and golden sands, the area offers a perfect blend of sophistication and relaxation.

Hikes: Footprints in the Sands of Time

One of the most enriching ways to explore the neighborhood is on a guided tour on foot. The tours not only offer glimpses of the neighborhood's architectural marvels, but also reveal fascinating anecdotes that breathe life into the buildings. The Miami Design Preservation League offers daily tours that serve as a passport to bygone eras.

Architectural Iconography: The Beacon of Brilliance

Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, the heart of the Art Deco district, is dotted with architectural gems. The beacon among them is undoubtedly the Cardozo Hotel. With its streamlined facade, rounded corners and striking geometric patterns, the Cardozo is a stunning monument to the Art Deco era. No exploration of the Art Deco district would be complete without paying homage to this iconic beauty.

Culinary Discoveries: A Feast for the Senses

The Art Deco District is not only an architectural marvel, but also a gastronomic paradise. Enjoy the culinary delights of famous restaurants such as News Café and Gianni's at Villa Casa Casuarina in the former Versace mansion. These eateries not only tantalize the palate, but also offer an esthetic feast for the eyes with their Art Deco-inspired decor.

Shopping: Treat Yourself to a Shopping Spree

The Art Deco District offers an eclectic selection of stores with unique treasures. Lincoln Road Mall, with its fascinating Art Deco architecture, offers an unparalleled shopping experience. Whether you want to pick up a vintage souvenir or stock up on high-end fashion, the district leaves nothing to be desired.

Nightlife Nocturne: The Symphony of the Streets

When the sun dips below the horizon, the Art Deco District takes on a new glow. As the neon lights illuminate the architectural marvels and the pulsating sounds of jazz and Latin music permeate the streets, the district transforms into a vibrant celebration of life.

The Arts: The Carnival of Creativity

The Art Deco District's love of creativity is evident in its vibrant arts scene. From the iconic Wolfsonian Museum to the Bass Museum of Art, the district is an art lover's paradise. The influence of the Art Deco style permeates these museums and enhances the charm of the exhibits.

Epilog: Leave a lasting impression

When your stay in the Art Deco District comes to an end, you will take with you not only memories, but also impressions of a vibrant era burned into your soul. This unique district is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Art Deco movement, and a trip through its streets is sure to leave you wanting more.

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