Forget the sand: the best thing about South Beach is its sleek, streamlined, iridescent architecture, easily explored on foot. Unlike the grandiose power-tripping of its New York or Chicago relatives, Miami art deco is as giddy as a 1920s flapper decked out in beads and baubles. More than 800 buildings from the 1930s and early '40s survive in the city's historic Deco District, between 5th Street to the south and Dade Boulevard to the north. There's no single masterpiece, but the high concentration of flamboyant styles makes for a theatrical streetscape.
It's incredible to think that these buildings were almost destroyed by developers in the early 1970s. The Art Deco District Welcome Center is run by the MPDL, which first sprang into action when it tried to save two blocks of Ocean Drive, from 12th to 14th Streets.