The Lincoln Road Mall - or, in local shorthand, 'the Road' - had its heyday in the 1950s, when it was designed by iconic architectural guru Morris Lapidus and dubbed the 'Fifth Avenue of the South'. And just as Lapidus went through an unpopular period before coming back into fashion in the 1990s, so Lincoln Road waned before experiencing a resurgence as the prime South Beach spot, especially for locals jaded with the preening crowds on Ocean Drive.
Gussied up in 1997 with a $16-million facelift, the mall sits between 16th and 17th Streets and stretches from Washington Avenue to Alton Road. It's wall-to-wall sidewalk cafés, clubs, boutiques, high-end retail shops, restaurants, cultural venues and galleries. Once, those businesses might have qualified as legitimately avant-garde, but after the renovation, rents soared and today most of the shops on Lincoln Road are chains - it now has more Starbucks than entire cities in America's Midwest.
The Road crowd - male and female, both - come equipped with airdogs and wheeled feet. Busiest time is late evening, when the dozens of cafés and restaurants set up sidewalk tables for the bridge and tunnel crowd. Choice venues include the Van Dyke Café, sister to Ocean Drive's News Café, and the sun-soaked outpost of pink London fave Balans. The Road also has popular glam gay nightspot Score, which maintains foot traffic on the mall into the early hours. Sundays are popular for the antiques and farmers' market (Oct-June, every second & fourth Sunday). Cultural venues on Lincoln include the Lincoln Theater, home of the New World Symphony, and the Colony Theatre, a deco gem that hosts theatre, dance and music performances, and recently held screenings as part of the Miami International Film Festival. At the mall's western end is the fairly recent addition of the Regal South Beach cinema.