Explore the Area on South Beach Tours

South Beach isn’t just another beach; it happens to be filled with a rich history and culture. Luckily, people get to experience this city through many tours. The Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) hosts several different tours throughout the year. MDPL historians and architects lead these tours across South Beach.

MDPL’s is a non-profit organization whose mission is to be devoted to preserving, protecting, and promoting the cultural, social, economic, environmental, and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District. It is the oldest Art Deco Society in the world.

Below, are some of the great South Beach tours MDPL offers.

Jewish Miami Beach Tour
$25 adult; $20 student
In this tour, people get to hear about the rise and fall of the Jewish population across Miami Beach in the last 100 games. Tour attendees will learn about Jewish people, institutions, and architecture. Tours begin at the Jewish Museum of Florida, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. This tour occurs on the second Sunday every month at 11 a.m.

Art Deco Walking Tour
$25 adult, $20 student
This is a 90-minute tour that gives visitors an overview of the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern styles found around Miami Beach’s Architectural Historic District. People will explore the outside and interiors of buildings.  Tours are held Friday through Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tours begin at the Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach.

Gay & Lesbian Walking Tour
$25 adult; $20 student
On this tour, people will learn about the contributions gay and lesbian people have made to the community throughout Miami Beach’s history and in present day. This tour also will show people the gay and lesbian “places to be” when going out in South Beach. Tours begin at the Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. They are held on the second Saturday of every month at 11 a.m.

Other tours: South Beach Food Tour, Self-Guided (Audio) Tour, MiMo Tour, and Private Art Deco tours.

Looking to Stay in South Beach?

Planning on visiting South Beach and attending one of these informationally-rich tours? Well then, you’re probably also looking for a place to stay during your time here. The Cavalier Hotel right on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District is a great spot to experience the history of this city while being right in the heart of the city. To book a room, call 305-671-1199 or click here.

The History of Ocean Drive

The skyline of Ocean Drive in South Beach is iconic – it’s been featured on television and in print photography thousands of times. This street is the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco district; this area gives visitors a chance to see this beautiful, historical architecture from a past era, which was saved and preserved by preservationists over the years.

Basic Facts About Ocean Drive

Ocean Drives stretches from South Point (just south of 1st street) and continues north to 15th street. This street is at the epicenter of the Miami Art Deco District; this district houses 900 historically preserved buildings. The Art Deco buildings this street is known for is the hotels. Some popular hotels include; the Colony Hotel, Clevelander Hotel, and the Cavalier Hotel.

A Brief History of Ocean Drive

In the 1910s, Miami pioneer Carl Fisher was a crucial role in the evolution of South Beach becoming a resort destination. In 1913, Fisher completed the area’s first luxury hotel, and soon thereafter created the Lincoln Road shopping district. By 1920, a South Beach land boom began and hotels and mansions began popping up left and right. In the two decades to follow, the South Beach Art Deco era began, which is when many of the area’s hotels were built with this style of architecture; many of these hotels were on Ocean Drive. The Cavalier was one of these hotels and was designed by architect Roy F. France in 1936; it is still considered a masterpiece of the Art Deco movement.

From the 1930s until now, the architecture on Ocean Drive is a combination of different styles from different architects; this area is considered to be an “Art Deco capital” and is home to the largest concentration of 1920s and 1930s resort-style architecture. The Art Deco we see today is influenced by the 1924 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was Paris design fair that celebrated the decorative arts’ relationship with technology. A lot of Mayan and Egyptian motifs were used at this time with clean lines and geometric patterns, but in South Beach the themes were also nautical and tropical in nature. By the 1930s and 1940s, a style referred to as the Steamline Moderne evolved; this was an industrial design with smooth edges and horizontal striping and vertical embellishments. This style’s unique features set it apart from anything else is can be seen all over Miami Beach with neon lights and brightly colored buildings.

Over the years, the buildings began to look run down on Ocean Drive due to age and the saltwater air; they were in much need of repairs and renovations. In the 1980s, South Beach began to go through a “renaissance” as the community realized these buildings with the Art Deco architecture were priceless, and restoration began.

Stay On Ocean Drive

People travel from all over to have a glimpse of South Beach’s famous Art Deco district. The Cavalier is a newly renovated Art Deco hotel, and it sits right on Ocean Drive. By staying in the Cavalier, you will not only get to enjoy this hotel’s personal Art Deco accents, but you will be in close proximity to other notable South Beach Art Deco architecture. To book your stay at the Cavalier, call 305-671-1199 or click here.