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Ocean Drive, South Beach

Miami, FL, USA


If you're looking for some excitement, head over to Ocean Drive! Walk along the ocean side of the road as the other side has aggressive restaurant hosts trying to get you to buy a meal. Here, on the ocean side of the road people rollerblade and bike ride on the wide boardwalk surrounded by hundreds of coconut trees. Volleyball courts are set up in the huge sandy area alongside the boardwalk. Restaurants blast Latin and hip hop music. The Art Deco buildings add a splash of color to the scene, as do the many fine sportscars that cruise by. You can't go wrong with a few hours spent on Ocean Drive! We came here on Christmas Day and saw all manner of people- it was crowded- including "Santas" in red bikinis, both female and gay male!
The beach, 7th Street Beach, that runs along here is gorgeous with a wide swath of fine, white-grey sand, perfectly clear, warm water, and large colorful lifeguard stands. A really cool feature of Miami Beach is that you can rent bikes at stations throughout the town- you just pay the machine with your credit card ($4.50 for a half hour, $6.50 for an hour) and take the bike- you can drop it off at any of the other stations. It's super fun to bike ride south on the boardwalk all the way to South Pointe Pier and Park.
Food on Ocean Drive isn't good, so check out the cafes a few blocks back from the beach, on Washington Ave (which unfortunately has many homeless people and a smell of pee). Charlotte's Bakery at 1499 Washington Ave has fresh empanadas stuffed full of delicious ingredients- heaven! We ate their both days of our recent visit. Choose the baked Argentinian empanadas rather than the greasy deep-fried Venezuelan ones.
Le Chic French Bakery at 1043 Washington Ave has decent baguette sandwiches and pain au chocolat.
For a healthy option, get a wonderful juicer juice and enjoy the very groovy ambience at Joe and the Juice, at 1600 Collins Ave. This will stave off any colds/flu on your trip!
Some guidebooks tell you to find the old post office on Washington Ave and take a look, but skip on that- it's ugly! Do pop into the Wolfsonian Museum after lunch (at Washington Ave and 10th Street), a beautifully-curated museum with objects from the years 1885-1945, including interesting propaganda posters. In contrast, the objects and paintings in the World Erotic Art Museum are curated in an amateur fashion, and while it's interesting to see the way different countries have created erotic art, the overall experience is not inspiring.
You can take 90 minute walking tours of the Art Deco architecture along Ocean Drive and Collins Ave. Tours start at the Art Deco Welcome Center, every day at 10:30am and also on Thursdays at 6:30pm for $25 per person, $20 for students or seniors. No reservations necessary.
Another tour is the two-hour Walking Tour of the South Beach Art Deco District booked through We took it and it was great! The man was very friendly and took us to the rooftops of many of the hotels. Cost was $30 per person.
Many of the art deco buildings are on Collins Ave, parallel to Ocean Dr so take a stroll and check them out!
A Spanish pedestrian arcade with a canopy of light-strung trees, Espanola Way, is romantic to stroll through at night, but beware the tourist-trap restaurants with bad food. It is between 14th St and 15th Street off Washington Ave.
Lincoln Rd Mall is a pedestrian-only mall between 16th St and 17th Street just west of Washington Ave.

Photo Gallery

Christmas decorations and coconut trees galore on Ocean Drive.

The fun boardwalk.

Volleyball players alongside the boardwalk.

Colony Hotel, one of the Art Deco buildings.

You can sit and people watch on the stone wall or turquoise-colored benches along the boardwalk.

People kicking back on the turquoise benches along the boardwalk.

Shore Park Hotel and Pelican Hotel, attractive buildings along Ocean Drive.

There are plenty of exquisite details in the architecture on Ocean Drive.

The Art Deco Welcome Center where you can take a tour of the architecture along Ocean Drive.

Some of the Art Deco buildings were built to look like cruise ships.

Palace South Beach, a gay bar.

Beautiful building on a side street.

The architecture is so lovely!

What a cool building, the parking structure on 7th and Collins.

Fratelli La Bufala, a pizza cafe on Washington Ave and 5th Street.

Delano South Beach, and National Hotel, two art deco buildings on Collins Ave.

South Seas Hotel, an art deco hotel on Collins Ave.

Empanadas at Charlotte's Bakery on Washington Ave.

Washington Ave on a sunny day.

Blue Moon Hotel on Collins Ave- a cross between Art Deco and Mediterranean styles.

Abundance of coconut trees on Washington Ave- too bad the smell of pee takes away from the tropical feel!

Gorgeous ultra tall palms, at a walkway to the beach between two hotels just south of 16th Street and Collins Ave.

Winter day in Miami...

Pretty tower in the evening.

Joe & The Juice, at 16th Street and Collins Ave.

Empanadas at Charlotte Bakery. Get the baked not fried ones (smallest one in this photo).

Pretty seating at Dolce Italian.

Playground at Lummus Park, along Ocean Drive.

Swings at the playground in Lummus Park, along Ocean Drive.

Fat palms and Versace mansion, on Ocean Drive.

The Versace mansion.

I love these fat palms outside the Versace mansion.

Beautiful gate at the Versace mansion.

The Versace mansion.

Cafe along Ocean Drive.

Standing outside the Versace mansion.

Art Deco building.

Tall Art Deco building and palm trees.


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

The main area of Ocean Drive is from 5th Street to 15th Street, where splashes of Art Deco color abound. Parallel to Ocean Drive, Collins Ave and then Washington Ave are also interesting from 5th Street to 15th Street.
Exit Highway 95 and take 395 East to Miami Beach. You cross over a causeway with great views. After five miles turn left on Washington Ave. Turn right on 7th Street and park in the public parking lot before you cross Collins Ave, then walk just two blocks to the beach. You can use your credit card in the machine to pay for parking when you return. Cost is $1 an hour on weekdays or $15 flat rate on weekends.
Other parking lots are at 16th and Collins, 13th and Collins, 12th and Drexel (one block west of Washington Ave), 10th and Collins, 10th and Washington, 9th and Washington, and 6th and Collins.
From Miami Airport, you can take Bus 150 for $2.35 each way (bring correct change). The trip takes about half an hour.
Charlotte's Bakery, 1499 Washington Ave, Miami Beach FL 33139, call (305) 535-0095.
Le Chic French Bakery, 1043 Washington Ave, call (305) 673-5522.
Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Dr (10th Street and Ocean Ave), Miami Beach FL 33139, call (305) 672-2014.
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