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Category: Guide to Midtown and Design District

Miami Beach is synonymous with its iconic Art Deco District. You can’t think of the city without the brightly-colored, streamlined buildings coming to mind. Home to over 800 of these striking structures in one square mile, the Art Deco District is a historic attraction in Miami. 

Some of these buildings have stood since the 1930s and have been lovingly restored to reflect the Art Deco movement’s heyday. But you don’t just come to the Art Deco District to admire the bold architecture – this is a bustling locale that merges Miami’s past and present.

At Miami Culinary Tours, we are passionate about sharing our city’s culture through food excursions, including on a South Beach, Miami, Food And Art Deco Tour. We know this district like the back of our hand, so we’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in Miami’s Art Deco District.

Keep on reading for our travel tips, or feel free to contact us regarding any one of our Miami food tours.

A vintage turquoise convertible is parked outside a building named "Avalon" with palm trees and outdoor seating.

Go on an Art Deco District Walking Tour in Miami

Spread across Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue, the Art Deco District is a legendary precinct that has served as the home of celebrities and personified Miami’s lively scene.

The best way to experience Miami’s Art Deco District is on an official walking tour. Not only will this give you the opportunity to admire the architecture up close, but you will be accompanied by a professional guide with fascinating insights into the history of Art Deco. 

These tours are run by the Miami Design Preservation League, which has been at the forefront of conserving Miami’s architectural heritage since the 1970s. Their walking excursions run every day and last between 90 minutes and 2 hours, providing you with a thorough overview of the area. 

You’ll pass by a number of hotels and restaurants and even admire the interiors of some. This tour isn’t just limited to Art Deco as your guide will also share information about the Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles found in the district. 

If you want to go at your own pace, you can also choose to go on a self-guided audio tour, which is available in four languages. Should you opt for the guided tour, you’ll get free entry to the Art Deco Museum! 

You can also check out our blog on How to See the Art Deco District in Miami for more information about the area.

Street view of colorful art deco buildings with palm trees in front and parked cars, located alongside a wide road with a few pedestrians walking.

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Visit Miami’s Art Deco Museum

If you want to deepen your knowledge of Miami’s architectural scene, you can visit the Art Deco Museum. Located directly opposite a number of Art Deco buildings on Ocean Drive, the Art Deco Museum provides an in-depth look at Miami’s history through its fascinating exhibitions.

Discover what defines Art Deco, from the geometric lines to the porthole windows. You can even learn about Tropical Deco, wherein Miami Beach architects incorporated elements of local fauna and flora into their design. With scale models of some buildings on show, you can gain a greater appreciation of the details that went into creating these structures.

The Art Deco Museum also hosts a range of exhibitions featuring local artists, which will expose you to the incredible creativity that thrives in Miami. You can browse their official gift shop for books, art prints, T-shirts, and other Art Deco memorabilia. After your visit, you can go for a stroll in Lummus Park, the oceanfront oasis where the museum is located. 

Dine at an Art Deco restaurant in Miami Beach

Many of the Art Deco District’s buildings are today used as hotels, some of the most famous of which include the Colony Hotel, the Beacon, and the Marlin Hotel. While you may not be planning on staying in one of these buildings (although we can recommend it), many of them have excellent restaurants you can enjoy. 

At A Fish Called Avalon on Ocean Drive, you can dine on a delectable selection of seafood and steaks. With live nightly music, soak up the Miami atmosphere from the ocean-facing seating. This restaurant is located in the iconic Avalon Hotel, which has hosted the likes of Harrison Ford and Gloria Estefan and has featured in a number of films.

The Carlyle Cafe, with its mustard awnings contrasting blue hotel walls, serves up Mexican, Cuban, and classic American cuisine. Sip on cocktails at sunset, and watch the Art Deco District light up with neon signs. For a fusion of Italian and local flavors, stop by the highly-rated La Trattoria on Ocean Drive. This restaurant is located in the bright yellow Leslie Hotel, which was built in 1937. 

Alternatively, you can experience the Art Deco District as part of our South Beach, Miami, Food And Art Deco Tour. Eat and explore as you go, discovering top local restaurants while uncovering Miami’s architecture. 

A four-story building with Art Deco architectural features, painted in white and yellow, with the name "Leslie" on the facade. Palm trees are on either side and the sky is clear blue.

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Explore the Versace Mansion in Miami

While the former Versace Mansion may not be built in the style of Art Deco, it forms a prominent part of the district. Once home to fashion designer Gianni Versace, the mansion was also the site of his assassination, becoming an infamous location in Miami. 

Versace bought the mansion on Ocean Drive in 1992 and completed a number of renovations at the Mediterranean Revival home. Just five years later, he was murdered on the steps of his house by a spree killer. His sister, Donatella, sold the mansion, which today serves as The Villa Casa Casuarina hotel.

To catch a glimpse inside the former Versace Mansion, you can dine at Gianni’s Restaurant. Sip wine beside the mosaic pool or pebbled walls and savor the Mediterranean and Italian food. You’ll be immersed in Miami's history here. 

A large, ornate white building with arched windows and a wooden door, flanked by palm trees and large potted plants. Two white umbrellas and chairs are set up in front of the entrance.

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As a quintessential part of Miami Beach, you can’t miss the Art Deco District. This is one of the best places to uncover local culture and lore, with eye-catching architecture and historic tales to be found around every corner. If you want to experience the city with a guide, you are welcome to join us on one of our Miami food tours. Should you have any questions about our culinary excursions, feel free to contact us and our team will get right back to you!

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