Miami and South Beach (Florida Keys Trip 2014)

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Florida Keys Trip Report

We only had one day to spend in Miami. Since our flight was leaving from Miami, we had made travel arrangements to leave Key West the previous day and spend the night in Miami so we wouldn’t be rushed or worried about sitting in traffic on the Overseas Highway from Key West to Miami in order to make a flight. Instead, we drove to Miami the night before our flight and had the entire evening and following afternoon to enjoy Miami Beach.

Art Deco Walking Tour Miami

Our first stop was the Art Deco Walking Tour. The tour originated at the Art Deco Welcome Center, which was just a few blocks from our hotel, the Angler’s.

Art Deco Welcome Center in Miami Beach

We bought our tickets for the 10:30AM tour and then walked around the Welcome Center for a while, which had Art Deco-related exhibits:

Inside the Art Deco Welcome Center at Miami Beach Inside the Art Deco Welcome Center at Miami Beach Inside the Art Deco Welcome Center at Miami Beach

Then there was an announcement that the tour was beginning. Our guide began our walk down Ocean Drive in South Beach. The tour started with a stop outside the Beach Patrol Headquarters building:

Beach Patrol Headquarters Building on Art Deco tour | Miami Beach Beach Patrol Headquarters Building

Our guide was very knowledgeable and I tried to absorb as much as possible as what she was telling us, but I know I won’t do the descriptions of these buildings nearly enough justice.

Our next stop was the Congress Hotel:

Congress Hotel in South Beach Congress Hotel in South Beach

The guide explained that two buildings side-by-side in Miami Beach cannot contain too many similar design elements. In other words, when new buildings are constructed in Miami Beach, they cannot appear similar to the one next door!

Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach

We made a lengthy stop outside of this building, which used to be the home of the designer Versace. It now serves as a hotel:

Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach

I just kept snapping photos of all the amazing and gorgeous buildings along Ocean Avenue, even if they weren’t a focus or a dedicated stop on the walking tour:

Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach

Even the post office in Miami Beach is an Art Deco style!

Outside the Miami Beach Post office Art deco tour Inside the Miami Beach Post Office Art Deco Tour

The tour includes stops inside a few buildings as well, to see some of the art deco elements used in the interior designs. One of our stops included The Tides Hotel:

Outside Inside the Tides Hotel | Art Deco Walking Tour

The tour group circled back, viewing more Art Deco style buildings:

Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach

The walking tour ended where we began, at the Art Deco Welcome Center. We walked across the street and took a quick photo of the actual beach in Miami, since we hadn’t even seen it yet. (Even though our walk took us along Ocean Drive, there was almost a slight elevation from the street that blocks a view of the ocean!)

South Beach

We grabbed lunch, checked out of our hotel and put our luggage in storage, and then headed to our next stop, the Wynwood Walls!

Wynwood Walls

We took an Uber and traveled to the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor grafitti art space in Miami. (We didn’t want to worry about finding parking, hence the Uber).

Wynwood Walls entrance in Miami

This was a really cool spot. And it wasn’t terribly crowded at all (likely because it was an early Friday afternoon).

I’ll just let the photos do the talking here:

Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami

There was also an indoor space featuring the works of Peter Tunney:

Peter Tunney exhibit at Wynwood Walls in Miami Peter Tunney exhibit at Wynwood Walls Peter Tunney exhibit at Wynwood Walls

Anyway, this place was well worth the Uber drive (especially since Wynwood Walls is free to visit). I definitely recommend it if you have the opportunity to go.

Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami Wynwood Walls Graffiti Art in Miami

Ocean Drive … Drive

We took an Uber back to our hotel. We loaded up our luggage into the rental car, and we still had some time to kill before our 6:00PM flight departure. So we decided to do a drive up and down Ocean Drive. We put the roof down of our Camaro rental car and just enjoyed the drive. It’s definitely a slow drive. Lots of cars, pedestrians, and traffic lights. It’s still enjoyable, but definitely requires a lot of attention!

Driving along Ocean Drive in South Beach Driving along Ocean Drive in South Beach Driving along Ocean Drive in South Beach Driving along Ocean Drive in South Beach

We even spotted some sort of fun-looking photoshoot!

Photoshoot along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

And that was it! We started our drive to Miami Airport. We hit a TON of traffic on the way out of Miami Beach, likely because it was rush hour. Luckily we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport. We kept the convertible roof down on our entire drive, and we were able to see a stunning Miami sunset while stuck in traffic!

Miami sunset from highway

We dropped off our rental car, checked in for our flight, and we were on our way back home from a fantastic trip!

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