Miami Beach Travel Guide: Exploring Ocean Drive
As a relatively large, diverse and eminently explorable travel destination, Miami Beach takes on a variety of personalities, depending on the section you traverse. If you’re looking for that classic Miami Beach vibe, Ocean Drive is the place to start your search. From stunning Art Deco architecture to white hot nightspots to some of South Florida’s best dining, this 1.4-mile stretch of boardwalk-front real estate features a bit of everything that makes South Beach special.
If you’re looking for a bit of orientation and context, peruse our guide to Ocean Drive South Beach before taking your next stroll.
Architectural Wonders, North-to-South
Start your journey on the north end of the strip for easy access to some of the city’s standout architectural attractions. Beginning at the north end of Ocean Drive, the stretch of street between 15th and Fifth streets is known as the Miami Beach Art Deco District, a National Register of Historic Places-recognized area that boasts more than 800 architecturally significant structures.
One of the best examples of this unique architectural style is the Winter Haven Hotel, a six-story gem at the corner of 14th Street and Ocean Drive. Erected in 1939 by master architect Albert Anis, the hotel lives on today with the same classy flair it assumed nearly 80 years ago. As you make your way south on Ocean Drive, you’ll find photo opportunity after photo opportunity, including the radiant lights of the Penguin Hotel, the Cardozo Hotel, and many others constructed in the original boom years of Miami Beach, the 1930s.
As you near 10th Street, keep an eye out for the Art Deco Welcome Center on the east side of the street (abutting the beach), where you can jump in with an official tour of the Art Deco District or just learn more about South Beach’s rich history by making a quick pass of the exhibits inside.
Dine, Drink and Be Merry
Eating and imbibing are two of the most popular pursuits among visitors to Miami Beach, and Ocean Drive is one of the city’s best locations for both activities. If you’re looking for a raucous scene, hit some of the bars around Ninth and Tenth streets, including the historic Clevelander, the always-wild Wet Willie’s, and the casual Mango’s Tropical Cafe. If you’re feeling up for some impromptu entertainment, stroll past The Palace in the afternoon or evening — you might catch the bar’s famed outdoor drag show.
If you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, try Il Bolognese. The Miami Beach Italian restaurant keeps things upscale-yet-comforting, offering sidewalk seating and a menu of familiar favorites. Il Sole, located in the sprawling Versace Mansion, is another Ocean Drive Italian restaurant that offers a more refined experience than some of the clubbier dining and drinking options.
Discover the Beach
Although the ocean isn’t front and center while you’re walking Ocean Drive, you’re never more than a few minutes’ walk from dipping your toes in the cool Atlantic. If you’re in need of refreshment and relaxation, cross to the east side of Ocean Drive, bypass the boardwalk, and head for the soft sand of South Beach. Lummus Park, which runs from Fifth Street to 14th Place provides a stellar venue for any variety of beach and ocean activities, including biking, roller blading, jogging, watersports, and just relaxing.
Blue Moon Hotel offers you easy access to all of the entertainment, restaurants, bars, and oceanfront detailed above. Located on Collins Street, just one block from Ocean Drive, our Miami Beach boutique hotel places you in the heart of the city.