Models, Drag Queens, Tourists and Hipsters:Where to People Watch in Miami Beach

For all of the glitz and hype surrounding Miami Beach, locals know that this wonderfully eclectic city has a lot more to offer than glowsticks and jello shots. The spring break crowd, celebrities, and reality TV stars frequenting South Beach are as real as they appear on MTV, but they’re not the only interesting and entertaining personalities roaming the sunny streets. From top models to decked-out drag queens, to camera-clad tourists to young, beatnik hipsters, this short guide will help you see Miami (and all its characters) without having to turn on the television.

South Beach

drag queen

When I say Miami, you think South Beach. This iconic Miami destination is an ideal stretch of white sand beach, and makes for perfect people watching. While SoBe is an entire neighborhood, visitors can get plenty of visual stimulation right at the surf break. A hot spot for models, celebrities, and young partiers, this is one of the most vibrant and sexy oceanside spots in the entire world. In addition to all of the beautiful people catching rays, there’s an entirely different world right behind South Beach, best known for rollerbladers in bikinis and upscale attractions on Ocean Drive.

Ocean Drive

Just past SoBe is Ocean Drive, another cant-miss Miami Beach experience. Lined with neon-lit hotels boasting the city’s signature Art Deco facades that have made Miami Beach an international architecture destination, it’s truly a spot worth visiting. Like the buildings, Ocean Drive’s people are also unforgettable. From young partiers strolling half-buzzed in swimsuits, to bikini-topped restaurant hosts urging you to sit down at their outdoor bar, it’s an overload that’s simultaneously a scene from the Vegas Strip and a beachy cabana on Punta Cana. Of course, Ocean Drive’s best-known people watching attractions are the weekend drag shows outside of Palace Bar.

Lincoln Road Mall

There’s nothing better than a road without cars, and that’s only a fraction of Lincoln Road’s appeal. This strip of asphalt is lined with upscale retail shops, and some of the most sought-after restaurants in all of Miami Beach.  Tourists and wandering consumers are the species most commonly spotted at Lincoln Road, thanks to heavy foot traffic. Another great people watching-element of Lincoln Road Mall is the spacious outdoor seating. Whether you want to smoke a hookah, sip a cocktail al fresco, or indulge in a chi-chi meal, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained while people watching at Lincoln Road Mall.

Wynwood

While a trip to Wynwood requires a drive across the bridge into Miami proper, it’s an easy commute that’s well worth the time. Here, buildings are adorned with some of the most memorable, high quality street artworks in the world. Wynwood has quickly become one of the most unique and progressive neighborhoods in South Florida. The artists and hipsters strolling through Wynwood’s various galleries, bars, and cafes provide a fresh people watching experience for your stay in Miami Beach. The variety of street performers and local eccentrics just may broaden your perspective of Miami Beach and the surrounding area.