Miami’s history is punctuated with colourful periods, and one of the most enduring is the Art Deco age of the 1920 and 1930s. Defined by its lovely pastel colours, porthole windows and sweeping curves, Art Deco has today become one of the most admired architectural styles around. With whole neighbourhoods dedicated to Art Deco, there are plenty of ways for Art Deco devotees to satisfy their yearnings.\
Art Deco Welcome Center
What better place to begin your Art Deco tour than at the Art Deco Welcome Center? Just steps from the white sands of Miami Beach and within walking distance of all the historic architectural attractions, visitors to the Welcome Center will find all the information they need on Art Deco tours, lectures, attractions, monuments and museums. Visitors can even stock up on Art Deco souvenirs, books and accessories at the extensive gift shop.
South Beach Ocean Drive
For fans of Art Deco, there’s possibly no better place in the country to see so much of the architectural form than on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive. From the Art Deco Welcome Center, take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful beach while admiring the colourful Art Deco facades of the historic 1920 and 1930s buildings.
Not far from Ocean Drive, the Bass Museum is itself an excellent example of 1930s Art Deco style. Once the Miami Beach Library, the building was transformed into a world class art museum. Featuring over 30,000 square feet of gallery space, the museum features a magnificent range of contemporary art. The museum is expected to re-open in October 2016 after 18 months of extensive renovations.
South Beach Lincoln Road
A Miami Beach fixture, Lincoln Road is not only a centre for shopping and dining, but it features some of the island’s best examples of Art Deco style. The main landmark here is the glitzy Colony Theatre. Once a part of Paramount Pictures, the historic theatre with its magnificent Art Deco features, is now a centre for the performing arts. The theatre is even more brilliant when lit up at night.
Art Deco Museum
With its stylistic influence, and cultural and historic importance, there is, of course, a museum dedicated to Art Deco. Operated by The Miami Design Preservation League, the museum highlights not only Art Deco, but other popular Miami design styles, Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern. With a range of exhibits, as well as an informational resource centre, visitors can get an in-depth look at the history and development of Miami Beach and its colourful style.
Parallel to Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue features many South Beach landmarks. One of the tallest Art Deco structures is the Cadillac Hotel. Built in 1940, the hotel décor features modern conveniences, while retaining its many historic Art Deco elements. The Bass Museum is also found on Collins Avenue.
Miami City Hall
Take a step back in time to the romantic days of Pan Am’s flying Clippers. Once the 1930s seaplane terminal for the mighty and proud Pan American World Airways, the elegant building now serves as Miami’s city hall. The white stucco exterior with its flat roof, winged globes and sculptured eagles still reflects the glory days of a bygone era.
Spanish for “Eighth Street,” Calle Ocho is the main thoroughfare in Miami’s Little Havana neighbourhood. While the area may not be strictly Art Deco, the architectural styles reflect similar styles of the time. Buildings of note include one of Miami’s oldest cultural centres, the Art Deco inspired Tower Theatre. Aside the artful building designs, the street is known for its Cuban food, coffee and culture.
Tropic Cinema Key West
If you’re up for a weekend excursion or overnight trip, head to the tranquil shores of Key West where a variety of Art Deco inspired buildings can be found. With its colourful pink, blue and yellow neon marquee, the unmistakable Art Deco influences found at Key West’s Tropic Cinema reflect the Golden Age of Hollywood, when the likes of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow graced the screen.
Pegasus Hotel Key West
Just minutes away from Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home, Harry Truman’s “Key West White House” and the first, 1927 office of Pan American World Airways, the Pegasus Hotel is another representation of the island’s Art Deco history. Today, the property is marketed as a boutique hotel which features a colourful rooftop patio and pool area.