Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach is located on an island just off the south coast of Florida. An Island City, it is made up of primarily wide beaches and parkland and the main strip full of eateries, bars, and nightlife. The city has a population of roughly 82,890 people and is a popular tourist and vacation destination, with some 23 million visitors each year. Miami Beach is a vibrant and lively city full of life, color, and fun. From bars to art to culture and community, it is an inclusive city full of sun, sand, and entertainment. 

Geography Of Miami Beach

Hotels and restaurants in Miami Beach, Florida
Hotels and restaurants on Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida. 

Miami Beach is a coastal city in the Miami-Dade County of Florida, United States. It comprises a municipality spanning both natural and artificial barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. It is connected to mainland Miami by a bridge and covers approximately 48.5 sq. km. The majority of the island is beachfront, which stretches from the North Shore Open Space Park to the South Pointe Park. The island has a shallow elevation, sitting at almost zero in parts of South Beach, and the city averages around 1.3 meters above sea level, so tidal flooding is quite common. Annual king tides cause massive flooding throughout the beachfront areas.

Aerial view of South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida
Aerial view of South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida. 

The South Beach includes the southernmost portion of Miami Beach, including downtown Miami and the Port of Miami. It covers an area of 6.5 sq. km. This area has a diverse international demographic and a strong presence of celebrities, models, and entertainers. Most of its architecture is from the early 20th century, and the region has a distinct art deco style. Bright pastel homes and businesses can also be seen along the main Ocean Drive. This area has become known as the Art Deco district and is protected under the National Register of Historic Places as of 1979. This was significant as a move to revitalize the area for younger generations as it was faced with threats to bulldoze many of the historic buildings. In contrast, though, investors such as Tony Goldman and Ian Schrager purchased these art deco-style hotels and reimagined them. They maintained their historic look while still becoming some of the most sought-after hot spots of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Around the same time, TV shows and movies were beginning to highlight the area. The TV series Miami Vice had a strong influence on viewers and helped to reinvigorate the image and popularity of South Beach and Miami Beach more generally. The upswing in favor of South Beach brought famed celebrities such as Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Oprah Winfrey, and Gianni Versace to the area. 

Art And Culture In Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach - one of the largest art shows in the United States. Editorial credit: Mia2you / Shutterstock.com

In 1987, the New World Symphony was established in Miami Beach. Starting in 2002, the City of Miami Beach has held a yearly winter festival called Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the largest art shows in the United States. It features exhibits, galleries, and events that highlight everything from art to music to film and architecture. Also in the area is the Colony Theatre which hosts the Miami New Drama company, The Miami City Ballet, founded in 1985, and the Bass Museum of Art. The city also hosts The Miami Beach Festival of the Arts annually since 1974.

LGBTQ Community

The 6th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade
The 6th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida. Editorial credit: Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

Miami Beach is known for being a particularly LGBTQ+ friendly city. Many gay bars and gay-dominant events can be found throughout the area. The city specifically saw an influx of the gay community in the late 1980s and 1990s. The election of Mayor Matti Bower was also significant for the community as he was a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community, and the Miami Beach Gay Pride Celebration was introduced in 2009. The celebrations and parade attract over 100,000 visitors, including celebrities like Adam Lambert, Gloria Estefan, Mario Lopez, and Chaz Bono. 

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