Here’s a brief rundown of the city’s primary neighborhoods and some standouts.
South of Fifth
This is the southern section of Miami Beach, from South Pointe to Fifth Street. It was once a peaceful hamlet cherished by surfers, but when its first ultra-luxury high rises were built in the 1990s, they complained that the condominiums spoiled their waves.
It was then a rather undesirable industrial wasteland. Still, today it’s a pleasant, walkable high-end neighborhood with many gleaming, new, and highly pricey homes (though it still has some modest, older structures). Many of the new apartments are second homes that, during the epidemic, became first homes—and still are. The South Beach party crowd has some runoff at the neighborhood’s northern end. You’ll find reclusive hedge funders, Latin American media tycoons, and wealthy retirees from the Miami area to the north.
The exclusive Israeli restaurant Abbalé Televivian Kitchen at 864 Commerce Street is a favorite lunch location. If you can score a table, dine at the bougainvillea-draped terrace and taste chef Samuel Gorenstein’s pickled veggies, fire-roasted shakshuka, and cured salmon.
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The Fisher Island
The name is taken from Carl Fisher, the late Miami Beach developer and founder of Oceana Island Resorts. The Island has its private ferry service (there’s no bridge). Fisher Island has a lot of golf carts, which residents mostly use to zip around. Fisher Island is plagued by semi-regular crises, according to residents. The most recent one occurred in April 2020, when the Island purchased Covid-19 antibody tests while they were in short supply across the state.
There’s a nine-hole golf course, 17 tennis courts (including two grass courts), and the Fisher Island Club in a 1936 mansion built by William K Vanderbilt with a saltwater pool.
The South Beach, east
At its most beautiful, this is Miami Beach: pink sidewalks, palm trees, and groups of young women walking about with bikinis on their heads. The district’s heart is the 5th Avenue South to 23rd Street section along Ocean Drive, Washington Avenue, and Collins Avenue, known as the “Avenue of Art Deco.”
It’s also the center of the city’s political scene, especially during spring break and Urban Beach Week when thousands of young visitors visit the town. However, the day is more peaceful in the area. Lummus Park extends for a 10-block stretch along the beach, between Fifth Street and 14th Place (including the famous gay beach at 12th Street). There are volleyball courts, two children’s playgrounds, and accessible outdoor workout areas, such as the official “Muscle Beach” on Ninth Street.
The South Beach, west
However, on the ocean side, it is a fantastic residential neighborhood that feels miles away from Ocean Drive. You may bike down lovely tree-lined streets and past low-slung Art Deco flats and private residences.
On 11th Street and Jefferson Avenue (inside Flamingo Park), the colorful Flamingo Park Tennis Center (inside the massive Flamingo Park) offers leisurely, daily adult tennis lessons that are open to anyone.
Belle Isle and Sunset Harbour
Belle Isle is the easternmost of the Venetian Islands; six residential islands were formed (or, in the case of Belle Isle, expanded) during the 1920s by filling soil from Biscayne Bay’s bottom with dredging fill.
Low-lying islands linked by the Venetian Causeway have been sought after by New Yorkers and others forced from their homes due to coastal flooding. The Island is easily accessible by foot from the mainland, with shops (an embarrassment of high-end grocery stores close by), eateries, and Pilates accessible. Unlike the resort atmosphere elsewhere, there’s a vibrant young professionals atmosphere at the bay: residents like to run across the bridges and paddle-board on the bay after work.
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