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13 Things to Do During Miami’s Art Deco Weekend

Combine Art Deco exploration with sightseeing in and around Miami for a trip to remember.

13 Things to Do During Miami’s Art Deco Weekend
Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

Art deco is an indelible part of Miami Beach history and so, each January, more than 150,000 enthusiasts descend on Ocean Drive to celebrate the distinctive style at Miami’s 3-day-long Art Deco Weekend. Whether you’re coming for the arts and crafts, the retro fashion shows, the classic cars, or the adorable Bark Deco dog show, make sure to carve out some time for these classic Miami experiences while you’re there.

1. Explore South Beach’s art deco architecture

Detail of a building in South Beach in Miami.
Miami's South Beach is the center of the city's art deco scene.Foto: lazyllama / Shutterstock

What better way to experience the city during the Art Deco Weekend?

Brush up on your art deco knowledge on a walking tour that takes you to both landmark South Beach buildings and out-of-the-way gems. You’ll learn all about the history of South Beach, the preservation of its art deco architecture, and the various characters and scandals that have shaped the area. It’s also a great way to pick up some trivia that will impress your fellow art deco enthusiasts.

2. Savor the flavors of South Beach

Exterior of a restaurant in South Beach in Miami.
There are plenty of eatery options throughout South Beach.Foto: Kamira / Shutterstock

Beautiful architecture isn’t all the neighborhood has to offer.

While you’re in the South Beach area, get a taste of the diverse cuisines available at its wide array of American, Cuban, French, Haitian, Italian, and Peruvian eateries. Taking a guided walking tour to learn more about local food culture is a great way to cover more spots than you probably could alone.

3. Soak up the sights and sounds of Little Havana

Exterior of a restaurant in Little Havana.
Little Havana is both colorful and culture-filled.Foto: Kamira / Shutterstock

Get to grips with one of Miami’s top Latinx barrios.

Explore another of Miami’s most fascinating districts on a walking tour of Little Havana. Here, Miami’s vibrant Cuban culture is expressed through colorful murals, the sound of dominoes and salsa music, and the scent of cigars and coffee. Meanwhile, a food-focused tour can take you inside locals’ favorite and family-owned eateries to try authentic Cuban cuisine.

4. Discover Miami’s diverse neighborhoods

Visitors tour Miami on a hop-on hop-off bus.
Hop-on hop-off buses are a convenient way to explore.Foto: byvalet / Shutterstock

There are plenty of areas to enjoy in one of Florida’s most popular cities.

From South Beach and Wynwood to Coconut Grove and Little Havana, each of Miami’s neighborhoods have their own character. Get to know them all by taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour that lets you board and alight where you want and spend more time in the places you like the most.

5. Travel back in time at the Vizcaya

Interior of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami.
Miami's Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is an opulent must.Foto: travelview / Shutterstock

Take a peek at what life was like in 20th-century Miami.

Keep the early 20th-century throwback vibe going by visiting the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami's lush Coconut Grove neighborhood. A masterpiece of Mediterranean Revival and Italian Renaissance style, the house and gardens are a treat for architecture and history lovers alike.

6. Cruise off the coast in a speedboat

Visitors take a ride on a speedboat in Miami.
Taking a speedboat ride off the coast of Miami is a fun way to see the sights.Foto: byvalet / Shutterstock

"Miami Vice"–style.

When you’re in Miami, you’ve got to get out on the water and there’s no better way to do it than in a speedboat. With that in mind, opt for a speedboat sightseeing tour that will give you picture-perfect views of the Miami skyline, Star Island, and the art deco buildings that line South Beach.

7. Charter your own yacht

Yachts parked in the bay of Miami.
There are few better places to charter a yacht than Miami.Foto: Don Donelson / Shutterstock

Take the luxury level up a notch.

For a more exclusive experience on the water, charter your own yacht and leave the hard work to the crew while you spend your day as you please, whether that involves swimming, snorkeling, or simply chilling out on a sandbar.

8. Check out street art in Wynwood

A colorful sign in the Wynwood district in Miami.
Wynwood is one of the city's coolest hangouts.Foto: Rosanne de Vries / Shutterstock

The IG-worthy photo ops make Wynwood a must-visit.

Shepard Fairey, Maya Hayuk, and El Pez are just a few of the world-renowned street artists that have left their colorful marks on Miami’s revitalized Wynwood district. Learn about the stories behind the artworks on a guided tour and don’t forget to take a snap or two (hundred) while you’re at it.

9. Venture into the Everglades

Visitors tour the Everglades in Miami.
Everglades tours are a great way to go beyond Miami proper.Foto: GagliardiPhotography / Shutterstock

Miami is a city of contrasts, after all.

Swap the retro glamor of Art Deco Weekend for rugged adventure in the Everglades National Park. Exploring the Everglades with a naturalist guide offers the chance to spot birds, manatees, and dolphins; hike in Big Cypress National Preserve; and take an airboat ride far into the River of Grass.

Swoon over the opulent homes of the rich

10. A view of Biscayne Bay at sunset.
Biscayne Bay boat rides are a great way to admire Miami's Millionaire's Row.Foto: littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

See how the other half live.

Millionaire’s Row is exactly what it sounds like: a dense concentration of very expensive homes owned by the very, very rich. Taking a cruise through Biscayne Bay is the best way to get a peek at these massive mega-homes.

11. Journey to the southernmost point in the continental US

The southernmost point of the US in Key West.
It's worth sticking around to take a trip to Key West.Foto: f11photo / Shutterstock

If you’re sticking around for a little longer, that is.

If you’ve got a day to spare, Key West is in easy reach. Let someone else do the driving and book a guided tour that offers optional activities such as snorkeling, parasailing, and a glass-bottom boat tour for a more relaxing experience.

12. Head over to Florida’s Gulf side

A street in Naples, Florida.
Go Gulf-side in pretty Naples, Florida.Foto: Lynne Neuman / Shutterstock

See more of the state while you’re in town for the Art Deco Weekend.

If you’re looking to escape the bustle of Miami, it’s a quick 1.5-hour drive over to Naples on Florida’s Gulf side. Here, the serene beaches offer a respite from Miami’s tourist crowds and there’s a great food and drink scene to boot. Boat tours departing from Naples can even take you out to see manatees, alligators, dolphins, and more.

13. Take a trip to the Caribbean

A bird's eye view of Bimini, the closest Bahamian island to Miami.
Bimini is the gateway to the Caribbean.Foto: Miami2youPhoto / Shutterstock

The Bahamas is within surprisingly easy reach.

Take a boat over to Bimini—the closest Bahamian island to Miami—for the day. There, explore the island, ride a golf cart across the beach, and grab some tasty Bahamian eats from a beachside seafood shack.

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