By Travel Oh TravelMonday, November 11, 2013 | 7:32 AM
Miami Beach draws throngs to its world-renowned Art Deco District and the candy-colored hotels on famed Ocean Drive, its legendary beaches and nightspots, and to Lincoln Road, a wonderful pedestrian promenade that features great al fresco dining, funky shops, art studios and theaters. Of course, you need to see it, but how about trying something a little different.
Lower in profile than Lincoln Road and other busy thoroughfares, but no less charming, is Espanola Way, an enchanting neighborhood with a European flavor, cafes, art galleries one-of-a-kind boutiques and a farmer’s market on weekends. The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a peaceful and lush spot for meditation and reflection, and for those who want to experience a truly original museum, The Wolfsonian-FIU contains the country’s largest collection of twentieth-century German, Italian, and American political propaganda. The World Erotic Art Museum opened its doors in South Beach to feature a collection of erotic art valued at over $10 million.
T the bottom of Miami Beach, the emerging SoFi neighborhood is more relaxed than the go-go Art Deco District. Here, stroll quiet streets and discover the Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach’s repository of Jewish culture and history in Florida. Stop by the Miami Beach Victory Garden, a community vegetable garden that honors Miami Beach’s wartime contributions during WWII with a stunning decorative fence and visit South Pointe Park, a great locals’ beach where kites fly and surfers ride the waves.
A bit further up the beach, North Beach, a revitalized neighborhood with unpretentious charms, great local restaurants and uncrowned beaches boasts plenty of parking, inviting oceanfront cafes, quaint shops and an uninterrupted concentration of MiMo 50s- and 60s-era apartment buildings that give the entire neighborhood a unique character. Start in the morning with a MiMo walking tour, discover the particular form of mid-century modernism that is unique to Miami Beach, and then unwind at North Shore Park. Mosey over to a local restaurant for an Argentine, Italian, Thai, or Greek feast, and then take in the farmer’s market for fresh produce or unique bargain gifts.