Driving America - South Beach - Miami Beach Florida USA
- Starting Point: Washington Avenue - https://goo.gl/maps/ff6okkV3qfK2
- Neighborhood: https://goo.gl/maps/b7zej9Ggck12 .
South Beach, also nicknamed SoBe, is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach, Florida, United States.
Before the days of Miami Vice, South Beach was considered a very poor area with a very high rate of crime. Today, it is considered one of the wealthiest and most prosperous commercial areas on the beach. Despite this, poverty and crime still exist in some isolated places surrounding the area.
In 2009, Natalie O'Neill of the Miami New Times said, "Until the 1980s, Miami Beach was a peculiar mix of criminals, Cubans, and little old ladies. Then the beautiful people moved in." In the late 1980s, a renaissance began in South Beach, with an influx of fashion industry professionals moving into the area. In 1989, Irene Marie purchased the Sun Ray Apartments (famous for the chainsaw scene in Scarface) and opened Irene Marie Models - the first international full-service modeling agency in Florida. Many of the large New York-based agencies soon followed.
Thomas Kramer is credited with starting the construction boom in South Beach, driving the gentrification of the area. It is now a popular living destination for the wealthy. Condominium units in the upscale high rises sell for millions. There are a number of vocal critics of the developments. The high-rise and high-density buildings are derided as a "concrete jungle". However, even critics concede that the development has changed the area into a pedestrian friendly, low-crime neighborhood.
Today in both daytime and at nightfall, the South Beach section of Miami Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques and hotels. The area is popular with tourists from Europe, Israel and the entire Western Hemisphere, with some having permanent or second homes. The large number of European tourists results in South Beach's tolerance of the female monokini, aka topless sunbathing, despite it being a public beach.
South Beach's residents' varied backgrounds are evident in the many languages spoken. In 2000, 55% of residents of the city of Miami Beach spoke Spanish as a first language, while English was the first language for 33% of the population. Portuguese (mainly Brazilian Portuguese) was spoken by 3% of residents, while French (including Canadian French) was spoken by 2%, and German by 1%. Italian, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew were all spoken by less than 1%.
Another unique aesthetic attribute of South Beach is the presence of several colorful and unique stands used by Miami Beach's lifeguards on South Beach. After Hurricane Andrew, Architect William Lane donated his design services to the city and added new stops on design tours in the form of lifeguard towers. His towers instantly became symbols of the revived City of Miami Beach.
Festivals and events
Art Basel Miami, art exhibition held in December
Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival, held in February
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami, held in July
Miami Fashion Week, held in March
Miami International Film Festival, held in March
Miami Marathon, held in January
Urban Beach Week, Memorial Day weekend, last weekend in May. Urban hip-hop festival since 2001.
White Party, held in Spring
Winter Music Conference, held in March