Right across from South Beach (SoBe) is, of course, the famous Ocean Drive. The place is just as lively and happening as the beach and filled with restaurants, hotels, bars and PEOPLE.
Here’s what I think you must do & see on Ocean Drive!
You’ll see it all on Ocean Drive – people of all colors and shapes, wearing basically whatever you can imagine. You’ll see fancy, shiny cars parked or cruising down the street, and you’ll see old, vintage cars as well. If you go one block further inland to Collins Ave., you’ll also find several shops and souvenir stores along the street. Check out the cute Señor Frog’s building on the corner of Collins Ave. and Españiola Way (between 14th and 15th street).
My friends and I went to Wet Willie’s (Ocean & 8th Street) for lunch one day and sat on the balcony, overlooking the street and with a view of the ocean. The place was very casual, beachy and kind of raw…and famous for their frozen drinks in all kinds of flavors. Ask the waiter for a sampler for us to taste 5 or 6 flavors before ordering. I can’t even remember which one I had, but it was blue and pink and delicious.
Art Deco Walk & Versace’s House
To experience Ocean Drive, you really need to take a walk on the side that’s closest to the beach. That way you can admire the many beautiful and unique Art Deco buildings (all on the same side of the street), which the area is famous for.
Start at the Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean & 10th Street. You can get maps, brochures and book tours. Make sure you check out the incredible store right next door, which has a lot of cool Art Deco stuff, posters, books, etc.
There’s a lot of cool architecture to admire along Ocean Drive, including Gianni Versace’s house Casa Casuarina. If you remember, Versace was shot on the steps of this house back in 1997. Today, the place is a luxury boutique hotel and Italian restaurant. You need a reservation, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. I’ve heard that the place is nice, but the food isn’t.
Interestingly enough, the history of the house has ties to the Dominican Republic as the original owner, Alden Freeman, had traveled to the D.R. and was inspired by Alcazar de Colon in Santo Domingo, D.R. He built his Casa Casuarina on Ocean Drive as homage to Diego Columbus’ (Christopher Columbus’ son) house in Santo Domingo.
You’ll find tons of places to eat along Ocean Drive. Sitting outside on the sidewalk with a view of the street and people-watch is certainly the thing to do. Almost every place serves these HUMONGOUS drinks (I think they are 64 oz.), which are popular and fun to try. Every place has happy hour and offers discounts on the menu.