Arts, Culture, & Nature: How To Be A Tourist In The Betsy’s Backyard
With nine art galleries, live jazz every night, a packed schedule of arts and culture programming, and an in-house specialty coffee shop, The Betsy is like a city within a city. But step out our front door, and Miami Beach beckons.
One of the world’s most iconic destinations, Miami Beach has a dynamic artistic energy to match its vibrant nightlife and trademark beach scene. Live music, modern art, rich history, and spectacular architecture — which we’ll dive into in this blog — have earned Miami Beach the status of a cultural capital, one that we’re lucky to call home.
The Art Deco Historic District
Miami Beach’s glamorously retro Art Deco Historic District is made for wandering, awash in color and brimming with architectural landmarks. The area is a street photographer’s dream — with pastel backdrops and plenty of unusual shapes and styles. For the history buff, book a walking tour and get the stories behind the district’s distinctive architecture. True art deco enthusiasts should stop by the Art Deco Museum and the Art Deco Welcome Center for an even deeper dive into Miami Beach’s fascinating architectural heritage.
The quintessential Miami Beach street, Ocean Drive is the Art Deco capital of the world, spanning 1st to 15th Streets and buzzing with restaurants, shops, and a world-famous row of hotels. Cruise down the newly car-free Ocean Drive, on foot or by bike (available for rent right in front of The Betsy), and refuel with a nitro cold brew or homemade gelato from La Ventanita, some woodfired pizza around the corner at The Alley, or a sunset cocktail on The Betsy’s porch, with a front row seat to the magic of Miami’s most iconic avenue.
South Pointe Park
With panoramic views of the Miami Beach shoreline, Fisher Island, and downtown Miami across Biscayne Bay, a stroll through South Pointe Park is a scenic, stress-free way to explore Miami Beach and take in the beauty of the city. Perfect for all ages, South Pointe Park offers kid-friendly walking trails, a playground, a splash park, and plenty of food options. Bring a blanket and settle into South Pointe Park for the afternoon — and let the sand and sea breeze do the rest.
The Lifeguard Stands
The colorful whimsy of Art Deco doesn’t stop when the pavement ends. Keep an eye out for Miami Beach’s eye-catching rainbow of lifeguard towers, each with its distinctive Art Deco style and backstory.
After the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in the 1990s, architect William Lane began to design and develop these funky towers all along South Beach, with more to follow thanks to design competitions and local commissions. Today, 36 towers live on the coastline of Miami Beach, stretching from South Pointe Park up to 87th Street. Bring a camera and spice up your beach walk with some Art Deco sightseeing!
The Bass Museum of Art
Founded in 1963, the Bass Museum of Art is a contemporary art museum opened by John Bass and Johanna Redlich, Jewish Austrian immigrants to Miami Beach — both collectors of fine art and cultural artifacts, and artists in their own right. It’s not hard to get lost in the museum’s modern exhibits (located both indoors and outdoors), and with special events and workshops like family portraits and charcoal drawing, the Bass is an ideal destination for solo explorers, couples, and kids, too.
Picture that classic Miami Beach scene: rollerblading or biking along the shore, palm trees swaying in the breeze, waves rolling in the distance. There’s a good chance Lummus Park is exactly what you’re picturing — and we’re lucky at The Betsy to have it as our front yard. Keep things laid back with a stroll or ride along the walkway, then visit the weekend Art Deco Artisan Market or one of the two gym areas on 9th Street (aka, “Muscle Beach South Beach”). Lummus Park also plays host to events put on by Art Basel, the Hyundai Air and Sea Show, and the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, to name a few.
New World Symphony
Top off your art-filled Miami Beach visit with some live classical music. With a mission to prepare exceptional graduates from music programs for orchestra leadership roles, the New World Symphony is comprised of 87 talented young artists, each on a fellowship program lasting up to three years. Chamber music, orchestral concerts, and frequent special events give visitors the opportunity to experience the New World Symphony’s outstanding musicianship and dynamic energy. Cap off a beautiful dinner with a night at the orchestra, then join us at The Betsy for cocktails and a post-show hangout.