You could easily say every day is Art Deco day in Miami Beach. But, each year, one weekend stands above the rest.
The forty-sixth annual Art Deco Weekend is slated for January 13-15. Produced by not-for-profit preservation and arts organization Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL), the event offers activities for the entire family. The headliner is the ever-popular walking tours as well as curated films and lectures. Among its multifaceted components are a vintage car show, an artisan market, a kids’ zone, and even a Deco dog walk, in which four-legged friends and humans dress up to match the weekend’s motif. For the event, Lummus Park and Ocean Drive serve as the pedestrian promenade and epicenter.
“Our theme—Art Deco Worldwide—was selected in anticipation of the World Congress on Art Deco, which is coming to Miami Beach in April,” says Daniel Ciraldo, executive director of MDPL. “Of course, we have Art Deco here in Miami Beach, but it weaves its way through major cities throughout the globe—London, Singapore, Buenos Aires, and so many other wonderful places. There is such a love of this style globally.”
Beyond a prime opportunity to showcase the modern-meets-luxury icons throughout Miami Beach, Art Deco Weekend is the principal fundraiser for MDPL, which supports the Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive as well as city-wide preservation efforts.
“Since the 1970s, this district has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places … the first neighborhood with twentieth-century architecture to be honored on the federal level,” says Ciraldo. “We’re very proud of that and not only want to preserve that energy, but have everyone feel the energy of the district, too. It’s a vibe, and these treasures should be enjoyed.”
Wondering which Deco gems to prioritize amid so many stunning options? Read on for four not-to-miss spots keeping Art Deco alive and well in the Magic City.
Where to Stay
Standing tall along Collins Avenue and exuding sophistication, The National Hotel only gets better with age. Built in 1939 by architect Roy France, the property recently underwent extensive renovations—achieving “fully restored” status in 2021—resulting in 101 contemporary ocean-view and cityscape-view suites and rooms. The spot features Miami Beach’s longest infinity pool, flanked by cabanas and towering palms. On the culinary front, there are two bars, the stately Bar 1939 lobby experience and beachside AquaGrill, as well as one signature restaurant, Mareva 1939. Helmed by Barcelona native Sergio Chamizo, Mareva 1939 offers Spanish favorites galore, from classic tapas like pan con tomate and patatas bravas, to massive paella concoctions and dark chocolate ganache for dessert. To ensure maximum tranquility, The National is an adults-only resort.
The Gabriel South Beach
A colorful Art Deco gem originally conceived as the Park Central Hotel by architect Henry Hohauser in the 1930s, The Gabriel South Beach celebrated its grand opening in 2021. The building has been beautifully modernized, including a 30-foot-tall, Pop Art–inspired mural by Mr. Brainwash, a glass-bottom pool on the rooftop terrace, and 134 contemporary rooms, inclusive of two suites. For memorable meals on property, stop by Meet Dalia to savor stellar Mediterranean fare.
Where to Eat
You have options at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, and it all begins with: Which scenic nook of the restaurant are you going to sit in? If the weather is just right, it’s tough to beat its poolside seating under a sweeping canopy, but you also can’t go wrong with the lobby bar, sushi bar, or two dining rooms with preserved Art Deco charm. Tucked inside The Plymouth Hotel (designed by Anton Skislewicz in 1940 as a three-story Art Deco building), Blue Ribbon is open for lunch and dinner, with an assortment of rolls, sashimi, and charcoal-prepared dishes. Yes, there is an omakase experience and you can trust the influence and guidance of master sushi chef Toshi Ueki. The oxtail fried rice with bone marrow and shiitake mushrooms will have you coming back well beyond Art Deco Weekend.
Where to Grab a Drink
Art Deco has old-school roots, but some new kids on the block are paying homage to the style in 2023. Among them is Strawberry Moon, located at The Goodtime Hotel. Within pink-clad and vividly tiled confines, head to the popping teal bar with gold accents and shell-resemblant wooden barstools for a cocktail or two. Standouts include the Gin Kiwi (with calpico, mint, lime, and kiwi) and the best of all worlds, an Old-Fashioned Paloma with a unique Thai chili kick. If you’re looking to turn it up, the adjacent pool is the place to be.
Art Deco 101
What is it? Short for the French term Arts Décoratifs, Art Deco is a design style that merges modernism and sleek forms.
When did it become popular? During the 1920s and 1930s.
What is its signature look? Simple, clean, streamlined shapes. Linear and geometric designs with triangular, zigzag, and chevron patterns. Simplified or stylized figures and ornaments. Long lines with crisp edges.
Why is it so prevalent in Miami? As Miami Beach began to attract national attention from sunseekers looking for a new winter getaway in the 1920s, fancy hotels and luxury condos started to crop up—many of them built in the Art Deco style that was all the rage at the time. Miami Beach founder Carl Fisher attracted Floridian architects like Henry Hohauser and Lawrence Murray Dixon to build Art Deco accommodations, cementing the signature Miami Beach style we know and love today.