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5 Places to (Re)Discover Old Miami

By: Surfside Aug 31, 2018

The Miami area offers something for everyone; trendy nightlife, beautiful beaches, great restaurants, world-class art. The list could go on. But to really understand a place, it’s important to look at its history. Noted to be the only major city founded by a woman, Julia Tuttle, a local citrus grower and a wealthy Cleveland transplant, Miami started attracting attention in the late 19th century when it became more than just the “Biscayne Bay Country.” Fast forward to today and South Florida is the fourth-largest urban area in the U.S., ranked as one of the world’s top cities for global exchange and host to a range of booming industries.

To understand a little more about Miami’s history, take a tour of a few places that mark an important time in the area’s history. Here are five places to (re)discover Old Miami.   

 

Discover Miami’s History  

Surfside and The Surf Club 

Incorporated in 1935 with the signatures of just 35 local residents, Surfside is a beautiful beachside community with lots of charm and lots of history. At its origins, Surfside was famous for The Surf Club, a gorgeous private club founded by Harvey Firestone that hosted the famous and the fabulous of that era. The tycoon regularly hosted wild parties and entertained the likes of Winston Churchill, General MacArthur, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra. 

Today, the Surf Club has been reimagined as a tranquil beachside retreat set against modern architecture by Richard Meier and the white sands of Surfside. Spend a day here and you’ll find it hard not to fall in love.


Art Deco District 

South Beach's historic Art Deco District is one of the largest concentrations of 1920s and 1930s architecture in the world. With over 800 art deco buildings, the area has defined Miami style and continually draws architectural enthusiasts from around the globe. The district was largely founded by the support of the Miami Design Preservation League, a non-profit preservation and arts organization that preserves, protects and promotes the architectural, cultural, social and environmental integrity of Miami Beach and the surrounding areas. It is the oldest Art Deco society in the world. The area is easily walkable for a self-guided tour or more information can be found at the Art Deco Museum located on Ocean Drive and 10th Street.


Vizcaya Museum & Gardens 

Be transported to another time at The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune. Tucked away on a lush property on the shores of Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, the early 20th century estate includes Mediterranean Revival architecture, Italian Renaissance gardens, and a historic village that will transport you to a grander era. 

Domino Park in Little Havana 

Maximo Gomez Park has long been documented as the heart of Little Havana and a symbol of Cuban culture. The popular gathering place for domino and chess players in the heart of Calle Ocho is named after Maximo Gomez, a famous soldier who fought for Cuban independence from Spain. Here you’ll find locals smoking Cuban cigars, talking about the latest news and playing dominoes to stiff competition. Grab a Cuban coffee and take a seat on a nearby bench and watch a few rounds, you may learn a few things! 
 

Sunset Cruise with History Miami

On September 23rd, take a relaxing boat ride along the Miami River with HistoryMiami’s resident historian Dr. Paul George to learn about the Magic City’s past. The museum charters a vessel from Island Queen Cruises that sails through Downtown as Dr. Paul recounts stories dating back to the early 19th century and tells tales about the Tequesta Indians, the area’s earliest settlers. Tickets are $50 per person and includes museum admission.

 

Learn More About Surfside

Vacationing in Surfside and want to know more about what to see and do? Check out our Visitors Guide or read about more Surfside hotels and attractions on our blog. You can also learn more about Surfside events and hear the latest Town news by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media, using the hashtag #uptownbeachtown. 

 

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