Sometimes you want to lie on the sand and soak up the sun. And sometimes, you just want to take a break from the beach while in Miami, because, let’s face it, sometimes you really want to sit with a cold drink ogle other people and make up convoluted stories about them based on their tiny dog or ridiculous outfit.
Here are some of the best places to go in Miami and South Beach for people-watching, because, let’s face it, Miami is a treasure-trove of weird and wonderful locals (and visiotrs!) If you’re in any way creative, you should definitely take notes – this could be the beginning of an amazing art project or novel!
This history-rich community is full of Spanish culture. The street is narrow and lined with cafe-style outdoor seating at each restaurant as well as a number of great shops that offer culturally significant artwork, trinkets, and souvenirs. You can take in a macchiato while watching tourists and locals pass, and when it’s all over, you can meet with the rest of your entourage for dinner at one of the trendy Latina restaurants in the diverse neighbourhood known as Española Way.
The Miami Beach Boardwalk
Of course! What better place to do some people-watching than from a bench on the Miami Beach Boardwalk?! There are literally miles of paths, boardwalk, and beaches to settle down with a good book or your camera, and there are always loads of tourists and locals walking around. If you go further south towards South Beach, you may see a few celebrities, and there’s a yoga class held on the beach several times a day that you can play spectator at if you get bored of sitting around looking at people simply walking by. Be prepared for some beautiful beach bodies that may make you want to get on the rollerblade bandwagon.
They call it a mall, but Lincoln Road in SoBe is a Miami hotspot with a huge gathering of shops, cafes and bars. This is the perfect place to pull up a chair on a the patio of a restaurant and sip a Strawberry Daiquiri while watching the throngs of visitors go by. There are sometimes street performers in the area too, which are also fun to stare at for a while. The cool thing about Lincoln Road is that you can do a little souvenir search in between lunch and your afternoon sugar fix. If you end up indoors for a coffee later, try to grab a window seat or a booth with a clear visual of the street outside.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
If you want to get away from the beachfront, get down to the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. After you’ve spent some time looking at the exhibits, go out into the garden and find yourself a place to sit and look at the flowers, trees, the bay, and the people who are out there to do the same. It really is a peaceful time in the garden, and its far less noisy than other places you’re going to go.
The Zoo Miami is another treat of a place to people-watch. You can sit down in front of an exhibit or enclosure and watch people feed the giraffes or look at the other wildlife there. It is a bit touristy, but it’s a different piece of scenery to enjoy with interesting animals to watch too. Just promise you won’t try to reach the depth of a primate’s soul through their eyes, that’s actually kind of dangerous.
The Art Deco District
You can always find a great place to set up in the Design District or the Art Deco neighborhood of Miami Beach for looking at people. The Art Deco District is known for the interesting architecture of each building and is home to some of the hotels on the beach. You can always find a place to chill out and watch the museum and art gallery crowds come and go as well as designers and artsy folk who live and work in the area. The Art Deco Weekend in January is always a great time to go down to this area for a festival celebrating the area and its contribution to art in Miami.
That’s a pretty substantial list of places to take a time out from the action and centre yourself – or play people-watching bingo and try to find at least one crazy person, one body builder, one aspiring actress, one artist and one tired tourist. It’s a whole day’s amusement – and it’s completely free!