Miami Beach's North Beach Condos + Neighborhood
Welcome to Miami Beach's North Beach
Family-oriented slice of paradise with small town feel, positioned perfectly between South Beach’s sensations and Bal Harbour’s luxurious trappings.
Life in North Beach
Tucked away from the chaos, North Beach boasts of crowd-free beaches, a scenic boardwalk, turquoise waters, community events and a laid-back lifestyle – the stuff of idyllic beachside living. Its diverse set of residents – ranging from Latin Americans to Northeasterners – gives this Oceanside community a culturally rich, international vibe. This is where locals work together to preserve history, are actively involved in neighborhood-changing decisions, gather round for events and take pride in their community.
In North Beach, you can begin the day pedaling or walking down the picture-perfect boardwalk. Stop over for a leisurely brunch at an exotic bakery or deli. Catch up on some reading or forty winks with waves lulling you at a gorgeous, clutter-free beach. Here, you can spend evenings playing beach volleyball, attending live concerts at the Bandshell or simply BBQing with the family at the North Shore Open Space Park.
Weekends are exciting in their own special way in North Beach. Catch an artsy flick at O Cinema, take a MiMo walking tour through history, or simply work on your putting skills at the Normandy Shores Golf Course. And, if things start getting a bit too slow for comfort, you can stir things up with a quick drive to its sensational cousin - South Beach.
North Beach’s landscape is an eclectic mix, much like its repertoire of residents. It features an amazingly intact collection of post-war modern-style apartments, mid-rise buildings, beachfront high-rises, historic hotels, ethnic restaurants, private schools and worship houses. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, almost 600 buildings in North Beach are reminiscent of the iconic MiMo-style architecture that emanates post-war hopefulness.
While most of the amenity-rich, high-rise condos and hotels line Collins Avenue, you’ll find single-family homes dominating Normandy Shores, Biscayne Point, La Gorce Island, Park View Island and the rest of North Beach. Allison Island offers a mix of waterfront residential properties.
One of Miami’s best kept secrets, North Beach has long wooed residents, second home-owners and tourists with its small town appeal and natural beauty. Currently in the process of revitalization, North Beach is expected to be brought up to speed with its hip neighbors. The emphasis is to get new residential and retail offerings in, plus a brand new town center, while maintaining the relaxed, suburban vibe and appeal. It would be advisable to get into this developing neighborhood while rents are still low and prices reasonable.
North Beach offers an exceptional range of affordable eats, laid-back sports bars and plenty of play options that add zest and excitement to this otherwise quaint, seaside community.
Shop – The likes of Publix Super Market, Walgreens and others keep locals well-stocked. However, venturing north (Bal Harbour Shops) or south (Lincoln Road Mall) is highly recommended for those looking for more extensive shopping options.
Eat – You can taste the entire spectrum of Latin food on a budget in this gastronomically versatile neighborhood. The culinary landscape of North Beach is as diverse as its residents’ identities, featuring Cuban, Argentinean, Brazilian, Colombian and Venezuelan treats alongside delis and Italian eateries.
The Buenos Aires Bakery & Café is where residents walk in for their empanada, pastelito and pastry fix. Burgers and Shakes is a day-night favorite, where filling burgers, crispy fries, hearty milkshakes and beer on tap draw out kids’ soccer teams to late night adventurers. Café Prima Pasta tops the charts for best Italian fare with its exquisite Fiocchi Rapera to seafood linguini. However, George’s Restaurant and Lounge is quick to catch up with its antipasto and gluten free options. Furthermore, the Porcini Italian Café is a hidden gem that offers flavorful delicacies in a humble setting.
RG Cocina Mexicana is a popular joint combining wonderful Mexican fare with happy hours. Get a taste of top-notch Colombian at Mi Colombia Cafeteria Y Restaurante, sensational sushi at Sawaddee, delectable Peruvian at Cholo’s on the Beach, wonderful Venezuelan treats at Moises Bakery, lip-smacking Latin American fare at Sazon Cuban Cuisine, and no frills Brazilian at Little Brazil.
Drink – Although nothing as compared to South Beach, North Beach does have its fair share of happy hours and intriguing sundowners. The divey Sandbar Lounge is a top pick when draft beers, cocktails and happy hours are on the mind. The no-frills On The Rocks boasts of liberal pours and a jukebox for fun times done right.
Head to ITO Mojitos Y Cafecitos for appetizing cocktails paired with even more delicious tapas and Latin food. Or, get to Roni’s By The Ocean for a taste of Middle Eastern delicacies paired with enticing happy hours. Also, Norman’s Tavern is a favorite for game-night fun.
Play – The best part about playtime in North Beach is its plethora of options and lots of parking (at least for now). The North Beach Bandshell is nothing short of an institution. Since reopening in 2011, it’s where you’d discover local favorites to big indie names performing open-air, dig into yummy food truck fests, jive to monthly dance band nights, participate in yoga festivals or connect with the community over free events.
The North Shore Open Space Park is a true nature preserve with lush greenery, shaded picnic tables, playgrounds, two dog parks and BBQ grills. Even with most locals hitting this oceanfront park on weekends, it’s never too crowded or overwhelming. The Normandy Isle Pool and Park too is a great family-friendly spot with kids doing cannonballs and locals catching up. However, for an utterly tranquil getaway, the Normandy Shores Golf Course makes the perfect spot.
Movie buffs and artsy folk head to O Cinema to catch the latest indie or international flick. Best part about this independent film house is its no-frills appeal, in spite of its grandeur. Talking of grandeur, taking a MiMo Tour while you’re in North Beach is almost a tradition. With the neighborhood changing rapidly, revisiting the legendary elements of this iconic architectural trend is a must.
Last, but not the least, North Beach offers a welcome respite from over-crowded waters and snooty private beaches. There are lots of open spaces to spread out at leisure. Catch an impromptu game of volleyball at this relaxing beachside. Moreover, the scenic boardwalk is best for picture-perfect biking, running, strolling or reading into the sunset.
North Beach is roughly bound by W 63rd Street, 87th Terrace, the Bay and Ocean. Its neighbors are Surfside, La Gorce, Mid-Beach, North Bay Village, Indian Creek and Bal Harbour.
- Bal Harbour Shops – 10 minutes by car
- Indian Creek Country Club - 10 minutes by car
- Mid-Beach – 15 minutes by car/25 minutes by public transit
- Lincoln Road Mall/South Beach – 20 minutes by car/40 minutes by public transit
- Miami Shores Country Club/Miami Shores - 20 minutes by car
- AmericanAirlines Arena/Downtown – 30 minutes by car
- Miami Beach Community Health Center - In Normandy Shores
- Palm Springs Hospital – 25 minutes away
- North Shore Medical Center – 30 minutes away
- Port of Miami – 30-minute car ride
- Miami International Airport - 30-minute car ride
- Collins Avenue – Instant access
- John F Kennedy Causeway – 10 minutes away
- Public Transit Options – The Metrobus connects North Beach to its more popular neighbors down South. Additionally, lots of city-wide bike lanes and stations make the pedaled commute easier.
A Brief History of North Beach and Where It’s Headed
The quaint, idyllic North Beach of today is, thankfully, a far cry from its untamed past. The neighborhood dates back to the 1800s and was majorly swampland. It made the spotlight after official inclusion into Miami Beach’s city limits in July 1924. In the 1900s, North Beach was home to one of five Biscayne Houses of Refuge in Miami Beach (North Beach Bandshell), helping shipwrecks along the coast. However, not all was as gallant and heroic in this lawless land.
During the early 1920s, North Beach was home to the notorious Jungle Inn – a speakeasy and gambling joint. Being off limits to the then city limits, it was difficult for Dade County to enforce Prohibition in the area. Between 1923 and 24, developers William Burbridge, Henri Levy, the Tatum Brothers, and Carl Fisher started focusing, dredging and filling land here to create Alison Island and La Gorce. Man-made Normandy Shores and the Isle of Normandy were also brought into existence around this time.
Next came the famous Deauville Casino and Hotel, built during 1925. It opened doors in 1926 with five stories and 142 rooms. It boasted of the largest swimming pool of the time and offered luxuries in an otherwise remote area. It became “the” place for glitterati. However, 1926’s hurricane would destroy this only flicker of glam in the wilderness, with the Coast Guard and Army later using it for headquarters during World War II.
Ultimately demolished in 1956, the legendary Deauville Beach Resort made a comeback in 1957. This time designed by starchitect Melvin Grossman in the iconic post-war modern style (also Miami Modernism or MiMo); it is here that the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. The area boomed as more important hotels such as The Monticello, The Mount Vernon, The Bel Aire Hotel, The Martinique, Casablanca, Sherry Frontenac and Carillon made their debut.
The entire 1950s and 60s saw a wave of MiMo style architecture taking over North Beach. Buildings in pastels with acute angels, sweeping curved walls, delta wings and cheese holes were all the rage. Today, the Miami Design Preservation League helps conserve these iconic structures, with North Shore, Normandy Isle and North Beach Resort districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another notable MiMo addition of the 1960s is the North Beach Bandshell. An important music and entertainment hub of its day, the Bandshell was recently restored in 2010 and is now run by The Rhythm Foundation. The original O Cinema, then the Byron-Carlyle Twin Theater, too came about in 1968.
Looking at its next development frontier, North Beach is on the cusp of change. While high-rise condos mostly dot Collins Avenue, this tight-knit community still lags behind its progressive contemporaries - South Beach and Mid-Beach. Master plans for revitalization of the neighborhood are under review with upzoning and a new town center taking top priority.
As local loyalists continue supporting the change, the focus will be to get more retail and residence, while still preserving architecturally significant properties and the relaxed Bohemian vibe of the neighborhood.