Will Smith once rapped, “Ain’t no city in the world like this,” and thousands continue to travel to Miami Beach to confirm his words. Why else would MTV have relocated its tumultuous party crew, the cast of Jersey Shore, away from their northern abode? But don’t let Snooki and her friends fool you: A wide variety of people — including waifish models, amateur architecture critics, distinguished seniors, and sun-seeking families — enjoy the renowned shores of “America’s Riviera.” North Miami Beach is where you’ll find the kid-friendliest beaches, the most interesting Art Deco architecture, and the most affordable restaurants and hotels. Less than 10 miles away are the galleries, museums and theaters of Greater Miami.
And then there’s “SoBe,” or South Beach. This popular southernmost neighborhood proves that Miami Beach is more like two cities — a family-friendly vacation when the sun is shining and a super-chic hotspot once the evening arrives. If want to keep up with the Joneses (or Snooki, for that matter), you’ll have to flash your AmEx black card at the high-end stores, schmooze at the cutting-edge fusion restaurants, dance at the energetic nightclubs and relax poolside at the Art Deco hotels. For a little less pretense, window shop at the Lincoln Road Mall, chow-down at a low-key Floribbean joint and toss back a (decidedly cheaper) cocktail at a lower key watering hole.