04/01/2013 06:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Art Deco Weekend Miami Is the Bee's Knees

Every January, Art Deco Weekend turns South Beach into a sea of fringe and pincurls. Over 300,000 people gather in Miami's historic district to celebrate the Jazz Age.

In this travel video, host La Carmina explores Ocean Drive's pastel hotels, a retro runway show, classic cars, and a speakeasy gala. Don't miss the "jazz hands" at the end.

Many Art Deco Weekend activities are free, making it a great outing for students and families.

Guides led two-hour walking tours for every type of interest: Latino, LGBT, Deco nights, Gangster cocktails, MiMo (Miami Modernism). During the Gay and Lesbian tour, I learned about iconic buildings such as the Carlyle Hotel, where The Birdcage was filmed.


A line of vintage automobiles, from the early 20th century to the 1980s, snaked down Ocean Drive. The Welcome Center displayed antique-style furniture and paintings of flappers. I stopped by the Wolfsonian-FIU museum, a treasure trove of works from 1885-1945, including the iconic Wrestler statue.

Models strutted the runway in Bettie Page's bombshell designs. I particularly liked the cat-eye sunglasses and flirty swimsuits.

My invitation to the VIP Gala read: "Come as a Flapper, or come as you are. Dress like a Gangster, or a Silent Movie Star." Two coat-tails gave me a "secret key," and I entered a Roaring Twenties speakeasy. In the video, you can see us doing the Charleston to live music by the South Florida Jazz Orchestra.

Isn't 1920-30s culture the cat's meow? Cheers to the Miami Design Preservation League for keeping Art Deco alive. For further Miami, Florida reports, visit La Carmina blog.

Where to stay: I enjoyed the personalized service and at-home feel of The Betsy Hotel. The location is ideal, with the beach across the road, and the Deco Center a five-minute walk away.

Retro South Beach