No pretense seems to be the rule in North Beach, and nowhere is that more clear than when you think about what there is to do here. With a gorgeous beach, low traffic, and plenty of park space, pretty much everything to explore is outside, with the exception of O Cinema, the neighborhood’s fantastic independent theater.
Friday Night Live at the Fountain
The first Friday of every month, locals come on down to the plaza at the center of Normandy Village for free music and picnic blanket dining and drinking. The performers run the gamut from local school orchestras to well-known Miami names. It’s a real neighborhood event that makes you feel like a local, even if you’re not. (Photo courtesy of Phillip Pessar/Flickr Creative Commons)
What they do: Live music
Website: Visit Here
Hours: First Friday of every month, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Address: Normandy Villagr
Full Moon Drum Circle
Once a month, when the moon is full, hundreds of dancers, drummers, and fire wielders flock to North Beach. Illuminated by the moon and an occasional bonfire, the celebration is part pagan ritual, part Miami jam session. Bring your bongos, cajons, and bathing suits, but leave your chancletas in the car — this is a rumba best danced barefoot. By midnight, chances are you’ll be washing off all that sweat in the ocean.
What they do: Beach party
Hours: 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Address: 8101 Collins Ave.
This place is not about the flair and fanfare. It’s just a chill place to go with friends or family, with really tasty Argentinian food and a large array of desserts. We had no idea Argentinian pizza was so good! We regret that all our lives we’ve been eating basic pizza when we could have been having Argentinean pizza. And their dulce de leche churros? They’ll incite anger in your personal trainer, but they’re so worth it. Bonus: futbol is literally ALWAYS on, so it’s great for catching a match.
Miami Design Preservation League MiMo Tour
North Beach is full of iconic MiMo architecture, and on the first Saturday of every month, the Miami Design Preservation League gives tours of the nationally recognized historic North Shore district. It’s about an hour and a half long and will teach you what design elements are part of the MiMo trend. With the neighborhood changing so rapidly, this informative tour is a must.
Normandy Isle Pool
This is your typical neighborhood pool in the best way possible. If you want to really feel like part of the community, come here on a sunny afternoon, claim a beach chair, and try to stay dry while neighborhood kids do cannonballs and play Marco Polo a few feet away. The place never seems to be too packed and there are plenty of seats with shade — and plenty without, for those trying to get their tan on. It’s even got lanes set up if you want to do laps when it’s just way too hot to do any other kind of exercise outdoors. There are lights at night, so it’s open for nighttime swimmers too.
Normandy Village Farmer’s Market
Open every Saturday, the Normandy Village Farmer’s Market is small,there’s plenty of produce, honey and jams, and fresh-cut flowers and potted plants. Some weeks one of the vendors stocks bread and pastries from Zak the Bakes. There’s usually someone selling empanadas and other quick snacks. It’s one of only two farmer’s markets on the Beach, so save yourself the trip to the mainland (or parking hassle of Lincoln Road, where the other market is) and come here.
What they do: Farmer's market
Hours: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Address: 1025 71st St., Miami Beach
North Beach Bandshell
This classic has been around since 1961 – but since a renovation and reopening in 2011, the North Beach Bandshell has come back in full force, thanks in part to the masterful planning and programming of The Rhythm Foundation. They’ve brought everything from local favorites like Afrobeta and the Nu Deco Ensemble to big indie names like Bon Iver and Ibeyi, all of them performing on the seashell white open-air stage. They’ve also hosted yoga festivals, dance band nights, and a whole slew of free activities to really get the community connecting and moving against the backdrop of palm trees and sand.
North Shore Open Space Park
North Shore Open Space Park is a shady, oceanfront spot right in the heart of North Beach. It’s filled with BBQ grills, picnic tables, covered pavilions, two dog parks, and, of course, it has beach access. It’s a great spot to escape to when you need a bit of a break from the intense sun on the beach.
O Cinema Miami Beach
Of all the O Cinemas, this may be our favorite. It may not have the “artsy” vibe of the flagship location in Wynwood, but its warm, quaint ambiance more than makes up for it. There’s none of that griminess you get at franchise theaters, it’s hardly ever crowded, the film selections are always on point, and in spite of its grand size, you feel still like you’re watching the movie in your PJs at home. You can even catch a cool performance here from time to time. Oh, and they serve “doubles” of wine. This is our kind of art house cinema.
North Beach is pretty special. It’s way more lowkey than South Beach, way less snooty than Mid-Beach, and never too crowded to find a spot. The sand hill at 81st Street has great views and a great breeze. We love coming in the early evening, when the crowds are thin and people are posted up to relax and watch the sky change colors.