For years the town of Surfside existed happily under the radar of “hot” Miami neighborhoods. It was an in-between spot that most sped through on their way to or from Bal Harbour, its swanky northern neighbor. But a slew of high-profile projects–like the soon-to-open The Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences and the Fendi Chateau–have cast a spotlight on this otherwise sleepy beachfront enclave that is brimming with great restaurants and a vibrant community.
1. Deco Charm
There’s a bit of Deco history to Surfside, which was incorporated in 1935, most of it centering on the prestigious Surf Club, a posh members-only joint that is now being redeveloped into a The Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences designed by architect Richard Meier. Opened in 1930, the Surf Club was situated on more than six acres of prime beachfront property. The Mediterranean-revival-style villa, designed by Russell Pancoast, was the spot of many a gilded party. Famous guests include Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill.
2. Block Parties
During the winter months the main business district, Harding Avenue, hosts a monthly arts and entertainment night on the third Thursday of every month where live music, food trucks and entertainment draw crowds to the sidewalk restaurants. Past events have included a tribute to the music of ’60s and ’70s with pinball machines, dance contests and a VIP lounge for residents.
3. Solid Restaurants
The dining scene in Surfside tends to be neighborhood-friendly and approachable with eateries like the quirky-yet-excellent self-described “fake deli” Josh’s Deli helmed by young hip chef Josh Marcus with dishes like lobster knishes and duck fat matzo ball soup to the classic Italian stalwart Café Ragazzi, with its crowd-pleasing generous portions of red sauce favorites. There is also a smattering of kosher establishments, including the very popular 26 Sushi Tapas with its Peruvian-Japanese cuisine and Backyard BBQ serving house-smoked brisket and wings. Asian stalwart Sushi Republic still pleases with its authentic and reasonably-priced lunchtime bento boxes and maki rolls. Another neighborhood favorite is The Greek Place, serving Aegean classics like babaganoush and hummus with fluffy pita bread. Breakfast can be had at Cafe Vert or the local Starbucks while old-school bakery The Rolling Pin has a loyal following who pack the small shop for their fresh-baked challah bread and rugelah cookies.
4. A Splashy Community Center
Anyone staying in Surfside – whether at a hotel, weekly time share or licensed condo rental – can take full advantage of the Surfside Community Center; home to a recreational pool, children’s plunge pool and slide, walk-up café and a whirlpool spa. In addition, the facility is equipped with locker room facilities, family restrooms, and a first aid station. To the east of the center is a green space, the perfect setting for party rentals and community events. The Center hosts over 90 health and wellness classes, including Aqua Zumba, Beach Yoga, Pilates and more.
5. Monthly Picnics on the Beach
This summer Surfside launched a community beach picnic open to residents and visitors. Organized by popular culinary event Saffron Supper Club, the events take place the first Friday of the month and features music, an interactive drum circle for kids, tepee village, cold-pressed juices and healthy bites. The next Friday Beach occurs Oct. 7 from 4-7 p.m. at 9301 Collins Ave behind the Surfside Community Center. RSVP to info@FridayBeach.com
6. Sea Turtle Action
Every year from May until October is known at turtle nesting season and the beach at Surfside is a popular spot for mama turtles to lay their eggs. As many as 68,000 loggerhead nests are found in Florida each year – including those on Surfside’s beach. Next to the Surfside Community Center is a public art exhibition featuring one of Surfside’s most beloved residents – the Florida Loggerhead Sea Turtle. “Turtle Walk,” located on 93rd Street between Collins Avenue and Harding Avenue, is home to 13 turtle sculptures each painted by a renowned South Florida artist. These amazing sculptures are made of resin and fiberglass composite and stand five feet high with a flipper span of four feet. The exhibition was commissioned to bring awareness of Sea Turtle Conservation, a cause near and dear to the residents of Surfside.
7. Hotels with Rooftop Pools
Surfside has two major hotels – The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside and the new Residence Inn Miami Beach Surfside – and both possess rooftop pools with cocktails bars. In the case of the Grand Beach, an upscale all-suite hotel on the beach, the rooftop Sky lounge faces west, making it the perfect spot to catch the sunset over bites and drinks. The Sky pool and hot tub feature lounge chairs and ocean views. At the Residence Inn, the elevated pool deck and grill features a cocktail bar, a Saturday afternoon BBQ, hammocks and cabanas.