North Miami Beach Guide
North Miami Beach (sometimes referred to as NMB) is a quiet, residential city with a range of homes, high-rises, apartment buildings, and condo complexes from reasonably priced rentals to luxury options with water views. With the large thoroughfare of Northeast 163rd Street running through the city, residents have a bevy of restaurants and shopping available to them, as well as access to the high-end barrier islands of Sunny Isles Beach and Bal Harbour. People living in North Miami Beach are also lucky to have the beach and waterways in their backyard, thanks to the Oleta State Park.
A medium-sized city of about 41,500 residents, the city is conveniently located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, allowing for easy drives up to Broward County’s hotspots and all that Miami-Dade County has to offer. Despite its name, North Miami Beach is not a part of Miami Beach, the island city off the shores of Miami. The city is actually on the mainland, north of North Miami and Miami.
Originally, this neighborhood was named Fulford-by-the-Sea, after Captain William H. Fulford, a Coast Guardsman who was drawn to the area during his time patrolling the land during the Spanish American War. He received 160 acres of land through the Homestead Act and named it for himself. Many towns were cropping up at this time due to the construction of the Florida East Coast Railway, which is still in use today. In the 1920s, the unincorporated town went through a land boom and the rise of its very own newspaper and one of the state’s first radio stations. Banking on the popularity of the Indianapolis Speedway, the Fulford-Miami Speedway was built in 1926 but destroyed during the devastating hurricane of 1926. It was this hurricane that gave the residents of Fulford-by-the-Sea the push to officially incorporate so they would be eligible to receive recovery funds. In 1931, they changed their name to North Miami Beach to piggyback off a tourist advertising campaign in Miami Beach.
For the most part, residents of North Miami Beach travel by car, as many of the public transportation systems are concentrated more heavily further south in the city of Miami. However, there are more than a dozen bus stops in North Miami Beach, so residents do have access to the MetroBus. Because of the popularity of the Aventura Mall, many shuttles in the area allow riders to use the system to get around. There is also a Tri-Rail station on the western-most end of the city; the train travels throughout the tri-county area.
Because of the neighborhood’s proximity to the water, there are many waterfront restaurants in North Miami Beach where you can enjoy a meal with a view of the lake and the ocean beyond. The steakhouse Houston’s is a fan favorite around town, located steps away from the water for a view through picturesque windows. Morton’s The Steakhouse is also nearby with a similarly lovely view. On the other side of the lake is the Greek eatery Sea Grill Restaurant. The main road in North Miami Beach is 163rd Street; driving along the thoroughfare, diners can find many dining choices, from Japanese buffets and dim sum restaurants to Brazilian and Italian-Argentinian menus.
Aventura Mall in the neighboring city of Aventura is one of the biggest shopping malls in the area, including not only stores but also a number of dining options. Some popular restaurants located in the mall are CVI.CHE 105, Pubbelly Sushi Aventura, Tap 42, Poke 305, and Bella Luna.
The biggest shopping mall in the area is in the nearby city of Aventura, the Aventura Mall. With more than 260 stores and counting, there’s something for everyone here. Shops include 7 For All Mankind, Abercrombie & Fitch, Jimmy Choo, All Saints, Givenchy, Ann Taylor, Cartier, Tiffany, Express, Beach Bunny, and more, as well as department stores Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Macy’s.
There are also small shopping malls within North Miami Beach, including the Mall at 163rd Street and Skylake Mall, which has a Publix grocery store. For big-box shopping in North Miami Beach, there is also Walmart and Target. The main thoroughfare 163rd Street is filled with food markets and grocery stores, including Aldi, Publix, and regional food stores.
Because of its proximity to both the beach and marshlands, there are plenty of outdoor experiences and activities to enjoy in North Miami Beach. At more than 1,000 acres, Oleta River State Park provides biking trails, mangrove forests to explore by kayak or paddleboard, swimming, and fishing. There are even air-conditioned cabins available for rent for those who want to stay overnight. Across the Intercoastal is Haulover Park, famously known for having a clothing-optional portion of the beach. Another park that allows residents to get away from the hustle and bustle of traffic and city life is Greynolds Park, a nearly 250-acre park that was built on a former rock quarry. A historic site, it’s known for the limestone structures built during the Great Depression as a part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, visitors can enjoy picnics, playgrounds, walking paths and trails, and birdwatching. At East Greynolds Park, close to the main park, there is fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and a dog park. On the camping grounds, there are overnight cabins and a mess hall. Dating back to 1964, Greynolds Golf Course is a public nine-hole course designed for all skill levels.
There are also points of historical interest in North Miami Beach. The cloister and monastery St. Bernard de Clairvaux, more commonly known as the Ancient Spanish Monastery, was built in 1133 in northern Spain. Due to a social revolution in the 1830s, the church was forced to be closed and turned into a stable. In 1925, publisher William Randolph Hearst purchased the property and paid for it to be dismantled and shipped to the United States. It was finally put back together after his death in 1952 by two entrepreneurs as a tourist destination. It eventually made its way to North Miami Beach when it was purchased by multimillionaire Col. Robert Pentland, Jr. and presented to the bishop of Florida. Church services in English and Spanish are still hosted here to this day and its medieval architecture is a popular draw for couples looking for a historic and romantic wedding venue. Another historic site is the Fulford-By-The-Sea Monument, a large fountain that welcomed visitors to the town.
Florida International University’s large Biscayne Bay campus is located in the neighboring city of North Miami, making it easy for students to commute to classes. There is a cluster of colleges and universities in Downtown Miami, including Miami-Dade College, the main campus for FIU, Brown Mackie College, and Miami International University of Art & Design. Further south is the University of Miami, located in Coral Gables.