South Beach has the hustle, the energy, the vibrant sense of adventure—but North Beach has the relaxation and escape. When you want to transport yourself to another place and another time, North Beach is the place to do it. Historic hotels, unique Miami Modern architecture, beautifully quiet beaches, and some of Miami’s most interesting bars and restaurants make it a special place to explore.
10 Reasons to Love North Beach
1. Buenos Aires Bakery
North Beach is home to a large community of Argentineans, and the food has followed. Locals universally recognize Buenos Aires Bakery as having some of the best empanadas and pastelitos in Miami—and that’s a hard contest to win. Stop by any morning to find it bustling with neighborhood residents and visitors in line to get a box of their favorite pastries (plus lunch, coffee, and other goodies). It never takes long to make your way to the counter, and it’s always worth the wait.
2. Burger & Shakes
Sometimes you just need a great burger, fresh cut fries, and a hand-spun milkshake. That’s when you go to Burgers & Shakes, a perennial favorite for North Beach residents, children’s soccer teams, and late night adventurers in need of sustenance. The menu is so delightfully simple that there’s not much to say, except that the food is good and it’s the perfect end to a day of sunny relaxation.
3. Cafe Prima Pasta
The Argentinian Cea family opened Cafe Prima Pasta with just 28 seats in 1993. In the years since, it’s grown to four dining rooms on a bustling property that’s locally renowned for delicious Italian food and the kind of intimate service experience you can only get from a family-owned place steeped in history. Founder Gerardo and his brother Fabian run the operation, while father Arturo runs the kitchen and their mother Carla bakes bread and desserts. Fresh appetizers like carpaccio lead into homemade pasta of every variety, alongside tender veal and fish in classic Italian styles.
4. El Rancho Grande
Another family affair brings authentic Mexican food to North Beach, from Mexico City native Jose Ortiz and his son. The family has operated El Rancho Grande for more than 20 years, serving favorites like guacamole, tortas (a stacked sandwich with meat, beans, cheese, and other additions), and tacos al pastor along with giant margaritas that don’t disappoint on quality.
5. Norman's Bar & Grill
Norman’s is the classic sports bar and locals hangout. With a menu of classic bar food (burgers, wings, salads, fries), rows of giant TVs, and a full bar open until 5a.m., it’s the perfect place to find locals watching a game or gathering for a celebration. The surprise: there’s also a 28-room boutique hotel above the bar.
6. Shucker's Bar & Grill
*** OUR PERSONAL FAVORITE *** The essential waterfront experience. Shuckers is a beloved Miami institution, in equal parts for its cheap beer, chicken wings, dozens of TVs to watch sports, and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. This is the place for hot summer afternoons; for meeting up with friends to forget the time and let yourself sink into the Miami experience.
No trip to North Beach is complete without the place for which it’s named. North Beach feels like another planet from the bustle of South Beach. It’s quiet, lined with families but with plenty of space to open up and spread out. The boardwalk becomes a flat trail here, and winds its way up to Surfside on a path that’s popular with runners, bikers, and dog-walkers from the neighborhood.
North Beach Bandshell
Built in 1961, the Bandshell is on the National Register of Historic Places as a prime example of Miami Modern architecture. Now under management of the nonprofit Rhythm Foundation, the Bandshell hosts regular concerts of music from around the world in an intimate venue that brings a mix of families, young people, and neighborhood residents.
Fun fact: the Bandshell sits on the site of Miami Beach’s first structure, the Biscayne House of Refuge, which was built in 1875 by the United States Life-Saving Service (now the Coast Guard) to rescue shipwrecked sailors.
Open Space Parks
Where many of Miami’s beaches sit in the shadow of hotels and waterfront property, the North Shore Open Space Park is a preserve of nature. Filled with picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, and lush greenery, it delivers what its name promises: open space. Most weekends, you’ll find families hosting parties and locals running or biking through the park. But it’s never busy and never overwhelming, and that’s why you come to North Beach.
Normandy Isle Fountain
Every first Friday, enjoy Friday Night Live at the Fountain for an enthralling mix of good eats, artistic treats, and musical beats. Taking place at the newly restored Normandy Isle Fountain, enjoy the jazzy, hip hop, pop-style musical sounds. Local businesses will have special deals and exclusive menus for the night. The event is free and runs from 5:30pm until 8:30pm.