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Why Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road Is for Locals

Tourists who visit Miami Beach have long frequented the Lincoln Road Mall, an eight-block, pedestrian-friendly stretch from Alton Road to Washington Avenue. With more than 350 restaurants, shops, galleries, bars, and cultural outlets—not to mention the endless people-watching opportunities—it’s hard not to find something to keep you busy here.

But how do locals feel about Lincoln Road? Do they have the same type of love-hate relationship residents have with tourist attractions in other cities—enjoying the economic rewards it brings while simultaneously loathing the fanny-packed masses who visit in droves? Do they shun the area or do they frequent it?

As it turns out, the relationship is more love than hate. In a recent survey of Miami Beach residents conducted by ETC Institute on behalf of the city, 60% of residents identified Lincoln Road as one of their top four destinations in the neighborhood. The survey also showed that 47% of residents visited Lincoln Road at least once a week.

And the numbers prove it. According to the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District (BID), Lincoln Road receives 11 million visitors a year, making it one of the most heavily trafficked destinations in Miami. Although it’s impossible to say how many visitors were tourists or. local residents, it’s safe to say this is one popular place.

In recognition of locals’ love for the Lincoln Road Mall, the Lincoln Road BID has been taking steps to make sure that locals continue to enjoy the area—and not just for the tourism dollars it brings. The BID has taken steps to attract locally owned businesses (you can go to Banana Republic anywhere, right?) and offer free events and activities that nearby residents can walk to and enjoy.

For example, Fritz’s Skate, Bike & Surf opened on Lincoln Road in 1989 but later relocated off the promenade. The shop returned in February, opening a store at 1014 Lincoln Road. Owner Gerald Bendheim said it was an easy decision, calling Lincoln Road “the heartbeat of this city.”

On a recent tour, BID executive director Tim Schmand spoke about what makes Lincoln Road such an attractive place to visit and shared the BID’s future plans to continue winning over both locals and visitors for years to come. Those plans include the first renovation the area has seen since 1995, which will address some “imbalances” created by the previous renovation, including a water feature “designed to cause tourists to fall into it,” Schmand jokes.

If you’re a local and don’t mind occasionally rubbing shoulders with tourists, here are some of the things you might enjoy at Lincoln Road.

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