SOUTH BEACH ("SoBe") is a district of Miami Beach, Florida renowned for its night life. You've probably seen glimpses of it in many places—Miami Vice, The Birdcage, Bad Boys, and All About the Benjamins—but it's truly a place that needs to be seen to be believed. The core of South Beach lies along three roads: Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue (A1A), and Washington Avenue. They run north and south, and are accessible from mainland Miami by the Venetian Causeway and MacArthur Causeway. The K, S, and C Metrobus routes will get you to South Beach from downtown: lawmakers are currently arguing over an initiative to connect the Metrorail to South Beach over the MacArthur.

Crobar, Level, Crave, Liquid, Vivid, Pump, and other nightclubs are what make South Beach famous, although the clubs themselves are not quite as essential to the South Beach culture as the personalities they draw. The Shadow Lounge is gone, but Paul Oakenfold will always be showing up, Madonna and Sylvester Stallone will always be hanging around, and Gianni Versace's spirit will always live on Deco Drive.

During the daytime, at least when it's not raining, SoBe is a hotbed of muscles and curves. Half-naked people on rollerblades are everywhere, and wannabe supermodels are doing anything and everything they can to show off their bodies, sometimes resorting to indecent exposure of the most titillating kind. If you get hot and bothered by glistening tans, it's a great place to be. Then, as night falls, the bikinis are slowly joined by designer apparel, and trance and hip-hop begin blaring through colorful alleys of fifties-vintage Art Deco stucco and chrome. South Beach takes on its second ego, turning from a sunny paradise to a Gotham fantasyland.

Of course, dirty cash is big on the Beach. South Florida is, after all, where the cocaine trade is based, and so the Maseratis and Bentleys you see cruising from one club to another are often the profits of coke runners. There's also the highly lucrative fraud industry, which employs many of Florida's wealthiest lawyers and civilians. But it's not just the freaks coming out at night—the legitimate bourgeoisie help to fill up SoBe, too, and if you go to a high school in South Florida, you will inevitably know a few people with enough money to go there every weekend, and a few people with a sufficient lack of self-respect to shag their way in.

People also live in South Beach, although I have trouble imagining that.