Miami, Florida is a multicultural, diverse, and glamorous city. No wonder most people in the US and even from around the world are people flocking to the vibrant metro area. Most come to either vacation, work, live or retire. It is a city rich in history dating back to the day it was incorporated in 1896. It all happened after a landowner, Julia Tuttle, convinced Henry Flagler to extend his railroad up to the coast of Florida.
Since then, it has grown into a populated metro area and a celebrated cultural, economic and financial center in the world. And to add to that, it has a diverse landscape that hosts the third tallest skyline in the United States and close to a thousand parks. On the East Coast, the city counts as the second-largest metropolis. It is the seventh-largest metropolis in the country. This financial, cultural, and economic hub of South Florida has more than enough things to love.
Perhaps you are wondering about the cost of living in Miami, the beauty of this city, or even things that might make you tired of living in Miami and more. Well, here is a comprehensive guide that will cover everything you need to know about living in Miami. We will also cover the two sides of living in Miami: Pros and Cons.
Pros of Living in Miami
Living in Miami has lots of pros. The quality of life in Miami is known to be quite good compared to other cities in the US. You will get lots of things to do and experiences even if you are living in Miami in your 20s and 30s, and so on. Let us look into some of the enticing reasons to live in Miami:
Pro: Miami has many places to live in
One of the beauties of Miami is the neighborhoods. There are many options to pick from in a place rich in diversity.
They are ever-changing and if you are wondering where to pitch camp, let’s just highlight some of the best neighborhoods that you may want to consider:
- Coconut Grove
The neighborhood was founded in 1873. It prides itself as the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood in Miami. It is situated south of Brickell and The Roads neighborhoods, and east of Coral Gables. The refreshing bohemian vibe evident in the area is one to relish. It also has a magnificent variety of boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
It is situated north of Coconut Grove and south of the historic Central Business District. Brickell started developing all thanks to the Brickell family back in the 1800s. It now sits as a significant financial district in Miami. Most of the mansions from the 1920s have now given way to apartments and office towers. That has significantly contributed to the growth of the area.
If you want eclectic vibes, Wynwood is the place for you. The district hosts several art galleries, bars, eateries, and retail shops. Back in the mid-1900s, it was regarded as Miami’s garment district. However, in the early 2000s, with the emergence of the Art Walk block parties, it got international recognition for innovation and other creative aspects.
Morningside was the first Miami’s historic district in 1984. It is not shy of Mediterranean Revival-style homes. Many of them were designed by prominent architects. Morningside sits along Biscayne Bay and is beautifully quiet and homey.
Pro: It has a promising job market
The city has various manufacturing and trade industries given that it is a major international port. To add to that, it also has many investment firms and large banks being a financial district. There has been a development boom in recent years. That has increased the opportunities for contract work and other construction-related job opportunities. The job market has also benefited from the companies moving out of Silicon Valley. That said, the biggest business sectors in the market are accommodation and Food Services, Real Estate and Rentals, Retail, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.
According to Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, the highest projected job growth is expected in leisure and hospitality as the effect of the pandemic eases.
Pro: There are plenty of things to do
There is so much that you can do in Miami. The lively club scene and sandy beaches are the tip of the iceberg. The fun goes well to the theme parks, art shows, museums, festivals, cultural districts, and boutique shopping. The outdoor marketplaces, professional sports, and several national parks are also worth seeing. In all honesty, Magic City has something for everyone, and you will never get bored in Miami.
Pro: It has a more than vibrant nightlife!
You cannot talk about Miami’s beautiful side without mentioning the unbeatable club scene. While the city has more to offer than its nightlife, it is worth touching on. If you thought that New York was the only city in the United States that never sleeps, visiting Miami will have you rethinking your stand!
Now, if you want to dine out or enjoy the club scene in Miami, you literally can do it at any time. The clubs and bars are legally allowed to serve liquor 24 hours a day. Most of them usually can stay open until 5 a.m. The best places to revel at are Basement, Floyd, LIV Miami, and Club Space, which opens for 24 hours. Most clubs like the Space and E11 stay open around the clock. Other reputable ones like LIV open their doors at midnight. Also, headlining DJs usually wait till late to take the decks. And by late, we mean between 2 a.m and 3 a.m in most cases. If you are keen on going out earlier, Lagniappe will have you covered. It is an open-air bar with live music to appeal to the traditionally prime-time crowd.
Miami is also not short of seasonal parties, which mostly take residence along Miami Beach. What that means is that you can enjoy 24/7 beats for days. Some common festivals are March’s Ultra Music Festival, the week-long Miami Beach Pride and May’s Rolling Loud. Aside from those, several individual hotel parties are always happening up and down the beach. There will also be parties associated with events like the Miami Food Festival and Art Base. Miami is definitely the place if you are itching for a party or nightlife.
Pro: Miami’s food scene is A1
The food scene in Miami is incredible. All thanks to the ethnic diversity and rich culture. Most Miami residents migrated from Latin American and South American countries like Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, and Cuba. Resultantly, there is a wide array of oceanfront restaurants, diners, walk-up windows, and food carts operated by chefs from all over the world. There are also affordable tropical fruits in most Miami markets which are a much-welcome change, especially for people moving to Miami from farther north. Some of the best eateries are Mandolin Aegean Bistro, Ariete, Amara at Paraiso, Makoto and Macchialina. There are also establishments like The Regent Cocktail Club located inside Gale Hotel. KYU is a modern Asian-style eatery you can enjoy. Bulla Gastrobar has a Spanish influence. And La Mar by Gaston Acurio, situated at the Mandarin Oriental, is also worth visiting.
Pro: There is plenty of outdoor recreation
The upside of living in Miami is that you will always have options for outdoor recreation. The city has more than 800 parks which include numerous national parks. There is beautiful green space and easy access to beautiful beaches. There are also several ways to get active and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. If you love land activities, there is a hiking, biking, tennis, golf, sightseeing, and picnicking, all at your disposal. If you are more of a water person, you can surf, sail, scuba-dive, swim, kayak, and deep-sea fishing. There is something for everyone.
Pro: Miami is home to some of the best beaches in the world
No one can deny the beauty of Miami’s coastline. Miami hosts some of the best beaches the world has to offer. And most of those beaches are open to the public. Some of the beaches in Miami are South Beach, North Beach Oceanside Park, Surfside, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, and Virginia Key Beach.
Year-round sunshine makes Miami much more enjoyable. The daily highs range from the mid-60s to the low-90s. However, the normal range is usually between 75- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. If you cannot bear the cold or snowy climate in your area, relocating or visiting Miami may be the breath of fresh air you so crave.
Pro: Miami has no state income Tax
In Florida, you do not have to pay state taxes. That is one of the most exciting things about living in Miami. The state only requires you to pay federal taxes. It collects 6% sales tax, corporate income tax, and tax from investments. The State will not tax you on your income. It doesn’t even tax your retirement and Social Security benefits if you are retired. Furthermore, you do not have to pay taxes on estate earnings and inheritances. Living in Miami could have you saving some money.
Pro: Miami has a booming art scene
If you are an art lover, you will fall in love with a booming art scene in Miami. There are several cultural centers, public art, galleries, and major art fairs. For instance, in Wynwood, there are numerous awe-inspiring murals and street art. The whole movement started in 2009 with the open-air Wynwood Walls. The 18 walls of artwork started with talented international graffiti artists. Long after, street art has extended throughout the neighborhood, and there are some noteworthy displays at Wynwood Brewing Company and along NW 2nd Avenue.
Other areas admired for street art are Calle Ocho in Little Havana and all across Little Haiti. Art Basel has also contributed to Miami’s art scene by bringing renowned artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts to Miami every December to enjoy a week of exhibitions. Don’t worry if you do not make it to the events. Most of the galleries that participate in the event usually have plenty of artwork to showcase throughout the year.
The Rubell Family collection also showcases a wealth of avant-garde artwork by respected legends like Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. There are also other free exhibits at Locust and Spinello projects. If you are looking for art that will help you appreciate the Caribbean roots in Miami, you may want to visit Yeleen Gallery in Little Haiti as it beautifully highlights that.
Miami also has numerous independent movie theatres like O Cinema Miami Beach, Nite Owl Theatre, and Coral Gables Art Cinema. Furthermore, Miami has several orchestras, performing arts conservatories like Frost School of Music, New World School of Art and Florida Grand Opera. It also has several symphonies.
Miami’s Design District is another attraction that you can only marvel at when you visit. The neighborhood is dedicated to design, architecture, culinary arts, and innovative fashion. The sleek modern architecture, art galleries, and upscale interior design are a must-see. The luxury fashion and jewelry boutiques and the celebrity-chef restaurants in the district are quite the crowd magnet. There are also several public arts dotting the Design District. A reputable one is Buckminster Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome. It is a geodesic dome done by the inventor Buckminster Fuller. The Institute of Contemporary art also has cutting-edge work showcased in an ultra-modern building.
Pro: Miami is rich in culture
The diverse Miami population has shaped its vibrant culture. The potent Caribbean and Latin-American communities have rich cultures great to marvel at whenever one visits Miami. The city also has an abundance of theatres, museums, and festivals. Some of the crowd’s favorite festivals are Calle Ocho Festival, Carnival Miami, and the Miami International Film Festival. These cultural events can also be good opportunities to make new friends in Miami.
English is the official Language in Miami. However, extensive immigration from several Spanish-speaking regions has made Spanish more dominant. More than half of the population speaks Spanish. If you want to visit or move to Miami, it will come as a great advantage if you are fluent in either English or Spanish. And frankly, preferably both.
Some other languages like Swedish, German, and French are spoken in the city but mostly in their respective communities. You will find areas in the city where the signs are all in Spanish. You may consider learning some basic Spanish and English to help you explore diverse places around the city more easily.
The cons of Living in Miami
Just like any other place, there are bad things about living in Miami. Yes, it is not always rainbows and sunshine and you might have seen those stories about people who regret living in Miami. You are perhaps wondering about moving to Miami alone. Frankly, like any other place, there are also Internet scams as you find a place to stay. On the flip side, you can always find authentic stories about experiences by searching for queries like “I have lived in Miami '' on Google, Quora, and the likes. Now, here are some reasons why people tend to get tired of living in Miami:
Con: Traffic can be unbearable
Miami has a reputation for congested freeways and heavy traffic. The city’s traffic ranking as the fifth-worst in the United States should get you rethinking whether owning a car is the best decision.
So let’s say you’re going out to meet people across town, you’ll have to rely on public transportation, which calls for some know-how and a great deal of patience. But if you are to look at the silver lining, public transit allows you the chance to catch up on some work or go through that book that you have been ignoring. There are the public transit options you have in Miami:
Metrobus serves South Florida from Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, all the way to the Florida Keys. The Metrobus has almost a hundred routes, with close to a thousand buses operating in the routes. The rides will set you back from $2.25 per trip.
It is a 25-mile elevated rail system. It looks similar to a monorail. The Metrorail is arguably the fastest way to travel to areas like the northwest Miami-Dade and the Jackson Memorial Hospital regions. It also has connections to Broward and Palm Beach counties. The fares also start at $2.25.
The Metromover might be your best bet if the activities bringing you to Miami require you to travel frequently around the Downtown area. It helps that it is a free service. It also offers smaller loops around Brickell and Downtown Miami. It is also the perfect option for connecting between Metrorail and Metrobus.
The free service begins at 6.30 a.m on weekdays and goes up to 7 p.m, 8 p.m, 11 p.m or midnight. It all depends on the location. You can even track the trolley online. Search on the internet on how to use the trolley most effectively.
This app organizes free rides in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Downtown Miami, Key Biscayne, Wynwood, Miami Lakes, Brickell, and other areas within the Miami beach. The electric cars look more like golf carts. But at the price of zero, no one can complain.
Con: It can be too humid, and tropical storms may be an issue
Miami is generally full of sunny skies and warm heat. However, the humidity can sometimes be too intense. That is mostly the case during summer. Expect to sweat when outdoors, even if you are in the shade. Fortunately, every place you go will have air conditioning, and the weather tends to cool down at night. Also, with the city being near the Gulf of Mexico, the climate is tropical. It is normal to experience heavy rains sometimes. The rains can sometimes be too much leading to flooding. Furthermore, hurricanes and thunderstorms are relatively common in South Florida. That usually contributes to power outages and other disruptions.
Con: The cost of living is relatively high
The cost of living in Miami is relatively higher compared to other cities. You should expect your monthly expenses to be more than 10% higher than the national average.
Also, since most areas in Miami are heavily populated, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live. Monthly utility bills are also higher, especially during summer when you have to crank up the AC.
Con: Bugs love Miami too!
Miami has lots of bugs. Some of them are enormous. Living in Miami means putting up with roaches, fruit flies, mosquitoes, among others. You may also see some snakes, scorpions, and spiders.
Con: Crime can be a problem in Miami
Just as is the case with most major American cities, crime can be something of concern. However, the rate of crime is highly dependent on the area of the town where you are living. If you are visiting Miami, be sure to look up the level of safety in the place you are interested in visiting or living. Again, be wary of Internet scams.
Con: Things may run a little late
Living in Miami means accepting that lateness will be a fact of your life. The brutal traffic merged with the laid-back attitude contributes to things running late. If you are in the habit of being early to places, you can be disappointed. With unexpected traffic, delays are more or less inevitable. You will have to try as hard as possible to take it easy when friends or business associates are always running a little late. For daily commutes, some people resort to carpooling with neighbors, which is something you could consider if you get to know your neighbors very well.
Con: Unemployment is still relatively high
The economy might be growing in Miami but it is relatively lower compared to other cities. The unemployment rate stands at 5.9% with the national average at 6%. A lot of the struggles though are tied to the recent struggle with the pandemic. It is anticipated that the unemployment rate will drop albeit wages and salaries are expected to fall.
4 Fun facts about Miami
Here are some notable things that you may not have known about Miami:
- Miami is the only major city in the United States founded by a woman. The woman, Julia Tuttle, was a landowner. She began with a mere 640 acres of land. She then convinced railroad developers to extend the track down to the south. That set the stage for Miami’s official incorporation in 1896.
- You may have never visited Miami, but the high chances are that you have seen the city on your screen. The magic city made its way onto the big screens. It was featured in not one, not two, but three James Bond movies: Thunderball, Casino Royale, and Goldfinger.
- The city has more than 800 parks dotting all over Miami. It is, in fact, the only city in the United States that has two national parks surrounding it. The parks are Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.
- If you thought Wall Street was grand, you may have to rethink that. Miami is host to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States.
Miami is one of the well-loved cities in the United States. And the draw is easy to understand. The beautiful beaches, warm weather, and cultural diversity are only a few reasons to love Miami. That said, it is not all positive. There are a few less than ideal things about Miami too. We hope our guide will help you make the right decisions about living in Miami!
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