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  1. #1
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    Default Moving from Michigan

    Hey everyone! Let me first say thank you to everyone on this site and forum. I have been reading posts here for the past few months, and this site has really helped me a lot. I am 21, from mid-Michigan, and will be graduating with an Associates Degree in Media Technology (audio/video production, TV, film, etc.) at the end of this fall semester.

    Thanks in large part to this site, I have a number of various production houses, film studios, recording studios, etc. that I wish to apply too. I plan on visiting the Miami area in early January for job interviews, and if all goes well, plan on moving in June 2009.

    My basic question is: During my visit in January, whats the best way to get a feel for the area and determine if I want to live in Miami?

    I have never been to Miami before, I've only been to Florida once (Ft. Myers/Naples area) but I really like the weather down there, and the laid back but exciting atmosphere of Miami described on this site.

    I was thinking of spending about 4 days (Monday - Thursday) in Miami and taking the city tour advertised on this site, and checking out some possible places to live too. What else should I do in that time to make sure I like the area?

    My main goals of the trip are too:

    A. Make sure I like Miami
    B. Secure employment
    C. Start looking for a place to live (if goals A and B are fulfilled)

    I was hoping I could use the advice given to me here, and sort of plan my trip with the help of you experts out there. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated, thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Hey Jake -

    Welcome to the Forums!

    But have you really been reading these forums? Have you read anything I've said? Anything?

    First, to find out about the city, drive around. I suggest you take US-1 South from downtown to about 200th St. Then take that west and get on the Turnpike and take it north up to SR-826 (THe Palmetto Expressway). Take that north all the way to the end then take I-95 South back to Miami, taking the exit to 836 West, The Dolphin Expressway. Take this to LeJeune Road and take that south to SW 8th St. Take that street East back to downtown. Gives you a good feel. I would suggest driving at different times every day to learn the traffic patterns as well. If you're gonna live here, you better get used to that.

    Hang out on Bird Road or on Calle Ocho to make sure you like the city. Go into a CVS in one of these areas and try to buy something you don't know how to ask for in Spanish. Then do the same thing at Publix (our grocery store here). That will be your experience more than a few times if you move here.

    Seriously, you NEED to understand that this place in not your hometown with better weather. If you are Hisapnic, you will be ok. If you are not, you will feel like an outsider everywhere you go. I mean, some people are welcoming, but the culture here is more like Santo Domingo than LA. By a lot.

    This city is also expensive, so either save up between 6-10 grand or have a job when you move here. It can take 6 months to find work here, even when the economy is good, more if you don't speak Spanish. You may get lucky and not experience this, but if you want a "real" job (i.e. not waiting tables or bartending) that's not an outlandish number.

    When you visit, stay in the city, not in South Beach. South Beach is cool to go and visit, but if you want to live here you need to learn what Miami is like, not South Beach. They are completely different animals.

    This city is a tough place to live, despite the weather. Most non-Hispanics I know from up north who move here on a whim, without a professional, scholastic, or strong social tie, don't last a year. But you may love it. My job here is to be the voice of reality, and life in Dade County can be extremely difficult.

  3. #3
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    Hey Matt-

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I try and check in with this site every 3 or 4 days and read the forums and any new articles written. That being said, I realize the importance of making sure I can handle Miami before moving there on a whim and regretting it; that's the main reason for my trip in January: to get a feel for the city and then have a few months to mull it over before my intended move in June. I do have about 5 grand saved up and will keep saving until June, but I'm hoping since I'm looking for jobs now, that I will find something before I move in 6 months, instead of moving down and THEN looking for a job. Chances are if I can't find a job in Miami by June, I won't move down (I have a pretty good job up here) however step 1 is making sure I like Miami.

    Thanks for the route you posted. It looks like I'll be getting a good taste of that crazy Miami traffic everyone talks about on this site, lol. My plan was to eventually rent an apartment in South Beach, but I agree that I need to see the whole Miami area in order to make a well informed decision.

    I realize that Miami isn't my hometown with nice weather, in fact that's one reason that I was drawn to Miami. My hometown is pretty boring, and if you think the economy is bad in Florida, take a look at Michigan, it's been that way here the past 5-6 years. I need a change of pace, I need to get out and experience new things and see what else is out there. I don't want Miami to be like my hometown.

    Thanks again Matt for the advice, I appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Jim
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    Jake...take the city tour.

    I drove all those routes Matt described; while it gives you geographic boundaries, it doesn't show you the diversity the city tour provides.

    Matt...if you haven't taken the city tour, please come check it out.

    Bye the way Jake, I moved from Michigan a year ago and my only regret is I didn't move sooner.

    Good luck hope to see you on the city tour. Rickey, Jeffrey and myself are all city tour drivers for MiamiBeach411.

  5. #5
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    Cool, I'm definetly going to take the tour. I'll be sure to say Hi if you happen to be the driver. The tour is offered weekdays right?

    Thanks for the insight Jim, it's good to hear the opnion of a former Michigander.

  6. #6
    Gus
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    Hi, Jake, welcome to MiamiBeach411. Thanks for posting here.

    Yes, the city tour takes place everyday, departing at 10am from the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.

    For starting such a good thread, I want to offer you a free tour. I'll PM you a promo code and you can reserve online.

    What else should I do in that time to make sure I like the area?
    For starters, I suggest not visiting any of the areas Matt mentions, and spending most of your time in South Beach.

    The people I meet who are most happy here, never leave the beach.

    Seems like people start running into problems and feeling depressed about living here when they go to the mainland.

    If you want to take a beautiful drive, take a trip down Old Cutler Road, which is also an area we visit on the city tour.

    As for finding work, housing, and friends...

    Try to network with as many people as you can.

    Meetup.com has some film-related groups on the site.

    If you'd like to meet us in person and pick our brains, our office is in South Beach. Just give us a heads up when you want to visit.

    Lastly, don't forget to contact some of the municipalities in Miami-Dade County, most of them have a video department.

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    Wow, a free tour would be awesome! Thanks a lot Gus!!

    Thanks for the advice about where to go, and for the heads up on the municipality jobs, I've just been browsing the miamidade.gov site the past couple minutes and have already found a few openings for a videographer.

    I will definetly try and stop into the office when I'm in town, I'm sure I'll have some questions.

    So far here's my tenative list of things I will be doing:
    1. Taking the city bus tour
    2. Checking out the Lincoln Road mall area
    3. Visit Flamingo Park
    4. Driving down old Cutler Road and Bird Road
    5. Lummus Park

    ...any other suggestions from anyone?

    I will also be going to some job interviews, and will be looking in South Beach for an apartment.

  8. #8
    Gus
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    Your welcome, Jake.

    I'll try to think of some more things to do, but in the meantime, here are some suggestions on where/what to eat for cheap...

    - Soft chicken tacos from T-Mex, formerly San Loco
    - Soft chicken tacos at Lime
    - Argentine Chicken empanadas from Charlotte's bakery
    - Grilled Chicken at Rice
    - Club Sandwich at 11th Street Diner
    - Palomilla steak from Puerto Sagua
    - Fried egg sandwich (no cheese) at News Cafe
    - Happy Hour at Monty's
    - Pulled pork sandwich at South Beach BBQ
    - The salad bar at Wild Oats

  9. #9
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    Hey Jake are you a Spartan or a Wolverine? As a true blue fan, despite the abysmal showing this year, the hardest thing to get used to in MB is that UM does not mean THE UofM, it means Miami. I am serious, that is the Hardest thing to get used to. Everything else, frankly is great. Don't pay attention to Matt, he hasn't lived in Michigan and I still do but I am a part-time southbeacher and I love it. I just got back up north Monday night to the bleak and cold grey place I call home and asked my wife if we were crazy to keep going back up north. She reminded me that both of us still have jobs, family, etc., in Michigan but as someone way older than you, my time hopefully will come. Meanwhile, we come down every month for a few days or weeks ,and will be back in south beach the middle of December.

    I can't tell you how great this place you have to experience it. Here are a few suggestions

    1. Walk or Jog from Lummous Park (the famous part of south beach) up to the Eden Roc Hotel. Its about 4 miles and along the ocean. You have a great view of the different hotels, many famous, and see all kinds of people on the journey. I start off everyday doing this.

    2. Bike from South Beach on the Venetian Causeway to Miami and head slightly south to visit Bayside, have a Pina Colada or just a beer and enjoy the view, the crowds and the cruise ships.

    3. Drive 395 from I95 to Miami Beach, especially on cruise days (M,F,S,S). I get a thrill every time I come "home".

    4. Walk up and down Lincoln and Ocean and Washington and Collins and along the marina. Depending on the time of day or night you see the population of South Beach. You may need a dog to fit in on Lincoln.

    5. Have a meal on Espaniola Way and walk through the neighborhood.

    6. Have a coffee at our local Starbucks on West and 10th.

    7. Head for the beach, its topless (and if you really want a break from Michigan head north to Haulover where its also bottomless).

    8. Take note of the ever-changing variety of special events which happen in South Beach, there is something going on almost every weekend.

    Even on a rainy day its an amazing place and you don't need to visit the slums or ghettos to move down to MB. Its like telling someone planning on moving to Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills they have to drive around the inner city of Detroit, especially the dangerous places, before they make the move.

    Come on down you will love it.

  10. #10
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    Sunaddicted,

    I am a die-hard Wolverine, I bleed maize and blue. The U of M thing could take some getting used to. It's good to hear the opinion of someone from Michigan about how they like Miami. Thanks a lot for the suggestions, you have me wanting to leave work early and take the next flight to Miami, lol. I am so pumped to come down.

    I'm looking at flights right now using Kayak.com. After that I will be looking at hotels. So if anyone has suggestions in regards to that, it would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Go Blue!

  11. #11
    Suzanne C
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    Hi Jake and welcome! I bleed Orange and Blue...teeheehee

    When are you coming?

  12. #12
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    My plan is to come sometime in early to mid-January. I've been eyeing Jan. 5-8 (Monday to Thursday). Or I could do a weekend thing, Jan. 8-12 (Thursday to Monday). But it's still up in the air, a lot of it depends on when the companies I'm applying to want to do interviews.

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    Hi Jake,

    I moved from Michigan too. So you're from "mid" Michigan, ah yes, must be boring. I grew up just north of Detroit then moved to Kzoo to go to Western. After that, I took at marketing job in West Palm Beach- and two years past here I am (3 jobs later...)

    You'll love it down here, trust me. Don't get me wrong- Detroit IS my city. It's really sad what's going on there now though. The weather, the failing auto industry, unemployment, THE LIONS...

    It's good you're finding a job before you move. I've applied to countless sales and marketing jobs in Miami with little return, so it's good to start as early as possible. I can't give you must advice about moving to Miami because I too and looking to find a job and apt. down there.

    Good Luck!

  14. #14
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Yeah, I did WRITE a good part of that city tour, but I do need to take it. The couple times I wanted to it was off season and it wasn't running. Maybe next weekend.

    Sunaddicted and I tend to disagree on a lot of things about this city since I lived in mainland Miami year-round (I am in school in Gainesville now but back in Miami every other weekend) for many years, and am not a long-term tourist who lives in South Beach. Very differing viewpoints, being a full-time resident with a full-time job and having to make a full-time life here are quite different than an extended vacation on the beach.

    But I am glad you are making the responsible decision when considering a move. I've been to Michigan. It wasn't that awful, but I see where you're coming from. You may love it, you may hate it here, but you seem to be approaching it right. Kudos.

    And yeah, it's UM. Go 'Canes!

  15. #15
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    Lindsay: I used to know a fella that raced at the Gingerman Race track in Kalamazoo! Ended poorly though...I don't really speak about him anymore but I was feeling left out of the Michigan talk...teeheehee

    Jake: Since you're not coming for a vacation and probably don't really care about amenities or location, I would suggest an airport area hotel. It's the most central part of Miami and you'll have easy access to major expressways.

    Will you be renting a car or cabbing it?

  16. #16
    Senior Member wpns4l's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindsayA
    Hi Jake,

    I moved from Michigan too. So you're from "mid" Michigan, ah yes, must be boring. I grew up just north of Detroit then moved to Kzoo to go to Western. After that, I took at marketing job in West Palm Beach- and two years past here I am (3 jobs later...)

    Good Luck!
    When did you got to WMU? I was there from 05-07

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    Ha, no kidding. I was at Western from 2002-2006. Lived in valley one, the ghetto, Lafayette, and Gull road. So I've lived all over Kalamazoo! How did you end up down here?

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. It's cool to see the Michigan ties many of you have. I live about 20 miles east of Lansing, and work in downtown Lansing. I've never lived out side of this area, so I'm looking forward to a breath of fresh air. It's good to see that many former Michigan residents like Miami so much.

    The field I'm in is kind of a niche, and I have quite a few companies I'm applying to, so hopefully with a little luck I can find something by June.

    As for hotels, I don't need much, amenities wise. I'm not going to be in the hotel that much, I'll be out exploring and job hunting. I was thinking of spliting a day or two in South Beach and a day or two in an airport hotel. I do need internet access though.

    As for transportation, I'm not really sure. What do you think Suzy?

    I think I could get by using a cab, and it would be cheaper. But a rental would give me more freedom to cruise around and explore. Plus, if I'm going to a job interview I want to be sure I'm on time, and not have to worry about a cab being late or not being able to find the place. Then again that could happen with me driving too.

    Chances are I'll get a rental car, but it sucks cause I'm under 25 and there are extras fees.

  19. #19
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    Hi Jake, welcome to the forums!

    Miami is very diverse and I think you should see as much of it as you can. Our distances are very long, so I think you may be better off renting a car, honestly. Cab fares are high. And besides, it will give you a sense of what driving here is like.

    I wouldn't bother looking for apartments right now. Just get a feel for the different neighborhoods. A lot will depend on where you end up working. Traffic is bad here, so if you get a job at one end of the city, you might not want to live at the other end. It will all depend on the job.

    As for being late for a job interview, give yourself a lot of time, map it before hand, and don't hesitate to ask the prospective employer what traffic/parking will be like at the time of day from the direction you're coming from.

  20. #20
    Senior Member wpns4l's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindsayA
    Ha, no kidding. I was at Western from 2002-2006. Lived in valley one, the ghetto, Lafayette, and Gull road. So I've lived all over Kalamazoo! How did you end up down here?
    Long shot but you did you know a girl by the name of CJ who worked at Cheeseburger in Paradise?

    But yea i was at WMU untill 07 then i transfered out to ASU and now im working a job that basically allows me to live anywhere i want and Miami, well Miami Beach, has always been a dream of mine so im moving out there next week actually.

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