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  1. #1
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    Default Which area of Miami?

    Me and hubby plan to move from San Francisco to Miami for the weather and we can't decide which area yet. We visited Miami Beach last month and loved it, but maybe other places nearby might be good too. Here are my preferences:

    1. We have no plans to drive or own a car, so we're looking for a walkable area or good public transport.

    2. Being near the beach is a plus, but not a requirement. But we like lots of humidity as we're both from the tropics originally.

    3. My brother is planning to come live with us if we move, he's a chef and may want to start a restaurant. So it will have to be somewhere easily accessible to crowds.

    4. Parents may also visit us for long stretches of time, so we want to be not too far from hospitals too, just in case.

    5. We don't have kids yet so we don't need to be in a good school district, but we do want someplace safe. We will just be renting.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Editor Carlos Miller's Avatar
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    Besides South Beach, Coral Gables and South Miami are both very walkable and close to public transportation (for whatever it is worth down here, which is not very much).

    But in the Gables, they have trolleys that take you to the Metrorail and South Miami you can walk to the Metrorail station.

    There are plenty of restaurants in both and South Miami has several hospitals and the Gables is very central to several hospitals as well.

  3. #3
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Planning to live here without a car is a big mistake. I would say it is more or less impossible unless you want to live in South Beach and never experience the rest of the city, or you want to live in Brickell.

    Brickell is convenient insofar as public transportation, but insofar as schools, it is not the most family-friendly area. Very young professional.

    Coral Gables is good, but, seriously, get a car if you move there. If you want any semblance of space in your life, you won't want to live in downtown Gables or South Beach.

    Seriously, do not move here if you don't have a car. I'm guessing you've been to LA at some point. The sprawl here is similar, just smaller. Like there's no central area where everything is, and as you live here long enough you will make a lot of friends who live all over the region. It becomes hard socially if you have no way to meet them. Cabs to Broward are expensive.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Matt and Carlos. Ideas were very helpful.
    Matt, if i had to choose between living in a small apartment versus more space but needing a car, i would likely choose the small apartment. I just love walking to get around, it just feels like a better quality of life. Maybe there is a ZipCar like system in these areas? Where you can just rent a car for a day and drop them off at some location. I know it's been successful in San Francisco.
    My fear is that having a car will make you tend to drive, and it's not a lifestyle i want.

  5. #5
    Editor Carlos Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renisenb
    Thanks Matt and Carlos. Ideas were very helpful.
    Matt, if i had to choose between living in a small apartment versus more space but needing a car, i would likely choose the small apartment. I just love walking to get around, it just feels like a better quality of life. Maybe there is a ZipCar like system in these areas? Where you can just rent a car for a day and drop them off at some location. I know it's been successful in San Francisco.
    My fear is that having a car will make you tend to drive, and it's not a lifestyle i want.
    Zipcar system? Miami can't even grasp the concept of recycling.

  6. #6
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Yeah, Carlos put it perfectly. Environmental-type advances are always slow to get down here. I like the zipcar system, but I don't think the concept exists in Miami.

    Seriosuly, though, it's not a space vs. convenience thing, it's a "Miami is a HUGE friggin city" thing. Like I said, the longer you are here the more you will realize most of the things you need are not right near you. It will hamper your social life. Seriously, the quality of life in Miami without a car is not very high. If you are young and single and living in South Beach for a little while, it may work. but if you are planning to come here long term, f'real, BRING A CAR.

  7. #7
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    Renisenb, I would suggest South Beach, Coral Gables or South Miami as well. The areas area all walkable, safe, close to hospitals and crowds. That being said, if you live in South Beach, you will typically have lower-quality living quarters compared to what you would get inside the City of Miami, but you would be near the beach. You will also have tons and tons of tourists during certain parts of the year, and may have to deal with evacuations if a hurricane comes through.

    Coral Gables is walkable, has lots of businesses, restaurants and little shops. I lived there for two years. I walked and biked at all times of day and night and never had a problem. The buildings are better maintained and they do have the free trolly that will take you around and take you to the metro, but it doesn't run 24/7. Also, the nightlife tends to migrate to South Miami, the Grove and South Beach after happy hour.

    South Miami is walkable, has shops (though often overrun by teenagers on weekends), bars and restaurants. The nightlife goes on later, and is much more relaxed in terms of dress and attitude than South Beach. I am on the edge of South Miami and Coral Gables and I think my next move is fully into South Miami.

    The downside to South Miami and Coral Gables is that they are very far from the beach, and the metro only goes into downtown, which would mean taking the metro to a bus, which could take hours.

    In regards to the ZipCar, the University of Miami has a program with ZipCar. They started it last year I think, so perhaps there's a program ZipCar has in Miami that we don't know about.

  8. #8
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi Renisenb! Welcome! I just want to add to the already great advice you've gotten here.

    Two very important questions we need to answer:

    1.What is your rental budget and how many bedrooms do you need, with your brother living with you and your parents visiting for long stretches?

    2.Will you be working from home?

    The answers to these questions will really determine everything.

    And Matt is spot-on. Is there any reason why you can't have a car? Miami is not a walkable city. Certain pockets of Miami are -- and believe me, they are small. South Beach can get pretty claustrophobic after a few months. Keep in mind it is a very small section of an island that is only 1 mile wide. The beach is there, but you can't eat, sleep and work in the Atlantic Ocean. If you want a real, grown-up quality of life, you do need a car.

    One of our forum members, Pelle, just drove from San Francisco with his wife, and they rented an apartment in the southern portion of South Beach. They're happy there -- no kids yet, so they're in a similar boat. But they do have a car.

    Because you don't have kids yet and plan on living here long-term, I don't think it matters at all about schools (moot point, at this stage). Also, where your brother ends up opening a restaurant does not necessarily have anything to do with where you actually reside.

    I lived on Miami Beach for many years and have recently moved back to South Miami/Coral Gables. Once we have the answers to the questions above, I think we can better advise you. I'm thinking mid-beach might be a nice compromise for you, but I really need to know what your budget is and if you plan on commuting.

    Hope this helps!

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone for the replies, this is such a great,cozy forum.

    Maria- i was thinking of a 3 bedroom apartment. Maybe 2 bedrooms to start out with. We're thinking of a rent budget of $1800. I would be working from home and my husband would have to get a job in one of the hospitals as a doctor, he's trying to study Spanish these days:)
    We're not going to move until the job situation is finalized. But at least it looks like South Miami, Coral Gables and South Beach are on top of the list.

    One more question: Has anyone been to West Palm Beach? How is it like? Is the water about as warm as in Miami Beach? Or places on the other coast of Florida? I've heard that the Gulf of Mexico is like bathwater all year round. But then i've also heard that there are "dead zones" in the gulf because it's polluted.

  10. #10
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    Whilst I don't want to start a full on debate about this (Matt...), I do not agree about the car. If someone says they don't want one, then don't have one. Yes I live on Miami Beach but I get all over this city on my bike and on public transport.

    Once you have a car it is easy to think you can't live without one. I personally choose to not have one as I don't want the hassle of driving.

    And yes, I have friends in Kendall, Broward etc and I get over to them just fine :cheese:

  11. #11
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    As far as West Palm, the water there is just as warm, the beaches are nice enough, but it's very new and a lot of sprawl up there. If you are used to San Fran or are considering Miami, I think the PBC (Palm Beach County) might be a bit suburban-feeling for you. It also has a little bit of an Orange County feel to it, with the affluent single middle-agers, divorced former-trophy wives and recently-divorced rich older men. Also, if you think not having a car in Miami is tough, not having one in PBC would be down near impossible. Why 80 year-olds who can barely see still drive there.


    Jess, are you "that girl" who always needs a ride somewhere? You know,the one always asking to borrow your car to go to Costco? Just giving you some grief in all friendliness, but I've had friends in Miami (not many) who opted to be the "no car" guy, and everyone would bitch about them behind their backs. Seriously, without a car you also become a social pain in the ass.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meltzer
    Jess, are you "that girl" who always needs a ride somewhere? You know,the one always asking to borrow your car to go to Costco? Just giving you some grief in all friendliness, but I've had friends in Miami (not many) who opted to be the "no car" guy, and everyone would bitch about them behind their backs. Seriously, without a car you also become a social pain in the ass.
    Nope, I'm 'that girl' who turns down rides and gets there myself. The only time I have ever had a ride anywhere it was to a 411 meet up from Santana, and that was more down to not knowing anyone! And on the way back I got the metro mover and bus home :-P
    Oh, and Santana gave me a ride to the airport once too...she's a honey :) Otherwise, I'm totally bike dependent...and not a social pain in the ass!

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