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  1. #21
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Yeah, Gables/South Miami is NOTHING like Westwood. As a matter of fact, if you want a place that reminds you of LA, Miami is not it. That's really the best part of Miami I think, it's nothing like LA. So if you're tired of that area, Miami might be a good choice for you.

    If you are tired of the fast lane, avoid South Beach. Period. No matter what people say, that's the area with all the action you see on the Travel Channel and whatnot.


    I will throw down another vote for South Miami. But seriously, don't even hypothetically think about moving here without a car. Seriously. Will be the worst mistake you make.

  2. #22
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    Thanks, guys...I love L.A. but am ready for a change. Don't expect Miami to be an L.A. twin. Spent the last two years in Colombia and Argentina so the upscale Latin vibe works for me...

    Sounds like the Miami fantasy of having a happening hood that is single thirties friendly, convenienty located, walkable, but not Miami Vice may not be possible down that way (it's actually Santa Monica), but jazzed for the new adventure. I like to play and go out, I'm just not into spending a couple of hundred bucks on up to hang with the young twenties party set. Did it for a decade and need to build back the cash reserves. Getting the impresion that both South Miami and Coral Gables are both really nice little enclaves which win in the convenience factor if ya have to commute, but may not have the level of upscale action I am looking for. I mean, I am coming solo without a set group of friends or family connects, so I need to be in the mix. Would rather have too much around me, and have to find the key spots that work for me than feel like I moved cross country only to miss the real Miami experience?

    Looking for the 26-35 single professional crowd -- rather than the club scene. So long as I have my own 6-7 spots, a whole foods, and some hot and cool non Sobe girls to choose from, good to go, even if South Beach is the place to find that as well. Maybe there are some neighborhoods a few blocks away from South beach that have a little counterculture and are the best of both worlds?

    The search is on...Really grateful to have you guys point me in the right direction.

    Curious...If you live in South Beach how long does is take to get to Coral Gables or downtown during rush hour? Are you pretty much island locked? Work and live there or it's not worth the headache?

  3. #23
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Bond Girl, if you live in South Miami where I live, it's extremely walkable. It is so walkable, that sometimes when I drive, I smack my wrist and remind myself that I'm only doing it because I have to go somewhere else later or because I want to avoid the sun. It's ridiculously walkable. Much better than South Beach actually. WHy just tonight I went to Jake's Pub and stopped at the corner store for milk on the way back, without using my car. But as I've pointed out before, it all depends on how close you live to the major commercial areas.

    Miamitime, by the way, South Miami has a fully stocked Whole Foods, which is amazing. Actually, technically it's in Coral Gables because it's on the other side of Red Road, but yes, it's basically in South Miami.

    The Whole Foods in South Beach (called Wild Oats) is great too, but it's more limited in its offerings.

    There are some groovy up and coming neighborhoods near South Beach (midtown, Biscayne corridor) but they just aren't as walkable as the areas I've mentioned. They have cool buildings but your surroundings are sort of crack ghetto. Downtown Miami still has to develop its area for regular commercial nightlife and infrastructure like in most major cities.

    Matt is right though. I am 100% supporter of needing a car in Miami. Even though South Miami is great, I need my car to get about elsewhere, in spite of being close to metrorail. For example, I couldn't go party at the beach or downtown without my car. Forget about taking the rail or public transport at night. But the distance is very reasonable and short by car. And the great thing about Coral Gables or South Miami is that you might actually find a place to rent where parking your car is not such a major headache. Your apartment might actually include parking for free -- not necessarily the case in Miami Beach or Brickell.

  4. #24
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    There's one of those converted Wild Oats/Whole Foods a block from where I live -- it's WF in name only. Need the master ship with home made pizzas, taco bar, chinese take out and the massive never ending food case and hot bars...:)

    Anyway, can't seem to find any good sites that have a visual tour and lots of pics of the South Miami and Coral Gables prime/target areas you speak of. Just a lone pic here and there, and shots of residential housing. Any suggestions?

    A buddy of mine in Argentina who was starting a rental site began going out on weekends with a video camera and just walking the main streets of selected barrios with a video camera and posting his tours. Drove a tremendous amount of traffic to the site. Anything like that to link to here? Can't all be Sobe...

  5. #25
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi Miamitime,

    Yeah, we have the mother ship here in South Miami, LOL! It is a blessing for my tummy and a curse for my wallet :-)

    I don't know of any sites other than the official South Miami one.

    But you just gave me an idea ... I'll attach my iPhone to my dashboard camera mount and do a live stream video later this afternoon when I head out.

  6. #26
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Actually, you can browse some of my photos on Flickr

    Matheson Hammock

    This banyan tree is around the corner from downtown South Miami. I bring visitors here all the time and they are awed by it. It's hard to appreciate in the photo, actually. It encompasses two backyards!!! Around the corner is a historic cemetery that is covered with lush native foliage and is a beautiful place to walk. This part of the city is where the early pioneers lived in the late 19th century, so there are tombstones from the civil war era even. It sounds creepy, but actually it's not. Pinewood Cemetery has been restored and preserved beautifully.

    If you're a plant lover lover like me, this area of South Miami/Coral Gables is a gorgeous place to live. There are even hiking trails, which I hope our member Doug is going to write about. We did a trek there not long ago.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #27
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    Awesome. Thanks, maria. Saw that anemic South Miami site. Terrible. Looking forward to the iphone tour of your happening hood!

  8. #28
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    Cute picture Maria!

  9. #29
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi miamitime!

    OK, as promised here are two videos. These were shot from my iphone on a dashboard camera mount. They were then submitted via the 3G network to Qik, which is a live streaming technology. (iPhone doesn't live stream yet, but they're working on it.)

    Anyway, it was a rainy afternoon. I tried to do Old Cutler Road, but the drizzle just made it impossible.

    These are by far not all-encompassing of Coral Gables/South Miami. But you do get an idea of how pretty some sections are.

    Drive-by: Coral Gables (Venetian Pool/Granada Boulevard/Biltmore Hotel area)

    Drive-by: Coral Gables/South Miami (on this drive you can't really see the storefronts and there is typical school zone afternoon traffic, but everything I've described, Whole Foods, markets, shops, bookstores, movies, restaurants, bars, ice cream, banks, gyms, etc ; is all within this walking distance ... heck, there is even a strip joint, believe it or not!)

    PS ... the music was from the radio, South Florida classical, my fave station here!

  10. #30
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    Thanks, Maria...You rock. If ever you get the urge and happen to be nearby, it would be great to have a few minutes of the miracle mile area you were talking about.

    There's definitely convenient shopping around sunset plaza, but is it also a place where people congregate and hang out? What's kind of cool about where I live right now is that there is everything within 10 square blocks. 50 restaurants, dozens of bars/lounges, shopping, supermarkets, the beach, lots of spots where there is action or none at all. And there are cool pocket neighborhoods within the cool neighborhood. All within a mile...

    You can really live well in Santa Monica without a car. I understand Miami is not the same but was just hoping to find a small contained area that has got it all. It's sounding like South Beach comes the closest to that but then you have to contend with being a little trapped on the island and the plastic Miami scene.

    The video really helps a lot...Maybe we can start a trend and you can set up another forum where people can submit their own of their hoods...

  11. #31
    Member sungal's Avatar
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    Cute pic Maria!

    I used google earth to strool around sobe before I moved here.

  12. #32
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi Miamitime,

    People do congregate and hang out in South Miami because of that mall, Sunset Place, though because of the economy some parts of it are quite dead. But it has AMC movies, so that's a major draw, plus now it has a Splitsville bowling alley, and then of course there's the big Barnes & Noble. There are a few restaurants with outdoor seating and bars just around the corner, where people do hang out.

    I went to Miracle Mile last night, but it was too dark to take video (the iPhone doesn't have lighting.) I will tell you though I was unimpressed by how dead it was compared to downtown South Miami. There was one hot spot -- Houston's -- and that was it. The rest is lots of retail that closes at night, tons of bridal shops and women's fashion boutiques (literally -- I must've seen a dozen wedding shops, who needs all that? LOL). I didn't see people hanging out the way it is in South Miami. I went to a pub called John Martin's to see some live comedy, and that was fabulous, but it was all indoors.

    South Miami definitely seems livelier at night. It just has a little more "edge" than Miracle Mile, plus FOUR food markets within walking distance, including Whole Foods.

    I know I've pushing South Miami but you will probably enjoy South Beach provided you resist the temptation of club life. Again, in my experience, you can live there and never set foot in a club and just be a regular grown up who enjoys the occasional pub or bar. But South Beach is a lot bigger than this part of South Miami I'm talking about, so there you can use the local bus to get around. The touristy/clubby part of the island is mostly on the east side and the rest of it is pretty "normal" ...

    Hope that helps!

    Yes -- doing videos is a good idea. I thought yesterday about setting up a new thread. Thanks!

  13. #33
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Though Maria corrected you, I need to reiterate it is called "Sunset Place." Not "Sunset Plaza." This way you sound like you know what you are talking about when you talk to locals in person.

    If you REALLY want to sound like you know the area, just keep calling it "Bakery Center."

  14. #34
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    Thanks, guys. Yeah, Sunset Plaza is out here in Hollywood. Showing my roots. Really appreciate all the great advice on this site. If I choose to live in South Beach south of fifth for a few months while I scout out the scene, and South Miami/Coral Gables etc, how trapped will I be, if I need to commute downtown?

    In L.A. there are a couple of major areas where most businesses tend to locate. Does Miami have a couple of business centers/corridors or is everything spread out all over?

  15. #35
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    Time Out Miami has a really good map in the back that paints a clear picture of South Beach. Thinking that that is where I am going to land cause I can always dial down the action a couple of months in and head out to Coral Gables or South Miami if it's not what I am looking for.

    It looks like the area just north of Lincoln and Collins/Ocean towards Mid beach would be really convenient with lots of stuff nearby and relatively easy freeway access. Is there a big difference in the neigborhoods around 18-23rd and SOFI? Big difference in price? Bus access? Nearby markets? Knowing what I am looking for where would ya choose?

    Also it seems like once you hit Washington and go west the neighborhoods drop fast. Is there cheap, commercial office space around the Sobe area a couple of blocks west from the action? Makes sense to set up a small telesales operation so ya never have to leave the island unless you want to...Stuff like that exist?

  16. #36
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    Reading some other posts...Looks like West ave and Lincoln might be just the ticket? Quiet but close to the action...walkable...easy freeway access...nice apartments at a good price...Sofi vs. West ave/Linclon or Mid beach as close to South Beach as possible? Which?

    Want a cool, quiet spot that's right by the fun and markets.

  17. #37
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    I will write about it very soon, Maria!

    I wish I could say there was a nice little enclave that fits everything miamitime is describing. I fear that it's in Key West, though.

  18. #38
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    This seems to say it very well...SoFi for neighborhood feel and beach, West ave/Lincoln for shopping, action and access?

    http://forums.miamibeach411.com/inde...ewthread/2641/

    Anything to add? How's the area by the convention center? that seems close to the beach and action. Where does it start to get a little quiet?

  19. #39
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Jupiter?

    Miamitime, I think the only way you're going to really get your own idea of the neighborhoods is to spend some time in these areas. Otherwise, you're depending on second hand experiences tainted by individual perception.

    I will say that South Beach isn't cheap. It's somewhat of a boutique market. It's not to say it's not enjoyable, but it seems to be growing ever pricier.

  20. #40
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    Ha! Alright, my man...I hear ya.

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