From the Art Deco allure of South Beach to the tranquility of Surfside, Miami has something for everyone. Whether you’re a recent college graduate looking for a place to live or a family relocating to the area, zeroing in on the right Miami neighborhood is easier when you understand the basic characteristics of the most popular options. There’s no question that life in Miami is great, but some neighborhoods are better suited to growing families while others are seemingly designed for the young, hip and single. Even after pinpointing a specific neighborhood on which to focus your search, you’ll still want to dig deeper to ensure that your new home is within a convenient distance of the services and amenities that you need the most.
South Beach – South of Fifth Street
For those who are unfamiliar with Miami, South Beach is often abbreviated to “SoBe”. It’s further divided into two sections, and the area south of Fifth Street is known as SoFi. SoFi is one of the most exclusive enclaves in Miami proper, and it’s where you’ll find glistening high-rise condo developments and secluded homes with impeccable landscaping. The neighborhood is surrounded by water on three sides, so it’s easy to see why it’s such a desirable place to live. While it’s not where you’ll find the most popular clubs and restaurants in South Beach, it’s close enough to allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
While SoFi tends to attract professionals and families, younger people and those who are lifelong members of the jet-set crowd tend to gravitate to South Beach proper. This perennially hip neighborhood is best known for its stunning Art Deco buildings and eclectic nightlife. Much like New York City, this part of town never really sleeps. At any given moment, you’re liable to run across models posing for photo shoots and film crews setting up scenes. Constant excitement is the name of the game here. If you want to be right in the thick of things, a condo or apartment here would be right up your alley. Just make sure you have the means to pay for it because this area has some of the highest rents and real estate prices in Miami.
It’s easy to dismiss Miami’s downtown as little more than a bustling commercial district that goes silent after dark. However, that’s changed a lot in the last few years. Downtown is actually made up of several distinct neighborhoods. Each one offers its own unique characteristics. Most Miami residents define downtown as the area between I-95 and Biscayne Bay. In terms of real estate, you’ll find everything from high-rise apartment complexes to stately single-family homes. Small stretches of stores, restaurants, and bars dot the landscape as well, and it’s usually not necessary to leave the neighborhood to find what you need. Although many professionals move here to be near the central business district, there are smatterings of students and young married couples here as well.
Millionaire’s Row, which is also known as Mid Beach, is where you’ll find Miami’s most exclusive condominium and apartment complexes. Due to that exclusivity, these tony addresses fetch sky-high prices. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, you should be prepared to hand over a fairly staggering amount of money. If you have the means, it’s well worth it. In the last few years, many glimmering new developments have been built in this upscale area, which is sandwiched between North Beach and South Beach. Some of the most respected architects of today have made their marks here, so Millionaire’s Row is awash in beautiful buildings that really capture the eye. In addition to offering a wide range of housing options, Mid Beach is a veritable playground where locals and visitors can sail, dine, shop and go clubbing to their hearts’ content.
Biscayne Corridor, which is sometimes referred to as Midtown, has really blossomed in the last few years. It has traditionally been a fairly quiet place, but a boom in commercial real estate development is changing that. It seems like new stores and restaurants pop up here every day, and older homes are being joined by exquisite new high-rise apartments and other developments. One of the perks of living in Biscayne Corridor is fact that rents and housing prices tend to be reasonable when compared with many nearby neighborhoods. This isn’t likely to remain the case. If you’re looking for a great deal in Miami, then, you’d be wise to set your sights on Biscayne Corridor.
Brickell is technically part of the downtown district, but it deserves a special mention here due to its somewhat unique characteristics. Most notably, Brickell is dominated by office buildings and other commercial developments, so it isn’t usually at the top of people’s lists when looking for places to live in Miami. However, there are plenty of surprising benefits to considering Brickell. If you are a young professional and work downtown, it’s a nice, affordable, quiet place to live. Brickell isn’t home to many bars or restaurants, so it’s generally not popular with college students or young, single people. Its carefully planned design sets it apart from other Miami neighborhoods, which usually have meandering, confusing streets and lots of unique nooks and crannies.
The area between 87th Street and 96th Street is known as Surfside, and it’s wildly popular with growing families and families with older children. Empty nesters tend to flock here as well. Its quiet, residential streets feature pleasant mixes of older and newer homes. Residents take pride in their homes, so yards and houses are kept in excellent shape. Surfside has a wonderful, old-fashioned shopping district, where you can buy groceries, enjoy a coffee or pick up a variety of specialized goods. This neighborhood also boasts some of the best services in Miami, and a variety of recreational and entertainment options are run by the local government. The presence of several excellent hotels and resorts also ensures a steady stream of tourists, which helps to keep locals on their toes.
Sunny Isles Beach
Although Miami has been settled for years, the locals still find ways to expand upon it. Sunny Isles Beach is a prime example. This unique neighborhood is situated on a barrier island that stretches between 156th and 194th streets. Because it’s tucked between North Miami Beach and Miami Beach, it enjoys a central and convenient location. People have been living here since the 1950s, but it wasn’t officially incorporated until 1997. In addition to offering beautiful, sandy beaches and five parks, Sunny Isles is ground zero for new real estate development in Miami. Several sleek, gorgeously designed skyscrapers and high rises have been built over the last few years, which is quickly making it one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Miami.
The area between 63rd Street and 87th Street is known as North Beach, which is simply called NoBe by locals. After the big real estate development boom ended over in South Beach, the city’s best developers set their sights on North Beach. Before that, it was a fairly quiet, unassuming place. It’s been completely revitalized, though, and now offers everything from luxurious single-family homes right on the ocean to ultra-exclusive condominium developments. The North Beach Resort Historic District, which features lovingly restored and preserved examples of the WWII-era architectural style known as Miami Modern, lends the neighborhood a richly historic feel. One thing the neighborhood isn’t known for is its club scene, so this is a safe bet for people who prefer more serene surroundings.
For most people, Bal Harbour is synonymous with high-end boutiques and upscale restaurants. There’s no question that this Miami neighborhood is home to some of the most exclusive commercial developments in the area. Although it’s technically located 12 miles from the city limits, it’s still close enough to be treated as an extension of Miami. There are many gated communities here, which are popular with young families and empty nesters alike. Premium shopping is one of the main attractions, but there are miles of beaches that offer swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. There’s a surprising mix of options in terms of apartments, with low-rise developments and high-rise developments comingling with ease. Bougainvillea sets the perfect backdrop for the tinkling fountains and majestic palms that line the stately streets and avenues of this beautiful neighborhood.
While there are certainly many expensive, exclusive enclaves in Miami, there are numerous options for people with more limited budgets as well. The city is a veritable melting pot, and people from all walks of life and many different means are drawn here from all over the country. When you start your search for a place to live in Miami, you’re sure to be overwhelmed. After narrowing it down to a few promising neighborhoods, though, you should be able to arrive at the right decision with ease. Life in Miami is unique and exciting, and it’s even better when you’re able to find a neighborhood that suits your needs perfectly.