Southern Miami is a vast area with throngs of people, tons of businesses and attractions, and a variety of appealing neighborhoods. Given that smorgasbord of options, choosing where to live in Southern Miami presents a challenge, especially if you're moving from somewhere beyond Florida's borders. Before you start perusing ads to find your ideal Miami abode, consider what the following neighborhoods have to offer.
South Beach: The Partier's Paradise
South Beach, affectionately known as SoBe, is a densely populated neighborhood that is alive with a rich urban culture. Its miles of beaches, combined with the famous Florida sunshine, make it an attractive place for young fitness buffs who love to exercise outdoors. Indeed, anyone young in body (and in spirit) will thrive in the SoBe atmosphere.
SoBe has some of the most stunning Art Deco architecture in the world, so those with an eye for that impressive style will adore the neighborhood's vibe.
Be aware that South Beach is often crowded, and the people who fill its streets, while fun to watch, tend to lean toward the radical. For people who want a quiet existence and lots of elbow room, South Beach is not the go-to neighborhood.
Most of the residences in South Beach are apartments; standalone homes are hard to come by and have eyebrow-raising price tags. High-rise condominiums and apartments are the way to go for move-ins. Keep in mind that parking and driving in South Beach is far from a breeze. You may want to look into storage units for cars and opt for a bicycle instead.
Miami Beach: A Top-Ranked Walkable Neighborhood
Livability.com named Miami Beach the 6th best place to live in the United States. This little island is only one mile wide and seven miles long, perfect for those who want a walkable Miami neighborhood. Like South Beach, Miami Beach is often crowded and serves as a magnet for tourists, so prep yourself to deal with crowds if you move there.
Of course, crowds aren't what make Miami Beach one of the best places to live. It is the gorgeous scenery, the thriving businesses, diverse culture, and fascinating art galleries, museums, and architecture – you'll never run out of things to do in Miami Beach. Mt. Sinai Hospital, one of the best medical facilities in the nation, also is in Miami Beach.
Like many areas of Florida, Miami Beach sees a significant number of seasonal residents. If you have a boat and are joining the ranks of part-time Miami Beach residents, know that boat storage on the island isn't easy to come by. Seasonal residents might consider putting their boats into storage before departing to their other residences.
Key Biscayne: A Luxurious and Residential Neighborhood
This barrier island, just south of Miami Beach, has a well-deserved reputation for beauty. The natural scenery, combined with the abundance of opulent homes, make it a retiree's paradise. The island boasts plentiful bike paths, a luxurious resort, and a feeling of quietude that other parts of the Miami area lack.
Of course, you don't need to have an AARP membership to live in the luxury neighborhood of Key Biscayne. The island has some highly ranked schools, so if your budget allows you to scoop up one of the stunning homes there, rest assured that it is a neighborhood well-suited for families.
South Miami: Miami's Little Sister
This municipality, one of the oldest in Florida, was officially established in 1927, when the town swore in its first mayor. Since then, South Miami has grown decade after decade and is now one of the state's best places to live. There are many schools and businesses, making it a good spot for well-educated workers with families to settle down. If your work takes you to the city of Miami proper, you don't have far to go; South Miami is only three miles away from Miami's southern border (but time your commute so that morning traffic doesn't defeat you).
Coral Gables: Green and Serene
Coral Gables contains a pleasant mixture of businesses and residential areas. There are apartments, detached homes, and townhouses—something to fit every lifestyle. Coral Gables is an excellent choice if you're a boat enthusiast. The area's wide canals and 40 miles of waterfront property make it relatively easy to find a place to keep your prized vessel. There also are plenty of indoor boat storage options available in the area for boat owners to choose from.
The area is a good place if you have young children. There are excellent private and public schools, and the traffic circles in the neighborhoods add an extra element of safety. About 30 percent of Coral Gables is dedicated green space, so there is little chance that unending rows of buildings will overwhelm your senses.
Students also love Coral Gables. The University of Miami is in the area, and downtown Coral Gables has plenty to entertain. In addition, a free trolley in downtown makes navigating the retail and business areas easy even without a personal vehicle.
Coconut Grove: Laid-Back by the Bay
Just east of Coral Gables, you'll find Coconut Grove. This historic neighborhood has breathtaking scenery, a relaxed atmosphere, and easy access to Biscayne Bay. The thriving nightlife, charming outdoor cafés, and beautiful boutiques make it attractive to young people. The Barnacle Historic State Park and the Kampong Tropical Garden are a few of Coconut Grove's best attractions.
Coral Terrace: Convenient but Crowded
Coral Terrace, which is northwest of Coral Gables, has all the amenities that working class and young professional families could want. There are businesses everywhere, meaning you never have to go far to grab some groceries or fill up the gas tank.
The area is particularly well-suited for students; it is only a few miles away from the University of Miami, so roommates are easy to find. Those pursuing a career in the military may also like Coral Terrace, since it is fairly close to an Air Force base.
Pinecrest: For Affluent Young Families
Pinecrest, an area just south of Coral Gables, is a lovely neighborhood with a high income per capita, a stable housing market, and a convenient location. The schools have high ratings, and the average commute time to work (according to city-data.com) is just under 30 minutes. Pinecrest is great for business people on the go, since the village has selective free Wi-Fi spots in key locations.
Brickell: The "Manhattan of South Miami"
This neighborhood, just south of downtown Miami, gets its "Manhattan" sobriquet from its tall buildings and urban vibe. Brickell has a high concentration of international banks, making it a prime place for recent finance graduates to pursue a career. (Also, with all the banks in the area, the plentiful street lights make it relatively safe to walk around, even at night.) Although many of the residence options are pricey, a diligent search will unveil something with a reasonable monthly rent.
Like the idea of Brickell but not sure about living somewhere with so much hustle and bustle? Brickell Key is a gated island with gorgeous homes and an upscale feel.
The above are just a sampling of the options available in the Southern Miami area. There is a nook there to suit everyone, including retirees, fresh-faced college students, and blossoming families. Before you move, take a trip to the area to scope out the best neighborhood for you.