Moving to Miami? Here’s what you need to know

Moving to Miami? Here’s what you need to know

by Team NextBurb 15 January 2021

Moving Guides By City

An epicenter of beach culture, business, and the arts, Miami is a city full of adventure and surprises.

Here’s everything you need to know about moving to this sunbathed metropolis.

A panoramic view of scenic Miami

Quick facts about Miami

  • Miami weather is either perfectly warm or unbearably hot.

    While warm temps and sunny skies make the beach accessible almost year-round, high humidity levels can be unpleasant in the summer.

    The city is also susceptible to flooding with changes in sea level and is hurricane-prone.
  • Miami is one of the most diverse cities in the country.

    Its Cuban and Central American heritage and culture are celebrated through cuisine and annual festivals throughout the city.

    Latin American influences can be found in Miami’s music scene and public art as well.
  • A city full of transplants, retirees, and beach-lovers, Miami is a place of unique, evolving culture.

    You’ll hear many stereotypes of Miami culture, whether it’s being notoriously late to appointments, driving aggressively, or kissing new acquaintances on the cheek.

    Miami is a fun-loving city where going against the grain is celebrated and appreciated.

What to Know About Miami

Population & History

The Miami area was settled in 1500s by a Spanish admiral who displaced the local Tequesta tribe to set up a mission and settlement.

In late 1800s, a wealthy business owner named Julia Tuttle convinced the owner of the Florida East Coast Railway to extend to the Miami area, a move that made Miami accessible to the nation and enabled its growth and rise in prominence. Today, Miami is considered the only major city in the United States founded by a woman.

Miami Weather

Miami is the southernmost major city in the United States and has a tropical monsoon climate.

Located at sea level on the eastern coast of Florida, it is directly affected by weather over the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Coast. Between November and May, temperatures range between 68 and 80℉.

From June to October, the wet season will bring highs of 90℉. Humidity is high in the summer but is often offset in the afternoon by heavy thunderstorms.

Peak hurricane season occurs in late summer, although flooding can affect Miami during other wet months as well.

Miami is also predicted to be one of the cities most affected by climate change as sea levels rise, and local real estate experts predict a drop in value for properties lower in elevation over the next decade.

Thunderhead over Miami

Top Attractions in Miami

Whether it’s spending your weekends at the beach or checking out contemporary art, Miami has something just for you.

Here are some of the best-known and up-and-coming attractions that the city has to offer.

A sunny day on Miami Beach

Places to Visit

  • Miami Beach: The Miami experience isn’t complete without a trip to the beach, but where to begin?

    South Beach is hands-down the most iconic public beach. It’s busy, but you’ll see colorful Art Deco concession stands and maybe even some beach-side film sets during your visit.

    For a calmer experience, head to 21st and 45th Beach. This spot has less grandeur but more space to stretch out your towel and catch a tan. For those with kids in tow, Crandon Park has shallow water to play in, tennis courts and even grills for a barbecue picnic.
  • Explore the Art Deco district: You won’t have to stray far from the beach to find a different kind of beauty: the glamorous Art Deco architecture of South Beach.

    Compared with the harsh metallic take on style in New York and Chicago, Miami’s buildings on Ocean Drive add funky color and charisma to this shining era of American opulence.

    Take a guided tour or visit at night to see the city under glowing neon lights.
  • Tour Miami’s beautiful old buildings: Maybe it’s the grand Spanish influence on the architecture, or perhaps the city’s tangled love affair with both glamour and crime, but Miami’s legendary mansions and historic estates are breathtaking and full of intrigue.

    Take a day trip south to Deering Estate, a sprawling Mediterranean-revival mansion and garden from 1920s that today is committed to environmental conservation.

    Also built in 1920s, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is perhaps the most beautiful public swimming pool in the country, and it’s open to the public.

    For a cocktail with a side of murder, make reservations at the Onyx Bar, located in what was the mansion of fashion designer Gianni Versace before he was shot and killed in 1970s.

    Tour the Italian-inspired Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove, where manicured gardens and opulent indoor spaces provide a clandestine glimpse into luxurious history.
  • See iconic public art: Miami’s Wynwood district is known as one of the most Instagrammed neighborhoods in the United States. Walls and parking garages in this area are covered with vibrant street art, graffiti, and murals by well-known street artists from all over the country.

    Walk the streets for free or take a guided tour of the official Wynwood Walls Park (all proceeds support artists and the center).

    You can also dine at great restaurants like 1-800 Lucky or James Beard Award winner Alter and grab some dairy-free ice cream for one last art walk from plant-based ice cream shop Nabati.
A building in Miami’s Art Deco district

Outdoor Experiences near Miami

While the beach takes the cake of outdoor activities in Miami, there are plenty of other ways to get in some sun and find adventure.

Rent a kayak at Oleta River State Park to spot wildlife along scenic, mangrove-lined waterways.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a carefully designed park with thousands of lush, tropical plants: if you need to get off your feet, take the 45-minute tram ride through the garden to catch a glimpse of endangered and rare plants and trees.

While tourists overrun parts of the Everglades National Park, there are trails for hikers of all experience levels.

The park even offers backcountry camping areas for serious outdoor explorers.

The cool water of Everglades National Park

To Eat

Miami’s food scene is good news for the taste buds.

There’s almost too much to talk about. With fresh seafood and Cuban and Latin American influences, Miami’s restaurants serve up legendary dishes that are often as eye-catching as they are tasty.

Here are some of the best dishes and where to find them:

Cafe Cubano and accompanying pastries: To start the morning in true Miami fashion, try Cuban coffee.

Cafe Cubano is served in a variety of ways, but the base consists of strong espresso mixed with sugar, a tasty and addictive way to start the day.

You’ll find coffee served in almost every Miami window through shop windows (ventanitas).

Of course, a coffee isn’t complete without something to eat.

Pick up a tasty empanada, a savory pastry served at popular spots like Novecento.

If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, El Brazo Fuerte Bakery serves delicious pastelitos, puff pastries filled with jam or Nutella.

Seafood: Florida is surrounded on three sides by water, so it should come as no surprise that Miami restaurants serve some of the most innovative seafood dishes in the country.

Miami ceviche is legendary and is often served with plantain chips at well-known joints like Pubbelly Sushi and Coral Cafe. Kush Hospitality has locations all across the city that celebrate local cuisine (including key lime pies and burgers) and serves alligator bites with a spicy, creamy dipping sauce.

From October to May, join the lines outside Joe’s Stone Crab for famous, in-season stone crab claws.

Cuban and Latin American cuisine: Miami holds nothing back in celebrating its Cuban and Latin American heritage. Arepas are Venezuelan cornmeal biscuits often stuffed with melted cheese and marinated pork or beef.

You’ll find creative variations served at restaurants and food trucks across the city (La Latina and Doggi’s Arepa Bar, to name a few).

Miami’s self-proclaimed most famous restaurant is Versailles, and while it’s often a tourist destination, the food lives up to the hype.

Try the vaca frita, shredded steak marinated with onions and a hint of lime.

Of course, there’s also the Cuban sandwich, available almost anywhere you go but especially worthwhile at quaint Sanguich de Miami and Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop.

Shrimp ceviche served with plantain chips

Living in Miami

Miami’s top employers

Over the past decade, Miami has become a hotspot for the financial, commercial, and healthcare industries.

Top employers include Baptist Health South Florida, the University of Miami, and American Airlines, which operates more planes outside Miami International Airport than any other nearby airport.

Citibank and Wells Fargo are two of the top financial employers in the area.

The Port of Miami is often referred to as the Cruise Capital of the World, although the industry has been brought largely to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before 2020, Carnival Cruiselines and Royal Caribbean International were the two largest cruise lines in Miami.

Miami also serves as the headquarters for many Latin American companies and is the most prominent U.S. city for Spanish-language film and music.

The median household income in the Miami metro area is $54,239. The city’s annual job growth rate is .9%, which is lower than the U.S. job growth rate but was also largely affected by COVID-19.

Working from home in Miami

Miami is a hotspot for innovative thinking, entrepreneurship, and creative folks who want to think outside the box. Dozens of coworking spaces across the city cater to freelancers and startups who want alternative workspaces and opportunities to build communities.

Rent shared or private space at WeWork’s Miami location, build your network at TamboWorks, or take advantage of pet-friendly policy at 360 Spaces.

Artists and creative professionals can also find support, workspace, and networking events at MADE and Yo Miami Space Gallery & Studio.

Miami has a wide range of internet providers for any home office needs. Both AT&T and Xfinity serve the entire Miami area with internet speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps.

Xfinity’s plans start at $29.99/month, while AT&T runs a little higher at $35.00/month.

Cost of Living

Miami’s cost of living is 15% higher than the national average.

Housing and transportation costs are higher than average, although healthcare and utility costs are below national rates.

The median value of a two-bedroom home is $183,734 and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1700 (although beachfront properties tend to be much more expensive).

While living expenses in Miami are high, taxes are relatively low. Sales tax is just below the national average of 7.12%, and the city doesn’t charge any income tax.

The Miami metro area has an average property tax rate of 2.1%, but rates vary by city.

Transportation & Commute

Miami is a sprawling, busy city, and its public transit behaves much the same way.

The buses, train lines, and trolleys that serve the city are mostly effective but take some experience to navigate.

The bus system is comprehensive but is subject to Miami’s notorious rush hour and often experiences delays or route changes.

The Miami trolley is free and runs through more touristy parts of the city.

If you need to commute from a neighborhood or suburb, you’ll probably want access to a stop along one of Miami’s three train lines: Metromover (focused downtown), Metrorail (which runs north-south), or Tri-rail, which covers the three counties of the Miami metro area.

Miami International Airport (MIA) serves the Miami metro area and is the largest airport for flights between the United States and Latin American countries.

It is a central hub for American, Frontier, and LATAM. MIA is a 40-minute train ride and only a 12-minute drive from downtown Miami.

A bridge to one of the many islands that make up Miami

Best places to live in Miami

Best neighborhoods for families with kids:

  • Palmetto Bay: 30 minutes south of Miami, the city ranks consistently as one of Miami's best suburbs.

    Nicknamed the Village of Parks, Palmetto Bay has green spaces for families and pets to roam.

    Median home prices are a little high at $614,967, but the top-ranked schools make this town worth the price.
  • Pinecrest: Just north of Palmetto Bay is Pinecrest, one of the more affluent communities near Miami.

    With a median home price of $1,098,872, this neighborhood has contemporary mansions, quick access to the water, and impeccably clean streets.

    Excellent schools and community programs add to the appeal as well.
  • Key Biscayne: This town is located on a scenic island six miles south of Miami.

    For views of the water in every direction and laid-back energy, homes in Key Biscayne are well worth the price tag of $986,624.

Best neighborhoods for young professionals

  • Miami Beach: What better place to live than on the beach itself?

    Only 20 minutes from downtown, Miami Beach provides weekend activities, social energy, and unbeatable nightlife.

    Homes are surprisingly affordable if you can find a good deal, with the median home price at $325,796.
  • North Bay Village: North Bay Village has water access and a fun, fast-paced city culture without the higher price tag.

    Surrounded by water on almost every side, it’s an excellent neighborhood for beach access and shopping, all within a five-minute walk.

    Condos and single-families run for a median home price of $295,691 in this diverse offshore community.
  • Glenvar Heights: Located 30 minutes inland from downtown Miami is Glenvar Heights, a town with above-average public schools and quick access to shopping and amenities.

    With the beach only 20 minutes away, it’s an excellent place for young couples and families.

    The median home price in Glenvar Heights is $421,280.
A sunset over Miami

Higher Education

Miami is home to two accredited institutions for undergraduate courses.

The University of Miami is a privately-owned school in Coral Gables, which ranks sixth in the state.

Miami Dade College is a community college that offers two-year programs at affordable rates to nearby residents.

Crime in Miami

While the crime rates in Miami are 77% higher than the national average, many surrounding suburbs, including those mentioned above, have much lower rates and are considered safe and secure places to live for families and young professionals alike.

Specific neighborhoods, including Overtown and Model City, have higher-than-average rates compared to other areas of Miami.

Learn more about crime rates in particular neighborhoods to feel comfortable and safe wherever you go.

Are you considering Miami as your next home?

Sunny skies and a fun-loving, entrepreneurial culture make Miami an irresistible city to call home.
If you can withstand hot summer temperatures and slow rush hour traffic, this city is a place full of opportunity, adventure, and oceanic beauty.

Here at Nextburb, we’re committed to providing you with the facts you need to know about any area you’re considering as a future home.

Discover the best places to live in the United States to find out more about neighborhoods to live in, school ratings, crime data, and real estate options.

We’ll provide you with recommendations based on your lifestyle and budget preferences to help you discover where you want to go.

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