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Living in Miami

A Comprehensive Guide About Living Well in Miami

Relocating to Miami? Our guide to living in the city will give you everything you need to make this vibrant, Floridian city your home. With over four miles of white, sandy beaches, temperate weather, and authentic Latin food, there are many reasons to love Miami. However, there are also reasons for frustration, such as people’s tendency to run on the late and often unreliable “Miami time.”

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

When you think of life in Miami, you may think it is a city only for the rich and glamorous. Images similar to those of coastal metropolises such as Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro spring to mind: toned, tanned bodies working out under the sun; celebrity-filled yacht parties; swanky rooftop bars. While this glitzy, glamorous lifestyle is true for some areas of Miami, it is also possible to find a slower-pace, quiet lifestyle if that is more your scene.

Move inland from South Beach and you will find small neighborhoods reminiscent of “old Florida.” Time seems to move slower and residents know each neighbor by name. Then there are some streets so influenced by Latin culture, you will swear you have stumbled upon a portal to South America.

Have we piqued your interest? Read on for a look at what life is like in Miami. This guide provides a brief overview of the cost and culture you can expect to experience in the city, as well as tips for living in this Florida metropolis.

Life as a Foreigner

At a Glance

  • Miami has been rated the 5th most walkable city in the US.
  • Considering only the city proper, Miami is the second most populated area in Florida. Jacksonville is the first.
  • When people talk about Miami, they may be talking about Miami-Dade County, which is considerably larger than the city of Miami.

If you are relocating to Miami, you will want to know what it is like to live in the city. What are the practicalities of living there? Is it safe? Expensive? What are the pros and cons of living there?

Whether you are moving to Miami next month or next year, InterNations GO! provides the relocation services you need to comfortably settle in this sunny, diverse city.

An Overview of Life in Miami

Since its relatively recent founding in 1896, Miami has earned itself several nicknames: the Gateway to the Americas, the Capital of Latin America, The Cruise Capital of the World, and The Magic City. “The Magic City” came about because of the city’s rapid growth. It is no secret that a large amount of Florida’s population is made of retirees from the Northern and Midwestern United States. Each year when these retirees (termed “snowbirds” because of their propensity to migrate for winter) returned to Miami, they commented that the city’s growth was so rapid it seemed magical.

As a foreigner in Miami, you will quickly learn that there are very few native Miamians. In a population of nearly 500,000 residents in the Miami metropolitan area, it is estimated about 60% are born internationally. The city’s over 70% Latin population has earned it the nickname of “Capital of Latin America.” Nationals from Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Colombia have particularly large communities here. The Little Havana neighborhood is so prominent it even has its own official flag.

The Miami Lifestyle

Miami’s lifestyle is largely dictated by two factors: the beach and its Latin population. As a coastal city, Miami runs on what is often termed “island time.” In Miami, this is called “Miami time.” Lifestyles and events do not run on the fast-paced, strict time schedule that you will see in other cities such as London or New York. When meeting people in Miami, do not be surprised if they show up late or, sometimes, not show up at all. “Miami time” is laidback and even forgetful at times. If you are stood up for a planned meet, do not be too offended. The longer you live in the city, the more likely you are to live on Miami time as well.

Miami Residents: Active and Social

Being beside the beach and having year-round warm weather, Miami residents are also very active. Going to the gym is a weekly, if not daily, activity for most Miamians. You will also see many people going for runs along the ocean or on the city sidewalks. This is because the weather promotes this type of activity and there is the ever-present expectation of having a “beach body.”

In addition to working out outside, Miami residents also socialize outside often. This means drinks and meals on outdoor patios, parties at the beach, or even a social event on a boat. Residents will also duck inside often for a blast of cool air-conditioned air, but on average Miamians like to be outside enjoying their home’s pleasant weather.

The Latin Influence

Given the large Latin population, much of Miami’s lifestyle is also influenced by the blending of different South American cultures. For example, while a simple handshake greeting is common throughout most of the US, in Miami you may receive a peck on the cheek greeting. There is also no shortage of Latin music and dance clubs, and lively cultural celebrations such as Carnival.

If you are a Spanish speaker, you will feel right at home in Miami. While walking around the city’s streets, you are just as likely to hear this language spoken as you are to hear English. Likewise, if you would like to learn Spanish, Miami is an ideal location to practice your skills as the entire city is practically bilingual.

What Does it Cost to Live in Miami?

Is it expensive to live in Miami? Yes and no. The cost of living in Miami is high, but not so high as when compared to other US cities such as Los Angeles or New York. Miami is the 13th most expensive city in North America, and the 28th most expensive in the world.

The cost of living is influenced mostly by high housing prices, but this is balanced by Florida’s lack of a state income tax. Therefore, Miami residents will find themselves paying a high price for housing but keeping more of their paycheck than they would if they lived in any other US state.

The cost of living in Miami is also different than other major US cities such as New York and Chicago in that residents do not have to spend a lot of money in order to go out to eat or take in a cultural experience. For example, while the cost for a dinner for two in Miami Beach could easily run 50-80 USD, a night out in an inland neighborhood could also be as cheap as 20-30 USD.

Here is a look at some of the average costs you can expect when living in Miami:

Housing and Living
Item USD
Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment 1,200-1,800
Monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment 2,000-3,300
Buy an apartment (per square feet) 200-380
Basic Utilities 130
Cell phone plan (one person) 50-80
Basic Internet and cable 60

For more on housing in Miami, see our Housing section below.

Food and Grocery Items
Item USD
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant 15-20
One gallon of milk 3.70
One pound of chicken 3.00
One loaf of bread 2.70
One pound of rice 2.30
One bottle of wine 15.00
Domestic beer (12 ounces) 1.60
Imported beer (12 ounces) 1.80

The Pros and Cons of Living in Miami

On average, the standard of living throughout Miami is high although there are a few neighborhoods that are known for extreme poverty. There are also “shantytowns,” which are homeless communities erected under and on top of freeway bridges and overpasses. Read on to learn if living in the Magic City is right for you.

Is it Safe?

When compared to other US cities such as Chicago, LA, or Atlanta, Miami is generally safe. In the past, Miami had the reputation of a fairly dangerous city. Street muggings happened daily, and it was even common for a carjacking to occur in a crowded area in broad daylight. However, in recent years, Miami has become increasingly safe. Carjacking and gang violence are rare, and the greatest threat will be pickpocketing and scams.

Like any major city, Miami has areas that are very safe and areas to avoid. The areas that Miami locals consider unsafe are:

  • Liberty City;
  • Overtown;
  • Little Haiti;
  • stretches of Ocean Drive on South Beach (particularly between 8th and 11th street).

These areas should largely be avoided at night, but it is also wise to be aware of your surroundings during the day. In general, the risk of serious crimes such as muggings or gang violence is low, but there may be pickpockets. In addition, use caution if walking over or under bridges and overpasses as these have what are called “shantytowns” and are known for fairly high crime rates.

The Weather: Sunshine and Hurricanes

One of the first things anyone thinks about when they think of Miami is the weather. As one of the most southern cities in the US (Key West is considered the southernmost point of the country), Miami experiences weather that is ideal for shorts and flip flops nearly year-round. The annual average temperature hovers around 77°F (25°C). Winters are mild, ranging between 64 to 77°F (18—25°C) December to February. Expats from colder climates will be amused to see Miamians busting out parkas and scarves at these temperatures.

However, while these Winter temperatures mean you can spend Christmas lounging on the beach, the warm temperatures also mean that utility costs in the city are high as air conditioning is needed for nearly eight to nine months out of the year. Summer is especially brutal with temperatures staying above 90°F (32°C). They can reach 100 (38) during the middle of the day. During these months, Miami residents need to run their air conditioner almost 24/7.

In addition to the periods of extreme heat, Miami experiences one other weather extreme: hurricanes. Hurricanes, also called typhoons in other parts of the world, are not just a periodic occurrence in the US, they are a full season. Hurricane Season in the southeastern US lasts roughly from June 1st until November 30th. The ‘peak’ season is mid-August to late-October, which means you are more likely to see not only an increase in the number of hurricanes forming, but also an increase in their strength. Since Miami is a low-level city, you would need to be prepared to evacuate for hurricanes that are a category 3 or higher.

Hurricane Preparedness

While living in an area that is known for hurricanes may seem scary, in Miami it is everyday life. Miamians will even refer to hurricanes by their storm names as if they are a friend coming into town for a visit. It is also possible to buy hurricane insurance for your home and belongings.

To prepare for a hurricane, you will need to keep valuable items above the flood level. If you can, get a home with built-in hurricane shutters. You should also not go into the ocean as a hurricane gets closer to land.

Always have a hurricane kit or evacuation bag ready. An evacuation bag should be a bag that is packed with essentials, so you can spend a few nights away from home. A hurricane kit will include items that are needed should you choose to see a storm through. Useful items in these kits include:

  • battery pack and extra batteries;
  • flashlight;
  • assortment of nonperishable food items;
  • water;
  • general First Aid needs;
  • portable radio;
  • matches.

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Tips and Practical Information

In many ways, moving to Miami is like moving to any other major city. There is a public transportation system to learn, neighborhoods you should avoid, and areas that are dominated by one ethnicity. However, also like every other city, there are practical tips and information that are specific to Miami only.

Where to Get Your Social Security Number

If you plan to live in the US, even for only one year, you will need a Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for a bank account, sign a lease, register for utilities, and even visit a doctor’s office. If you plan to be in the US for less than a year, you can also get by with a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

For more information about both of these numbers and how to apply, see our extensive guide to Working in the United States and Social Security and Benefits.

Where to Get an SSN or TIN in Miami

To apply for an SSN, you can visit one of the following Miami Social Security Office locations:

  • 11100 Sw 211 Street, Miami, FL 33189
  • 16900 Nw 12 Avenue, Miami, FL 33169
  • 6101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, FL 33126
  • 1251 Nw 36th Streets, Miami, FL 33142
  • 8345 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33138
  • 11401 W Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33174

Top Phone Providers

The phone provider with the best coverage in Florida is AT&T. Following close behind are Verizon and T-Mobile. Sprint also works, but reception may be spotty and lag in rural areas such as the Everglades National Park or the Florida Keys.

Top Internet Providers

  • AT&T
  • Xfinity
  • HughesNet
  • EarthLink
  • Viasat

Top Cable TV Providers

  • DIRECTV
  • AT&T
  • Xfinity
  • Cox

Shopping Places

There is no short supply of shopping in Miami. Whether you are looking for domestic products, international goods, luxury brands, or just something cheap and casual, chances are high you will be able to find it in Miami or the surrounding areas. Below is a sampling of what you can expect to find.

Outlet Malls

Outlet malls are especially popular in Florida. These are typically outdoor, or open-air, malls meaning they are stores that are connected by outdoor sidewalks, as opposed to an indoor mall where shops and a food court are all encompassed in one gigantic building.

Outlet malls contain outlet stores (also called a factory outlet or factory shop). Each shop will sell only one brand such as Levi’s, The GAP, Zara, etc. Items at these stores are typically from the previous season and are low cost or heavily discounted.

One of the biggest outlet malls to checkout is Dolphin Mall. Local Miamians say it is the one place in the city where flip flops are not acceptable simply because of the amount of walking involved. If you go: wear shoes with good support.

Lincoln Road

Located in South Beach, Lincoln Road is a great place to window shop and have a nice meal out. This is another open-air mall where shoppers can enjoy the sunny Florida weather while perusing around shops. Known as a “premier” shopping destination, store options will please any budget. Brands range from expensive brands such as Desigual, Anthropologie, and Lululemon Athletica to lower-cost department stores such as Ross.

Bal Harbour Shops

If you are looking for high-class shopping and the chance to spot a celebrity, Bal Harbour is the place to go. Perhaps one of the ritziest malls in all of Florida, this shopping center is home to such designer brands as Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, and more.

Design District

The Design District is so expansive and all-encompassing that it is considered its own distinct neighborhood. Here you can find a medley of designer outlet stores, art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and even clubs. Miamians and tourists alike come to this district to not only ogle at new, unique pieces, but also pick up something (for a steep price) that is sure to create conversation at your next dinner party.

Supermarkets

There are plenty of places in which to shop for groceries in Miami. Some of the most popular places include:

  • Publix;
  • Whole Foods Market;
  • Trader Joe’s;
  • Miami’s Market;
  • Walmart Neighborhood Market.

It is also to find smaller bodegas in some of the Latin neighborhoods. For large expat families who prefer to buy in bulk, there is Sam’s Club.

Banks

As an international city, there are many banks and credit unions to choose from in Miami. Some of the most popular banks are:

  • Wells Fargo;
  • Bank of America;
  • Chase Bank;
  • Suncoast Credit Union;
  • First Citizens Bank.

Housing

While the cost of living in Miami is not as high as it is in other US cities such as San Francisco, New York, or Boston, the price to live in this tropical paradise will take up a large amount of your budget. Whether you want to live in the center of the city or one of the surrounding neighborhoods, be prepared to spend at least 1,000 USD per month on rent (not including utilities).

Miami Housing Market Overview

It should not come as a surprise that the Miami housing market is competitive. With all that the city has to offer foreigners and local Americans alike, Miami welcomes thousands of new residents every year. Accommodation options will vary from small studio apartments in neighborhoods outside the city center to deluxe condos in South Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Being a competitive market means you need to be organized and serious about your home search. When you arrive in Miami, it is best to have short-term accommodation already set up. InterNations GO! will help you find your temporary housing as well as find storage solutions, so you can hold your stuff until you find your perfect Florida home.

How to Find an Apartment in Miami

As an expat, what does Miami’s competitive market mean for you? Luckily, simply being a foreigner will not put you at a disadvantage when searching for a place to live in Miami. The Fair Housing Act legally mandates that landlords cannot deny a tenant due to origin, race, gender, religion, disability, or family status.

Online

To look for housing in Miami, it is best to start online. You can look at sites like Zillow, Apartments.com, and Trulia. In the US it is common for a prospective tenant to see a property before agreeing to rent or buy. If a landlord only wants to send you photos, it is best to keep searching for another place.

Newspaper Ads 

If you prefer to wait until you arrive in Miami to start searching for accommodation, it is possible to look for vacancies in local newspapers and magazines. Some real estate companies will create weekly or daily pamphlets with all of the property listings in the area. You will find these booklets in grocery stores, gas stations, local shops, and of course, real estate agencies. 

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help alleviate the home-finding stress for you. They will take your wants, needs, and budget for a home and gather an appropriate selection for you to view. It is standard for Miami landlords to pay realtor fees, so this should come at no extra cost to you.

Miami is not short on housing options and it is possible to move in within a day or two of signing a lease. In fact, property in Miami moves so quickly that you should come to each showing with the required documents and deposit ready. If you decide to wait on a place for 24 hours, you may find that it is no longer available the next day.

Need help finding a real estate agent in Miami? Our home finding services work with the best local housing partners in Miami. Our experts will help you find a place that is perfect for you, your budget, and your family.

Required Documents to Rent in Miami 

To rent in Miami, and anywhere in the US, you will be asked to provide the following documents:

  • passport;
  • proof of employment/income;
  • financial information (bank statement, proof of support, etc.);
  • credit statement;
  • Social Security Number or TIN;
  • contact information of previous landlords.

Security deposits are common, and they should not be more than two- or three-month’s rent. Generally, this will cover a security deposit (equal to one month’s rent and refundable if there are no damages to the property) and your first and last month’s rent.

For more on what you should expect when renting in the States, see our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Finding a New Home in the US.

Things to Consider When Renting in Miami

Given its oceanside location, Miami has historically been a competitive city in which to rent. Depending on where you live, renters can expect to spend 30-50 % of their monthly salary on rent alone. However, while this amount may only earn you a room or a cramped studio in uber-expensive cities such as New York City or Los Angeles, in Miami you will at least be awarded something more spacious.

How Long will it take to Find an Apartment? 

Housing in Miami is competitive. On average, most newcomers to Miami spend two to three weeks searching for accommodation. However, if you are looking to buy a condo it may take longer as you will need to be vetted and approved by the condo association.

When You Find a Place, Act Fast. 

Again, because Miami’s housing market is competitive, prospective tenants will need to act fast. Come to each apartment and house showing with the required documents and a deposit ready. If you decide to wait for even one day, you may find that the property is already taken.

The Cost of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning in Miami is not just a convenience to have, it is a necessity. With temperatures remaining in the 90s°F (30s°C) for most of the year, and an average 70% humidity, air condition will help you feel more comfortable at home, avoid heat exhaustion, and prevent mold damage inside your home. Unfortunately, this need for air conditioning also drives up utility prices. Electricity costs in Miami will easily reach 100 USD per month, and likely more during the hot summer months.

Hurricanes and Flood Lines 

As mentioned earlier, hurricanes are an unfortunate fact of life in Miami (and in most of the coastal southeastern United States). Flood and storm insurance is important for the majority of Miami households, so you will want to ask real estate agents and landlords about this when searching for a place.

If you rent or buy a place that is on the ground level (or even the second level) be sure to ask about flood lines. This is where the water is expected to rise should a hurricane come to shore. Likewise, your home should come with hurricane shutters as this is the best and easiest way to protect your goods from the storm. Because hurricane shutters are not mandatory, you should ask about them when searching for accommodation. If the property does not come with hurricane shutters, see what it may cost to have them installed.

Also because of hurricanes, floods, and Miami’s general low-lying position, basements are not common in the city, nor are they common throughout much of Florida.

Furnished or Unfurnished?

It is possible to find both furnished and unfurnished places in Miami. If you find yourself in the need to purchase your own furniture, options include major department stores such as Target or used-goods shops like Salvation Army and Good. Some of the most popular local furniture recommendations include:

  • Big Box Furniture Store
  • Modani Furniture
  • El Dorado Furniture
  • City Furniture

Average Rent in Miami

The most expensive areas of Miami are Downtown and the Brickell and Brickell Key neighborhoods. Rent in downtown Miami for a standard one-bedroom apartment will be around 2,000 USD. Brickell and Brickell Key will range between 2,200—2,700 USD per month. You will find the lowest rent in Mays Gardens and Palmer Lake-Mia Station (900 USD).

The average salary in Miami brings in about 4,000 USD per month. To live comfortably, a single expat will need to earn 3,500 USD per month. This amount includes living in a standard one-bedroom apartment, utility and grocery costs, as well as a bit extra for eating out or extra activities. This totals to 42,000 USD per year.

Here is a look at some of Miami’s most popular neighborhoods and the cost per month to live there.

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in Miami

Neighborhood One-Bedroom Apartment USD Three-Bedroom Apartment USD
South Beach 2,000 5-12,000
Coral Gables 2,200 4,250
Brickell 1,900 4,000+
Coconut Grove 1,800 2,500

The Most Affordable Neighborhoods

Neighborhood One-Bedroom Apartment USD Three-Bedroom Apartment USD
Brownsville 1,200 1,700
Liberty City 1,000 1,800
Gladeview 1,200 2,200
Edgewater 1,300 2,000

Some of the cheapest neighborhoods in Miami are Little Haiti, Wynwood, and Allapattah. However, keep in mind that these neighborhoods are the least expensive for a reason. Some are inconveniently located to the rest of Miami and everyday amenities such as grocery stores and shops. Others are cheap due to their crime rate.

Expats looking for a reasonable cost of living, without sacrificing for convenience and safety, may want to look at the surrounding Miami-Dade area, or even the Florida cities like Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale, which are not considered part of the Miami metro area but are at an easy commuting distance.

Average Monthly Rent Near Miami

Location One-Bedroom Apartment USD Three-Bedroom Apartment USD
Boca Raton 2,000 4,400
Ft. Lauderdale 1,970 2,900
Coral Gables 2,200 4,250

Where to Live in Miami

Whether you are relocating to Miami by yourself, with a partner, or your whole family, there is something for everyone in this vibrant, diverse city. Lifestyle choices range from an active, luxurious life on South Beach to the calm serenity of Coconut Grove. For city-goers, there is Downtown Miami, and for those looking for more access to nature there is Weston, which borders Florida’s expansive Everglades National Park.

Below is a look at some of the most popular neighborhoods in Miami for expat families, solo expats, and some areas that are ideal for both.

Good for Expat Families

Coconut Grove

Average Monthly Apartment Rent

  • One Bedroom: 1,800 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 2,500 USD

In addition to being one of Miami’s most popular neighborhoods, Brickell is also one of the city’s oldest. Founded in the 1870s, Coconut Grove expertly balances a small seaside village vibe while being conveniently situated in the middle of Miami proper. This neighborhood is known for its parks, walkability, and easy bike paths. Between its quaint cafes, local shops, a movie theatre, and interactive museums, there is plenty for families to stay busy.

Expats relocating with children will be happy to learn that this neighborhood is home to some of Miami’s top private schools. Coconut Grove is also known as one of the safest areas in the city. Homes in this area will be pricier to buy or rent when compared to other Miami neighborhoods, but residents in Coconut Grove are rarely disappointed with the investment.

Weston

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 1,800 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 3,200 USD

Of all of Miami’s neighborhoods, Weston may be the most ideal for families. This neighborhood is situated right on the edge of Florida’s Everglades National Park, which is the tenth largest National Park in the US. A quick drive west from Weston promises a day full of hiking, kayaking, and spotting wildlife such as alligators, Florida panthers, and roseate spoonbills.

For adults, Weston is home to a number of golf courses, shopping malls, and sports clubs. There are numerous public school options throughout the neighborhood as well as private institutions.

Pinecrest

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 1,500 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 2,400 USD

When Pinecrest was first founded as its own independent village, it was as the last town before driving across the Overseas Highway that connects mainland Florida to Key West. In the late 90s the town was incorporated into the Miami-Dade County and is now a popular residency for those who wish to have a quiet, suburban beach life, but still be connected to the Miami metropolitan area.

Pinecrest has some of the most expensive homes in Miami-Dade County, and many of these homes are standalone mansions. Expats with large families will have no problem finding a spacious home. In addition, this area is also home to several top public and private schools, as well as having many shopping and dining options to enjoy on the weekends.

Good for Solo Expats

Downtown Miami

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 1,900 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 4,000 USD

While Downtown Miami can be a nice location for families, it is best suited for solo expats, specifically young professionals. Many businesses are in the downtown area and many incoming expats may find that their jobs will be somewhere among the tall skyscrapers that make up this area. There are also many attractions for residents to take part in such as the Bayside Marketplace, Miami Art Museum, and even a large sports arena that is home to the NBA team, the Miami Heat.

Although an active city center, Downtown Miami still has many beautiful, open green spaces. Like many other areas of the city, downtown is easily accessible by public transport or just plain walking.

Little Havana

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 1,200 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 2,000 USD

Little Havana is one of Miami’s up-and-coming areas. Recent years have even seen the arrival of students and artists, which has directly led to the increase of more eclectic bars, cafés, and restaurants.

As its name suggests, Little Havana is the Cuban district of Miami, although it hosts residents from Colombia, Puerto Rico, and other Latin countries, too. Expats will find delicious Cuban restaurants and exciting clubs and bars to enjoy.

One of the biggest perks to living in Little Havana is the cheaper rental prices, especially when compared to areas like Brickell or South Beach. In addition, Little Havana is also located near the center of Miami, making it easily accessible to the rest of the city and its beaches. Extensive bus services connect Little Havana to Downtown Miami and neighboring suburbs.

Miami Beach

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 2,000 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 5,000 – 12,000 USD

In recent years, Miami Beach has been named one of the Top Ten best places to live in the US. This is due to the area’s thriving business sector, myriad of cultural opportunities, and diverse international community. Mt. Sinai, one of the top hospitals in the country, is located in this area.

Despite having “beach” in its title, Miami Beach is actually an island, which is connected to mainland Miami by a single bridge. The one downside to living in this popular Miami neighborhood is having to navigate through hordes of tourists on a daily basis. Because of this, Miami Beach may not be an ideal area for families with young children. Housing options are also largely high-rise apartments and condominiums, yet, this area is also known for being very walkable, especially along the oceanfront.

South Beach

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 2,000 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 5,000 – 12,000 USD

South Beach is perhaps one of the best-known areas of Miami. With its chic art deco architecture and reputation for celebrity sightings, this area of the city is ideal for expats who want an active, glamorous lifestyle. Thanks to its reputation as a home for the wealthy mixed with its beachside locale, South Beach residents are particularly known for their active lifestyles mixed with a party-going attitude at night.

Like Miami Beach, the drawback of South Beach is the crowd. Housing is limited to high-rise apartments and condominiums and having a car will not be the most convenient option. Instead, many SoBe residents store or sell their cars and opt for getting around by bicycle instead.

Good for Both

Brickell

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 1,900 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 4,000+ USD

Because Brickell is known as Miami’s financial district (and one of the largest financial districts in the US), it may surprise relocating expats to learn that this is also one of the city’s fastest growing and more densely populated neighborhoods. In fact, this neighborhood is swiftly becoming more popular than the famous South Beach.

Brickell is home to luxury brand retailers, museums, and top-rated schools for expats with kids. There are also great restaurant options, clubs, and rooftop bars for foreigners looking for adults-only fun.

In Brickell, you will mostly find high-ride condominiums and apartments, but also a few single-family homes. Although many neighborhoods in Miami are ethnically diverse, Brickell will feel especially like home to international residents as it attracts many nationals from Central and South America, as well as those from colder regions, who have moved to Miami for the year-round warmer climate.

Coral Gables

Average Monthly Apartment Rental

  • One Bedroom: 2,200 USD
  • Three Bedroom: 4,250 USD

Coral Gables is an ideal location for expat families or solo expats. Nearly 30% of the neighborhood is dedicated to green-space. This area is rife with picturesque gated complexes, canals, and it is also home to the University of Miami. In this neighborhood, you will find many local dine-in restaurants, quiet cafes, and relaxed bars. The number of canals is also ideal for expats who enjoying boating.

Living options in Coral Gables range from apartments to townhouses or detached homes. For expats with children, there are excellent public and private schools in the area. This is a very safe area of Miami, and there is even a free trolley that will shuttle residents downtown.

Whenever you decide to settle in Miami, it is always best to do some research and contact locals to learn all you can about the area. Expat networking sites such as InterNations are great resources for connecting you with the international community in Miami. InterNations GO! can also help set you up with local experts who will help settle you safely and securely.

Healthcare

While Florida is not known as one of the top states for healthcare in the US, residents in Miami can rest assured they will receive excellent care within the city. In fact, in a ranking of the world’s best hospitals, two facilities in the Miami area made the list: Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Cleveland Clinic in Weston, and the Baptist Hospital of Miami.

Other notable hospitals in the Miami-Dade area include:

  • Mount Sinai Medical Center;
  • Memorial Regional Hospital;
  • South Miami Hospital;
  • Boca Raton Regional Hospital;
  • Jackson Health System-Miami.

Some hospitals specialize in certain areas such as cancer treatment, pediatrics, or gastroenterology. If you need a specific procedure or type of care, call the hospital and speak with the staff.

How do I find a Doctor in Miami?

If you are unable to ask any locals about recommended doctors in Miami, one of the best ways to find a medical practitioner is by going online. Each hospital should have its own website where you can scroll through a database of available professionals and their training and qualifications. You can also schedule appointments this way.

Transportation

What is transportation like in Miami? There are buses, trams, and trolleys to choose from, or the option to use your own car. As the weather is decent throughout much of the year, many Miamians also travel by bicycle or on foot.

Below are the different methods of transportation available to Miami-Dade residents.

Metrorail

Metrorail is a 25-mile elevated rail system that services the entire metro Miami area. Expats living in neighboring counties of Broward and Palm Beach can transfer via this line.

Trip fares for the Metrorail start at 2.25 USD. Discounted fares for students and seniors may be as low as 1.10 USD. You can pay for trips by purchasing and reloading an EASY card at any Metrorail station or through the EASY Pay cell phone app.

Metromover 

For those who plan to stay only in downtown Miami, Metromover is your best option. This line loops around the downtown and Brickell areas, and provides connections to Metrorail and Metrobus. For residents who are brand new to the Florida city and want to become acquainted with all its attractions, this line will also connect you with many of the city’s notable tourist destinations such as the Pérez Art Museum, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and the Art and Entertainment District. There is no fee to use the Metromover.

Metrobus

It may surprise you to learn that buses are the most extensive form of public transportation in Miami. The bus system services close to 100 routes, covering over 40 million miles every year. Bus lines intersect with the Metrorail and Metromover, making transfers easy and convenient. In addition, trip fares are the same as the Metrorail: 2.25 USD per trip with the option to use an EASY card or EASY Pay app. There are also express buses available that will shuttle passengers directly from Miami International Airport to the downtown with minimal stops.

Trolley

Although using a city’s trolley system may seem like an experience only for tourists, Miami’s trolley system can be convenient for everyday use depending on where you live and work in the city. Trolley rides are free and consist of four routes that service the South Beach, Mid-Beach, and North Beach areas. Unlike the rest of Miami’s public transportation, trolleys do not run on Sundays.

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Updated on: April 08, 2020
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