Many people dream of moving to Miami. There is plenty to love about the Magic City. The gorgeous beaches, the year-round tropical weather, and the diverse cultures all make Miami an exciting place to live.
However, before relocating to Miami, there are some things you should know. Here are 10 tips to surviving (and enjoying) your move to sunny South Florida.
A Brief History of Miami
Compared to many cities in the U.S., Miami is still relatively young. Most consider Julia Tuttle to be the founder of the modern city we know today. People really began to flood into the area in the late 1800s, after Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railroad expanded its route to Miami.
Another boom occurred during WWII when Miami Beach opened barracks for the military. Many of those soldiers chose to settle in the area after the war ended. By the 1970s-1980s, Miami (particularly Miami Beach) had begun to show its age.
However, the area experienced another resurgence in the 1990s-2000s, as the film and modeling industries realized Miami Beach made the perfect backdrop for television, movies, and photoshoots. Today, the iconic Miami Beach shoreline is as familiar as the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Today, Miami is a large, multicultural city, with many thriving industries. Here are 10 things to know about living in Miami from Road Haugs.
1. Moving to Miami? Where Do You Want To Live?
Miami is made up of many different neighborhoods, and each has its own personality. From chic Wynwood and the Cuban-flavored Little Havana to rural Homestead, you will find something unique and special in every area.
Choosing where to live matters. Some communities come with a higher price tag for real estate, so that will be a consideration. You will also want to think about commute times to work, the kids’ schools, and other places you’ll be driving to a lot.
2. There Is More To Miami Than South Beach
Thanks to countless movies, TV shows, and sports broadcasts showing those sweeping aerial views of Miami Beach, it’s easy to think the entire city is dressed in neon lights.
In fact, South Beach only accounts for a handful of streets. Miami Beach itself is a barrier island, separated from the mainland by Biscayne Bay. The rest of Miami looks normal, although there are plenty of palm trees and flowering trees.
3. Be Prepared For Hurricane Season
Miami truly only has two seasons…Winter and Hurricane Season. The season starts on June 1 and runs through the end of November. When looking at homes, consider the location. Many low-lying or coastal areas are part of evacuation zones, meaning you may have to leave in the event of a major storm.
You’ll also need to do research in order to have the proper insurance. Flood insurance is not usually included in a regular homeowners’ policy, for instance. In general, it’s a good idea to create a hurricane plan and be prepared.
4. Miami Is Pretty Easy To Navigate
Miami roadways are designed on a grid system. There are a few things to remember when driving around.
- Miami is divided into 4 quadrants: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest.
- The dividing lines are Miami Avenue and Flagler Street in downtown Miami.
- Streets run east to west, while Avenues, Courts, Places, and Roads all run north to south.
To find a location, remove the last two digits from the address. The remaining digits will be the corresponding cross street. For example, a house located at 8201 SW 128th Street will be found at 82nd Avenue and 128th Street.
5. Not Everyone Follows The Grid System
Some areas, like Coral Gables, use street names rather than numbers. When driving in the Gables, be sure to look down as the street “signs” are small, white slabs on the ground.
6. You’ll Need A Car
Unfortunately, Miami is not known for its public transportation system. There are buses and Metrorail, but they are not always the best option. If you work or live out of the service area, you won’t find it useful.
7. Be Prepared For Traffic
Due to the lack of public transportation, most people are forced to drive everywhere. With over millions of people living in the area, you can just imagine the number of cars on the road.
Add to that, there are limited options when you need to get anywhere.
- Interstate 95 (I-95) – Runs from Maine to Miami, where it dumps into US1 or Dixie Highway.
- Florida Turnpike Extension (SR 821) – Runs from Broward County through Miami-Dade in an arc through Miramar, Hialeah, Kendall, and finally to Homestead in South Dade.
- Palmetto Expressway (SR 826) – Runs from Kendall in southwest Miami to North Miami.
- Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) – Runs from downtown Miami past Miami International Airport (MIA) and then connects to the Turnpike.
- Airport Expressway (SR 112) – From I-95 to the Miami International Airport (MIA).
- Don Shula Expressway (SR 874) – Connects Palmetto Expressway to the Turnpike Extension.
- Snapper Creek Expressway (SR 878) – This is a short expressway that connects the Don Shula to US1 in South Miami.
The key to tackling Miami traffic is strategy and patience. Give yourself extra time, especially during heavy commute hours. Figure out the best time to leave. Sometimes 5-10 minutes can make the difference between smooth sailing and gridlock.
8. Speaking Of Traffic
Another part of the traffic is unpredictable drivers. Be prepared for ignored stop signs, at least three cars going through the intersection after the light turns red, and speed demons. It’s also important to understand that turn signals are rarely used.
9. Brush Up On Your Spanish
Miami’s other nickname is “Gateway to Latin America”, and for good reason. A large percentage of the population hails from the Caribbean, and Central and South America. You will hear Spanish everywhere.
You will also be able to sample cuisine from many different countries.
10. Winter Rocks
While summer is hot and humid, the months from about mid-November to March are the reason many people live in Miami. The humidity drops, the thunderstorms ease, and the temps rarely get below 70 degrees.
Don’t worry. You’ll still get the occasional cold snap where you can take your one sweater or jacket out of storage.
Ready To Make The Move To the Magic City?
Whether you’re moving to Miami for a job or because you want to experience the South Florida lifestyle, the Magic City never disappoints. Do your research and prepare for the journey of a lifetime.
You’ll also need a partner to help you find the perfect place to live. Whether you want a home or a condo, we can ensure you enjoy every moment of your new life in Miami.