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Where to Live--Miami Beach, Brickell, Coconut Grove?
I've accepted a job offer in Miami and will be moving there in August. I'm originally from the Northeast and have spent some time in DC and Southern California, but have very little experience with South Florida. As such, I thought I'd post and see if anyone could recommend where to live.
About me: Mid-20s male, straight, single, professional. White, no Spanish proficiency (but I'm working on it and hopefully can get somewhat conversant by August). I'm not big on the club scene, more of a bar type, but I definitely do enjoy going out and drinking--not quite past that party stage of my life yet. My style would be mostly preppy (think J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, etc.) with a touch of...whatever you would call stores like Express, Armani Exchange, etc. I enjoy beaches as much as the next guy, but I'm not a huge beachgoer--more into running, golf, and tennis, so living on the beach isn't imperative to me. I know almost nobody there, so I'm hoping to live somewhere where it's somewhat easy to broaden my social circle. I'll be working near NW 12th Ave and NW 14th St, near the medical center there, if that helps at all with commute considerations. I've heard pros/cons about each area, so I thought I'd see what y'all thought and you can correct me if I'm mistaken. I'm trying to get away with $1000-$1100/month in rent if that's possible.
Miami Beach--great nightlife, but more clubs than bars. Obviously the beach is a big draw. More international and diverse. Expensive, both in terms of rent and entertainment (read: drinks at bars).
Brickell--more urban, which I like, but populated mostly by cliquey South Americans that make it hard to get to know people. I've heard the nightlife options are growing here, especially in terms of the sorts of bars that I'd be into.
Coconut Grove--used to be better, but the nightlife here has taken a hit in the last several years. Safety is questionable in parts.
So based on what I said above, is there a particular area that I should be looking more into? If any further knowledge about me would help, just let me know. Thanks!
I just got back from a business / pleasure trip to Miami, and if I were moving there in your position, I'd probably try to choose Miami Beach, but just off South Beach. I was in your position about six years ago, and although I'm married with a child now, I'd still look for similar things to what you're looking for now (i.e., I refuse to completely move past what interested me when I was younger and single ).
My wife and I occasionally flirt with the idea of moving to Miami with our daughter - we always have loved the city and much of South Florida - and Miami Beach is probably where we'd try to make it happen.
We like Coconut Grove, but it has gone downhill and is surrounded by some pretty nasty areas. Brickell seemed nice from the street, although we didn't spend any time walking around there. Still, I've heard similar things about cliquishness there - or a dead atmosphere in the evening.
Locals will probably provide some better advice, but these are my impressions as someone who knows Miami fairly well and has thought a great deal about moving there.
I love when people describe themselves in terms of fashion! Anyway, my suggestions
1. you don't need to know spanish in the areas you're targeting.
2. What sort of white guy are you? Meaning are you the type that is uncomfortable with other ethnic groups or the type that just does your thing and has fun no matter what?
Depending on your answer to number 2 I would suggest the following.
If you are "down for whatever"
I like the design district/omni district area. There are the art galleries and little restaurants and bars in the design district area. This area is black and hispanic and what I assume is white/wasp/anglo. YOu can't really tell though because as i am sure you know hispanics come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Details magazine did a nice piece on this area a few months ago. They have a lot of boutiques and such. You said you are from the N.E., so if that means NYC then it sorta reminds me of williamsburg sorta. Artsy crowd, in transition, cross section of different folks. I have been there at night and never felt uncomfortable.
Then there is the park west area of downtown which is south of the design district and north of brickell. This area is still in transition, but its one of those places that if you are planning to be in the area for a LONG period of time the pay off will eventually come. On the flip side you have mass transit right at your finger times in that area. Only draw back would be traffic during certain time of the day, but if you work in a area that you can get to via metromover then you can just take mass transit home and to work. Only drawback is there are some homeless but again nothing that you should be scared of
Then there is downtown proper, which has a smattering of condos here and there, mass transit etc.
Heading south we hit brickell which is a bit more upscale. The further west you go in brickell the more rundown it starts to get but nothing scary. Again mass transit, some bars, and if you are on the water, GREAT views of the water.
Coconut grove goes from very high end in terms of homes to lower income. I hear it can be dangerous in the lower income areas. You don't have access to mass transit as readily as the above mentioned areas but there is a train station along us1 I think. So depending on where you live in Coconut Grove it may be very accessible then again it may not.
S. Beach varies as well. Some areas of south beach are VERY nice and some areas are slums. Don't usually hear about to much bad stuff going on over there. Not that the city officials would let that get out though, considering how much that place depends on tourism. Also the things to do on South Beach vary too. I mean you have lincoln road which is not as clubby as the beach is as opposed to washington or some of the other areas. It is a very cool place but I am not sure how pleasant it would be to have to drive off that island to get to work and then come home every day.
If you are going for the upper crust sorta crowd then I think Brickell might be your speed. If you like a more artsy and mixed group then maybe Design District would be a good look. If you want to live in the downtown area then anything in the park west area all the way south to downtown proper before the miami river would suit you. Living in that Omni district to the downtown area is good in that you can always hop the train and hit up a bar or whatever and not have to worry about driving.
Downtown Miami......near the design district. Up and coming area, close to your job, lots of cool bars and restaurants and night life. Because it's up and coming, you can score a great deal with rent !
Brickell definitely, I lived in Coconut Grove also and I definitely prefer Brickell. I think the problem with Coconut Grove is that it is simply mediocre, you don't have the glamor of south beach, or the classiness of brickell, but it is still expensive. Brickell is nice because you can eat 70 dollar dinner or walk 5 minutes and grab a 7 dollar dinner downtown or in little havana. South Beach is great to spend a weekend day to relax but to live there just doesn't seem like it would be as nice as brickell.
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