Things to Know BEFORE moving to Miami [2020 Guide]

Moving to Miami

If you’re thinking about moving to Miami, there are more than a couple of things you need to know about it. It’s a worthwhile (albeit expensive) move that still needs a bit of getting used to, especially if you’ve never been to a unique place like Miami and have lived in humbler or quieter areas up north.

Miami is more than just a beachside city full of sun, palm trees, and celebrities working in Tinsel Town (since Hollywood is literally just around the corner). It’s a melting pot of cultures and has a liberal progressive slant towards its politics. It’s also quite humid and tropical.

At any rate, here are 23 of the most important things you need to know before moving to Miami.

1. Population influx due to COVID-19

Miami is currently undergoing a surprising spurt of growth due to its perception as a refuge from the COVID-19 pandemic. While other states like New York and Michigan have endured punishing lockdowns, Florida was one of the first states to reopen its businesses.

Thus, many people from the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest are moving to Miami because they see it as a warm, vibrant, and business-friendly city. In fact, there has even been some speculation that Miami could be the next Silicon Valley as techies and entrepreneurs flee the Bay Area. 

What does this mean for someone considering a move to Miami? It means that they'll be moving at one of the best possible opportunities. Miami could soon undergo a renaissance as pandemic-driven migration patterns push more talent, capital, and resources into the area.

2. Expect friendly people

People are friendly here in Miami. Maybe it’s because of the influx of different cultures and its high minority counts, but to go here is really to experience a taste of traveling the world because it’s practically a slice of life there with its melting pot of cultures.

As such, expect an uptick of new friends to meet. Also, because you’re living in Miami or one of the top tourist hotspots in America that many a celebrity has built summer homes in, you’ll also get an uptick of friends and relatives visiting you while getting a beachside vacation at the same time.

3. Delicious food

The food scene of Miami is something to behold indeed. You can find some of the most amazing restaurants around the beach since the competition there is steep and every establishment tries its best to find their niche. You can also get to imbibe in many different beverages, from the hottest lattes to the coldest of beers.

Even if you don’t have money to spare, the food available in Miami for those who aren’t part of the one percent can be quite incredible, whether they’re All-American street food like hotdogs or something more exotic from the myriad of cultures inhabiting Miami.

4. More than just beaches

Miami is known for its beaches the same way Acapulco or the Caribbean are. The old show Miami Vice features so many beach-related cases that it might as well be entitled Baywatch Nights. The beaches of Miami are well-known in pop culture, but if you only know Miami for its beaches then you probably don’t live there.

Miami is also a tourist attraction extravaganza because like other cosmopolitan wonders, you’ll never run of things to do there, accommodating every last pay grade. What does this mean for those who actually live in Miami? You’re now a stone’s throw away to having vacation experiences or, alternatively, every day is a vacation experience.

5. Art Deco galore!

If you’re a big fan of the Art Deco era, then the architecture of Miami will surprise and amaze you. The 1920s Parisian architectural motif is alive and well all over this city, which really gives Miami its international flair that many of its celebrity and VIP residents couldn’t get enough of.

You will be treated to 1920s and 1930s pastel and white buildings that depend on evenness, modernity, and patterns to showcase their aesthetics instead of ostentatious displays of rebellion to the established norms of art at the expense of (subjective) beauty. Just avail of Art Deco District Walking Tours whenever possible by the Miami Design Preservation League.

6. Calle Ocho

For any non-residents and first-time visitors of Miami, Calle Ocho or Eighth Street is the Cuban population’s historic center. It’s home to everything Cuban about Miami, from parks full of retirees to its Cuban restaurants and cafecitos.

You can also look forward to Carnaval in Miami every year (it’s not only Rio De Janeiro that celebrates the holiday). It’s also all it’s cracked to be as a tourist attraction and a characteristic or signature feature of Miami, like the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

7. Amazing nightlife

Did you know that things run a little later in Miami? By that, it means Miami is a nocturnal city that becomes a live every night. That’s to be expected of a place where Carnaval also happens that’s not Rio or Louisiana. As for the daytime, it’s filled with a relaxed pace of a siesta prior to the fiesta awaiting you when the sun comes down.

Although Miami traffic came be quite brutal at times during the day, you shouldn’t be tense at all. Instead, you should have the laidback attitude of a surfer dude in this fine beachfront city (and you will come across many a surfer in this area).

8. Booming art scene

Who says that you need to go to Italy if you’re a big fan of the art scene? The U.S. is also bursting with endless creativity and modern culture with cities like Miami and the so-called Miami Design District. This major tourist attraction has boosted the profile of the city as an artist’s Mecca of sorts.

This district is also home to the Art Basel International Art Fair and General Festival for those who communicate and express themselves through artistry and defining what artistic culture is in the 21st Century. This fair is filled with the big names of contemporary and modern art as well, so do check it out ASAP.

9. Healthy living is huge

Naturally, Miami filled with beautiful people who are mindful of their health. Go live in here if you wish to become part of gym rat culture. If you’re interested in getting a swole or ripped body as well as wish for a bikini-ready figure, then Miami is the place to be since it’s a fitness-friendly city since forever.

Back in the eighties, Miami was all about aerobics. In the nineties, it was all about Tae Bo and exercise machines. In the dawn of the new millennium, everyone was getting gluten-free diets or doing crossfit. It’s like the evolution of fitness here with Miami residents and their beach body mentality.

10. Unique weather

The biggest city in the retirement hotbed that’s called Florida, the city of Miami is known throughout the world for its tropical climate. It registers an average low of just 59 degrees (16 Celsius) and an average high of still a comfortable 80 degrees (27 Celsius).

Miami has the warmest winter climate among all major U.S. cities. This makes the city a great residence for people who hate winters as well as retirees who suffer from various joint disorders.

With that said, you need to get used to tropical heat, the possibility of flooding whenever the sea level rises, and the regular occurrences of hurricanes in order to get this piece of the Garden of Eden that the Good Lord has left accessible on this mortal plane.

11. Amazing wildlife

Miami is like Australia in terms of its natural beauty and inherent biodiversity. That should come as no surprise, really. It’s not only humans who want to live in a beachfront property. So too various bugs, snakes, gators, and reptiles; the place is like an open zoo of sorts.

If you’ve never seen a Palmetto bug, you’ll soon have to quickly get used to them and various other unique insects and wildlife if you wish to live in Miami. It’s not realistic to expect a bug-free house the whole year round, for example.

12. An interesting culture

Actually, even if you don’t live in Miami, you shouldn’t let your job define you. However, being defined by your job isn’t an option in Miami when compared to cities like Washington D.C. and New York where all you can talk about is your job.

In Miami, small talk doesn’t come in the form of you attempting to impress strangers by mentioning you’re a lawyer, a doctor, an artist, an actor, or a banker. The Miami experience is more about finding yourself, thus at parties, you’ll usually get questions about what fulfilling things you’ve done rather than chitchat regarding your career path.

For all its imperfections, you can never imagine living anywhere else once you’ve gotten used to your sweet life in Miami.

13. Affordability

Money is often the number one factor that people consider in choosing a place to settle at. For instance, in places like San Francisco and New York, $2000 may be enough to rent a well-situated, but cramped or run-down place. Not in Miami.

If you spare just $1600, you can live right across the American Airlines Arena in a condo with 15-feet- high ceilings. Add $200 and you can get a place in the Midtown area with an outstanding ocean view and floor-to-ceiling windows.

14. No income, inheritance, and estate taxes

If you wish to take home more of your earnings (don’t we all?), Miami is a great place to be at. Florida does not impose taxes on income, estate, and inheritance. If you work in San Francisco and move to Miami, you might be appalled to discover that the difference in taxes between California and Florida can pay a McDonald’s employee for a year.

So if you’re looking for a place where you can stretch the dollars you earn, or a retirement spot where you can maximize the fruits of your decades of labor, Miami’s the answer.

15. Openness to new cultures

Moving to Miami is perfect for those who want a fresh start in life or are simply looking for the next great adventure. Everyone will find it easy to fit in Miami. Unlike other cities, there are no snobs in the city who claim that they’re a true-blue Miamian.

After all, no one's actually from Miami, and once you’ve been staying in the area long enough to experience even just half of what’s listed in this article, you’re ready to call yourself a real Miamian.

16. Global hub

Speaking of retirees, another factor why Miami is a mecca for many people in their golden years is its ease of travel. Thanks to Miami International Airport (MIA) – one of the world’s busiest airports – you can easily go in and out of the country to spend your birthday in the Bahamas, Maldives, or Palau.

In fact, MIA is the biggest international gateway for American Airlines and welcomes more than 35 million passengers every year. From MIA, you or your visiting loved ones can book a non-stop flight to over 70 major cities in America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

17. Great for retirees

Still talking about retirees, Miami is also home to dozens of Active Adult Communities (AACs) that are quite popular throughout Florida. If you miss your loved ones who still couldn’t move with you to Miami, or simply wish to socialize with those more similar to your age, AACs would welcome you with open doors.

AACs offer outstanding amenities and services such as state-of- the-art fitness centers, hobby rooms, and community-wide events.

18. Walkability

The city of Miami is considered extremely walkable, consistently being in the top 10 of Walk Score’s annual rankings of America’s most walkable cities since the year 2011. In 2015, Miami city proper was awarded as the fifth most walkable city in America.

This means that despite having a population of over 300,000, the city’s roads and neighborhoods are friendly to pedestrians of all ages. So make sure you pack your sneakers before you move to Miami.

19. Great Healthcare

Miami was recognized by Forbes magazine as as the Cleanest City in America in 2008. Several years later, listed Miami as America’s fourth healthiest city.

This ranking was based on a number of criteria including healthcare quality and affordability; lifestyle choices such as the statistics on smokers, alcoholics, obese, and daily-exercisers; and availability of food and amenities that promote a healthy lifestyle. You can expect live well and hopefully, live long, in Miami.

As one of the leading retirement places in the United States, it comes as no surprise that Miami’s health care is one of the best in the world. More importantly, it has adapted to cater to those with more advanced age. Dozens of well-known health care providers have established clinics throughout the city, so there is not shortage of options where one can choose to receive due care.

Well-trained specialists are also in good supply, so it is easy to get a second opinion or referral. Miami is home to a handful of highly-respected medical institutions such as Jackson Memorial Hospital, the University of Miami’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami VA Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, and Holtz Children’s Hospital. The famous Cleveland Clinic Florida and Mayo Clinic are also within short driving distance.

20. Plenty of Beaches

A list of reasons why people move to Miami cannot be complete without mentioning its beaches. Miami’s shorelines welcome not just swimmers and sunbathers, but sand castle-builders and even just people-watchers.

The more popular beaches include the Miami BeachSouth Beach, Virginia Key Beach, Haulover Beach, and Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina. Less populated beaches include 85th Street Beach, Virginia Key, and Matheson Hammock Park Beach.

21. Sea adventures

Miami’s beaches are not just for the young and adventurous. For those who wish to commune with nature, there’s the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, with its nature trails and historic lighthouse.

And if you’re bringing your small children or grandchildren with you, there’s the Bal Harbour Beach, where you can bond together while hunting shells of different colors.

22. Tons of entertainment

Boredom is practically unheard of in Miami. If you’re moving from the concrete jungle that is New York, you won’t have to worry because Miami can offer just as much fun – and way more varied, too (not to mention, cheaper). You can jog, run, or bike along Miami’s paved paths and visit more than 800 parks (Miami is the only U.S. city that is surrounded by two national parks: Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park).

The city also has a handful of charming neighborhoods like Coral Gables and the Art Deco District in South Beach. Finally, you can take part in hundreds of exciting events, such as the Art Basel, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Winter Music Conference, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami, and Carnaval on the Mile.

23. Lots of Spanish speakers

You’ll quickly learn Spanish in Miami as though you’re in Spain. At the very least, you’ll learn a handful of words to impress the señoritas and compadres in the neighborhood. The Latino culture is strong in Miami, making it an unmistakably bilingual city.

As such, if you’ve ever had Spanish class, you can easily brush up on all your lessons in practice here in this gorgeous city that serves as a melting pot for a multitude of cultures, including a significant Hispanic population.

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