Surprising fact: The City of Miami proper is on the small side—it’s about 55 square miles. What most people consider Miami is actually Miami-Dade County, which is made up 35 different municipalities including Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, South Miami and Aventura.
Each neighborhood has its own distinct feel, flavor and sense of community. From the sun-soaked glitz of Miami Beach to the cozy suburban sprawl of South Miami, you’re bound to find a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle and budget. Here’s a list of nine neighborhoods just waiting to meet your acquaintance.
With a solid mix of high-rises and condos, Aventura is happy medium for those working in Broward county but want to keep a foot in the Miami-Dade action. With easy access to several highways, commuting can be a bear during rush hour, but residents love being close to the water and shopping excursions at one of the best malls in Miami-Dade County—Aventura Mall.
With condos as far the eye can see, Brickell and Downtown are currently undergoing a massive overhaul. 20 years ago, it was rare to see any signs of post 9-5 life on Downtown’s street. But that’s all changed. Glitzy high-rises dot the area’s landscape, and people who live here enjoy fast-paced cosmopolitan living with lounges, museums and the American Airlines Arena right at their fingertips.
Once the home of funky bohemians, hippies and a hard-working Bahamian population, Coconut Grove still retains quite a bit of its counter-culture, passionate and unique past. It’s a neighborhood that marches to the beat of its own drum. Residents are quick to voice their opinion when it comes to the politics of their shady little enclave near the bay and they take pride in what’s happening around their neighborhood. Dogs and families are a common site amongst the lushly landscaped streets. Galleries, restaurants, bars and parks are within walking distance from most homes in the area.
Unlike Miami’s slow evolution, Coral Gables sprung from the mind of George Merrick, who methodically planned out the city in the 1920s. With ornately sprawling mansions that give way to perfectly manicured lawns, the “City Beautiful” is a vision to behold—gurgling fountains, shady tree canopies and winding roads swoop through the neighborhood giving it a majestic air. The city’s epicenter—Miracle Mile and its surrounding streets—boast fine dining options and high-end boutiques populated by residents who enjoy the finer things in life.
Surfside is a charming little town by the sea with families populating its tranquil streets. Art Deco single-family homes are the norm and the neighborhood opens its arms to its littlest members, with restaurants welcoming strollers and family-friendly activities and events held throughout the year.
You’ll have to drive over bay waters to and wind through picturesque beach settings to reach this little island escape. Clocking in at only 1.25 miles, real estate here isn’t for the faint of heart. But the charming bungalows, world-class tennis and golf, sprawling state park and laid-back island attitude are an irresistible draw to those who visit… and usually end up staying.
Don’t let the quaint hometown feel fool you—there’s some serious history behind Miami Shores’ architecture. Built in the 1920s, most homes fit under the Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival-style and are often occupied by families who love its wide tree-lined streets and tranquil charm. It’s a quiet and charming little escape from the hustle-and-bustle surrounding most of the Miami-Dade County.
Without a doubt, South Beach gets the most press when it comes to Miami Beach. And sure, that’s where most of the heady nightlife action takes place. Condos and townhouses take up most of the residential real estate in the area, with a quite a few tony homes and mini-estates along Pine Tree drive and the neighboring islands. Mid-beach is coming to its own, with a spate of luxury hotels, killer restaurants and a budding nightlife scene—but residents would still agree that life in one of its high-rise buildings is still considerably toned-down compared to its hedonistic sister neighborhood to the south.
The further south you drive in Miami-Dade, the larger the lots get! It’s quite the norm to find properties clocking in at over one acre as you head down U.S. 1. The mansions that fill Pinecrest are home to pro-athletes and local celebrities with families in tow, while South Miami plays host to a burgeoning middle and upper class—some who have owned their properties for decades. The area’s private schools are amongst the most competitive in the state and the historic Pinecrest Gardens hosts concerts, art shows and events that are as family-friendly as they come.