The City of Miami, FL Compared to Other Cities in the U.S.
Yeah, we have heat, humidity, bugs, traffic, a population with a strange aversion to the English language.
From the Miami Relocation Guide.
Much as I love to spend much of my time, both in this space and on my blog, complaining about Miami, the more I leave, the more I realize what a truly great place it is. Yeah, we have heat, humidity, bugs, traffic, a population with a strange aversion to the English language, and more corruption than a Tijuana Jai-Alai match, but every time you leave you realize everything you take for granted being a resident of the Magic City. There are nonstop sunny days, beautiful people, world class nightlife, recreational opportunities abound, natural scenery and major professional sports. What else could a person ask for?
There are a lot of things Miami lacks. Like a vibrant downtown or a sense of strategic planning. Or a populous that doesn’t all hate each other. But when you think about leaving, the question then becomes “Where?” I have had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time in a good many American cities over my lifetime, mostly in cities that people consider “nice,” or even “livable.” Two words rarely associated with Dade County. But every time I am in one of them I am reminded why Miami is better. And, in no particular order, I will explain to you why.
San Francisco Bay Area – Maybe if you are John Steinbeck at the turn of the century this place is paradise. Provided you like summer days in the mid-sixties. However, now, while many parts of the Bay Area offer picturesque views of the bay and surrounding hills, there is typically a $25 charge to look at each view. If you want to buy a house, your last name had better be Gates or Jobs. So while the scenery is nice and the people are friendly, what you would pay for a four bedroom house in Miami with a pool might get you a 2/2 in an inhospitable part of Oakland. But at least you are only a short drive to cash your welfare check at the Raiders’ ticket office.
Sacramento – Warmer, cheaper, and completely lacking of anything to do other than drive to San Francisco.
Atlanta – There is really only one thing about Atlanta that is better than Miami: The Strip Clubs. So unless you are the type of person who likes to spend all night losing money, there is not problem you have in Miami you won’t find in the ATL. Humidity? Imagine Miami’s summers without the payoff of the beautiful winters. Bad sports town? The Braves have won every NL East title since the game was called “rounders” and they still can’t draw over 18,000. Traffic? Drive up 75 at 4 PM on a weekday. The traffic jams start roughly 25 miles outside the city. Racial tension? Let’s not even go there. If you hate Miami, you will shoot yourself in Atlanta. Although I suppose if you grew up in Birmingham it would be a welcomed change.
Tampa Bay Area – While certainly slightly more cultured than any Florida City north of it, it is still not exactly Florence on the Gulf. Tampa is sort of like someone from a trailer park that moves to the big city and reinvents herself only to be caught chewing gum at the opera. You can take the city out of North Florida, but you can’t take the North Florida out of the city.
Orlando – See “Sacramento.” Add humidity, bugs, 2 AM closing time, and no breeze. Replace the words “San Francisco” with “Tampa.” You get the idea.
New York – Okay, so you want nightlife? New York is the only city that rivals Miami. You want great restaurants and professional sports? New York’s got ‘em both. You want to see the sky? Ever? Don’t come to New York. You want to ever feel like you have enough space to stretch your arms without hitting someone in the face? Someone who very likely has some sort of weapon in their pocket? Ignore New York. You want to be able to live somewhere other than a one-bedroom apartment that was converted to a three-bedroom apartment? Stay in Miami. While New York may look like fun, anyone used to the concept of “Personal Space” and “Expendable Income” will be high-tailing it out of the big apple within months. Oh, yeah, and they have this thing up there called “winter,” too.
Los Angeles – Many like to compare LA to Miami since, you know, we both have palm trees. But that, friends, is where the comparison ends. You think traffic in Miami is bad? Try sitting in it for 40 miles at a time. The entire town is dominated by one industry (much like Washington DC) and if people can’t find a way to make you useful to them, you may as well not even exist. Why you hear people talking nonstop about their “project” with some producer you’ve never heard of. People say the weather is nice, but it is not uncommon to have to walk around in August with a sweater on at night. And have you ever flown into LA? It’s like someone shot a brown fire extinguisher over the entire city and just let it sit there. The air feels like a stagnant pond and in many parts of town it smell like one too. Basically, take everything you hate about Miami, multiply it by six, and subtract everything good as the weather, beaches and nightlife are all about two rungs lower than they are in Dade. All this and no pro football.
San Diego – So you might say “Well, then why not San Diego? It’s like LA without all that awful stuff.” While its miles of beaches and proximity to Mexico make San Diego attractive, it does to everyone else in America too. So again, if you are selling your house in Miami to move there, you will most likely be living in a one-bedroom condo. If you like the beach, be advised the Pacific Ocean on its warmest day would have you screaming back to your towel if you were in South Beach. 2 AM closing time and an over-abundance of surfers will most likely drive anyone who has ever lived on the east coast - and enjoyed it - packing their bags relatively quickly.
Washington DC – Unless you have a job working for the US government, you will hate this town. It is, essentially, LA with ugly people. Government dominates the town and you are judged by your position in it. Except instead of pretty aspiring actors and actresses you have a bunch of people trying to be senators. And have you EVER seen a hot senator? Traffic is just as bad as Miami, but again it lacks the weather and nightlife of South Florida. And crime and corruption? Say what you will about Dade, but no one ever caught our mayor smoking crack.
Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore or any other city in the Northeast and Midwest –You know that storm you got last week that left you without power and dumped like 27 feet of snow and flooded your hometown? That left us with perfect 78 degree days which most of us took off and went to the beach. All these cities have traffic, pollution and rude people just like Miami, but their bars close earlier and there is no beach.
Detroit – If I even have to explain this to you, this article is way above your head.
Reno – As you drive through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California you see beautiful evergreen trees dabbled with snow in a wondrous mountain landscape. Then you get to Nevada. All of a sudden it is as if someone cut down every tree starting and left nothing but brown hills and cold. Like Cheyenne with casinos. Unless you’re into gambling or Crystal Meth, you won’t find much to do in Reno. Which may lead you to Gambling and Crystal Meth.
Chicago – Many call Chicago a “more-livable New York.” If your idea of livable is sub-zero temperatures for weeks at a time, I suppose that may be true. And even when it does warm up, every year you hear about hundreds of old people dying during heat waves. Funny, Florida is full of heat and old people and you still don’t hear about these mass deaths. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Seattle – You ever been to Nordstrom? You know how when you walk in everyone is super nice and super polite and you feel like they must all be on Prozac or something? That’s every single person in Seattle. While you may say “Hey, great. What a nice change from everyone-hates-you Miami,” I assure you it gets old after a while. Eventually you want someone to show their frustration and anger and actually make a negative or sarcastic comment once in a while, just to prove they were not all produced by Microsoft and sent onto the streets as robots of politeness. That, and I think it rains once in a while.
Phoenix – Old Indian word meaning “Bigger, hotter Reno.”
Las Vegas – Okay. So it’s got decent weather. It’s got nightlife, restaurants, new homes and a lot to do. But let’s say you wake up on a sunny 80 degree day and decide it would be a nice day to go lay out at the….dried up river bed? Lest we be blinded by the mirage that is Sin City, you are still in the middle of the freaking desert, folks. The next nearest city is four hours away so once you’ve done what there is to do in Vegas, you are then living in Phoenix without pro sports. And that ain’t a good place to be.
There are a good many more cities that people talk about moving to, but these seem to be the ones always topping the lists. If you live in Miami, and have been here for a while, you probably complain about it as much as I do. But you probably also take a lot of things for granted that other cities do not have and you will find considerably lacking once you get there. The more I leave this place, the more I know that while not perfect, it is still the one city where the bad, no matter how maddening or ridiculous it may be, it always outweighed by the good.
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