Where to Live For the Young and Single (Video)
Miami is the Best Place to Live When Life is All About You
If you are young and single, there is no greater city to live in then Miami. Beautiful people, beautiful weather, nonstop nightlife and a steady flow of tourists make this the best part of the country if you are devoid of any significant responsibility. And while settling down and raising a family here may prove difficult, being young and enjoying the city is laughably easy.
So easy, in fact, there is no one place that the young, professional set lives. So where you decide to call home in Miami depends greatly on your lifestyle, and what you want in a neighborhood.
If money is no object, your best option is going to be South Beach. Even if you have a “real” job your commute will not be too difficult and the only real downside is the incessant noise and traffic that make life in SoBe occasionally unpleasant. Well, that and a steady flow of friends crashing on your couch and the occasional 2 a.m. call to go out on a weeknight.
You are walking distance from nightlife and the sand. Rent, however, may prove to be a bit of a problem as a studio will cost you at least $900 a month, and a 1-bedroom is in the $1200-$1500 range. Living with roommates will find you shelling out $800 for the right to call South Beachhome. This may seem cheap if you are coming from New York or Boston, but remember that Miami is one of the worst cities in the country for cost of living keeping pace with salaries. And as a young person your salary may not allow you to live it up as much as you’d like.
To save some money, you can also live north of the South Beach border on 23rd street into what is known as Mid-Beach. Mid Beach has rents slightly lower, and still allows you to get to all the South Beach excitement via a long walk or short cab ride. Just make sure you don’t move north of about 50th street or the added commute time negates most of the advantages.
If the beach is not so much your scene, the Brickell area offers a more urban, city-life environment. And while Brickell is on its surface the busy financial hub of Miami, don’t think for a minute it’s like living in that pedestrian-friendly youth hub in your hometown. Sure, Brickell is the one part of Miami where you can use public transportation. But the incessant construction and overbuilding has led to nightmarish traffic. And a gauntlet of bad drivers who completely ignore pedestrians.
Rents are comparable to South Beach, though there is almost nothing on the lower end. Typically a 1 bedroom will go for $1500 a month, a 2 bedroom from 1800-2500.
The nightlife in Brickell is great, if you don’t mind listening to Spanish music in an Irish Pub. Perhaps more than anywhere else in Miami, Brickell is populated by wealthy South Americans who bring their nightlife customs to American outlets. If you are from Latin America, or speak Spanish and enjoy the culture, Brickell nightlife will be heaven. If neither is the case, you may find yourself frozen out. Or as frozen as one can get in Miami.
If you are not so inclined to the International feel of Brickell, Midtown offers that same urban feel with a more American vibe. Hell, there’s a Target/Ross/Marshalls/Sports Authority complex right in the middle of the neighborhood. An added bonus is the Wynwood Arts district within a short walk, as well as the trendy Miami Design District. Midtown, however, is a little lacking in Nightlife, as most of the bars close down early. And Wynwood has a couple of options that stay open late. But that’s a long walk or short cab ride away.
Rents in midtown are now comparable to Brickell, as the once up-and-coming area has finally arrived. But it is one of the few willable, young, intelligent areas of Miami that feels like a normal American city. Its proximity to the ever-improving Biscayne Corridor and convenience to the 195 causeway to Miami Beach also make it an attractive place to live.
Coconut Grove is another popular location for young people moving to Miami. Well, SOME of Coconut Grove. The other parts are perfect for a young person if they happen to be selling crack. When shopping for an apartment in the Grove, make sure you are east of the CVS pharmacy on Grand Avenue, and by no means even look anywhere that calls itself “West Grove.” If you choose to move to this area, you will be able to walk to most bars, restaurants, the gym and Biscayne Bay. Or at least make a short drive of it. This area is popular among University of Miami students, especially at night, and you will not have too many problems meeting people if you move here. Rent is slightly cheaper than in South Beach or Brickell, but still more than you would find in the far suburbs.
In recent years, though, the nightlife in Coconut Grove has fallen off. Closing times have been moved up to 3 a.m., and other areas of town have stolen the nightlife business that the Grove once monopolized. While Thursdays and Fridays are still popular, walking to go out any other night will leave you lonely at the bar. However, the Grove is still far from a ghost town. While it is not the logjam it once was, it still has plenty of good restaurants and cultural activities to keep you entertained.
If you are short on money, consider Little Havana. Granted, you will be the only English-speaker on your block and you may run across the occasional rooster or stray dog walking down the street, but the location can’t be beaten. You are at the crossroads of two major freeways and only minutes from Downtown, Coconut Grove, South Beach, the Airport and pretty much anywhere else worth going in Miami. Including our brand new baseball stadium. Rent for a 1 bedroom will range from $700 to $1200 a month, depending on how nice a building you are looking for. And if you have a roommate you can get away with paying less than $600 if you’re lucky. The inherent downside is that it is not exactly the best part of town. Then again, it is far from the worst.
AREAS TO AVOID - KENDALL, WESTCHESTER AND SWEETWATER
You may be tempted by the $100-$150 a month cheaper rent you find in areas known as “Kendall” or “Westchester” or “Sweetwater,” but be advised: When you are sitting in unmoving traffic on Kendall Drive or US-1 trying to get back to your cheaper apartment, paying $150 to not ever have to do it again doesn’t seem so bad. These areas offer all the disadvantages of Suburbia (boring neighborhoods, inability to walk to anything, no nightlife) and have all the disadvantages of Urban Life (traffic, unpleasant people, traffic). So by no means should any single person under about 35 even consider moving to this part of town. Consider it wasted youth.
As a young person with no responsibility, Miami may prove to be a perfect place for you to live. Provided you are comfortable with the aforementioned culture shock, you may find the lifestyle here perfectly suited to your social agenda. If you have money, you can get a place in South Beach, Brickell or Midtown, and really take advantage of what Miami has to offer. But even if your budget is slightly smaller, you can still find a decent place to live in an exciting part of town. As long as those parts of town are NOT called Kendall.
Photos by: Scott Alexander
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