Tips on Moving to Miami, FL: Ultimate Relocation Guide

Moving to Miami, FL

Photo Credit: Danny Navarro

Miami is a major hub of all things interesting: finance, media, entertainment, and trade. It’s a famously clean city and home to South Beach, the bikini capital of the world.

Being the only US city to act as an Art Basel host, Miami also boasts a stunning design district with art deco-inspired architecture.

It’s also the center of Cuban-American heritage, and has been called the “Capital of Latin America”. This Florida city is known for being a “melting pot” with many cultural influences from its the Caribbean, Haitian and Hispanic residents.

Miami has a lot to offer but it can be an intimidating city if you don’t know your way around. Lucky for you, we’re here to help!

This guide will lay the foundation for everything you need to know to move to the Magic City.

Now, in the words of Will Smith, Welcome to Miami!

Everything about relocating to Miami

And if you’re looking for more info on moving to Miami, check out our Miami move cost guide.

Quick Miami snapshot

  • As the 42nd most populous city in the United States, Miami has a population of 454,27.
  • With an average 1 bedroom rent price of $1,915 per month, Miami has seen its average rent increase by 12% in the past year. A few more things to remember….

    • Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, so your purchasing power will be between 5-10% higher. But remember, property taxes in Florida are some of the highest in the country.
    • The rental market in Miami is less expensive than Los Angeles and much less expensive than New York but still comparable in terms of lifestyle.
  • Also, it’s good to keep in mind the high numbers of Hispanic Miami residents. 60% of Miami’s population is Spanish-speaking, with 30% speaking only Spanish. Because of this, it might be a good idea to brush up on your forgotten Conversational Spanish 101 skills.

Here’s a drone tour of the city to help you get your bearings.

Okay, now that you’re sold on moving to Miami, let’s talk about where to live.

Where to live in The Magic City

First thing’s first: set a budget. I’ll give you a minute, so take your time.

Check out some rental prices around different neighborhoods between Miami and Miami Beach. The further from the coast you’ll find new and old homes, while coastal Miami offers more high-rises.

Miami, FL Trulia Rental Price Map 2021

Basically, the rule in Miami, like in most other coastal cities, is that the closer your house is to the water the higher the cost of living will be. That’s the price you pay for South Florida real estate!

For example,

  • An apartment in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Downtown, Brickell, and Miami Beach will run you between $2,000 and $3,000.
  • Miami, FL Downtown

  • The farthest neighborhoods from the water—Miami Lakes, North Miami, and Little Havana are where you can find an apartment for $1,000 or less.
  • As you move west away from the ocean, the apartments will get less expensive. In fact, there are places only a half-hour from Miami Beach that go for $800 a month.

So let’s get this out of the way now: if you’re on a tight budget, look to Miami Lakes, North Miami, or Little Havana. If cost is no object, look to Brickell, Miami Beach, or Key Biscayne.

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Where are people like me living?

We all want to live near people who are at similar points in their lives and the website Esri.com does an amazing job breaking down city demographics by zip code with their ziptapestry tool.

Miami Neighborhood Demographics

For example, if you plug Downtown Miami (33136) into the tool you’ll get a full breakdown of the primary types of people living in that area. It’s that easy!< Miami Neighborhood Statistics

Okay, now that you’ve found the best neighborhoods for you, you need to make sure it’s close enough to where you work and play so you aren’t wasting all your time commuting.

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Here’s a breakdown of how to get around in the city

If you want to have a car…

Miami is definitely accessible by car. This site does a great job of breaking down car costs associated with living in Miami like gas and insurance.

Like in all big cities, parking can be a real nightmate, but you can purchase parking permits here.

Miami has decent public transit

Miami-Dade County runs a public transportation system with a Metrobus, Metrorail, and Metromover.

Miami, FL Bike Map Downtown 2021

In case you were wondering, the Metromover is a 4.4 mile electric trolley system that runs throughout downtown. This site has trackers for each of the three methods of public transportation.

Here’s a map of some of the bus routes around Miami ➡️

Bottom line: with a score of 78, Miami’s public transportation system is far above average. It’s about on par with the bike score of 65, so either way you’ll be able to get where you need to go. And speaking of bikes, Miami offers CitiBikes.

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Downtown Miami is so walkable, you may even forget the busses exist!

Miami, FL Walkscore 2021

In terms of walkability, Miami is amazing! With a walk score of 78, (provided you don’t mind the summer heat) Miami is the 5th most walkable city in the United States.

If you’re in downtown Miami or around places like the Grove and Miami Beach, it’s better to walk than it is to take public transportation or even to bike!

Miami, FL Walkscore Map 2021

For the Walk Score map,

The greener the better.If you like walking, stay away from the yellow when looking for neighborhoods to live in.

Two things: First, Miami doesn’t have anywhere close to red, so everywhere is generally walker-friendly. That’s great! Second, walkability corresponds with real estate prices. So, expect to pay more if you’re looking at living in a green area.

Bottom line: while the city is very walkable, most Miamians suggest having a car for convenience’s sake. On a hot summer day, car air conditioning can be the difference between you leaving your house or not.

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Crime can be a problem in Miami if you aren’t careful

The city of Miami is great to live in for many reasons, but safety is not one of them. Miami has more than double the national average in violent crime, property crime, and crimes per square mile. Yeaaaaaah, not good.

Miami, FL NeighborhoodScout Crime Rate (Miami Beach) 2021

With 100 as the safest rating a city can get, Miami Beach scores a whopping 0. ZERO on the crime index.

Still, the same rules apply here as they do in any major metropolitan area: As long as you know when to avoid the bad areas and where shady stuff is usually going down, you’ll probably be fine.

Also, the Miami Police Department maintains an awesome Crime Mapping website where you can get a better idea on places to avoid.

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What you need to know about renting an apartment in Miami

Before we start looking for apartments, let’s first consider what kind of accommodations you’ll need in Miami.

Must-haves:
It’s no secret that the weather in Miami is absolutely amazing! Miami has what’s known as a “tropical monsoon” climate.

Miami, FL Average Temperatures

The temperatures in the winter feel a lot like Spring time compared to the rest of the country.

Winters in Miami average around 68 degrees, with extremes ranging from highs of 80 degrees to lows of 50 degrees.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t get that hot during the summer. The average highs in July and August are in the low 90s!

So it’d be good to get an apartment with air conditioning, but heating is not vital.

Also, there are tons of laundromats on Miami Beach and the mainland, but if you’re planning on going without a car, having washer/dryer units would be very convenient.

When setting your apartment budget, you should think about all your utility costs too, like the average cable bill in Miami to make sure you can actually afford everything you need

Where to look for an apartment in Miami

Here are some good websites to find apartments. Use the sort functionality to drill down on your desired number of bedrooms, budget, etc.

It might seem sketchy, but Craigslist is actually a very useful site for finding apartments (especially places whose owners/landlords are desperate to rent out).

Note: This DOES NOT mean you should trust Craigslist implicitly. Here’s their own guide on how to recognize potential scammers.

Florida rental law

Each state has its own unique rental laws and if you don’t know the rules of the game a shiesty landlord just may try and put one over on you.

Do yourself a favor and read a few of these links below.

Miami has a pretty good rental market

Miami’s rental market trends are a bit better than the rest of the country.

The average rent in Miami is sitting around $1,915 which is an increase of 12% in the past year. Miami’s vacancy rate is 5.85%, compared to 5.97% for the nation as a whole.

This means that Miami’s market is slightly better than the national average. Still, in a city of this size, keep in mind that your experience will vary depending on which area of the city you’re looking at.

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And if you want to buy a house in the Miami suburbs…

Coral Gables Skyline Miami, FL

Coral Gables may be a bit pricey, but it’s absolutely packed with amenities.

This suburb is located a convenient 6 miles from Miami proper and boasts great golf courses, gardens, art installations, and high-end shopping. Still, these perks come at a housing cost of $952,291, the average for this year.

Doral is one of Miami’s nicest suburbs. It’s a 17 mile straight shot drive from Miami Beach past Miami’s airport.

Doral, FL Street

Doral has tons of shops, businesses, and has a bustling import/export industry because of its proximity to the airport. It also boasts a more reasonable average housing cost of $382,361.

You can look for places to live in Doral here.

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How to get all your stuff moved

If you want to get an idea on the cost of different moving services, check out our moving costs calculator.

You also may want to have a glance at our moving out of state guide for more info and tips to consider when making a long distance move.

Like we talked about earlier, Miami has extremely nice weather all year round. Having said that, hurricane season runs from June-November, so you may run into some storms if you try moving during the summer or fall.

moveBuddha - silicon valley to miami map

And here are a few things to consider if you plan on hiring a moving company

  • Miami Beach has a Freight/Alley Loading Parking Permit Program. The permits may be purchased at the City’s Service Center, located at 1755 Meridian Avenue, Suite 100, Miami Beach, Florida, 33139. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 6pm.
  • All movers providing local moves within Miami-Dade county must be registered with the county. The mover must provide you with a copy of the Tri-County Moving Consumer Bill of Rights and Disclosure Statement. Written contracts are required for all moves. Find out more here
  • If you’re moving long-distance, intrastate and interstate movers are not regulated by Miami-Dade county.

For those currently interviewing moving companies, learn more about how to find a great mover here.

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Miami’s less noisy attractions

Biscayne Fountain Miami, FL

Bayfront Park is a 32-acre public park in Downtown Miami right on Biscayne Bay. You can think of it as Miami’s Central Park. Every year in March Bayfront Park hosts the Ultra Music Festival, which is one of the greatest, wildest music festivals in the world.

And then, of course, there’s Miami Beach. It’s one of the premier sunbathing and tanning locales in the entire world, and the water never dips below 70 degrees. Not a bad lifestyle in our book!

Club-hopping: The Magic City’s nightlife

To quote Rihanna, “baby, this is what you came for.” What Miami might lack in snow and safety it makes up for in DJs, dancing, and oontz oontz oontz.

E11EVEN Club Miami, FL

  • LIV Miami is one of the greatest clubs in the entire world, so famous that both Kanye and Drake have sung about it in their songs. This place plays host to the world’s greatest DJs, and it’s on par with the mega-clubs you’ll find in Vegas.
  • Other than LIV, there is no shortage of world-class clubs for music and dancing. E11EVEN, STORY, and SPACE. These places aren’t cheap though! Drinks can run you as much as $10 or $20, so be prepared to drop a Franklin or two each time you roll up.
  • Broken Shaker Miami, FL

  • If you’re not in the mood to be dropping Benjamins, check out The Broken Shaker. It’s a chill cocktail bar, and you can take a walk down Ocean Drive to end the night at Wet Willies in South Beach.
  • Or, if you’re looking for something a bit fancier and less focused on alcohol and loud noises, wander down to the Wynwood Arts District which boasts numerous art galleries, antique stores, and a more “eclectic” bar selection.

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What to do when you get to Miami:

  • Voter registration: you can find the steps to register to vote here. Hopefully your vote won’t need to be recounted any time soon.
  • Driver’s licenses: If you’re from another state and wish to become a Florida resident, you can find out how to do that here. Make sure you have all the documentation in order before heading to the DMV.
  • Same with out-of-state vehicle registration: find the steps for registering your vehicle here. According to Florida law, you have 10 days to register your vehicle after moving.
  • Trash & recycling: Miami has residential garbage collection twice per week. Go to the Miami waste disposal page to find your schedule.
  • Ways to meet people: there are always tons of ways to meet new people. One great way is to use meetup.com. The /r/Miami page on Reddit is also a great place to search for upcoming events and find lesser known tidbits and activities.
  • Miami, FL Meetups

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