Miami Neighborhood Guide

Miami is blessed with a variety of different, appealing neighborhoods to choose from, unlike New York City where everyone wants to live in a few neighborhoods like the West Village, Meatpacking District or the Lower East Side.

In this Miami neighborhood guide, we’ll go over the pros and cons of living in the various, more popular neighborhoods that New Yorkers or other Miami transplants might consider such as South of Fifth (in our section on South Beach), Sunset Islands (in our section on Bayshore) or Edgewater.

Please be sure to check out our guide on where to live in Miami if you’re even earlier in your search, and aren’t sure yet whether you want to live on the beach or in the city, in a house vs in a condo etc. Welcome to Miami!

North Beach

North Beach is an up-and-coming oceanfront neighborhood on the northern edge of Miami Beach. Across its northern border lies the quiet beach town of Surfside, and its southern border is marked by the bridge at West 63rd Street.

According to Google Maps, the southern border of North Beach crosses between La Gorce Palace Condominium, above the border, and Hilton Cabana Miami Beach, south of the border.

To the immediate south of North Beach lies the quiet beachfront condominiums, and “Millionaire’s Row,” of Mid-Beach.

Map showing where the North Beach neighborhood of Miami is located

Why is North Beach up-and-coming? Because there is a lot of gentrification potential in a neighborhood that is at present a mix of newer, luxury condominiums like the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, L’Atelier and Monaco Yacht Club vs a slew of older buildings from bygone eras.

Unlike its more upscale cousin Surfside, North Beach is still considered to be a more mixed, working class neighborhood with plenty of cheaper, low-rise housing options.

Why is North Beach a good place to buy?

If you remember from our article on where to live in Miami, we discussed how depreciation is very real here due to the lack of zoning protections from overbuilding, historical neighborhoods as you might see in NYC, plus the very real wear and tear from the merciless tropical, hurricane-prone climate.

As a result, there is a lot of opportunity for developers to buy out buildings and build new construction to take advantage of the current, extreme supply/demand imbalance in Miami.

Furthermore, there are rumors that the abandoned Deuville Hotel may be replaced with a high-end, luxury hotel (i.e. a Four Seasons level establishment).

In fact, we’ve heard that the same famous architects behind the Four Seasons Surfside, which really kicked off the gentrification for Surfside, will be behind the project.

Close to all the necessities

Another great feature about North Beach is its centrally located Publix (one of the bigger ones in Miami), just across the street from the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.

On that same street, you’ll find a Chase bank branch, a Wells Fargo bank branch, a Walgreens, a Publix Pharmacy, a Publix Liquor, a UPS (a USPS is nearby) and many local eateries.

Best of all, any part of the neighborhood is only steps away from perhaps Miami’s greatest destination, the beach!

Pros & cons of the various more popular neighborhoods that New Yorkers and other transplants might consider in this Miami neighborhood guide.

A walker’s paradise

One of the greatest treasures about North Beach, and the beach in general, is the extreme walk-ability of the neighborhood. From the Miami Beach Boardwalk in North Beach, you can walk, run or bike all the way south to South Pointe or all the way north to Bal Harbour.

If you prefer, you could do long walks on the beach all the way north to the tip of Bal Harbour, or also all the way south to South Pointe. Which other neighborhood can boast that?

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Mid-Beach

Mid-Beach is a quiet, sandy strip of land bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the right, and Indian Creek to the left. The neighborhood stretches from West 63rd Street down to 23rd Street, and is a mix of newer and older condominiums, sprinkled with a few hotels.

Notable newer buildings include 57 Ocean (the newest condo building in Mid-Beach, completed in 2021), MEI Condominiums and The Bath Club in the northern half of Mid-Beach, and Roney Palace at the southern edge of Mid-Beach.

Notable hotels in Mid-Beach include The Fontainebleau (which still houses the most popular club, LIV, in Miami), The Faena Hotel (and the 3 block surrounding complex called the Faena District) and the 1 Hotel South Beach at the southern edge of Mid-Beach.

The Roney Palace is actually connected to the 1 Hotel, and residents at The Roney Palace are able to partake in the 1 Hotel’s amenities.

Map showing where Mid-Beach is on a map of Miami Beach

In fact, for singles looking for more of a scene, the 1 Hotel itself offers condominiums for sale. However, living at the 1 Hotel, and further south in Mid-Beach, may be too much for those looking for a quieter life on the beach.

Generally speaking, the further south you venture on Mid-Beach, the more action packed the neighborhood will be. There are also generally more hotels in the southern half of Mid-Beach.

One thing to note, because Mid-Beach is just a thin strip of sand, there isn’t much in the way of grocery stores or retail to speak of.

This means if you want to eat out or buy groceries, you’ll have to get in your car and drive somewhere or get it delivered. However, this is getting easier these days with a plethora of take-out, grocery delivery and meal plan options on the market.

Beware of Miami traffic jams

Another con to be aware of is the potential for horrific traffic jams when there is road construction work going on, as is the case still in 2021 on Indian Creek Drive.

As a result, Collins Avenue has been temporarily transformed into a two-way street with one lane going each way, which understandably results in terrible traffic in the southern half of Mid-Beach.

Surfside

Surfside is a quiet, beach-side town in Miami-Dade County nestled between North Beach to the south and Bal Harbour to the north. Technically, Surfside is a separate town and not a part of Miami Beach, which is its own municipality.

While Surfside used to be a low key, mostly residential neighborhood with a mix of newer and older buildings, it has transformed in recent years from a more mixed, working class neighborhood to a much more upscale neighborhood with the arrival of establishments such as the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club.

Furthermore, the neighborhood has gone through a transformation of sorts with an influx of wealth through extremely luxurious condominium new developments such as the Arte Surfside, the Fendi Chateau Residences and the Surf Club Four Seasons.

Surfside’s northern boundary is 96th Street and its southern boundary is 87th Terrace, a partial street between 88th Street and 87th Street.

Map illustrating where the town of Surfside, Florida is relative to Miami Beach and Bal Harbour.

Sadly, most people now know Surfside’s southern boundary as the dividing line between the tragically collapsed Champlain Towers South and the ultra-luxurious condo development Eighty Seven Park, sitting just across the border in Miami Beach.

Permanent impairment due to the building collapse

Unfortunately for properties in Surfside, especially older buildings and properties closer to the collapsed Champlain Towers South, values have been permanently impaired due to not just the presence of a mass grave, but because of concerns about the structural integrity of other buildings in the area.

Even though it appears that the collapse was due to structural issues with the building and a lack of proper maintenance over a long period, prospective buyers are undoubtedly asking themselves whether beachfront properties in South Florida are indeed more vulnerable to collapse due to the fragile, sink-hole prone limestone terrain.

A true beach escape

Going to the beach in Surfside truly feels like an escape from the buzz of the city. Surfside is blessed as a quiet community without the public parking lots that dot Miami Beach. As a result, the beach is very quiet, and often almost devoid of beach-goers.

Furthermore, buildings feel more set-back from the beach due to the presence of a double boardwalk (one closer to the buildings, one closer to the beach), and the lack of lower-end hotels means that the beach feels very exclusive and private.

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Bal Harbour

Bal Harbour is a tony village in Miami-Dade County, sitting between Surfside to the south and Haulover Park to the north. Bal Harbour is known for flashy condo towers and high end shopping at the glamorous Bal Harbour Shops, which probably counts as the most expensive place to shop in South Florida.

Notable condominiums in Bal Harbour include the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour at its northern tip, the Oceana Bal Harbour and the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort which sports both condo units as well as a flashy hotel.

Bal Habour is bounded by 96th Street to the south and by the waters of Haulover Inlet naturally to the north.

Image illustrating where Bal Harbour is on a map of the Miami metro area.

Bal Harbour is connected to Haulover Park, and Sunny Isles Beach further north, by the Haulover Inlet Bridge.

It’s also interesting to note that the walking path that continues uninterrupted from South Pointe at the very southern tip of Miami Beach naturally ends at Haulover Inlet (of course unless you want to walk across the bridge and continue walking).

While quite small by American shopping mall standards, the Bal Harbour Shops are very elegantly designed and has room for eateries on all three levels.

If you have an afternoon free, it’s a great experience to grab an ice cream cone on the third floor and people watch or to do some window shopping.

Or if you’re in the mood to splurge, settle down for a nice, open-air meal at one of the restaurants or go all out and do some actual shopping. Just be forewarned, the high end shops here almost never feature prices on their tags.

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South Beach

South Beach is perhaps the most famous and iconic neighborhood in Miami-Dade County, and encompasses Miami Beach all the way from South Pointe to Dade Boulevard on the northwest and 24th Street on the northeast.

The great thing about South Beach is that you can find pretty much whatever you’re looking for through its many, varied micro-neighborhoods.

Entertainment, dining and nightlife galore

You can attend a classic, lively pool party Miami-style at the SLS South Beach or have a more refined brunch at the upscale 1 Hotel South Beach. You can catch a fire show over a “sceney” dinner at The Setai, or really treat yourself to an expensive Italian dinner at Casa Tua.

If you’re in the mood to party, consider checking out clubs like Story in the otherwise very residential South of Fifth neighborhood, or a lively poolside brunch party at the new Goodtime Hotel.

Lots of shopping options and retailers

Or if you’re in the mood to shop, you can stroll down Lincoln Road, one of Miami’s few pedestrian only streets, and check out Lincoln Road’s many retail stores and restaurants. Sitting down at a hookah restaurant may be touristy, but it sure can be fun!

If you really want to play tourist, then take a walk or drive down Ocean Drive and check out South Beach’s Art Deco Historic District.

Map illustrating where South Beach is on a map of Miami Beach, Florida

South of Fifth

For those who hear too much about the Entertainment District during Spring Break on the news and are afraid of too much revelry, South of Fifth may be a great option for those who still want to be close to the beach and action.

South of Fifth is a quieter, more residential micro-neighborhood that encompasses everything from 5th Street on down in South Beach. Here you’ll find a mix of older and newer buildings, with plenty of fun dining options to choose from like Pura Vida, Planta and Lilikoi Organic Living.

As a bonus, you’ll be close to South Pointe Park and beautiful South Pointe Beach, even if the latter does tend to get crowded. The great thing is that the Miami Beach Boardwalk actually wraps around South Pointe, and you are able to walk or bike some more (though not all the way up like you can on the beach).

Bayshore

Bayshore is a largely residential neighborhood in mid Miami Beach, sitting just across Indian Creek from Mid-Beach. The neighborhood wraps around the expansive Miami Beach Golf Club, and is bounded by 41st Street to the north and Dade Boulevard to the South.

Besides golf and single-family houses, it’s known for its more famous two micro-neighborhoods, Sunset Islands and Sunset Harbour.

Map of the Bayshore neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida

Sunset Harbour

Sunset Harbour is a popular micro-neighborhood in Bayshore, and runs along Sunset Harbour Drive and encompasses the neighboring streets.

Here you’ll find a variety of interesting and popular eateries such as Stiltsville Fish Bar, Lucali (always popular with New Yorkers) and numerous other restaurants and juice bars.

There’s also a conveniently located Publix grocery store, coffee shops, bakeries, gas stations and other retailers located here.

However, the word on the street is that due to competition from other up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Wynwood and the Design District, sales have gone down for the retailers in Sunset Harbour, and some may have to close in the coming years.

Sunset Islands

Sunset Islands, or Sunset Isles as it’s colloquially known, is a beautiful group of 4 islands on the bay, nestled against the western edge of the rest of Bayshore.

Here, you’ll find many waterfront homes with private docks, as well as some in-land houses without coveted water access. In fact, some of the arguably most beautiful houses in Miami are located in this uniquely positioned micro-neighborhood.

Why do people pay millions or tens of millions for houses here? Because of its unique location close to Miami Beach and right across from Sunset Harbour, and the ability for a significant percentage of the houses to have water access with private docks.

Pro Tip: Even if you can’t splurge $10 million (or $30 million) on a waterfront mansion next to Michael Bay’s house here, it’s worth going paddle-boarding or kayaking in the beautiful little waterways in Sunset Isles and checking out these beautiful houses. It’s quite an enjoyable day-time activity!

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Edgewater

Edgewater is a centrally located, truly up-and-coming neighborhood known for its luxury high-rise condominiums lining Biscayne Bay.

Edgewater is surrounded by the Miami Design District and the micro-neighborhood of Midtown Miami to the northwest, and Wynwood to the west. To the south lies the neighorhood of Town Square.

If you know anything about Miami, then you’ll know that Edgewater’s location couldn’t be more blessed, as the majority of Miami’s newest and trendiest dining options seem to always be opening up in Wynwood or the Design District, just blocks away.

Edgewater is also blessed with two parks at its southern end: Margaret Pace Park which sits by the bay, and Biscayne Park on Edgewater’s southwestern corner.

Map showing where the neighborhood of Edgewater is in Miami

Pros of living in Edgewater

Location, location, location. Edgewater is a centrally located neighborhood with easy access to the beach via the Julia Tuttle Causeway at its northern boundary, access to the best of mainland Miami while still allowing for beautiful direct water views, and only 20 minutes away from Miami International Airport.

Commuting is a breeze if you have to go into the office in downtown Miami or Brickell, and you’re just a few blocks away from high-end shopping and trendy eateries in the Design District. If you live here, it’s more likely your friends will be meeting you in your neighborhood for dinner vs the other way around.

Because Edgewater is adjacent to Wynwood and the Design District, we rate Edgewater as having the best price appreciation potential for a residential neighborhood, especially if you manage to snag a high-floor, direct bay (and often ocean if you’re high enough, i.e. ~30th floor) view condo unit.

Cons of living in Edgewater

Because Edgewater and its surrounding neighborhoods are seeing gentrification at such an accelerated pace, there is bound to be construction to deal with as new high rises go up.

While this may not necessarily be a problem given many buildings will have hurricane-strength, impact resistant windows that are great at blocking out sound, you still have to watch out for construction right next door that might block your view.

Furthermore, no matter how soundproof your home is, groundbreaking at the beginning of a construction project is extremely loud and may make working from home difficult.

Another con of living in Edgewater is its walkability, which is a work in progress as the Miami Bay Walk is being stitched together. This may take years to complete however, as buildings built before 1979 are not required to have a publicly accessible baywalk, while new construction buildings are obligated to do so.

Lastly, keep in mind that the NYC analogy to this and surrounding neighborhoods is Brooklyn 20 years ago. While there is opportunity for price appreciation due to continued gentrification, it’s still a work in progress.

As a result, even though safety has improved dramatically in recent years, the neighborhood may not be deemed by some as “super safe” late at night, or at least not as much so as say Mid-Beach.

Notable buildings

One Paraiso – Completed in 2018, One Paraiso is the most exclusive, upscale building in the Paraiso Complex. Developed by The Related Group with world-famous Arquitectonica as the architect, One Paraiso sits directly on the bay and features a marina in addition to two full floors of amenities on the 10th and 11th floors, as well as a 2 expansive pools on its 10th floor, outdoor pool deck, a BBQ area and tennis courts. The amenities in this building are the best we’ve seen.

Elysee – Completed in 2021, the Elysee has fewer than 100 units, with each floor only having two flow-through units of at least 3 bedrooms. As a result, the Elysee markets itself as having a more exclusive atmosphere for those who want a bit more privacy. The amenities are also nice in this one, though not as extensive. Please note that the Aria Reserve is being built directly across the street to the north, and is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

Missoni Baia – A new construction project that is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2022, the Missoni Baia features excellent amenities from the same developer behind the Aman brand. We recommend doing a hard hat tour, and seeing a finished unit so you can get a sense of the space and square footage for yourself.

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Downtown

Downtown Miami’s borders change depending on who you ask and which map you consult, but it’s generally accepted that Downtown Miami lies between I-95 and the bay, south of Edgewater and northeast of Brickell on the coast.

We define the border between Brickell and Downtown Miami as the Miami River, and the northern border with Edgewater as NE 17th Terrace (the southern edge of Margaret Pace Park).

Downtown Miami is known for its two massive parks on the bay, Maurice A. Ferré Park and Bayfront Park, as well as its many cultural attractions such as the Frost Museum of Science, the Perez Art Museum, the Museum of Art and Design, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Bayside Marketplace and FTX Arena where you can catch a Miami HEAT game.

Central Business District

Downtown Miami is also known for having the Central Business District (CBD), which is the oldest settled part of Miami. As a result it has some of the oldest buildings in Miami as the historic core of Miami.

The Central Business District of Miami is generally accepted to be bounded by NE 6th St to the north, Biscayne Blvd to the east, I-95 to the west and the Miami River to the south.

The easiest analogy to make for New Yorkers is to compare the CBD to the Financial District (FiDi) in NYC. You can expect a mix of older and newer high-rise buildings with a very urban feel.

Pro Tip: Downtown Miami sits on higher ground than Brickell, with much of the CBD sitting an average of 8 feet or more above sea level. In a simulation of sea levels rising 4 feet done by Florida International University GIS Center, almost all of Downtown Miami remains dry.

Brickell

Located just across the Miami River from Downtown Miami, Brickell curves south and then southwest along the bay until it meets Rickenbacker Causeway, which is its southern border with the leafy neighborhood of Coconut Grove.

Brickell has seen a wave of new construction and has been a hotspot for transplants to Miami, and even tourists are opting to stay here vs the beach in greater numbers due to new hotels like EAST Miami, SLS Lux Brickell and the W Miami.

What really helped kicked off the new condominium construction boom in Brickell was the anchoring of the neighborhood with the massive, mixed use development Brickell City Centre which opened in November 2016.

Brickell City Centre spans over 500,000 square feet of shopping across 9 acres, and is conveninently connected by Miami’s free Metromover.

Whereas Brickell was previously known as a place for work, Brickell City Centre really helped transform the neighborhood into one where people could imagine living in as well.

Residents who are fans of living in Brickell often say that it’s like living in NYC, where you can get around and walk to everything you need without ever having to have a car.

Map illustrating where Brickell is in Miami

Brickell is known to be more lively than its neighbor Downtown Miami in terms of restaurants and nightlife, and has historically been known to be a more affluent neighborhood with many luxurious, amenity-rich, high-rise condominiums.

Pro Tip: Both Brickell and Downtown Miami are relatively established neighborhoods with plenty of places to go for a walk along the bay. Unlike newer neighborhoods without much of a connected baywalk, you won’t have that problem in either of these two neighborhoods.

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is an upscale, leafy neighborhood of single-family homes and marinas hugging Biscayne Bay, just south of Brickell and between US Route 1 and the bay.

Coconut Grove is a very developed neighborhood with lots of do, meaning lots of sidewalk cafes, restaurants, chic retailers and a ritzy new mall called the CocoWalk.

Coconut Grove is also home to Miami’s iconic, historic Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, which is worth a visit for anyone regardless of where you live.

Other public parks include Alice Wainwright Park, David T. Kennedy Park, Regatta Park, Peacock Park, The Barnacle Historic State Park and The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Some would say the commercial heart of Coconut Grove centers around Grand Ave and Main Hwy, and their intersection at the CocoWalk.

Map illustrating where Coconut Grove is in Miami.

A paradise for house lovers

If you’re intent on living in a house, then Coconut Grove may be the right neighborhood for you. Not only is it by the bay with plenty of parks and places to walk, it’s also known for having lots and lots of single-family homes.

Sure, there are of course going to be a few condo towers near the busier commercial areas of Coconut Grove, but by and large most of the property in the neighborhood consists of single-family homes with their own lots of varying sizes.

Pro Tip: Coconut Grove has an impressive Business Improvement District (BID) that works to keep the neighborhood clean, secure, beautifies the streetscapes, makes capital improvements and generally works to constantly improve the neighborhood. This is why Coconut Grove is one of the most well-known and desirable neighborhoods in Miami today. It’s also known for having great educational facilities appropriate for all people!

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Sunny Isles Beach

Sunny Isles Beach is a beach city located on a barrier island in Northeast Miami-Dade County, with Haulover Park to its south and Golden Beach to its north.

Although located a bit further from the action, Sunny Isles Beach is only a short drive across the Haulover Inlet Bridge from world-class shopping in Bal Harbour.

The northern border of Sunny Isles Beach is typically considered to be Terracina Avenue, after which you’ll see completely different zoning for single-family residences lining the beach.

Map showing where Sunny Isles Beach is in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The first impression visitors get of Sunny Isles Beach is one of very tall condo towers lining the beach as they drive along Collins Avenue. For some reason, the towers lining the beach along this stretch of Collins are definitely taller, probably due to looser zoning regulations in this part of town.

Besides being generally taller, the waterfront condo buildings lining Collins Ave in Sunny Isles Beach are generally newer vs the older inventory further south along the beach.

Here you’ll see plenty of new construction condo projects such as the Residences by Armani Casa, the Porsche Design Tower Miami and the Ritz-Carlton Residences Sunny Isles Beach.

Pro Tip: There isn’t much to do in terms of restaurants and shopping here, and you’ll pretty much need to drive anywhere you want to go. However, the tradeoff is newer oceanfront inventory at often better prices if you’re okay with the urban density of the neighborhood.

Venetian Islands

The Venetian Islands are a chain of 6 artificial islands in Biscayne Bay linked together by the Venetian Way causeway. NE 15th Street on the mainland becomes the Venetian Way, which in turn becomes Dade Boulevard once the causeway crosses into Miami Beach.

The Venetian Islands are known for being high-end, single-family home neighborhoods on the four inner islands (San Marco Island, San Marino Island, Di Lido Island, Rivo Alto Island) while the outer islands (Belle Isle, Biscayne Island) have condo towers for those who are more inclined towards apartment living.

In-land single family houses without water access can cost several million dollars (i.e. $2 million or $3 million), while waterfront homes with private docks can easily cost $20 million to $30 million or more.

However, living in a condo can be a lot more affordable as most condo towers will have a mix of unit sizes, including smaller ones for those on a budget.

Map showing where the Venetian Islands in Miami are.

Living in a waterfront condo on Belle Isle can really be quite pleasant. For example, not only do you get bay views from multiple angles, you’re close enough to paddleboard to Sunset Isles to check out gorgeous waterfront homes or Flagler Memorial Island for an afternoon picnic.

Best of all, one of the real perks of living in the Venetian Islands is the calm and quiet. You truly feel removed from the hustle and bustle of Miami when you live in the Venetian Islands, like you’re truly on a more remote island!

Pro Tip: Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Publix are only a short bike ride away via a well marked bike path in Sunset Harbor.

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided. Hauseit LLC is a Licensed Real Estate Broker, licensed to do business in New York under license number 10991232340. Principal Office: 148 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013.

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