Miami Vibe Guide: My Interpretation of Local Neighborhoods

I’ve been living in the Magic City for about six weeks now. I can say with complete and utter confidence that Miami is unlike any other place in the world.

Neighborhoods are constantly cropping up at a drop of a hat (my understanding of Midtown is that it’s a self-proclaimed mall complex/neighborhood-hybrid with the train tracks and I-195 serving as man-made perimeters.) As a result, tourists have trouble getting a sense of the city when they only visit for a week or two. 

My friends and family back home ask me to describe Miami, and the city’s so full of diverse neighborhoods and communities, it’s impossible to come up with one description for the entire city. So, I’ve created a Miami Vibe Guide, a compilation of my thoughts about different parts of this almost-inexplicable city.

Palm Trees
It might be October, but the palm trees make it easy to forget that it’s fall | Miami, Florida

 

Edgewater: Never Heard of It As a Tourist 

Never heard of it? Neither had I! This predominantly condo/office neighborhood seems to be defined by the fact that it offers pretty amazing views of Biscayne Bay. It’s also pretty accessible because Biscayne Boulevard runs right through it. I don’t really pick up any “community” vibes in Edgewater, and most of my Miami-native friends tell me that’s because this part of the city is just approaching its heyday. Only time will tell, but for now, I’m usually only here when I’m passing through the Omni Bus Station.

 

Wynwood: Reminds Me of My Liberal Arts College 

A more recognizable name, this was one of the neighborhoods I’d visited as a tourist in Miami. The Wynwood Walls are pretty famous, and for good reason. However, living in Miami and visiting Wynwood is a completely different experience from being a tourist and visiting Wynwood. Now, I come here for Goodwill and great happy hour deals. Without fault, though, I always leave the neighborhood with a hint of nostalgia for my days as a liberal arts college student.

Wynwood Walls
Taking a break from the Miami heat to pose with some murals | Miami, Florida

 

South Beach: Everything I Was Told it Would Be

I probably come here more than the average Miami resident, but that’s because I got my start in Miami by living in different hostels along the beach. Old habits die hard. Sometimes I like to dress in my platform sandals and window shop on Lincoln Road, but nothing beats a great people-watching session on Ocean Drive. When it comes to prime salsa dancing and endless entertainment, South Beach never disappoints me. 

Lincoln Road
Window shopping on South Beach’s famous Lincoln Road | Miami Beach, Miami

 

Little Havana: More Than Calle Ocho 

Another classic tourist spot, I exclusively come here to eat empanadas at Casa Panza and dance to salsa and reggaeton music at Ball and Chain. While there’s not much to actually do in Little Havana, it’s a great place to be for a few hours. Music pours out of most every restaurant and shop, adding to the overall ambiance of the neighborhood. Calle Ocho’s Walk of Fame can also give you a quick rundown of who’s who in Cuban history.

Calle Ocho
One of a dozen rooster statues on Calle Ocho | Miami, Florida

Brickell: Am I Back in D.C. ?

My friends describe it as the D.C. of Miami, and Brickell’s high-rises and congested streets confirm this comparison. I don’t spend much time in Brickell. However, I do like walking through this neighborhood. It’s the only part of the city where I don’t feel like an outcast for being a pedestrian because Miami is such a car city. I’d also consider Brickell to be the part of Miami that’s most accessible by public transportation. This is due to its central location and proximity to buses, the Metromover, and its trolley. When making connections from any other part of the city, I pretty much always have to pass through Brickell.

I’ve only seen a tiny fraction of Miami, and I’ll update this article as I explore different neighborhoods. Got some suggestions about where I should head next? Let me know!

 

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