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Best Miami Neighborhoods

July 06, 2016

As the 8th most walkable city in the United States, Miami is the ideal place to live if you don’t own a car. You can do most things on foot, from enjoying the beaches, to experiencing the culture, fabulous shopping and dining. Here are our favorite neighborhoods.

South Beach

Contemporary yet historical, tiny but diverse, South Beach—Miami Beach’s long southern stretch down to its tip at South Pointe Park—commands hyperbole. The action centers on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue between 5th Street to the south and Lincoln Road to the north. Every Miami scene ever filmed in any movie seems to have been shot here. Rollerbladers glide along the beach down Ocean Drive past art deco buildings. Eurotrash and celebs rub oiled shoulders with artists, hipsters and a sprinkling of local stock in the sidewalk cafés, designer boutiques, lounge bars and dusk-to-dawn clubs.

Brickell and Downtown

If you’re into the urban modern living, Brickell is the place to be. This shiny area is not only Miami’s financial hub and business district, it’s also a swanky area where inner-city living is being reinvented.

Many young professional who dislike commuting live in Brickell to be close to work. The waterfront area is very clean and well organized. Brickell is also home to some fine restaurants and lounges that appeal to yuppies.

A notable place to start off a visit is the Bayfront Park and Bayside Marketplace, next to American Airlines Arena. A stroll on River Walk Trail will put you in the heart of our skyscrapers. Head south along the river from Bayfront Park and you’ll get a terrific view of Brickell Key island.

Little Havana

If you've never been to Cuba, just visit this small section of Miami and you'll come pretty close. The sounds, tastes, and rhythms are very reminiscent of Cuba's capital city, and some say you don't have to speak a word of English to live an independent life here -- even street signs are in Spanish and English.

Cuban coffee shops, tailor and furniture stores, and inexpensive restaurants line Calle Ocho, SW Eighth Street, the region's main thoroughfare. In Little Havana, salsa and merengue beats ring loudly from old record stores while old men in guayaberas (loose-fitting cotton short-sleeved shirts) smoke cigars over their daily game of dominoes. The spotlight focused on the neighborhood during the Elián González situation in 2000, but the area was previously noted for the groups of artists and nocturnal types who had moved their galleries and performance spaces here, sparking culturally charged neo-bohemian nightlife.

Coral Gables

There is substance behind the boast of this self-ordained “City Beautiful.” Coral Gables residents enjoy a peachy habitat of terracotta roofs, jewel-like colors and (mostly) lush vegetation. Once a tiny Miami suburb, founded in 1925 as one of the country's first planned communities, the city is now a spotless home for more than 175 multinational companies and a score of consulates and trade offices.

A smattering of upscale commercial galleries, theatres and restaurants all contribute to the air of affluence. But for visitors, the main draw is the picturesque appeal of its Mediterranean Revival architecture, reflected in such landmarks as the Venetian Pool and the Biltmore Hotel.

Wynwood Arts District

Another area that has gone through a dramatic transformation is Wynwood. Today, the neighborhood is synonymous with trendy art with its amazing large selection of facades with graffiti arts. It’s known as the hipsters, young artists and technology startups corner.

This area use to also be neglected for its high concentration of warehouses until one visionary man, the late Tony Goldman, helped revive it with a simple idea: Covering warehouse facades with art to create the largest outdoor graffiti art museum in the world!

This brilliant idea worked and today, nearly all Miami visitors make a stop at Wynwood Walls. The nightlife scenes is also lively with all the hip restaurants, cafes and bars coming to life after dark.

Miami Design District

The neighborhood got its name in the ‘20s when Theodore Moore set up his furniture showroom there, Moore & Sons. By the ’90s, it was largely vacant until visionary real estate developer Craig Robins saw its potential and pioneered a re-vamp.

Now, it boasts over 100 galleries and showrooms and upscale design and fashion retailers like Luminaire Lab, Ligne Roset, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton, as well as a host of destination restaurants like Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and the open-air Mandolin Aegean Bistro. We particularly recommend Mandolin—the homey atmosphere and traditional Turkish and Greek house specialties will transport you to a balmy seaside café in Europe.

The much-adored graffiti writer and artist Marquis Lewis, known as RETNA, created Louis Vuitton’s Design District storefront mural in his signature hieroglyphics (shown above). It’s one of many indications that Robins’ 20-year-old vision for the neighborhood is coming to fruition: Miami is attracting the artists and creative entrepreneurs who can turn the city into a true cultural epicenter.

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