I live in Miami, and I have to say it is one of the best cities in the country. There is so much to do at all hours of the day. Of course, I am a young adult in my late twenties with a solid career start. I am not sure I would say the same thing if I was starting a family.
In my opinion, Miami proper is not the ideal location for families because it is such a wild place. Ocean Drive and South Beach are the places to be when it comes partying and going out. Festivals like Art Basel are an amazing time to see the varied cultural and artistic influences in the city. However, it can very expensive and snobby if you do not have the right look. I say this as a native who has grown up in the city. I lived in Miami for most of my childhood. I moved away for college, and I came back right after I graduated. I moved to Miami after school because I knew it was a great place to start a career, and my family was in a nearby town.
There is a community aspect found in Miami, but it is usually closed off to strangers. You have to be of a certain demographic to actually feel included. That said, I have a great group of friends who make me feel welcome at any event. I knew when I relocated to Miami after school that I would be poor while looking for a job. Fortunately, I found something in my field in no time. I recommend this city if you are looking for a gorgeous place that is full of life and culture.
If you are looking for a nice, quiet, vacation spot that isn't noisy and teenage infested then I advise families and retirees to not go because you will see all types of half-naked teens/transgender and your little heart will break. xD You wouldn't believe what type of people I've seen! Miami Beach is where to go if you have money to blow and want to show off your expensive convertible Mercedes or Porche. On my trip to Miami I got to see the incident of Sean Kingston on the Jet ski. A cop car almost ran into us on the bridge it was crazy! I saw men in lepard cheetah leggings and heels at the boardwalk. A man had a huge snake wrapped around his neck and I saw a Madonna Limo. If you want some fast-paced nightlife excitement and experience crazy dilemmas, Miami is the place to be. (Beware of the crazy drivers though.)
Living in Miami Beach since 1992, I have come to enjoy every part of it. All year long there are a large number of activities ranging from for everyone: Cultural, Sports, Night Life, Gastronomic, Nature. You can stroll down the beach, and meet with all kinds of people... You do not need to have a car, you can just walk to the Supermarket, from Publix, Whole Food Market, Fresh Market or Epicurean. Lincoln Road, an outdoor Mall with plenty of Restaurant, Bars and Boutiques.
For the Boaters you have the Miami Beach Marina and Sunset Marina, both very good. Many festivals through out the year, my favorite ones are: South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in February and Art Basel in December.
The big advantage of living in Miami Beach is you can work Downtown Miami just 10 minutes across the Mac Arthur Causeway, and spend your weekends at the beach like a vacation.
For tourists, they are plenty of hotels, but if you want to keep a budget, I recommend to look for a Vacation Rental. They are plenty of very nice condos available at a reasonable price. Good place to look for is AirBnB.
Miami Beach, Florida can be an expensive city and if you're not careful you could find yourself broke and begging for change before you know it. I've visited Miami on numerous occasions and have found that the city can be enjoyed, you just have to make a few small sacrifices.
#1 Stay a little further north on the Miami Beach Strip. The further north you go the less expensive the hotels are. I recommend The Palms (3025 Collins Ave). I've booked it before for around $75/night in prime season. The hotel is great, especially the outdoor area. The rooms are new and extremely clean with huge flat screen TV's. The outdoor area is massive and has a huge pool with loads of sun chairs as well as a beach area - giving you the best of both worlds. The beach area is actually attached and is a short walk from the pool. They even shot an episode of the OC there. Great bar too!
#2 Cheap eats. I could eat Pizza Rustica for every meal, every day. Luckily for me there are several locations that I know of. Two on Washington Ave and and least one on Lincoln Rd. Slice are around $4-$5 each and are huge. The crust is similar to that of focaccia. I also recommend Sushi Samba (600 Lincoln Rd). It's located right in the heart of Miami Beach and has a great outdoor patio.
#3 Mac's Club Deuce. A true dive bar with affordable drinks and good drink specials. If you don't feel like spending $40 to get into Mansion or Tantra, try Mac's. It has a great jukebox and is always filled with a fun crowd.
Those are a few things to do on a budget, while still allowing you to enjoy the fruits of Miami Beach. If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them...
Having grown up in South Florida and visiting Miami Beach quite often I can honestly say that this is one of the most happening places you could ever visit. With palm trees lining the city streets, mild ocean breezes and beautiful sunny days I always feel like I've arrived at a sleek tropical paradise.
I usually spend my days in Miami Beach lying on the warm sunny beach and taking a refreshing dip in the ocean waters. Then I watch the beautiful people stroll by as I have lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafes. No matter what kind of food I'm craving I'll find it in Miami Beach. And of course since it's Florida the seafood is excellent. I love Joe's Stone Crab on Washington Ave. It's world famous because their crabs are out of this world. For nightlife I love going to South Beach. With loads of clubs to choose from I can dance my way through the night and maybe even see a celebrity or two.
For shopping there are fashion designers galore and many shops throughout the city that offer high-end jewelry and clothing. And of course I love the water sports. From jet skiing to deep sea fishing there's no better way to spend the days than in Miami Beach.