A street in Miami at sunset (L) and the author in front of the ocean (R)

The author is a New Yorker who went to Miami for the first time in October 2021.
Joey Hadden/Insider
  • I’m a New Yorker and recently traveled to Miami, Florida for the first time.
  • Many things were surprising, namely that Miami seemed less expensive and more social than New York.
  • I found a booming nightlife scene and colorful streets full of murals and Art Deco buildings.

I’m a New Yorker, and until recently, I’d never been to Miami, Florida.

(L) The author takes a selfie in Wynwood Miami (R) sand on Miami beach with buildings in the background

The author explores the city of Miami.
Joey Hadden/Insider

Looking for warmth and a change of scenery, I recently made my first trip to the Magic City, and was surprised by many key differences between it and my home in NYC, where I’ve lived for almost three years.

The first thing I noticed about Miami was how cheap public transit was compared to New York.

The author, masked, on a train (L) A view of the Coconut Grove elevated train platform with palm tress on the left (R)

The author rides a train in Miami.
Joey Hadden/Insider

Back home, I pay $2.75 for each subway ride. In Miami, I paid $5.65 a day for an unlimited pass that got me on the buses and railway system.

Miami also has a free trolley that runs across the city for 15 hours a day. I haven’t heard of anything similar in New York.

A Miami trolley in Coconut Grove

Miami’s free trolley stops in the city’s Coconut Grove neighborhood.
Joey Hadden/Insider

In my experience riding Miami’s trolleys, they were clean and not too crowded.

I also found that private Lyft rides in Miami were up to four times cheaper to travel the same distance as my rides in Brooklyn.

Lyft logo

The author took a few Lyfts during her trip.
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A 5-mile ride in Miami cost me $10 whereas a similar distance in Brooklyn has cost me $40.

Walking down the streets of Miami, I noticed there didn’t seem to be as many trash cans as in New York, but the streets still seemed cleaner.

A Street in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood on a partly cloudy day.

A trash can in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.
Joey Hadden/Insider

Typically in New York, I see overflowing trash cans on almost every corner, and there’s still trash on the streets. But in Miami, the streets were much cleaner, which made me think this city didn’t need as many.

In some areas of Miami, I noticed more yield than stop signs.

A yield sign on a Wynwood street in Manhattan facing downtown

A yield sign in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.
Joey Hadden/Insider

Drivers seemed patient about waiting for pedestrians, unlike my experiences walking around my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

I often — incorrectly — assume smaller, or highly car-dependent cities won’t be as walkable as New York. But I was pleased to find that Miami had many walkable neighborhoods all over the city, not just in the downtown area.

People walking in Coconut Grove (L) and South Beach (R)

People walk around South Beach and Coconut Grove in Miami.
Joey Hadden/Insider

South Beach, Wynwood, and parts of Coconut Grove all had walkable streets that were dense with restaurants and stores.

I visited Miami in October and knew it had a reputation for being warm year-round. But I didn’t know it’s one of the warmest locations in the US in winter with highs of nearly 80 degrees, as the Weather Station Experts reported last month.

Miami Beach date and temperature on a sign surrounded by palm trees

A date and temperature sign in South Beach.
Joey Hadden/Insider

It’s around 80 degrees in the winter, but when I visited Miami in October, it was typically 85 degrees during the day, which was much warmer than a fall day in NYC.

The warm weather also came with high humidity, which I found to be unbearable at times.

The author bares the humidity in Miami Beach

The author experienced hot, humid weather in South Beach.
Joey Hadden/Insider

Miami is quite humid in October, when I visited, according to World Weather and Climate.

New York gets humid, too, in the summers. But in Miami in October, my glasses immediately fogged up as I walked outside, which I’ve never experienced back home.

As I explored, I thought people seemed more eager to talk to strangers than in New York.

People play basketball at a public park in Miami

People play basketball at a public park in South Beach.
Joey Hadden/Insider

I had a lot of pleasant, random run-ins with strangers in my week in Miami, which almost never happens near my home in Brooklyn. Some people even greeted me on the street from their car windows.

Of course, no trip to Miami is complete without a stop at the beach. South Beach may be the cleanest beach I have ever seen.

A beach scene in Miami on a partly cloudy day

Miami Beach on a sunny day.
Joey Hadden/Insider

I expected Miami’s beaches to be clean, especially compared to New York’s sandy shores, but was blown away by how beautiful it was. According to The Culture Trip, Miami Beach imports sand from Caribbean beaches.

Overall, I found my week in Miami to be a warm, friendly change of pace from my life in New York City.

The author takes a selfie in Miami

The author enjoys her time in Miami.
Joey Hadden/Insider

I’ll certainly be back soon for the clean beaches, colorful streets, and affordable peanut butter.

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