If you were wondering about the differences between Miami vs Miami Beach, we developed this detailed guide for travelers and for potential residents.
Indeed, whether you’re going to visit Florida soon or you’re going to relocate and need to choose to live in Miami or Miami Beach, this guide will help you understand what are the main differences and similarities between these two cities.
Despite the common idea of considering Miami and Miami Beach as a single city, it is important to know that Miami and Miami Beach are two different municipalities that are connected to each other via a series of bridges that cross the Atlantic Ocean.
As such, they obviously have some similarities, but also several key differences.
We divided the following guide into seven main categories, and for each part, we chose the most important features of both cities in order to compare them and help you understand if Miami Beach or Miami is better for you. Such categories are:
- Cost of Living
- Job Market
- Things to Do for Travelers
- Things to Do for Residents
So let’s start our comparison between Miami Beach vs Miami and let’s see which one of the two fits your lifestyle the best.
1. Miami vs Miami Beach – Overview
Miami is the second largest city in Florida, with a population of approximately 440,000 people and a metropolitan area of more than 1.2 million residents.
It is just 10 miles from Miami Beach and they are connected through a series of causeways.
Miami was also ranked as one of the best cities in Florida in 2023.
On the contrary, Miami Beach is home to less than 90,000 residents, who are scattered through the different neighborhoods of this island city that is filled with skyscrapers.
Such a difference in the number of residents makes Miami a city with more job opportunities than Miami Beach, which instead is considered more as a tourist destination.
Both cities offer different attractions and a vibrant nightlife, together with a complex and fascinating cultural background.
The crime rates in Miami, despite showing higher percentages than in the rest of the country, shows a significant improvement over the last years.
In general, Miami is an average city in terms of safety compared to other large American cities.
On the other hand, the crime rates in Miami Beach are quite a bit higher than the rest of the country. Among Florida’s cities with a similar number of residents, Miami Beach is one of the less safe places to live in.
2. Miami vs Miami Beach – Climate
When comparing Miami Beach vs Miami, their climate is one of the aspects that don’t show a lot of differences.
Since they are only a few miles apart, these two cities share the same climate and, for most of the year, the same atmospheric conditions.
Summers in Miami or Miami Beach are pretty hot, with temperatures that can reach up to 90°F.
They are also generally wet since their summers match the timing of the area’s rainy season. In fact, August is the month with the most chances of precipitation.
One difference between these cities is the fact that Miami Beach is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, which produces winds that help mitigate the storms that occur on the mainland.
Furthermore, during spring and summer, tornadoes and hurricanes can be quite frequent.
On the contrary, winters are short and pretty cool, and snow is not an option in South Florida.
Generally, humidity rates are pretty high throughout the year and can become very oppressive during the summer season.
Eventually, the best period of the year to visit Miami Beach or Miami to experience a milder climate is between November and April, when the temperatures are pretty stable, tornadoes and hurricanes are rare, and humidity rates are lower.
3. Miami vs Miami Beach – Cost of Living
The cost of living in Miami or Miami Beach is generally higher compared to the national level, while the main difference between the two cities lies in the prices for housing and accommodation.
In fact, buying a house in Miami Beach is more expensive than in downtown Miami. However, taking into account the difference in size between these two cities, there are obviously areas of Miami where housing can be more expensive than in Miami Beach.
Still, the average price of a home in all of Miami is around $500,000, while prices in Miami Beach are slightly lower at $450,000.
Conversely, median prices for rentals in Miami Beach are approximately $200 higher.
As for transportation, goods and services and healthcare, the costs in Miami vs Miami Beach are almost identical.
But, some good news is that utilities are cheaper than in the rest of the US.
Thus, if you’re willing to relocate soon to Miami or Miami Beach, or if you’re going to pay them a visit as a tourist, don’t expect much differences in the costs for everyday life.
4. Miami vs Miami Beach – Job Market
When comparing Miami or Miami Beach, it goes without saying that the job market shows two different situations.
In Miami, finding a job is far easier than in Miami Beach, as its larger size creates more opportunities for different professionals.
The sectors that offer the most opportunities, both in downtown Miami and its metropolitan area (including Miami Beach) are the hospitality and the business sectors.
However, the average income per capita shows significant differences between Miami and Miami Beach.
Regarding unemployment, Miami has a rate of 5.8% compared to 3.4% in Miami Beach, but for the entire Miami metropolitan area, the numbers have been positively changing after the pandemic.
Eventually, the proximity between Miami and Miami Beach would also allow you to live in Miami Beach and commute everyday to Miami in order to reach your workplace, both by car or by public transportation.
5. Miami vs Miami Beach – Things to Do for Travelers
If you’re going to visit Florida as a tourist and you were wondering about the different things to do and see when comparing Miami Beach vs Miami, we’re more than happy to inform you that both cities offer a vast range of attractions and activities.
In Miami, you can embark on a cultural trip by visiting the dozens of museums that are scattered around the city.
For example, you can see the Wynwood Walls, which are one of the most famous open air museums in the world for street art or take a walk with your children in the Zoo Miami, which is the biggest zoological park in Florida.
Moreover, there are many different neighborhoods with unique personalities that await, such as Little Havana.
In Miami Beach, you must take a walk on the famed Ocean Drive and Collins Ave in order to admire the marvelous Art Deco restaurants and buildings and enjoy the fancy atmosphere of South Beach.
Furthermore, the Miami Beach Boardwalk offers you the opportunity to take a relaxing walk next to the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, you can also enjoy time near the water by sunbathing in one of the several beaches scattered around the island.
Apart from such attractions, both Miami and Miami Beach offer a never ending nightlife and an extremely wide and varied selection of restaurants and bars.
6. Miami vs Miami Beach – Things to Do for Residents
If you will move to Florida soon and are deciding between Miami Beach or Miami, we’re happy to inform you that wherever you choose to live, you will never get bored.
If all the beaches, restaurants, and clubs of Miami Beach can sound a bit monotonous after a while, you can always hop over to downtown Miami to experience the big city life.
The FTX Arena hosts different events during the year. If basketball is your favorite sport, you are probably well aware that the Miami Heat play their home games right in downtown Miami.
Additionally, the different neighborhoods of Miami can offer you a first-person perspective of many different lifestyles and cultures that all meet in this bustling metropolis.
Furthermore, the ever-expanding Miami Worldcenter brings you many different options for shopping and dining all at once.
And what if you need a break from the chaos of the city or the idyllic beaches? Not a problem, as the Miami International Airport is just a few minutes away and is served by dozens of airlines that can connect you easily with the rest of the world.
7. Miami vs Miami Beach – Culture
The cultural background of Miami and Miami Beach is one of the most fascinating in the entire country.
Miami is known as a haven for Latin American culture due to the significant presence of the Latino community and offers an extremely wide range of cultural activities and attractions alongside a mix of cultures that all walk the same streets.
Little Havana, Allapattah, Coconut Grove, Wynwood, and many other neighborhoods of Miami and its metropolitan area have extremely deep-rooted cultural influences that you can touch and experience by simply walking through them.
Meanwhile, in Miami Beach, it is possible to breathe the fancy culture of a first-class touristic destination, but there’s far more.
Events such as the Miami Beach Culture Crawl stress the cultural heritage of the island, which is also tangible thanks to its different museums and cultural hotspots, such as the The Miami Beach Ballet and the Botanical Garden.
Miami vs Miami Beach – Summary
When comparing Miami Beach vs Miami, our guide showcased how there are differences between these cities that cannot be overlooked.
If you’re going to visit Florida soon and you would like to decide between visiting Miami or Miami Beach, we would recommend taking some time (if possible) and paying a visit to both.
Instead, if you’re going to relocate soon and you have to decide between living in Miami Beach or Miami, we hope this guide can help you with your decision.