Can you quantify charm? Well, website RentLingo thinks it has figured out the mathematics behind what makes an area charming, and it has ranked Miami as America's most charming midsize city. That's a nice counterpoint to yesterday's assertion by U.S. News & World Report that Miami was the eighth-worst city to live in America.
So how exactly do you determine "charm" by using cold, hard data?
"The Charm Index pulls in data on crime, local businesses, and institutions such as museums, libraries, and the availability of active lifestyle amenities such as gyms, parks, and bike paths," the site explains.
Four main factors, in particular, were taken into account:
Store price: cheap versus high-end
Store ratings: poorly rated versus highly rated
Business ownership: chain versus local
Lifestyle: sedentary versus active
The site says the charm index varies even from block to block.
Oddly, Miami came in as the most charming "mid-sized city" (defined as any city with 200,000 to 500,000 residents), but neighborhoods outside of the city were also ranked as some of the most charming.
In any event, here are the five most charming neighborhoods in Miami-Dade according to data. Honestly, it seems like the data is spot on.
1. Miracle Mile in Coral Gables
Peak Charm Score of 97
Coral Gables' infamous zoning and building codes pretty much mandate charm, so it's really no surprise this came out on top. Sure, a few chains have found their way into mix, but Miracle Mile has retained its distinctive character of classy restaurants and chic boutiques. The area is home to a Books & Books location, Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, and the Coral Gables Museum.
2. City Center, Miami Beach
Peak Charm Score of 88
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when this area could have made a stronger play for the number one spot, but the growing prevalence of shopping-mall-grade chain stores on Lincoln Road has taken some of the charm out of the area — emphasis on some. The area is still unique, and, of course, has its own Books & Books location, the Colony Theater, local favorites such as Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and the Abbey Brewing Company, and the booming Sunset Harbour neighborhood.
3. Downtown Miami
Peak Charm Score of 85
Downtown is the closest Miami gets to Manhattan, and though the area lacks a nighttime identity, it's still home to several shops, restaurants, and some of Miami's oldest architecture.
4. Bay Harbor Islands
Peak Charm Score of 84
Bay Harbor Islands basically has the feel of a small, fancy beach town with one of the world's most exclusive shopping centers nearby. Essentially, that's two kinds of charm playing off each other, but still pretty charming.
5. South Miami Area Around Sunset Place
Peak Charm Score of 82
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Despite the Shops at Sunset Place trying to reestablish itself under new ownership, the streets around it have continued to boom.