Moving to Miami: A Newcomer's Guide to Navigating the Magic City

Moving to Miami: A Newcomer's Guide to Navigating the Magic City
Illustration by Kurtis Jokich

Almost since its inception, Miami has been an experiment, a sweaty petri dish bubbling with excitement and potential, always threatening to implode. In its 123-year history, the city has produced several manmade islands, the country's premier art show, a "robocall kingpin," the South Beach Diet, countless corruption scandals, and even Pitbull. As documentary filmmaker Billy Corben often says, the Miami of today is the America of tomorrow.

At its worst, Miami is a stereotype, a caricature of Brazilian butt-lifts and Instagram influencers and cheaply cut cocaine. But don't let its stuccoed façade fool you — there is, of course, a good reason this place is called the Magic City.

If you're new to town, you're far from alone: Between 2010 and 2018, Miami's population grew by more than 10 percent. Whether you're trying to navigate the area without a car, curious about how to make it through hurricane season, or wondering if you can live in the city's center with young children, New Times is here to help. In this guide, you'll find answers to your most pressing questions about living in the 305: Do I need to know Spanish? (Not necessarily, but it sure helps.) Should I get a generator? (Probably yes.) Are the stories of top-to-bottom political corruption just an exaggeration? (Absolutely not.) As you'll soon learn, moving to Miami can be fraught with road rage, bureaucracy, and condo-board drama, but in the end, the tradeoff is worth it.

Five Practical Things to Know After Arriving

A Californian's First Impressions

A D.C. Transplant's First Impressions

An Intro to Local Politics

How to Live Here Without a Car

Brickell Life With Kids

Pero, Do I Need to Know Spanish?

How to Survive Hurricane Season Without Panicking

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New Times staff and contributors