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.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.