Miami - where to stay and how to get around?
November 27, 2016 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Group of four friends going to Miami for just 3 days and 2 nights. 1. What is the best location to stay - and for a reasonable price? i.e. Coral Way, Miami Beach, Midtown. 2. Also considering to rent a car and split between the four of us. What is the best way to get around? Will there be a lot of traffic and parking issues? 3. What is public transportation like? i.e. metro or buses? Thanks in advance!

1. Our plan is to just hang out in Miami for a mini-reunion for a couple of days. Miami is a huge city and some of the hotels are pretty expensive. We are considering the Airbnb - looking at staying near Miami Beach, Coral Way or Midtown. Does anyone have an idea of what is reasonable priced but where we could still go and and get around in?

2. Any idea of the best way to get around Miami? Also, would car rental be reasonable? We calculated possibly renting a car and splitting it per day. Uber seems like it could be expensive or since Miami is such a tourist area, we may pay more. Also wondering if we should do public transportation?
posted by proficiency101 to Travel & Transportation around Miami, FL (5 answers total)
My spouse is from Miami and we visit often, although rarely staying in hotels. He grew up using the metro, but we never use it now because it's not very convenient to very many places. Miami is a driving town. Car rental is reasonable, especially split between 4 people. Most places in Miami have lots of free/inexpensive parking. And especially things like going to the beach (if you're not staying on it) or the Everglades are very difficult without a car.

The only exception would be if you end up staying on Miami Beach, you would just need transport to and from the airport and could otherwise probably walk and be fine. But, yeah, that would be expensive.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:49 PM on November 27, 2016

If you can get away without driving, don't drive here. Parking isn't a huge issue since it's so car-centric, although it is expensive in downtown/Brickell and in Miami Beach. The problem is that traffic is often a damn nightmare and people drive like complete nutters. I'm personally OK with that, but a lot of people who aren't used to it find it intimidating.

Transit can be a decent option, depending on what exactly you plan to be doing and where you are staying. Transit+Uber/Lyft is even better, IMO. It's good enough that I'm fine without having a car. (I live near Midtown) If you end up staying along Coral Way you'll definitely want to rent a car (there is a free trolley bus along Coral Way, but it doesn't run very late, unlike the Wynwood and Biscayne/Midtown/Brickell trolley, which runs to 11PM except on Sundays), but if you just want to hang out on the beach and/or at bars and restaurants in Wynwood, Brickell, and downtown you'll be fine without. Getting from those areas and Midtown to Miami Beach by bus is really easy. UberX is $10ish between those areas and the beach, or probably $15ish for an SUV.

If you know what you want to do and where you want to stay with more specificity, it would be much easier to advise whether a rental car would make things easier or not, but my default advice is no unless you're wanting to go to the Keys or the Zoo or other far-flung destinations. For stuff in Miami proper and Miami Beach it just isn't needed.
posted by wierdo at 5:39 PM on November 27, 2016

Oh, and if you do decide to rent a car, check prices for the off-airport locations. The airport taxes and fees are ridiculous here. Every once in a while the rates are good enough to offset them, but most of the time renting downtown is way cheaper once you take the taxes and fees into account. You can Uber/Lyft from the airport or take Metrorail to get downtown from the airport.

ZipCar is also an option if you only see yourself needing a car for a few hours one day. They are available all over downtown, Brickell, and Miami Beach. I used to use them a lot, but they kicked me out after I got hit by a bus in one of their cars a couple months back. I have zero complaints about how the claims process itself went, though.
posted by wierdo at 5:48 PM on November 27, 2016

Without knowing what you want to see/do in Miami, it's hard to give suggestions on where to stay. Do you want to go to the zoo? To the keys? The everglades? The malls?

Most tourists just stay on the beach, it's the easiest, and there you will not need a car. Anywhere else, yes, there will be traffic, heavy at times. You can Uber, but if you want to go long distances, then you'll probably want a rental.
posted by eas98 at 7:20 AM on November 28, 2016

None! Wynwood instead.
Miami beach is expensive (though fun). Midtown is blah, Coral way is kind of boring.

Wynwood is the arts district with fun galleries, cheap and good food, and it is right near little Haiti which is a great place to walk around, and you can uber to Miami beach to hang out for a day without staying there and paying $32 for a continental breakfast.
posted by rmless at 7:30 AM on November 28, 2016

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