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Old December 11th, 2009, 04:18 AM   #1
Hurricanes2010
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Top 5 best and worst neighborhoods in Miami-Dade

Just out of curiosity, what do you all think are the best of the best and the worst of the worst in Miami? Take into account crime/danger level, property value, whether it's visually appealing or not, income levels, and the general feeling of the area.

Mine....

Top 5

1. Key Biscayne
2. Coral Gables
3. East Brickell
4. Aventura
5. Pinecrest
(in the running: Northeast Grove, Miami Shores, Miami Beach (central), East Kendall, Miami Springs)

Bottom 5

1. Opa-locka
2. Liberty City/Gladeview
3. Overtown
4. Little Haiti
5. Goulds
(in the running: Miami Gardens, Carol City, West Little River, South Miami Heights)
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Old December 11th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #2
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I am fairly new to Miami-Dade County (2 yrs). When I first moved here, I lived in South Beach...I always, and still feel safe there, even at night, cause I work in South Beach. but I think the list above sound about right. I now live in Aventura, and I tell you, this area is really safe and clean! which I like. I also lived off of Pinetree Drive - I guess that's part of Miami Beach (Central)..also a really nice area. I haven't been to any of the places mentioned on the "bottom 5" cause I don't have any friends living in those areas...but I have visited friends in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Brickell - and yes those areas are nice too.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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I wont really call these areas the best or worst of the city but i will say they are either my favorite or least favorite

Favorite:
coconut grove
dowtown
overtown
morningside
north beach


Least Favorite:
opa locka
hialeah
kendall
south beach
kendall!
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Old December 12th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trickykid View Post
I wont really call these areas the best or worst of the city but i will say they are either my favorite or least favorite

Favorite:
coconut grove
dowtown
overtown
morningside
north beach


Least Favorite:
opa locka
hialeah
kendall
south beach
kendall!

WTF how can you put overtown in the favorite category!! that's like one of the worst areas in south florida.

I can see how you may not like kendall because it's basically one huge sprawling suburb, but overall it's middle class at worst, many areas around there are upper-middle class.....Kendall doesn't really have any "ghettos" or anything like that...I find it pretty hard to beleive that it's in your bottom five. And south beach? WTF
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Old December 12th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #5
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My personal list (in no particular order):

Best neighborhoods:
Brickell
Coral Gables
Pinecrest
Aventura
South Beach
(also really nice: Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, North Beach, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, and Midtown)

Worst neighborhoods:
Opa-Locka
Overtown
Liberty City
Miami Gardens
Hialeah

Up-and-coming areas:
Midtown, Upper East Side, Design District, and Downtown.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 11:37 PM   #6
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I would have no problem putting Kendall as one of my least favorite areas. The starter of this thread mentioned both "visual appeal" and "general feel" of the area. I think that Kendall, as well as Pinecrest are some of the most unattractive middle to upper class neighborhoods in the country. Sure they are safe and wealthy, but there is no architectural cohesion to either neighborhood. Pinecrest is a mishmash of bland ranch houses and McMansions laid out on streets with large lawns and little shade, and Kendall is chock full of ugly 1970's homes and small apartment complexes. They are both sprawled out regions, lacking very little transit infrastructure or walkability.

On the other hand, despite its shortcomings, Overtown is centrally located, walkable, affordable, and has a greater deal of respectable architecture. Would I live there? No, I'm just playing devil's advocate here.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 12:36 AM   #7
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I just want to mention two neighborhoods in particular:

Pinecrest is one of the nicest (visually) and safest neighborhoods. Large spacious homes in a lot of different architectural styles. However, many of the homes in Pinecrest are located on TINY lots (leaving very little space for an actual backyard). I know a family that has a tennis court in the backyard of their Pinecrest home, and the court takes up basically the entire backyard. Also, Pinecrest is dark as hell at night.
But regardless, it's a safe neighborhood...and prestigious. Whenever someone mentions that they live in Pinecrest, they are normally thought of as being rich.

Palmetto Bay is also a nice safe relatively-affluent area. The southern end of it however leans toward being just plain middle class (and even lower middle class in some parts near 184th street). But overall, PB is a nice neighborhood.

If you think about it, most of the best neighborhoods in Miami-Dade are located east of US1. Many of the neighborhoods west of US1 are basically the "wrong side of the tracks".
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Old December 13th, 2009, 04:27 AM   #8
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Cool topic.

My Favorite 5:

1. Coral Gables
2. South Beach
3. Brickell
4. Dadeland
5. Little Havana

My Bottom 5

1. Homestead
2. Doral (I *hate* this place with a passion)
3. Hialeah
4. Pinecrest
5. Westchester can be very nice, but there are certain parts that I really don't like.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiralshaman View Post
I just want to mention two neighborhoods in particular:

Pinecrest is one of the nicest (visually) and safest neighborhoods. Large spacious homes in a lot of different architectural styles. However, many of the homes in Pinecrest are located on TINY lots (leaving very little space for an actual backyard). I know a family that has a tennis court in the backyard of their Pinecrest home, and the court takes up basically the entire backyard. Also, Pinecrest is dark as hell at night.
But regardless, it's a safe neighborhood...and prestigious. Whenever someone mentions that they live in Pinecrest, they are normally thought of as being rich.

Palmetto Bay is also a nice safe relatively-affluent area. The southern end of it however leans toward being just plain middle class (and even lower middle class in some parts near 184th street). But overall, PB is a nice neighborhood.

If you think about it, most of the best neighborhoods in Miami-Dade are located east of US1. Many of the neighborhoods west of US1 are basically the "wrong side of the tracks".
Coral Gables is predominantly west of US1, as is the Coral Way neighborhood.


What I don't like about Pinecrest is its lack of architectural integrity. Many of the large homes on the "small lots" you identify are built so huge to justify the cost of the property. they usually end up being pseudo-mediterranean homes with many superfluous features and ostentatious fountains. Coral Gables homes are largely better than those of Pinecrest because they are designed more unassumingly, and they fit together. there is no rationality to home design in Pinecrest.

Also, these lots are not "tiny." Atleast 95% of the country lives in lots smaller than those in Pinecrest. Moreover, just because a certain neighborhood is synonymous with being "rich" does not automatically make it a well-rounded neighborhood
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Old December 13th, 2009, 06:42 PM   #10
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in miami beach:

south of fifth
palm/hibiscus/star islands
sunset/rivo alto/di lido/san marino islands
north bay rd/mid-beach
la gorce
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Old December 13th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elisokool16 View Post
What I don't like about Pinecrest is its lack of architectural integrity. Many of the large homes on the "small lots" you identify are built so huge to justify the cost of the property. they usually end up being pseudo-mediterranean homes with many superfluous features and ostentatious fountains. Coral Gables homes are largely better than those of Pinecrest because they are designed more unassumingly, and they fit together. there is no rationality to home design in Pinecrest.

Also, these lots are not "tiny." Atleast 95% of the country lives in lots smaller than those in Pinecrest. Moreover, just because a certain neighborhood is synonymous with being "rich" does not automatically make it a well-rounded neighborhood
The homes in Pinecrest might not "fit together", but that's what makes the neighborhood interesting. What I like about the Pinecrest architecture is that you can see a "pseudo-mediterranean" house, next to a colonial-style house, next to a modernist-style house, etc.
When all the houses in a neighborhood look similar to each other, that borders on being what a subdivision is like.
But I do agree that some of the homes in Pinecrest are overly-flashy and just plain gaudy.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 01:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elisokool16;
Coral Gables is predominantly west of US1, as is the Coral Way neighborhood.


What I don't like about Pinecrest is its lack of architectural integrity. Many of the large homes on the "small lots" you identify are built so huge to justify the cost of the property. they usually end up being pseudo-mediterranean homes with many superfluous features and ostentatious fountains. Coral Gables homes are largely better than those of Pinecrest because they are designed more unassumingly, and they fit together. there is no rationality to home design in Pinecrest.

Also, these lots are not "tiny." Atleast 95% of the country lives in lots smaller than those in Pinecrest. Moreover, just because a certain neighborhood is synonymous with being "rich" does not automatically make it a well-rounded neighborhood
I don't think it's about being east or west of US-1....it's more about proximity to US1. Most of the bad areas in Miami are within 2 miles of US1 to the west (South Miami Heights, parts of South Miami, Overtown, the whole 95 corridor, Liberty City, Little Haiti, Opa-locka, etc), but once you get far enough away from US1, the neighborhoods become nicer. On that note....even east of US1 lie some pretty sketchy hoods (Goulds, the black Grove, Naranja, and some places in the NE)....but nowhere are there hoods in Miami that are too far from US1.

Some of the best areas in the county are west of the highway....I think in a few cases (South Miami, Upper Eastside, Cutler Bay/Palmetto Bay) US1 does divide nicer areas to the east with ghettoes to the west....but in general what side of the highway you're on doesn't determine how the neighborhood is (for example, between SW 42nd Ave and SW 32nd Ave, US1 divides a very nice area to the west in Coral Gables with a very poor area to the east in the black Grove).
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Old December 14th, 2009, 04:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiralshaman View Post
The homes in Pinecrest might not "fit together", but that's what makes the neighborhood interesting. What I like about the Pinecrest architecture is that you can see a "pseudo-mediterranean" house, next to a colonial-style house, next to a modernist-style house, etc.
When all the houses in a neighborhood look similar to each other, that borders on being what a subdivision is like.
But I do agree that some of the homes in Pinecrest are overly-flashy and just plain gaudy.

I agree with the latter half your point. However, I disagree about "when all houses in a neighborhood look similar to each other, that borders on being what a subdivision looks like." I get what you're saying... we don't want sprawl. But I don't think Pinecrest is a good example of a non sprawling residential area. Moreover, I dislike the mish mash of architectural styles because they all lack historical precedent. To give an example of a great residential neighborhood with consistently similar architectural style, look at Society Hill in Philadelphia or Soulard in St. Louis. Both neighborhoods are dominated by 19th century brick rowhouses that are very similar in style. However, there is not the slightest semblance of a subdivision feel. In fact, these residential neighborhoods are some of the most walkable and well designed environments in urban America. It is because of their architectural cohesion that they work. They were built in the "style" of their time and place, which is what makes them architecture. The colonial houses and pseudo mediterranean houses in Pinecrest are not architecture

Given that virtually no homes in Pinecrest are older than 50 years, there is no precedent for colonial or pseudo-mediterranean style homes. Colonial style never was prevalent in South Florida.

I'm not saying its wrong to design differently, but these homes are built in a completely out of place character.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #14
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That's true about Society Hill. It's such a gorgeous and vibrant neighborhood. It would be my first choice of where to live here in Philly but it's waaay out of my price range. Maybe if I hit the lottery.

With Miami, needless to say any kind of "best" and "worst" list is highly subjective and really just a matter of personal preference. For instance, South Beach is an area that I love for all the usual reasons (pedestrian-friendly, plenty to do, etc.) but would I want to live there 24/7? No. I prefer it as a place to visit.

Miami Shores is a favorite of mine. Not just because of the family connection to the place but because it's geographically close to nearly everything and has an outstanding collection of lovely, older residences with real style. It's also an area that has transformed pretty significantly from its former 'staid' and conservative ways into a much more racially and ethnically diverse community with a pretty sizable gay population as well. That's far different from the Shores I knew growing up but I like the change---and think it has revitalized the place.

The Gables remains beautiful---as does much of the Grove even though that's another area I'd be "eh" about actually living in. Certainly, Brickell has many positives and I've always liked North Bay Village, too.

I don't really like ranking "worst" areas only because so much of it is simply economic in nature. For me, the 'worst' areas are more aesthetic in nature---just butt-ugly parts of the city like West Dixie in North Miami Beach or Carol City or East Hialeah that are largely devoid of any natural beauty or anything really compelling.

If I had a single favorite neighborhood down there it would still be Victoria Park in Ft. Lauderdale. I would encourage any of you fellas not familiar with it to check it out if you ever get the chance. Just a lot of REALLY cool, vintage Florida style in a leafy, urban neighborhood. There are million-dollar mansions next to tiny cottages next to spot-on restored 1950's apartment buildings there---just a great vibe and only a few blocks from Las Olas.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #15
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^ Agreed
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Old December 15th, 2009, 01:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurricanes2010 View Post
Most of the bad areas in Miami are within 2 miles of US1 to the west (South Miami Heights, parts of South Miami, Overtown, the whole 95 corridor, Liberty City, Little Haiti, Opa-locka, etc)
Actually, South Miami Heights isn't a bad neighborhood. What IS a bad neighborhood in that area is West Perrine. The area directly west of US1 between 168th street and 184th street, up until about 107th avenue is a genuinely ghetto neighborhood.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 02:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiralshaman;
Actually, South Miami Heights isn't a bad neighborhood. What IS a bad neighborhood in that area is West Perrine. The area directly west of US1 between 168th street and 184th street, up until about 107th avenue is a genuinely ghetto neighborhood.
West Perrine is pretty bad, but areas around Southridge High school get pretty seedy as well. Cutler Bay to the east is pretty middle-class, as is Richmond Heights and Palmetto Estates to the north. But between 200th and 160th streets it's pretty ghetto just west of US-1. There's also a small ghetto around there, just northwest of the Falls. Immediately north of SW 128th street between Galloway (87th) and 92nd avenues there's a rough patch, surrounded by very nice areas.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 01:39 AM   #18
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Top 5 Best/Worst Dade neighborhoods and Towns:

Best: (In no particular order)
1. Coral Gables
2. Miami Beach
3. Miami Lakes
4. Coconut Grove (East Side)
5. Key Biscayne

There's obviously a lot more nice neighborhoods in Dade (Pinecrest, Aventura, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, Most of South Miami, Fisher Island etc.) but I just picked the first 5 that came to my head

Also there's a lot of working class Hispanic neighborhoods and towns, like Little Havana, Sweetwater, and Hialeah that get a lot of crap but aren't that bad in my opinon.

Worst: (In no particular order)
1. Opa-Locka
2. Liberty City
3. Overtown
4. Carol City neighborhood of Miami Gardens
5. Florida City (mainly because its isolation from the core of Miami and crime)

Last edited by MiamiMan305; December 16th, 2009 at 01:46 AM.
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