FREE PUBLIC TRANSIT! That's right, as of December 2004, the NoMi Express has been offering rides for the people of North Miami, and plenty of routes for any bus rider to be able to get by on. For all you drivers out there, traffic can be a little scary, with plenty of murderous drivers fighting their way through various lanes of I-95. Biscayne Blvd., 6th Ave., and major routes to the beach also experience congestion.
A lot of North Miami's apartment complexes resemble tropical resorts, with colorful paintjobs, sparkling pools, and luxury amenities. However, a common trick among management is to keep a single building well maintained, usually the front one, and then completely neglect the rest of the complex, leaving the back buildings to decay, the pools and tennis courts to fill up with condoms and graffiti (a.k.a party favors), and the rest of everything to fall apart, including important necessities such as security gates and water pipes. So, be sure to make the people at the office show you the entire complex, not just the nice parts.
From watching the local Miami news, you would think North Miami would be a great place to test out your bullet proof vest, however, I would only go so far as to say it's good place score some crack, get a hooker, and then eat a burger (once again, North Miami party favors) while watching a bum fight (the local version of a night at the symphony). That is to say, murders and gang wars are far less common than random vice crimes. Now don't be scared, most of the hookers are very nice and neighborly, and the bums always have something interesting to talk about, even if its just a conversation with an imaginary friend. In all honesty, the city is plenty safe during the day. And, if you want a neighborhood where you can feel safe at night, then check out the San Souci Estates neighborhood, or in the streets adjacent to one of the city's three college campuses. The are just west of I-95 also has a significantly lower crime rate, however these streets can go from good to bad within a couple of blocks so getting to know your area is a must.
Downtown. Centered around 125th Street on the east banks of the river, this neighborhood is full of ethnic food, dollar stores, and thrift shops. There's also a shopping center, a great meat and fish market, an antique store, and a theater, as well as a couple of bars. Luna Star Cafe is a good place for live music and poetry, as well as food and an extensive beer selection.
Westside West of the river, this neighborhood is a bag of mixed bananas (plantains), with Barry University attracting a student population, the Shores Country Club attracting the Judge Smales and Dr. Beeper types, and rentals going from $700 to $2,500, attracting people from a huge spectrum of incomes. The housing is made up of both new, highrise apartments and condos, smaller and older complexes, as well as homes built just after WWII, courtesy of the GI Bill.
Eastside East of downtown, this is a neighborhood of beautiful parks, meandering rivers, tiny houses and apartments, and the Johnson & Wales University. The Arch Creek Park is a favorite among botany, history, and archeology fans, with a creek full of remains from the Coontie Mill and the natural stone bridge used by ancient Native American tribes, as well as plenty of nature trails lined with pine trees, shrubs, and vines.
Biscayne Bay Campus If you enjoy waterfront rentals and an easy ride to the nearby beaches, including the nude beach on the north side of Haulover Park (there must be a dirty joke in there somewhere), then this the neighborhood for you. There are luxurious high rise apartments and condos, as well as mobile homes and minute hurricane houses, many of which are painted in tropical colors and adorned with thick forests of potted plants, flowers, and palm trees. The Florida International University - Biscayne Bay Campus is located on the eastern edge of this neighborhood, surrounded by huge state parks with thick forests of Australian Pine trees. However, to live in a seaside paradise, you will have to pay top dollar.
San Souci Estates About 80% of this neighborhood is apartments, mostly tiny one bedrooms and studios. This creates a very dense, urban atmosphere. However, the crime rate in this neighborhood is very low, making for a very strong, tight-knit community that enjoys water views and a quick ride across the bridge to local beaches.
That's not all that the little city of North Miami has to offer, but that's all I'm going to tell you. Bon Voyage!