Two events have shaped the city of Sweetwater today. First, the construction of two major roads along its borders made Sweetwater easy to find and more desirable as a suburb of Miami, which is less than 12 miles to the east. The Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike, or Florida Route 821, puts Sweetwater on the main coastal-inland route north and south in Florida. The Dolphin Expressway, or Florida Route 836, was also developed and brings Sweetwater residents directly into Miami.
The second major event was the founding of a major university on the border of the city. The main campus of Florida International University takes up a large section of 8th Street, the southern boundary of Sweetwater. Both of these events led to Sweetwater becoming the fastest-growing city in Dade County during the 1970s. And no one's complaining about that!
You may have missed the boom, but you can still take a crack at this city. You'd be crazy not to. Sweetwater is a vibrant community with plenty of home rentals. Because it is such a small area - almost microscopic, but don't tell the residents - you will need to be prepared once you seriously start your search for rental properties in Sweetwater. Despite the presence of the university, there is no seasonal market in Sweetwater. Any time is a good time to start a search. Just be prepared with employment documents, cash for your first month's rent and a security deposit. If you don't have all of these items, try a big ol' smile aimed at the landlord. In a friendly city like Sweetwater, it could work.
By the way, if you find a place that you like, be sure to negotiate a bit as there are deals to be had. Perhaps you can make a deal for an all-utilities-paid place, or if you smile even bigger, you might get the manager of the property to trust you enough to cut you a deal on the pet deposit if you're in need of a pet-friendly apartment.
Sweetwater's total land area is under a square mile, so it is in itself a neighborhood!
Sweetwater Groves: You could drive round and round this small town and not find Sweetwater Groves. That's because Sweetwater is Sweetwater Groves. In 1938, Clyde Andrews bought most of Sweetwater Groves and started selling tracts of land. Apartments can be found throughout town, but there are two main areas to look into.
Flagler Street: There are several apartment complexes located along this busy route that has easy access to all of the major highways and the malls.
City Center: Between Flagler Street in the north and SW 7th Terrace in the south, and between 109th Avenue and 113th Avenue, is pretty much the city center. Here, there are options for apartments and townhomes for rent. You may even be on the very spot of the original Royal Russian Midget community. The last house was located on SW 7th Terrace, facing the canal. Today, there is a townhouse community on the site. Chow down at A and G Burger Joint and Graziano's Restaurant.
Having the university as part of the community brings opportunities for arts and education, as well as building team spirit. FIU is an NCAA Division I athletics school, and cheering on the hometown favorite in football, basketball, or baseball is a fun pastime. Go Panthers!
Not only is Sweetwater well-connected to Miami, it provides its residents with local transportation options as well. The Sweetwater Trolley is a local service that is free and open to the public. Yes, it really is free. The trolley takes residents to all of the area's most popular locations, including the Dolphin Mall and the local parks, as well as the Sweetwater Municipal Complex. The trolley even stops at places on the edge of town, such as the university and International Mall.
When you're ready to get outside and enjoy that Florida weather, head to one of the parks operated by the city such as Ronselli Park, Beasley Park, and the newest, Jose "Lolo" Villalobos Dominoes Park. The city strives to provide activities that interest residents, and this park, with its shaded domino tables, is always busy.
The campus of Florida International University is lush and filled with lakes, vegetation, and walking paths. The FIU Nature Preserve is a 14-acre site highlighting the unique ecology of the Florida Everglades. There are trails through the preserve for hiking, running, and mountain biking.
When you are looking for some good food, there's no need to leave town. A and G Burger Joint gets top reviews for its colossal burgers. There are all types of Central American and Cuban cuisine spots, of course. One of the best for Cuban-style coffee is Joe's Cafeteria on Flagler. Madrono Restaurant just down the street is a favorite with the large, local Nicaraguan community.
Close to Miami
Of course, if you want the glitz of South Beach, it's an easy drive over to Miami for some of the finest beaches and nightlife in the country. Sweetwater really puts you in the middle of all that South Florida has to offer.