Miami – the ESL Student City Hack

 In Miami

miamiMiami is a major port city on the south coast of Florida located between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean.  The city is divided into sections.  The Northside is a mix of wealthy residents and bohemian artists.  The Southside is home to historic areas like Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables; it’s also where city hall and a number of parks and gardens are located.  The Westside includes “Little Havana” and the famous Calle Ocho stretch of shopping.  The Eastside is downtown Miami, it’s the business, banking, and judicial district.

What you Need to Know about the City of Miami

State:            Florida
City:              Miami
County:        Miami-Dade County
Zip codes:     33010-33299
Area codes:   305, 786

The population of the City of Miami is approximately of 453,000 people.

Getting There

Miami International Airport is just under 8 miles from downtown Miami.  It will take about 15 minutes to make the trip from the airport to the downtown area.

You can hail a cab at the airport—it’s a flat rate of $22.00 with no extra charge to share.

Call for an Uber or Lyft once you’re in baggage claim—about $10.00 for either depending on traffic.

Take the “MIA Mover” to the Metrorail Orange Line.  The “MIA Mover” train station is at the airport on the 3rd level between the Dolphin and Flamingo garages—use the moveable walkway (Skyride) on level 3 to get to the “MIA Mover”.  It’s a free 4-minute ride to the “Intermodal Center” where the Metrorail Orange Line is.  The Metrorail trip will cost you $2.25 to either the Government Center or Bricknell stops in downtown.  If you need to transfer to the “Metromover”, then exit at Government Center.  The “Metromover” is free and offers small loops around downtown, also serving as a connection between the Metrorail and Metro Bus systems.  Download the Miami-Dade Transit tracker app, and if public transportation will be your go-to method of getting around get an “Easy Card”.

You can rent a car if you’re 21 years of age or older and have a valid driver’s license from your home country.  You’ll also need to present your passport, and have a valid credit card for the rental charges.  Insurance is required so you’ll either need to have or purchase the appropriate coverage.  There’s signage at the airport that will direct you to the “MIA Mover” for the ride to the “Intermodal Center”.  The car rental agencies are next to the “Intermodal Center”.

Miami is 55 ¼ square miles so a rental car may make sense for some travelers.

Getting Around

There’s a map app for almost anywhere these days and it’s a good idea to have one on your phone—walking around some of the neighborhoods that don’t follow the grid pattern of streets, can be confusing.  I also suggest you download the public transportation app.  There’s “Metro Mover”, Metrorail, and Metro Bus as well as the free “Miami Trolley”.

Citi Bikes can be rented from kiosks on some street corners, and the “Car2Go” (the Smart car equivalent of a Citi Bike) requires that you sign up for the program—you’ll be charged by the minute.

If you’re using a rental car to get around, read the parking signs carefully!  The city of Miami is famous for tickets and towing.

Miami is big enough that you should try to take a “know before you go” approach to getting around, you’ll want to explore every corner.

Important Numbers

Dial 911 in an emergency!
Dial 511 for traffic info!

City of Miami Official Website*:                     
Miami-Dade Public Library:  305-375-2665
City of Miami Police Dept.: 305-579-6111
City of Miami Fire Dept.:   305-416-5400
Miami Urgent Care Center:   305-494-0536 
University of Miami Hospital: 305-689-5511
Brickell Bay Animal Hospital: 786-231-1111  

*all other important services below are found here too

Miami, or “Magic City” as it’s called is the second most populated city in the southeast US.  A popular tourist destination by air and sea—the other nickname for Miami is “Cruise Capital” since it’s the most popular passenger port in the world.  There’s a reason everyone flocks to Miami, it’s lush, beautiful, diverse and a business powerhouse.  Studying English in Miami means your time inside and outside the classroom will be fun and productive.

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