real estate, like the rest of Florida, has been growing at a rapid pace. Prices for homes have been rising dramatically, and the demand for newer homes and condos has never been higher. Waterfront estates, villas, mansions, gated communities, condos and vacation properties Ė all are available. One of the latest trends in Miami is the Manhattan style loft, and townhomes and condos are going at pre-construction prices. The city has an astounding cultural diversity and is known for itsí world-class dining, unparalleled shopping and recreational activities of every type. All of this contributes to the rising real estate market. Like everywhere else, location is key. The following is a brief description of the different neighborhoods of Miami.
In the 1940s, when vacationers began to arrive, Miami Beach was the center of action, and it remains a perennial hot spot. Enormous luxury resorts such as the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc rise majestically against the skyline, and shops and restaurants line the streets.
South Beach has risen in the last ten years as an international vacation destination. Every block is packed with restaurants, bars, shops, and dance clubs, each more glamorous, trendy, and cutting-edge than the last. This is where youíll find the popular Art Deco District and beautiful Ocean Drive.
Located on the northern end of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour is the most exclusive neighborhood in the Greater Miami area. Here, luxury resorts sit amid lush foliage and palatial homes.
Primarily a business district, shoppers enjoy the Bayside Marketplace, with its retail shops, open-air crafts market, a half dozen restaurants, and a pier. The Port of Miami is just next to Bayside.
Coral Gables is a gated, tree lined village that is crisscrossed by canals, just a few minutes' drive from Downtown Miami. Itís home to many of Miamiís most famous attractions.
Full of energy and creativity, Coconut Grove is one of the oldest districts of Miami. It attracts many writers and artists. There are hundreds of fabulous shops and restaurants crammed within this small area, most of them located on the Coco Walk or on the Streets of Mayfair.
Key Biscayne is located just over the Rickenbacker Causeway. The pace slows down on this tropical island, and people are friendly and laid back. Itís the location of the Miami Seaquarium, and offers stunning white sand beaches and various leisure sports.
This area is located west of Brickell Avenue, and runs along the thoroughfare known as Calle Ocho (SouthWest Eighth Street). Many refugees from Cuba have settled here, along with natives of Colombia, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and other Latin American countries. Marvelous culture Ė where you can hear authentic salsa music, enjoy a full meal of Cuban food for fewer than five dollars, or try a steaming cup of strong cafť cubano in an outdoor cafe.
West Miami is a quieter, more residential area. It is very spread out, and Hialeah and Miami Lakes, two residential communities, are located here.
Shuttle busses run regularly from downtown Miami to Aventura. This district is also home to dozens of excellent restaurants, many of them specializing in "Floribbean" cuisine.