Comparing the Miami Beaches: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach

Describing South Beach, Mid Beach, and North Beach in Miami is like describing Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown in Manhattan. Each area has a huge variety of qualities that defines it from other parts of the city. Together they make up the whole of “Miami Beach.” But even though there are plenty of similarities, there are also enough differences among these neighborhoods to set them apart enough that each area of Miami Beach is unique unto itself. To give you an insider’s view, here’s our comparison of the three main geographic areas of Miami Beach in case you’re thinking of moving to one of them or are simply curious.

Last updated April 5, 2022.


All About the Lifestyle: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach 



Moving to Miami Beach definitely means that a beach lifestyle is important to you. So let’s look at what each of these neighborhoods has to offer.
South Beach includes the neighborhoods of South of Fifth (SOFI), West Avenue, Lincoln Road, Sunset Harbour, Belle Isle, Collins Park, the Venetian Islands, and the Art Deco District.

South Beach, FL

Photo courtesy of miamiandbeaches.lat


South Beach is the most dense part of Miami Beach and the most touristy in certain pockets. South Beach also has the most street life and restaurants, shops, etc. It’s a perfect combination of compact urbanism, with lots of activity, lots of retail, and plenty of people on the streets, making walking around South Beach a delight.

Mid Beach, Miami FL

Photo courtesy of miamiandbeaches.lat


Mid Beach includes the neighborhoods of the Collins Ave Waterfront, the Morris Lapidus historic district (sometimes called Condo Canyon), Allison Island, and the single family residential areas to the west, including La Gorce Country Club.

Mid-Beach is a narrow sliver of urbanism set along the Atlantic coastline and divided from a wide swath of single family residential neighborhood by the Indian Creek waterway. South of the landmark Fontainebleau Hotel and its adjacent Fountainebleu Tresor, the streets are walkable and urban, although street life is definitely bereft of the hustle and bustle of South Beach. However, it is getting more and more vibrant, and large pockets of luxury and upscale developments, like the Faena District and the Edition Hotel, have recently come in, bringing curated boutiques and restaurants with them. North of the Fontainebleau, the sliver of urbanism becomes almost completely car-oriented, as the streets are lined with many large residential condo buildings isolating until you get to into northern Collins Avenue approaching 79th Street.

North Beach, Miami FL

Photo courtesy of tripsavy.com


North Beach includes the neighborhoods of Normandy Isles, North Shore, Altos del Mar, and Biscayne Point, among others.

Like South Beach, North Beach has a huge variety of neighborhood scales intermingled with one another. Quiet and removed from the action, it’s also the most tailor-made for locals, and still has something of a small town feel, with a close-knit community of locals that includes artists, independent professionals, and a diverse ethnic mix. It’s town center aspect continues to improve, as new revival projects spring to life in the area, and the Normandie Golf Course and Community Center offer residents a variety of activities. Street life is generally pleasant, with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as direct beach access.


Business: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



Nike Miami

Nike Miami - Photo courtesy of news.nike.com


The most commercially active part of Miami Beach is undoubtedly
South Beach, with a slew of restaurants, retail, and service businesses, such as spas, salons, fitness centers, doctors, attorneys and real estate agents. 

The area of Mid-Beach along the Atlantic Coast is known as Millionaire’s Row, and many of the local condo buildings have on-site businesses and amenities such as beauty salons, grocery stores and dry cleaners in their lobbies. The commercial area along 41st Street/Arthur Godfrey Road features exclusive boutiques, medical centers, kosher establishments, and restaurants ranging from inexpensive and casual to elegant and exclusive.

North Beach is fairly residential, though you can still find everything you need in the way of restaurants and retail, post offices, storage and shipping facilities, legal and real estate professionals, physicians and medical centers, and a wide variety of small, independent businesses.


Walkability and Transportation: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



Miami Beach Trolley

Photo courtesy of miamiandbeaches.com


All of Miami Beach neighborhoods are easily walkable except for a few elite enclaves, and getting from one end of the Beach to the other is basically a piece of cake, thanks to the free Miami Beach Trolley Service that serves all areas of Miami Beach.  

South Beach is the most walkable area, with commercial offerings within close range no matter where you are; whereas in Mid-Beach, beyond the businesses that may be housed in the lobby of your building, most area residents use their cars to go shopping, as the commercial area on 41st Street is more than a few blocks’ walk.  

In North Beach, depending on where you live, you may have to walk as little as two to three blocks or as many as 15 to 20 blocks to reach your favorite restaurant, the nearest supermarket, or your bank, but everything is basically within walking distance, or a few minutes by bike. 

Getting from Miami Beach to the mainland is doable without a car, however most residents prefer to have a car to get to other areas of Miami. In coming years, it’s about to get even more convenient though, with the recently-approved Monorail that will soon connect Downtown Miami to the Beach across the MacArthur Causeway.


Parks and Greenspace: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



Largely designed as a tropical playland, Miami Beach is a balmy, breezy paradise with coconut palms and greenspaces all along the coastline, sandy beaches, and a boardwalk that runs from 23
rd to 46th Streets and the Ocean, then continues north as a paved Beachwalk as far as 79th Street. The Beachwalk is currently under construction and set to continue as far as 88th Street to the Miami Beach City limit, and beyond to Surfside and Bal Harbour.

South Pointe - Miami Beach, FL

Photo courtesy of miamiandbeaches.lat


South Beach has a ton of parks and green spaces used by locals and tourists alike. Beginning at the South of Fifth neighborhood, the island’s southernmost tip, South Pointe Park is a favorite and sits where the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay converge. The park amasses 17 acres and features oceanside walking paths, picnic areas, children’s playground areas, and a designated off-leash area on the western side of the park where dogs can run free in a non-enclosed space during specified hours. 

South Beach is also home to Flamingo Park, a 36-acre park located more centrally located at 12th and Meridian Ave, with an aquatics centers and 8-lane lap swimming pool, baseball and soccer fields, tennis center and courts, a children’s playground, and a host of community programs and activities. Lummus Park, which runs along the coast on Ocean Drive from 5th to 15th Streets, features direct beach access, playgrounds for children, beach volleyball courts and concessions. Maurice Gibb Park in Sunset Harbour is known as the best spot on the Beach to catch a spectacular sunset overlooking the marina.

Boardwalk - Mid Beach, Miami FL

Photo courtesy of miamiandbeaches.lat


Mid-Beach enjoys access to the Boardwalk beginning at Indian Beach Park at 46th and the Ocean, as well as the Beachwalk, which includes the Vita Course in Beach View Park at 53rd, where you can get a full, free outdoor workout. 

North Beach Bandshell, Miami FL

North Beach Bandshell en Miami Beach: North Beach FL. Photo courtesy of miamiandbeaches.lat


North Beach is home to the shady and tranquil North Beach Oceanside Park, which stretches from 78th Street to 87th and the Ocean, and features direct beach access, picnic areas and pavilions, walking and bike trails, enclosed play areas for dogs, and a children’s playground. North Beach skate park is close by and so is the North Beach Bandshell, where outdoor concerts, skating, and community activities take place year-round. If you love golf, the Normandy Shores Golf Course provides a peaceful escape within walking distance.  


Arts and Culture: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



sobe-mid-northlayer

Bass Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Artnexus


South Beach has always been the epicenter of culture in Miami Beach, with the Bass Museum of Art, the New World Symphony, the Fillmore, and the famed yearly Art Basel Fair at the Convention Center keeping the arts alive and thriving in the city. But the art and culture is spreading northward in recent years, as the Faena District, which extends from 32nd to 36th streets on Collins Avenue between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Creek, now hosts a slew of year-round cultural events. 

Further north, at 73rd and Collins, the recently renovated North Beach Bandshell presents a year-round program of cultural events for children and families, community activities such as skating night, and concerts for lovers of all musical genres, from indie bands to classical to jazz, and from salsa to reggaeton. 


Eating and Shopping: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



1212 Lincoln Road

1212 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Florida is a mixed-use development by Plaza Construction


In general, the further south you go in Miami Beach, the more things abound: the highest concentration of restaurants, shops, and other commercial offerings is in South Beach. But as far as quality goes, you can find exceptionally good restaurants in all parts of Miami Beach.

There are so many great restaurants in South Beach that it’s hard to pick just a few favorites, but those that come to mind quickly are Stiltsville Fish Bar, a casual seafood bar overlooking the water in Sunset Harbour, and Diya Miami on nearby Bay Road, which serves impeccable, vegetarian Indian-fusion cuisine. Local classics such as Joe’s Stone Crab and Smith & Wollensky in the South of Fifth neighborhood are always appropriate for those truly special occasions. 

Shopping is a must on Lincoln Road, an outdoor pedestrian shopping mall with major brands like H&M, Zara, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, BCBG, and many more great brands. Collins Avenue also is home to great shopping and more local boutiques. In terms of grocery stores, South Beach has it all – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market, and several Publix stores. 

Gitano Miami - Faena

Gitano Miami | Faena


In
Mid-Beach, Lola Restaurant and Grill is a favorite Argentine steak house, and Gitano Miami at Casa Faena is a tropical rooftop experience featuring Mexican specialties from the Yucatán region. For the best in Glatt Kosher and Middle Eastern delicacies, try the little-known Grill House Miami on Arthur Godfrey Road. Shopping here is more limited to the curated boutiques.

Merkado 31

Merkado 31


North Beach is a great place to spend less on authentic Latin American cuisine, with great Brazilian food at Little Brazil, exquisite Peruvian fusion at Merkado 31, and ultra-fresh seafood specialties inspired in the cooking of Cuba and Venezuela at Fifi’s. If you want something a little more upscale, try the Strand at the Carillon for classic continental cuisine, or the lavishly romantic Moroccan-French Rouge in Normandy Isle, where you can dine in a lush garden setting.


Schools: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



North Beach Elementary, Miami Beach FL

North Beach Elementary


Miami Beach is a small enough community that the entire area is served by only one public middle school, Nautilus Middle School, located in Mid-Beach near the center off of 41st Street, and only one public high school, Miami Beach Senior High, located in South Beach.  

The most highly-ranked public elementary school in Miami Beach is the ironically-named North Beach Elementary, which is actually located in South Beach. Nearby Fienberg-Fisher Elementary, and South Pointe Elementary, also in South Beach, are highly-ranked as well, as is Biscayne Elementary in North Beach. The highest-ranked charter school on the beach is Mater Academy at Mt. Sinai in Mid-Beach, which serves the entire island of Miami Beach, in addition to children of employees at Mt. Sinai Hospital.  

Miami Beach is also home to many private schools, including parochial schools such as Lehman Day School, Hebrew Academy, St. Patrick’s School, and many others. 


Architecture and Housing: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



The architecture in all of Miami Beach is a mixture of Art Deco, neo-Mediterranean, and Mid-Century Modern, with newer developments that have sprung up over the past several decades. While single-family homes are rare in any area, you may still snatch up a handsome luxury residence in some neighborhoods, particularly along Alton Road, the Venetian Islands, La Gorce, and Pinetree Drive, or in the exclusive waterfront strip of Altos del Mar in North Beach.

1 Hotel and Homes

1 Hotel and Homes


South Beach provides the opportunity to live in a variety of housing options, from sleek oceanfront highrise such as 1 Hotel and Homes, or in a smaller boutique condo such as Absolut Lofts. Some of the most popular condo residences in South Beach include the Continuum I and II, the Mondrian, and the ultra-luxurious Apogee, all  in the South of Fifth neighborhood.

Faena House

Faena House


In
Mid-Beach you can live in a luxurious waterfront condo tower such as the classic Blue Diamond or Green Diamond, or the newer Faena House in the heart of the Faena District, which is transforming the flavor of this neighborhood by encouraging a decidedly younger and hipper demographic to revive the area.


Check out our Guide to Living on Collins Avenue, with our picks of the best condos South of Fifth to North Beach and more.



North Beach is the least touristy part of Miami Beach, and Miami Beach generally gets more affordable as you go north. Still, North Beach has a great variety of residential types and price points, from small single family homes and affordable rental apartments, to large mansions and extremely expensive condominiums. In this way, it is a reflection of South Beach; however, North Beach is the only area in Miami Beach where you can buy a single-family home directly on the ocean, in the rarified neighborhood of Altos Del Mar.  Some of the most popular condo towers in North Beach include the elegant Akoya and Carillon Miami Wellness Resort and Residences, where you can live in an actual spa.


Cost of Living: South Beach vs Mid Beach vs North Beach



Generally, the farther north you go, the less expensive it gets to live in Miami Beach, with
South Beach average listing ranging around $1,234,712 or $728 per square foot. 

Average listing prices in Mid-Beach are roughly $1,183,395, averaging about $671 per square foot, while higher-price listings in the area average about $5,460 per square foot, with incredible one-of-a-kind, waterfront listings topping off at  $45,000,000. 

North Beach is the most affordable area of Miami Beach, with an average listing price of $880,551, or average $616 per square foot. High listing prices average $39,900,000, or about $5,022 per square foot.

In general, Miami Beach is an incredible place to live, and it has the neighborhood for you.


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If you want more details of the ins and outs of Miami Beach living straight from the mouths of local experts who live and work here, call or email us anytime. We’re here to help you find your unique niche in South Florida. We’ll make sure you end up in the right area of Miami, where you’ll feel most authentically at home!

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