Fort Lauderdale vs Miami Beach: Which Neighborhood is Right for You?

There’s no doubt that South Florida’s most coveted residential neighborhoods are those that lie along the Atlantic coast. If your dream is to live within walking distance of glittering waters you can enjoy all year long, you have quite a few options for finding the perfect home in either Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach.

Choosing between these two locations will depend on several factors, including your lifestyle, budget, your primary area of work and play, and what you want in a residential beachside community. Our neighborhood comparison of these two oceanfront cities will give you a better idea of their differences and similarities. Take a look below…


— What’s the Lifestyle Like in These Two Cities?

Both are coastal communities set on barrier reef islands lying between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Intercoastal Waterway to the west.

The City of Fort Lauderdale stretches 23 miles along the Atlantic coast and encompasses everything from Deerfield Beach to Hallandale Beach, including Fort Lauderdale Beach and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. For this blog, we will be more focused on comparing Fort Lauderdale Beach neighborhoods with Miami Beach’s neighborhoods, so both are coastal areas.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale


Meanwhile, the island city of Miami Beach is divided into three distinct neighborhoods:
South Beach, Mid-Beach, and North Beach, and is known for its colorful Art Deco architecture, its lively cultural venues, nightlife, restaurants, and shopping districts. It also provides easy access to Miami’s most important landmarks and neighborhoods.

Although Fort Lauderdale is a much bigger city than Miami Beach, it has a more laid-back feel and is less densely populated. It’s also located further from the hustle and bustle of Miami and its bevy of activities, which gives it a slower pace and less tourism. Fort Lauderdale is also known as the yachting capital of the world, so it is also known for its yachting, sport fishing and boating culture, which appeals to a slightly different demographic than the more cosmopolitan-focused Miami Beach.

Miami Beach (Ocean Drive), Florida

Miami Beach (Ocean Drive)


In short, when comparing Fort Lauderdale versus Miami Beach, one area will appeal more to nature lovers and living a less complicated, bustling life, versus those looking for a more modern, see-and-be-seen lifestyle with more international culture. Read on for more in-depth comparisons of these two popular South Florida coastal cities…


— Which One Has More Businesses?

Both Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach enjoy an array of businesses in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, tech, retail, fashion, architecture, design, real estate, health, and beauty. Of the two, Fort Lauderdale is a larger and more diverse business community than Miami Beach, with companies such as AutoNation, Kaplan, and Chiquita choosing it for their corporate headquarters, in part because Downtown Fort Lauderdale is very close to the coast and link directly into the famous Las Olas Boulevard shopping area. Las Olas also takes you directly to the beach.

Downtown - Fort Lauderdale

Downtown - Fort Lauderdale

Miami Beach - Collins Ave

Miami Beach - Collins Ave


Miami Beach, in comparison, has a thriving medical business focus, because the nationally ranked Mount Sinai Medical Center and Hospital is located on the water in Mid Beach. Because of this, you’ll find a lot of doctor’s offices and related medical professionals, labs, imaging centers and more healthcare-related options around. 


— What’s Getting Around and Transportation in Each Area Like?

While Fort Lauderdale is a bit more suburban than Miami Beach, it has neighborhoods that are highly walkable, such as Las Olas, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Flagler Village, the Sunrise Boulevard area, and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. There are also local bus lines and a Sun Trolley with prices up to $3.00 for an all-day pass. You can also enjoy the scenic route aboard the free LauderGo Water Trolley, a really fun and functional water taxi service. Parking is likely a little easier in Fort Lauderdale, in general, than Miami Beach.

Shopping on Miami Beach


Miami Beach, on the other hand, is a very walkable city and almost everything you need is generally within a few blocks, whether that’s grocery shopping, great restaurants, various services or personal services. It also has bus lines that connect it to different neighborhoods on the mainland and an
excellent free trolley system that makes the entire city easily reachable. You’ll see people walking, biking and scootering around on a regular basis here.


Looking to live car-free? Don’t miss our article on other Miami neighborhoods where you can live without a car.



— How’s the Parks and Greenspace Situation?

Both Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale have plenty of parks and beautiful beaches for outdoor activities, fun-in-the-sun, water sports, and relaxing, but Fort Lauderdale certainly takes the lead on its expanse of natural greenspaces, particularly along the waterfront, and especially if more natural parks are your thing. Also, Fort Lauderdale’s beaches tend to be less commercial and have fewer tourists. But both draw a serious Spring Break crowd come March, so just be aware.

Fort Lauderdale Boardwalk

Fort Lauderdale Boardwalk


Some of Fort Lauderdale’s top parks include: 

Lummus Park - Miami Beach

Lummus Park - Miami Beach

Whereas, in Miami Beach some outdoor areas include: 

  • Lummus Park across from the bustling commercial district along Ocean Drive. This is the most touristy beach, and includes Muscle Beach and the famous beach volleyball courts. It’s what people think of when you think of South Beach.
  • The 17-acre South Pointe Park in the southernmost point of the island, and is a beautiful curated park with a kids’ area, splash pads, dog areas, a cafe and restaurant, and lots of grass, plus a fishing pier.
  • Flamingo Park, which stretches across 36 acres, and South Beach’s most sporty park. Here, there’s a track with a football field, a swimming center with Olympic size pool, soccer fields, baseball fields, racquetball courts, and a tennis center. 
  • North Beach Oceanside Park, which features many amenities, including an outdoor amphitheater, children’s playground, volleyball courts and more. There’s also a tennis center in the area. 
  • There are also several golf courses in Miami Beach, both public and private. 


— Which One is More Culturally Active?

If culture is important to you, including the arts and entertainment, both Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach have something to offer. You’ll enjoy rich cultural lives with plenty of activities on any given day, but Miami Beach has far more variety given its big city status, and that it hosts bigger international events than Fort Lauderdale. It is also worth noting that its proximity to mainland Miami makes it a convenient spot for greater cultural offerings. And Miami Beach definitely has a more international demographic than Fort Lauderdale.

FATVillage, Fort Lauderdale

FATVillage, Fort Lauderdale


In Fort Lauderdale, the popular art district
FATVillage will undergo a $300 million transformation, and there are some excellent museums nearby like the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Young at Art Museum, and the Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts, among others. Just on the beach, there is also the historic Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, which is now a protected estate that also offers art and gardening classes.
 

Faena Forum Culture Center - Miami Beach

Faena Forum Culture Center - Miami Beach


Miami Beach, on the other hand, is known for its many world-class cultural offerings, particularly the
yearly Art Basel fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and auxiliary events happening during Miami Art Week each year, as well as established art venues such as the Bass Museum of Art, and the New World Symphony of the Arts. The Faena District also presents cultural events year-round, while the North Beach Bandshell hosts outdoor concerts and activities for local youth such as community skating. Finally, you don’t want to miss the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, or the many other annual food, art and design events.


— If You’re Looking for Great Food…

During the past few years, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale have seen a boom in their respective culinary scenes, although on different scales. Fort Lauderdale, which for years had taken a back seat to the world-class culinary scene in Miami and Miami Beach, is now transforming into a dining destination, and is welcoming cuisines from all over the world. Known for both some new top eateries while keeping a lot of its traditional spots, some favorites include: 


Dune by Laurent Tourondel, at Auberge Beach Residences

Dune by Laurent Tourondel, at Auberge Beach Residences


Meanwhile, Miami Beach’s scene has a more gourmet appeal with some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world. As an integral part of
Miami’s newfound role as a top foodie destination, the city is home to many internationally renowned spots. Some of the best are:


— How Do Their Schools Compare?

Each one is a great place to raise a family, with excellent public and private schools, a sense of community, and very safe areas. Being a bigger city, Fort Lauderdale has a higher number of public and private schools and more students than Miami Beach.  

For reference, all of Fort Lauderdale is home to 139 public schools and 117 private schools, while Miami Beach has 10 public schools and 19 private schools, with a very highly ranked South Pointe Elementary school in South Beach. Contact us for more information on specific schools for each neighborhood. 


— Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale vs Miami Beach

The two cities share similarities in the type of properties available, although a big difference is that Fort Lauderdale has a lot more waterfront, single-family homes because of its extensive canal network. 

In both, you can find a gamut of housing options with many condos for sale or rent at various price points. You can choose from the most luxurious buildings in Fort Lauderdale to the most exclusive oceanfront condos in Miami Beach. There are also a lot of older projects that remain elegant and beautiful, or exciting new developments planned to debut in the next few years, for both areas.

Edition Residences Fort Lauderdale

Edition Residences Fort Lauderdale


In Fort Lauderdale, new developments have focused on prime beachfront locations going north, where you can find beautiful, pristine beaches without the tourism you get on the beaches in Miami. Some of our favorite luxury branded residences include
Selene Fort Lauderdale Beach, Edition Residences Fort Lauderdale, Ritz Carlton Residences Pompano Beach, and Casamar Pompano Beach. If you’re interested in learning more about them, contact us directly from this page, or give us a call.


1 Hotel & Homes
1 Hotel & Homes

As for Miami Beach, there are hundreds of new condos to choose from. Some of the best include Monad Terrace, 1 Hotel & Homes, The Residences at the Miami Beach Edition, 57 Ocean, and Eighty-Seven Park. There is also a lot of movement on the luxury preconstruction side with Five Park, The Perigon, and Aman Tower Miami Beach catching our eye. Contact us for more information on any of these projects.


— Which City is More Expensive?

For the most part, they have similar costs of living, with Fort Lauderdale being a little less expensive than Miami Beach. Where they differ the most is in real estate prices.

  • Condo listings in coastal Fort Lauderdale average about $1 million or a little over $600 per square foot, with the most expensive residences for sale listed at about $16,500,000 or $3,104 per square foot.
  • Miami Beach listings vary according to the subdivisions in the area, with the more expensive ones in South Beach and Mid-Beach, and less expensive in North Beach. For reference, most listings in South Beach average $1,150,000 or a little over $700 per square foot. You can expect to pay at least $2 million starting prices if you want a waterfront condo in Miami Beach. The most expensive Miami Beach real estate, usually waterfront mansions or penthouses, list at about $93,500,000 or $22,959 per square foot.


— Will I be Happier in Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach?

Despite their differences and similarities, choosing between the two locations really comes down to your lifestyle and what you want out of your investment.

For those whose primary work and play environments are located in the buzzing hub of Miami, the commute from Fort Lauderdale will simply be too long with too much traffic, unless you can work remotely. If you are into yachting and want to be around people with similar interests and keep your boat close by, Fort Lauderdale may be for you. Similarly, if you like a more natural and casual way of living, and want to get more for your money in terms of real estate, you’ll feel more at home in Fort Lauderdale. 

But if your work and play areas are more focused in Miami, and you love an international life with lots of options, day or night, you might consider making Miami Beach your home. To gain more insider information let two local experts show you around both cities.


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Whichever location you lean towards, we’ll put at your service all of our experience and knowledge of the South Florida real estate market so you can make the best decision. Just reach out to us anytime.

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Sep Niakan
Broker / Team Lead
(305) 697-7667
sep@blackbookproperties.com
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