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i lived in miami for 5 years, but this was a while ago... so i will help if i can!

miami is HUGE, so it really depends on where you are moving in the metropolis as to whether it is a nice place and whether there are good schools. i mean in that way it is just like any other city (NY, LA). School funding in the Miami area seems to be better than other parts of Florida (i taughtin florida for 4 years) , there are many magnet programs for all ages (see www.dadeschools.net).

Miami does have crunchy enclaves, you just need to know where to look (i assume there are LLL and AP groups there)

do you have an idea where your FIL lives? that might help me help you more...
 

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My hubby and I lived in Miami for 6 years and HATED it. We left when ds1 was 5 months old b/c we didn't want to raise a family there. This was 4 1/2 years ago, but we do have friends there that we visit and everytime I go back, I can feel all this anxiety creep back up. And while there may be a few good schools here and there, FL schools on a whole aren't that great. Definitely, definitely do your research and I highly suggest you stay in the areas you are interested in before you make a decision.
 

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Miami is as diverse as the USA! So, it's really hard to say what it's like. I lived there for 7 years. I loved it while I was there. I left when my daughter was 6 months old, but that was only because my husband was killed in a car accident and I decided to move to Lakeland (FL) to be with my family. I would have stayed in Miami, I'm sure.

I missed Miami terribly after moving. I loved it so much! But, I just went back to visit. For the first time in 5 years, I am glad that I don't live there. It's just too intense. Everything is intense - the traffic, the smells, the sounds, the billboards, all of it. If that's your style, you'd probably love it!

There are a few LLL groups and some definite crunchy options around there. There are Montessori and Waldorf schools. There are some great charter and magnet schools.

When you know more about which area of Miami, let us know!
 

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I moved from Miami about 7 months ago, after living there for only a year. I can't honestly say I hated it, but I disliked it. I lived in Kendall, which is primarily the Cuban/Hispanic community. The schools are well-funded in that area, and your child would do well there as long as he/she speaks spanish. My daughter was in pre-k at the time and nobody spoke English very well at her school. Another thing is it's not far in mileage, but is in driving time from all other parts of Miami. It'd take me an hour to get to work (only 12 miles away). My favorite part of Miami is definitely Coconut Grove. It's a very hip area with lots of shops, restaurants (check out The Last Carrot!), and bars - lots of people out walking around! Coral Gables is very nice, but it costs a fortune to live there. I worked at The Biltmore Hotel in the spa doing massage there - beautiful area! North Miami near Aventura is nice. The beach is beautiful and there seems to be lots of families and more Americans. I personally loved the diversity, even though it made me feel like the foreigner! But thats a very humbling thing, I think. Most of the people I worked with were Cuban or Venezuelan and they were all great and beautiful people!!!
Just avoid Hialayah, which I'm sure you'll find out. Hope this helps! Blessings!
 

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We left Miami about two years ago...we hated it! Housing, homeowners insurance and property taxes are very high. Salaries are not very good, which makes for a bad mix.

I don't consider Miami a child friendly area, nor do I think it is very crunchy imho. Heck, I don't think it is very friendly area period.

You can research Miami here http://www.city-data.com/forum/index.php

If you have your heart set on Miami, please rent for a year.

Good Luck
 

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North Miami has some really nice areas, especially when you go north towards Bal Harbor (read: very expensive). Little Haiti is more south, just north of Downtown off of Biscayne Blvd. I have friends that bought a house in Little Haiti, they got ALOT for their money and it is really close to the Bay and the Beach, and the Design destrict which is helping to bring more money into the area.

I didn't spend alot of time in North Miami to be honest, I went to college and lived more in the Southern areas of the city, but what i do know is that it is more ethnically diverse than other parts, meaning that it isn't just latino and anglo.
 

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I'd visit more before making a decision. I've been in Miami nearly 9 years and would love to leave if I could afford it. I teach at FIU, am tenured and the national job market in my field is slim. DH and I are plotting an escape if we can get the finances together, perhaps when our babes (due in June) are a little older.

I just posted an answer to another thread today by a woman asking if it's possible to live holistically in Florida. You might check that out.

I agree with PPs that Miami is very diverse and there are some wonderful attributes. I love the weather, the Everglades and waterways salt, fresh and in-between. We BBQ in the yard year-round and I actually like refreshing my Spanish skills little by little.

However, the property taxes and insurance skyrockets every year. Our mortgage is now nearly $1,000 per month than it was 7 years ago when we bought... If you are well off you might find comfortable places to live, work and play. If not, you'll have to be both creative and tolerant.

And yes, traffic is abysmal. I drive in the opposite direction of Miami's rush hour and still need an hour minimum to travel 10 miles to work.

It's definitely helpful in most areas to speak Spanish especially if you want to get your car fixed, your hair cut, hire a baby sitter or have your plumbing repaired. IME English-speaking services often cost double or triple.

The schools here are generally very bad. As I said, I teach at the state university and find the students incredibly ill-prepared by their public school educations. There are good private schools if you can afford them.

If you like the outdoors the Everglades and many of the state parks are incredible, although they suffer from a great deal of environmental degradation.

Many parts of the city are dangerous in terms of crime. Friends of ours live in Coconut Grove and are constantly suffering break-ins to their home and vehicles. Be wary of nice looking neighborhoods that are bordered by ones that look bad. I don't mean to sound bigoted, but there is great prejudice here and to be poor in Miami is to be terribly disenfranchised.

I'm not as familiar with Little Haiti, though a colleague lived there during her first year in Miami and had a negative experience. Talk more with your relatives, visit if you can. If you come here I'd be happy to meet you. PM me if you'd like to talk more specifically. I don't mean to be entirely negative, but you should feel comfortable with what you're getting into before making a big move. From a selfish point of view I'd love more crunchy folk to move here! Good luck in any case.
 
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