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Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

Chicago, Illinois
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Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

My best friend and I are headed down for the 13.1 Miami marathon on March 1, 2009. We booked a great deal on a flight into FLL, and the run will be starting from Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

We'll have a rental vehicle, so getting to the airport and the run won't be a problem. I'm just trying to decide where to stay.

What's the vibe of Ft. Lauderdale vs. Miami? We're both fun-loving professionals who live in Chicago, so we're looking for an area that has a hip, young vibe. I'm looking to avoid areas that are too full of retirees and the "sipping Chardonnay on a balcony" crowd. Never been to south Florida, but the comparable places that come to mind for a vibe I like would be in SoCal like Venice Beach, Silver Lake, Huntington Beach, and Pacific Beach in San Diego. I'd love to be in a place that we could walk to a lot of nightlife, be it pubs, clubs or cool restaurants, do some shopping, chill at the beach, etc. I'm assuming that Miami is more hip and young and might be what we're looking for, but I just wanted to talk to some locals and confirm.

I found a potential place on vrbo.com at the Havana Lofts on 605 W. Flagler St. in Miami. A 2-bedroom for only $150 a night in a brand-new condo building. It's close to the race start, too. But, I'm still looking for more options. If Miami is the place to be, is this too far from everything? Can we get a cab to South Beach and back easily? Is parking a pain over there? Or would Ft. Lauderdale be just as fun but less of a hassle?

And, one more. If we do decide to stay in Miami, how long of a drive is it between Miami and FLL? Is traffic a nightmare?

Any detailed suggestions I could get would be appreciated!

Thanks!

-A runner in Chicago, tired of the cold and looking forward to running in Florida!

Miami
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1. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

Hi,

I had not heard of the 13.1 marathon. I must admit it got me a little confused. At first I thought you were talking about the ING Miami Marathon, but once I googled it I realized you weren't. I'll have to look into the 13.1 marathon (I'm a runner too).

In any event, I think Miami is definitely the place to be. I also think the place you are thinking of - on Flagler would be an interesting idea.

Downtown Miami is a very up and coming kind of area. There are tons of new condos that have been built and there is some effort to revive downtown. The address you mention - 605 West Flagler is not quite in the heart of downtown- although it is very close. It is in an area just west of I-95 that is close to the river. An area that there is some attempt to revive, but it is primarily residential. Not the most hip location, nor very handy to walk to anyplace. It is a good spot if you have a car and are interested in seeing what Miami is like if you were to live there. I'm just not sure that is what 2 young guys want. I'm thinking for you it might not be the perfect fit. You can easily get a cab to and from South Beach - it will be about a 10 minute cab ride from the Flagler address. Parking shouldn't be a pain in the neighborhood of your condo, but I'm surprised there isn't a parking garage - there should be.

The area you are looking at is not stereo-typical retirees. But there may be some older folks. It is more of a middle class Latin/Cuban area. Lots of 2 story old 70s like apartment buildings. You are within walking distance to a popular bar on the River (Finnegans), but that is about it.

If you don't want to be on Miami Beach (most people do), and you want a hip vibe, I'd suggest a place near Brickell Avenue or the Mary Brickell Village. But that might be too much "sipping Chardonnay on a balcony". The Flagler address isn't far from that, but not walking distance. Rather a 5 minute drive. You could also try Coconut Grove - you'd be walking distance (depending on where you stay) to bars, clubs, restaurants, but not the beach. Or maybe a condo on Biscayne downtown or just north of downtown on Biscayne (there are several new ones between 20st and 40st), though here you still wouldn't be walking distance to stuff, though.

Ft. Lauderdale is not bad, but I really think Miami is much cooler. Ft. Lauderdale is more white, boating, type. Miami is multi-cultural and hipper. Ft. Lauderdale people talk about Las Olas with shops and restaurants, but that is really an older crowd (40s, 50s).

If you want to be close and be able to walk to bars, pubs, restaurants, beach - you really can't beat Miami Beach.

The drive to Fort Lauderdale is about 40 minutes. On a Sunday morning with no traffic you can get there in 30 minutes. During rush hour it will take you closer to an hour.

Hope this helps! Good luck with the run!

Miami, FL
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2. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

If it's lively action you want, & Venice Beach is your model, then nothing is better than South Beach. 605 W Flagler is right in the middle of Little Havana -- not bad esp. if you're into latin culture -- but not SoBe either. Depending on traffic give yourself 45 min to an hour between FLL & Miami or SoBe.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

Thank you very much for your help, you both pretty much confirmed my assumptions. The condo on Flagler looks nice but I think most our hanging out would be in South Beach, so I'll opt for something closer.

What are some of the main strips in Miami Beach for shopping, clubs, dining, etc?

Thanks!

A

Miami, FL
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4. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

Terms for visitors:

Miami Beach is a city on a barrier island of the same name off the coast of Miami & connected to it by several causeways. "South Beach" is the southernmost 2 miles or so of the city. It contains the best known beaches, shopping streets, and the historic "art deco" district.

Sobe hotels:

To be in the center of or within walking distance of the center of SoBe you want to stay somewhere below 23d street (address number under 2300) and on Washington or Collins Aves., or Ocean drive.

Those streets plus Lincoln Rd. & Espanola Way & the streets & alleys around them are where most of the action is. You can take the car to Coconut Grove, Ft. lauderdale, Little Havana or downtown. Otherwise you won't need it.

Glasgow, United...
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5. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

We went in a little wine bar on Hispanola Way (I thought it was Hispanola rather than Espanola???)...anyway they did wine tasting, I think it was by the ounce starting at just over a dollar. you put an amount of money (whatever you like) onto a card, then you go round tasting the wine by entering your card and choosing it and it deducts credit. I thought it was a nice idea!

Chicago
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6. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

LakeviewGuy,

You didnt indicate if you were looking to hang out with chicks or dudes? Big difference all around.

Downtown Miami is a "business only" downtown and nothing much good happens after 6pm. Downtown Miami is known for crime activity after dark so I would avoid it if I were you. Little Havana in the city of Miami is pretty cool with lots of authentic restaurants but you may want to brush up on your high-school Spanish.

Ft Lauderdale is more relaxed (less Spanish) and seems to attract more younger folks with miles and miles of beaches along Ocean Drive. Lots of cool bars and restaurants right on Ocean Drive also. South Beach is popular with bars/clubs which are mixed gay and straight. More "pretty" people in South Beach than in other areas. But, it's also expensive.

I am heading down next month to get out of this FREEZING cold Winter and am staying in Ft Lauderdale right on Ocean Drive within walking distance to the beach/bars.

Hope all this helps.

7. Re: Where to stay for 2 young guys? Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?

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