Getting Around Miami
Designed for driving, Miami is laid out on a grid with four quadrants — northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest — all of which meet at Miami Avenue and Flagler Street. The first separates east from west, while the second separates north from south. Avenues run north-south, and streets run east-west. Traffic can be heavy at times, but Miami's expressways will get you from one area to another quickly. Drive only on the streets and avenues to get to your local destination, since traffic often clogs them, especially during rush hours from 7 to 9 A.M. and 4 to 6 P.M.
The Metrorail, a futuristic train that glides over a 21-mile elevated track, runs trains every seven to fifteen minutes from 5:30 A.M. to midnight between downtown Miami north to Hialeah and south along Interstate 95 to Dadeland, including stops at Vizcaya, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables. A single journey costs $1.50 for adults, 75 cents for kids. Avoid it during rush hours. On weekends it stops at 6:30 P.M.
The free Metromover, an automated driverless monorail system employing rubber-tired cars, circles downtown Miami on twin elevated concrete loops and several branches during the day. Trains operate weekdays every ninety seconds from 6:30 A.M. to midnight. On weekends they operate from 8:30 A.M. Transfers to Metromover from Metrorail are free, but those from Metromover to Metrorail cost 75 cents. (305-638-6700)
Taxis are plentiful but expensive. One will stop if you wave it down, but it's more common to call one from Metro Taxi (305-888-8888) or Miami-Dade Yellow Cab (305-633-0503 or 305-444-4444).
Best Time to Go
The best months for sun and warmth in Miami are November, April, and May. Between December and March, average daytime temperatures range from 60° to 80°. It often rains in January, however, and cold fronts occasionally arrive, bringing with them chilly days and near-freezing nights. Summer can be extremely hot, with rain every afternoon.
Cautions and Safety Concerns
Though some sections are still extremely dangerous, Miami has cleaned itself up considerably. The city still has its share of crime, violence, and drug trafficking, but it's not as bad as Hollywood movies and television shows make it seem. Nevertheless, it pays to take precautions. Be aware of your valuables at all times and don't walk side streets at night.