Getting Around Miami
The best way to get around Miami is by car. Having your own wheels will give you the freedom to roam the streets and neighborhoods as you please. Note that the roads are on a grid and broken up into quadrants by the east-to-west Flagler Street and north-to-south Miami Avenue. Street numbers increase as you travel farther away. Also, convenient parking is the norm here. Taxis or ride-hailing services are another option; however, your wallet won't thank you for hailing them so often. The mammoth Miami International Airport (MIA) hosts a fleet of rental car agencies. Several free public transportation options are also available, including the trolley and Metromover. These can be viable options if you're planning to base yourself downtown. And as with most big cities, bike-share and scooter programs are another option for exploring short distances.
When flying into south Florida (which includes West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Greater Miami), you have several options. The Miami airport is the largest and right next to downtown, but some tourists prefer flying into the less-hectic Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), renting a car and then driving the 25 miles to the city. There are also several regional airports scattered throughout south Florida.
Excluding the city's convoluted downtown, Miami is a very car-friendly place. Attractions, hotels and restaurants are relatively far from each other, making a car the most comfortable, reliable and time-efficient means of getting around. Note that there are toll roads in Miami-Dade County and fees vary. Be on the lookout for aggressive drivers.
Taxis are plentiful in Miami, but if you find yourself away from the main thoroughfare, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are another option. These services can be especially useful after dark, when it's best to avoid walking alone.
As a tourist, you'll most likely use the trolley more than any other form of public transportation. The air-conditioned trolleys are free to ride and offer looped routes in downtown, Coconut Grove, Wynwood and the Design District, among other hot spots. Trolleys operate Monday through Saturday from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 7, 8 or 11 p.m., depending on the route. Select routes also offer service on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is also a free Miami Beach trolley with four routes that make stops at popular spots like Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road. Other trolleys operating in Coral Gables, Doral and Miami Gardens are also available.
Metromover is another free option that offers convenient transportation for visitors exploring downtown and Brickell. Metromover makes stops at Bayfront Park, Maurice A. Ferré Park (home of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science) and AmericanAirlines Arena, among other locations.
Metrorail, a 25-mile elevated rail system, can be of use if you don't want to take a cab from the airport to downtown or south Miami. Fares cost $2.25 per person. You can also transfer to Tri-Rail and Brightline stations using Metrorail.
With the ease of the trolley and Metromover, you may find little need to hop on a Metrobus. However, there are a few routes that can prove handy for visitors. Route No. 120 provides easy access to popular stops in Miami Beach, Surfside, Bal Harbour, Aventura Mall and Haulover Park Marina. Route No. 150 offers service between Miami Beach and the airport. Metrobus fares cost $2.25.
Tri-Rail, a commuter train within south Florida, transports passengers to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. This is a great (affordable) way to take a daytrip to one of Miami's neighboring cities. Fares are determined by zones traveled and range from $2.50 to $6.90 for one-way trips.
Virgin Trains USA (formally Brightline) is another option. These high-speed trains can connect you with Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and (soon) Orlando. The future Miami to Orlando route promises to get you to Orlando in less than three hours.
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