Being Florida’s two most popular cities, Jacksonville vs Miami offer a unique lifestyle and characteristics. Miami life is hectic, fast, complicated, together with high traffic, diverse culture. You have to be bilingual (Spanish/English) if you want to live here. Rents are expensive as well as cost of living. Jacksonville is growing and is the third most populated city in Florida. Attracting young people and jobs. It’s much more affordable than Miami and is becoming one of the best cities to live. Whereas Jacksonville, is more slow-pace and family-friendly wherever you go. Both are wonderful places in their own different ways. No matter where you decide to go, both these cities promise you perfect time spending.
Miami is expensive but cosmopolitan which is also called an elite global destination. You won’t feel bored in Miami with its nightlife, fashion, shopping and culture, of course. What makes Miami stand out is a good mix of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Haitians, Asians, Russians etc.
Miami is such a fun city while Jacksonville feels like a quiet suburb. Jacksonville is in Duval County and is one of the best places to live in Florida. Living in Jacksonville offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. Also, there are a lot of restaurants and parks in Jacksonville.
Cameron Jones, lives in Jacksonville, FL, 36
Not everyone looks for the same things in a place to live but I believe that Jacksonville has something to offer everyone. I am a transplant, so let me tell you why I chose to call Jacksonville home sweet home. My prerequisites were: a coastal city located in the southeast and a reasonable drive from my extended family. I am a military brat with southern roots so I am charmed by the slower pace and friendly disposition of southerners but I could never survive the political climate or sheer volume of fried food of the truly deep south. I need to live somewhere that knows what sweet tea is but that I can order an unsweet tea without having to obnoxiously emphasize UN in triplicate.
Jacksonville is a little Big town. We have southern charm but we aren’t drowning in the country. We have rural areas and if you want space and horses, there are options. It is also big enough so that it does not suffer from small town-mindedness and there is a variety of people. You can find people who grew up here – plenty of them but there are also some transplants like me and the navy families too. What this means is – cultural diversity. It is not a tourist trap or a snowbird haven. There are real people living and working here with richly diverse lives which means I can meet interesting people and sometimes they know each other and sometimes they don’t. So I fit in nicely.
The weather is fabulous. We are far enough south for mild winters and plenty of sunshine but far enough north to benefit from actual season changes. Further south, the lack of changing season is eerily like being trapped in time. Of course I have spent many Christmases in shorts but swimsuit season doesn’t hit until April or May and that means I actually get to wear jeans and closed toe shoes part of the year. I have to hop on a plane to wear all of my sweaters but I prefer it this way. I would rather live with tropical weather and visit the winter wonderlands. If you are into winter sports, you will need to plan a long cold weather vacay or consider another area of the country. Jacksonville specializes in hot and humid which may not be for everyone but I love it.
I also love that Jacksonville isn’t all palm trees and T-shirt shops; it’s what some call, true Florida. The Live Oak trees wear gowns of Spanish moss and water landscapes dominate. Salt water, fresh water, brackish water, we have it all…and all wildlife to go with it. So, before you ask; Yes, there are alligators. But mostly the reptiles I see are green and brown Anoles which are harmless and maybe kind of cute. My cat is fascinated with them. It is true that there is no shortage of creepy crawlies like snakes, spiders and ants but there are also thousands of birds such as Wood Storks, Swallow Tail Kites, Royal Terns, Roseate Spoonbills, Pelicans, Ospreys, Owls, Bald Eagles, Woodpeckers as well as songbirds. My backyard feels like a sanctuary and I even have a cat prowling around! Alligators really don’t factor too much into my day to day; just don’t walk a small dog right along the marsh. The risk of snakebite is much higher than an Alligator attack but to be honest the mosquitoes and gnats would chase you off first. What really thrills me about our wildlife is that I can regularly catch a glimpse of dolphins breaching in the surf or a manatee swimming at the surface by a neighborhood dock. We are so lucky to have so many great parks and preserves to enjoy the natural plants and animals of Northeast Florida. And if you aren’t into hiking into a preserve, you could just visit the zoo. You can actually feed the giraffes there (but they aren’t native.)
This town has a variety of personalities to suit anyone’s interests from upscale dining in Ponte Vedra to trendy craft beers in San Marco or casual sandy footed cocktail sipping in Jax Beach, there is something for everyone. Sporting fans will love The Players Championship Golf Tournament, Gator Bowl (Florida-Georgia Rivalry game) but there are also Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball and Football games. We have the Jaguars, and yes they are having quite a terrible streak but it really is a lot of fun to support them even if it means sitting at a bar in Riverside yelling at the TV with 40 other people and our day is coming (Go Jags!). Our minor league baseball team home games usually have a firework show and they are an accessible, inexpensive fun family outing that not every city has.
Our downtown is not on par with Atlanta and developers may plan for another 20 years before it becomes a hotspot. I always enjoy catching a show at the Florida Theater and meeting friends nearby in 1904. I don’t crave bar crawling enough to be disappointed in the scene but if you are up for dive hopping, the beaches are where it’s at. And no matter where you live, you will never struggle to find a restaurant to suit your mood in this little Big city. Our live music scene is rich. You don’t have to wait for the big names to come to town, which they do, because the local musicians have real talent and there are enough venues across the city so that the music enthusiast will not get bored. From mega-arenas to classic theaters to live outdoor festivals, our music scene does not disappoint. And for the real music enthusiasts, there is Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida less than 2 hours away who plays host to music festivals large and small of all variety of genres.
Staying entertained is not difficult. Whether you fish, surf, kayak, hike, swim, go to an art or history museum, theaters, bookstores, visit a historical plantation, the zoo, quaint shops, farmers market or art market or just relax on the beach; if you can’t find something to do, you just aren’t looking. There are more cultural events than I can take advantage of so I suffer constantly from FOMO.
The cost of living is also a high point. You can find upscale but there is also plenty of convenience and discount shopping. There are tons of areas with affordable homes. Of course the beach cost more but even at the beach, you can find a place to suit your budget. This is not a tourist town – it’s a real little Big city. And Jacksonville’s backyard is rich with places to explore; St. Augustine, Orlando and Amelia Island are just a few of the can’t miss day trips. I don’t know what you are looking for in a place to hang your hat but I couldn’t be happier hanging my sunhat on a hook just a bike ride from the beach.
Marta Valdes, lives in Miami, 43
According to most people that I know you either love or hate it here. Miami has an interesting mix of people from mostly Latin countries. You will find once you leave South Beach a lot of places only speak Spanish. You can party all night until the next day if you want but most likely you need to be at work the next day early because Miami is expensive. Depending on the area but you likely won’t find a place to live for under 1k a month. Driving is a necessity as public transportation isn’t reliable. Traffic is ridiculously bad pretty much all day. So once you factor in rent, utilities, car, and insurance the cost of living is high. Our summers are grossly hot and rainy but everyone has AC and stays indoors and our winters are great and have perfect weather. So back to your question, it depends on what you are looking for. I know people that love it here and go to the beach almost everyday and go party at nightclubs and say they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I know people that have lived here their whole life and have never gone to the beach. I always like to say that Miami has the realist fake people anywhere. Most people dress to impress, have cosmetic surgery, wear designer clothes, and put forward a false image of wealth. One thing I do like about Miami is that there’s not a distinct line of certain people hang out with certain kinds of people. Among groups of friends you are likely to find a healthy mix of people from different countries, ethnicity, and wealth. However if someone doesn’t like you they probably won’t be nice to you. No one says hi to you on the street, or will open your door, or really go out of their way to help you. Most people have a no bullshit mentality and are very guarded when letting anyone into their life. Not to say there aren’t any awesome lovely people here. Restaurant service is also notoriously bad but Miami has AWESOME food! I actually have become so accustomed to bad service that I feel surprised when I leave Miami and actually experience good service. It’s like any other place some people love the place and can’t imagine living anywhere else while others can’t even fathom why anyone would want to live there. So it is definitely what you make of it, Miami can be this awesome, fun, great place or it can eat you alive. A lifetime New Yorker once said to me “They say that if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere…BS, if you can make it in Miami you can make it anywhere.”
Lorenzo Chao, lived in Miami, 32
I originally grew up in Tampa, moved to Atlanta for college & work, and returned to Miami to work in shipping & logistics.
Miami has a let loose kind of vibe that many of the other cities I’ve lived in don’t have. People make decisions on friendships based on how fun you are, rather than intellectual capital.
It’s very refreshing, actually. For those who come from a place like New York, it’s even better. The nightlife is great if you are looking to date very attractive women.
The sad part is that to live in a very great place requires a lot of money, and to live affordably means being stuck in traffic.
I don’t intend to settle down here long term, but for now, the work is paying the bills here, which is why I’m staying.
So, now that you know what to expect from both cities, will your new home be in Jacksonville or Miami? Miami attracts young people due to its amazing energy and atmosphere. Jacksonville is for the cost of living. In both areas you have lots of wonderful cultural diversity, and tons of things to do. So whatever the reason for your moving to Miami or Jacksonville may be, choosing the right company to relocate can make your life easier. If you have already made your choice our team of professionals is ready to provide all the necessary services your unique relocation requires. Let us be the mediators that can help you to coordinate your fast and easy move to a new life. Get a free moving quote, use our moving cost calculator or contact us to know all the details.
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