Miami-Dade County is an area known to be quite auto-centric. Like Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County can be very difficult to get around without a personal vehicle. But within the City of Miami it is entirely possible to live, work and play without a car. In fact, more and more downtown Miami residents are doing just that! In fact, the City of Miami has been ranked #5 “Most Walkable City” nationally for several years now.
So how do Miamians get around the Magic City?
From Coconut Grove and Brickell, through the Central Business District and the the Art’s District, to the airport, and even to Wynwood and the new Design District there are multiple ways to get around, and some of them are even FREE! In no particular order, here are 10 easy ways to get around Miami without a car:
The Metromover is an automated electrically-powered elevated system with three over-lapping routes. The “Inner Loop” runs clockwise around the Central Business District/Historic Downtown. The Omni Loop stops at Freedom Tower near the American Airlines Arena, Museum Park, the Performing Arts District with the final stop at the School Board Station near Wynwood. Brickell loop travels over the Miami River, then throughout the Brickell Financial District including Mary Brickell Village and Brickell City Centre. The MetroMover is FREE and “connects with Metrorail at the Government Center and Brickell stations, and with Metrobus at various locations throughout downtown.”
Here is another FREE option! There are 9 inter-connected City of Miami trolley routes covering Biscayne, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Wynwood, Coral Way, the Health District & Stadium, Little Havana, Allapattah and Overtown. The City of Miami trolleys runs as far south as Grand Avenue & 37th Avenue in Coconut Grove, and as far north as NW 39th Street in the Design District. The Health District route includes Marlins Satdium, while the Coral Way trolley connects PortMiami with the Central Business District, three MetroRail stations and reaches the east side of Miracle Mile at Ponce de Leon Blvd (where you can then pick up the Coral Gables trolley). You can download the City of Miami Trolley app for Android or iPhone.
3. Zip Cars
Although Cars2Go suspended services in Miami earlier this year, we still have Zip Cars – a membership-based car sharing service. After registering on their website and receiving your Zip Cars membership card, you can “reserve a Zipcar for as little as one hour, or as much as 7 days at a time.” Zip Cars offers a variety of vehicle sizes; and the cost includes gas, comprehensive insurance, and up to 180 miles/day. Zip Cars also offers a monthly membershipfor $50 per month that includes 7 hours per month of driving time and discounted hourly rates over 7 hours.
Part party bus, part green machine – Freebee’s look a little bit like fancy golf-carts. Launched in the City of Miami in August 2014, the 100% electric vehicles operate from the Brickell Financial District north to Wynwood at about 21 Street and NE 2AV. FreeBee’s are FREE. Just flag them down and tell them where you need to go, or download their app.
These controversial ride-sharing apps are operating throughout Miami-Dade County, and are particularly popular in the City of Miami. Riders use the apps to locate a nearby car & driver, verify rates and check the driver’s ETA. Uber rates start at 85 cents per mile with a $5.00 minimum, while Lyft also starts at 85 cents per mile with a $3.90 minimum. Both services offer larger vehicles when needed. Wingz is the newcomer to the Miami ride-sharing services. So new, in fact, that their website hasn’t even been updated yet. I spoke with one of their representatives, who said their app should be live for Miami within the next 3 months. Wingz operates only to/from the airports, but will otherwise function much like Uber & Lyft.
“The Citi Bike program is operated by DECOBIKE LLC and is Miami’s bike sharing and rental system. The Citi Bike program is intended to provide locals and visitors with an additional transportation option for getting around the city. Bike sharing is fun, efficient and convenient.
The solar-powered bike sharing system consists of a fleet of specially designed, sturdy, very durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations sited at regular intervals around a city. With a thousand bikes at a hundred stations and more on the way downtown, bikes are available to use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” Citibike offers hourly rates or monthly memberships.
Offers electric bikes for rent (3 hours $49, 4 hours $59, 8 hours $79) and includes a helmet, lock & key, storage bag and map. Wheels2Go will deliver the bikes to your hotel within the City of Miami. They also offer guided tours of South Beach, Key Biscayne and the Venetian Islands.
Miami’s MetroRail system is a “25-mile dual track, elevated rapid transit system that provides service to Miami International Airport (MIA) and runs from Kendall through South Miami, Coral Gables, and downtown Miami; to the Civic Center/Jackson Memorial Hospital area; and to Brownsville, Liberty City, Hialeah, and Medley in northwest Miami-Dade, with connections to Broward and Palm Beach counties at the Tri-Rail/Metrorail transfer station.” The MetroRail Orange Line is the easiest way to get between Downtown Miami/Brickell to the airport. Both lines will take you to Dadeland Mall, Dadeland Station Shopping and Shops at Sunset Place. If you live outside of City of Miami, I highly recommend the MetroRail for getting into the downtown area for sporting events and concerts.
“Miami-Dade also has a Metrobus system that thoroughly covers the county from southern Broward County to Key Largo, and from Miami Beach to west Miami-Dade. With over 600 buses and 82 routes, it connects to both the Metrorail and Metromover.The Metrobus system provides service throughout Miami-Dade County 365 days a year. Service is available from Miami Beach and Key Biscayne to West Miami-Dade, as far north as Broward County and as far south as Homestead, Florida City and the Middle Keys. Designed to intersect with Metrorail and Metromover, MDT’s bus system serves all major shopping, entertainment and cultural centers, as well as major hospitals and schools.” Until the Beach Corridor – Baylink is a reality, the Miami MetroBus is my preferred transportation to Miami Beach.
10. Miami Water Taxi
More limited than the other methods of getting around Miami, the Water Taxi is still a fun choice if you are trying to travel between Bayside Marketplace, the Miami River, Virginia Key, South Beach and East Edgewater. Rates start at $15 for a one-way trip.