Miami’s most desirable neighborhoods with beaches along the Ocean. Sunny Isles vs. Miami Beach.
If living within walking distance of a white sandy beach where you can enjoy the ocean year around sounds like the lifestyle you want, you're probably keeping in mind moving to one of two beachside neighborhoods: Sunny Isles Beach and Miami Beach.
Sunny Isles Beach and Miami Beach offer the privilege of direct access to the Atlantic beaches, convenient access to airports, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife; there are plenty of differences between them, each having its unique atmosphere and signature lifestyle. Both communities are located on an island off the Miami mainland. They are separated by just a few miles, with the quiet, residential town Surfside and the elegant Bal Harbour.
Our area comparison highlights the differences and similarities between these two oceanfront neighborhoods so you can get a clearer idea of which would be ideal for you.
Lifestyle: Sunny Isles vs. Miami Beach
Sunny Isles Beach is a community located along the strip of the Atlantic coastline north of Bal Harbour. It is primarily a residential community with fabulous beaches and fantastic palm trees. Sunny Isles Beach is known for its famous high-rise luxury condos (Residences by Armani/Casa, Estates at Acqualina, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Bentley Residences, and Porsche Design Towers are some of the luxury branded condos here) and a variety of restaurants and shopping areas. With a diverse community, the area welcomes people from all over the world year-round.
Miami Beach is a more extensive and diverse area.
Divided by three main areas of Miami Beach include:
South Beach - South Beach extends from the South tip of the island north to 24th Street, the most densely populated area of the Beach and the most popular among tourists. South Beach is known for its shopping experience, restaurants, and nightlife. The most expansive oceanfront condos as Apogee, 321 Ocean, Continuum Condominium, and Glass Tower, are located at SoBe. This area of Miami Beach includes the Art Deco District, Collins Park, South-of-Fifth, Lincoln Road, Sunset Harbour, West Avenue, Mami Beach Marine, Belle Isle, and the Venetian Islands.
Mid Beach lasts from 24th to 63rd Streets. It includes the Collins Waterfront strip known as Millionaire Row, the Morris Lapidus historic district, the private Allison Island community, and an enclave of luxurious houses on the bay side. Buildings in the area, such as the Faena House, the Residences at Ritz Carlton Miami Beach , and Ocean 57, have infused new vitality into this area, attracting a diverse array of families, upscale professionals, art lovers, health-seekers, wealthy retirees, and boating enthusiasts.
North Beach has various housing options at varying price points, ranging from affordable apartments to luxurious waterfront mansions and high-end beachfront condos.
L'Atelier , Monaco , or Carillon residences may be ideal if you want to own luxury residences near the ocean. North Beach lasts from 63rd to 88th Streets and includes the area known as Normandy Isles, Altos del Mar, and Biscayne Point.
Walkability and Transportation:
Sunny Isles Beach and Miami Beach are very high score and comfortable walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. In the Sunny Isles area, the Beach is always within the walking destination, as are local malls, small coffee shops, as well as restaurants, and local parks. While it's easy to access local
Supermarkets, stores, and restaurants on foot or by bike, you may drive to other city areas, such as Brickell Miami, Downtown Miami, and Coral Gables.
Miami Beach is the most walkable neighborhood in Miami. It is easy to live car-free, many commercial areas are easily accessible on foot or bike from most places, and it's 20 minutes to drive to Design District, Wynwood, and Downtown Miami.
Parks and Greenspaces:
Sunny Isles Beach and Miami Beach deliver direct access to Atlantic Ocean beaches and local parks. Sunny Isles Beach is home to parks such as Heritage Park, a 4-acre oasis of shady walking tracks with two playgrounds and a dog park. Town Center Park is famous among the health & fitness public thanks to its exercise trail and breezy gazebos. Senator Gwen Margolis Park is a favored spot to enjoy a relaxing picnic or get your sports groove on its well-kept soccer field. Gateway Park is a fantastic park with five acres of shady green space that includes a utopian butterfly garden and a stage that hosts performing artists and other cultural events.
Miami Beach was designed as a vacation getaway with wavering palms along the shoreline, sandy beaches, and an oceanfront boardwalk stretching from 1st to 87th Streets. It has some of the best parks in Miami. Such as South Pointe Park in the South of Fifth neighborhood, which spans 18 waterfront acres, with a beachfront trail, picnic areas, children’s playgrounds, a dog park, direct beach access, watersports, marine, a restaurant, and a cafe. The 37-acre Flamingo Park has an 8-lane lap pool, soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, and different playgrounds, while Lummus Park on Ocean Drive features direct beach access, kids’ playgrounds, and concessions. Normandy Shores Golf Course in North Beach provides a great golf getaway. At the same time, North Beach Oceanside Park offers direct beach access, picnic areas with Bbq and pavilions, a children’s playground, a fitness trail, and enclosed play areas for dogs.
Arts and Culture:
Sunny Isles Beach is less crowded than Miami Beach as a cultural mecca, but it hosts an Annual Jazz Fest under the stars and many other cultural events for kids and adults. Also, Sunny Isles Beach is close enough to Miami Beach to deliver easy access to the many cultural experiences that South Beach and Miami Beach are known for, such as the Bass Museum, concerts at the Filmore Theater, New World Symphony, and Miami Beach Convention Center. The Faena District in Miami Beach also introduces artsy events year-round. The North Beach Bandshell hosts fantastic outdoor concerts by well-known and new artists right by the ocean and activities for youth such as district skating, volleyball, and tennis.
Eating and Shopping:
Sunny Isles Beach offers excellent shopping options at the RK Village Plaza and top-rated restaurants such as Chayhana Oasis, which serves traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, and El Tropico, where you can enjoy authentic Cuban food. For an incredible steak, try La Barra, a traditional Argentine steak house serving a selection of cuts of meat. For a quick healthy breakfast or lunch, stop at Sproutz or Miami Juice. At the Gourmet Market, you can shop for gastronomist specialties and enjoy lunch on the premises. Acqualina Resort offers a luxurious dining experience, while the Beach Bar at Newport Pier serves incredible cocktails on the water.
Miami Beach is home to a limitless array of fabulous eateries, including such masterpieces as Joe's Stone Crab and the famous Smith & Wollensky Steak House in South Pointe Park on the water. Gitano Miami at Casa Faena, Papi Steak, or Milos will provide you with the top menu and a great atmosphere. Sunset Harbour is filled with lovely cozy eateries where you can enjoy outdoor dining, such as Stiltsville for classic seafood, Diya Indian cuisine, Pura Vida, or the famous Pubbelly Sushi. If you want to stick to things Kosher, try the delicious Middle Eastern specialties at Grill House Miami on Arthur Godfrey Road. Prima Pasta offers the best local Italian cuisine in North Beach, while Merkado 31 serves up an unforgettable experience of Peruvian fusion.
Sunny Isles Beach and Miami Beach are areas of great public schools. Students in Sunny Isles Beach are attended to by Norman S. Edelcup, which delivers K–8 education for students. Bay Harbor Elementary School is also available as an option in the nearby Bay Harbor Islands. Students in Sunny Isles Beach usually attend high schools such as Michael Krop Sr. HS or Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Sr. HS. Students may also participate in private schools in the neighborhood, such as Sunny Isles Kids' Club and the Magic School Montessori Music School.
Miami Beach is home to the highly-ranked public elementary schools in Miami, including North Beach Elementary, Fienberg-Fisher Elementary school, South Pointe Elementary, and Biscayne Elementary in North Beach. Miami Beach students may consider attending private schools, such as Lehman Day School, Hebrew Academy, and St. Patrick's School.
Miami Architecture and Housing Options:
Sunny Isles has been an area of new luxury-branded condo developments for the past ten years, such as The Estates at Acqualina, Porsche Towers, Regalia, and Turnberry Ocean Club Residences. The area is known for its luxurious hotel-condominium buildings, where you can enjoy year-round resort-style residency. The new condo towers include state-of-the-art amenities such as floor-to-ceiling glass walls with dazzling ocean views, residential in-suite elevators, top fitness centers, meditation and yoga studios, infinity pools, salons, spas, as well as concierge, and valet parking. Some older towers in the area provide more affordable housing opportunities, including ocean views and beach access, such as La Perla.
South Beach is home to many luxurious high rises and boutique buildings, such as the beachfront
1 Hotel, Monad Terrace, the Continuum I and II, and the elegant Apogee in the posh South of Fifth neighborhood. The new Five Park development may be considered an option if you'd prefer a new boutique condo. In Mid-Beach, you'll find the Blue Diamond and Green Diamond and the glamour Faena House in the heart of the magic Faena District. The new development project Perigon Tower is scheduled to be the new luxury boutique condo at 53 Collins Ave. North Beach is home to the eco-modern Ocean 57 Tower, Monaco Residences, and the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort and Residencies, a unique resort condominium with one of the most elegant spas. If you're charmed by the sleek isolation of the Venetian Islands, you might like Nine Island Avenue or the Grand Venetian.
Cost of Living:
Sunny Isles and Miami Beach offer different types of condo living at different prices, attracting high demand for high-end residences and buyers worldwide. On average, condo listings in Sunny Isles Beach are about $878 per square foot and higher, with record-breaking higher-end listings in the multi-millions.
Miami Beach listings range by area, with South Beach listings averaging $1,764,712 or $998 per square foot and higher-end condo listings going for multi-millions or from $2,000 per square foot. Mid-Beach listings average $1,483,395, or about $871 per square foot, with higher-price properties going for about $1,600 per square foot and higher. Or with prices from $4000 per square foot for the upcoming new development Perigon on 53rd and Collins. In North Beach, you may notice more affordable listings in the $1,179,500 or about $788 per square foot, with higher-end listings going upwards to $2,000 and higher per square foot, depending on the size of the condo and location.
Every client is looking for a specific lifestyle, residence, and amenities, as well as a specific price projection. Miami Beach might be your ideal location if you dream of a vibrant, diverse urban community where arts and culture surround you. Suppose you'd prefer the perpetual vacation experience of living in a condo with state-of-the-art amenities, breathtaking ocean views, occasional tourists, and a community feel. In that case, you might be happier and more comfortable in Sunny Isles Beach.
To see more of our Miami neighborhood observations, check out our blog:
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