To the north of Downtown Miami’s Financial District (better known as Brickell) is its historic predecessor, Greater Downtown. A classic downtown area rife with walkable shops, hidden bars, sprawling entertainment venues, and towering high-rises, Greater Downtown is a true reflection of Miami’s duality, with aging, historical (and in some cases, abandoned) structures sprinkled amongst more modern, luxurious upgrades.
The area is split into two sub-neighborhoods: the Central Business District (CBD) to the south and Park West to the north.
The CBD is roughly bound by Biscayne Boulevard and Bayfront Park to the east, the Miami River to the south, N 6th Street to the north, and Interstate 95 to the west. The key to living in this specific area is staying as far east as you can (budget permitting), as the area tends to deteriorate into pockets of run-down, “old Miami” infrastructure to the west that don’t exactly lend themselves to family-friendly walks. The best way to describe the two-faced character of the area is its tendency to “turn on a dime”: one moment, you’re dining at posh corner eatery—the next, you’re walking past a decrepit building with, for lack of a better word, “shady” passersby. The area is by no means considered dangerous, but both the aesthetic and energetic differences between certain blocks and stretches can be stark.
Just to the north of the CBD is the up-and-coming Park West neighborhood, named fittingly for its location “west” of Maurice A. Ferré Park (formerly Museum Park). Roughly bound by Biscayne Boulevard to the east, West (NW) First Avenue to the west, North (NE/NW) 7th Street to the south and Interstate 395 to the north, Park West is anchored by a recently built collection of state-of-the-art residential towers overlooking Biscayne Bay, the sprawling, 30-acre Ferré park, and the soon-to-be-opened Miami Worldcenter: a mixed-use development with a host of residential and retail offerings in the works.
Once you have a sense of Greater Downtown’s 2 distinct areas, the larger picture comes into focus. While living options tend to be located exclusively west of Biscayne Boulevard, much of the area’s main attractions lie to the east, including FTX Arena, Bayside Marketplace, and the Frost Museum of Science. But journey west of Biscayne and you’ll find more varied, yet equally visit-worthy destinations, including Miami’s famed “club row” (home to E11EVEN and Club Space, among others), Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, and the historic Freedom Tower.
In terms of transport, the area is about as walkable Miami gets, but you’ll still need a car to get to surrounding locales. While it doesn’t sport the ubiquitous polish and upscale vibe that Brickell does, Greater Downtown is nevertheless extremely easy to navigate, with rent-able scooters and bicycles all around. It’s also serviced by the Metromover (an automated monorail that makes it easy to get around Downtown and Brickell), as well as by the larger Metrorail, which can take you to multiple spots throughout Miami-Dade County.
As far as proximity goes, Greater Downtown is the most centrally located part of Miami, offering easy accessibility to Brickell, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables to the south, Midtown and Edgewater to north, Overtown and Wynwood to the west, and of course, Miami Beach to the far east.
From a bustling business district to a sprawling tropical playground, Greater Downtown is the cultural and geographic center of Miami, providing an ideal mix of nightlife, dining, culture and everything else The Magic City’s come to represent.
A 21-acre public urban park featuring the largest waterfront baywalk in the city.