If you plan to venture all around the city from Miami Beach to Coral Gables, your best bet is renting a car. Miami’s neighborhoods are spread out far and wide from each other, including next door neighborhoods like Wynwood and Downtown. It’s impossible to walk all of those lengthy blocks in the stifling hot and humid Miami weather, so a car is a must. Plus, it beats paying the taxi fare to the airport, which can range from $50 and up.
For those planning to stay in Miami Beach, Edgewater or Downtown, Uber comes cheap! There are plenty of drivers around to hail you to and fro, and if you’re not planning to visit the suburbs, then there’s no point in investing in a car rental. Uber is especially good here, except during rush hour times (5–8 pm) when fares are higher, and driving will be stagnant.
Trolleys in Miami are free to the public, but don’t count on it being punctual. The upside is that they come every 15 minutes depending on where you are. They’re clean, usually empty, and they’ve got loads of character.
Another form of free transportation is the Metromover, which you can access in Brickell and Downtown. You may still have to do a bit of walking to reach your exact destination, but it’s got a few popular stations on its map like the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center and Bayfront Park where visitors can walk to access Bayside Marketplace. Metromover cars can get crowded during peak riding times (again, rush hour) when professionals working in the area use it, but it’s fairly clean and spacious, runs automatically and offers unique vantage points of the city. (Just remember to keep tabs on your bags at all times!)
If you’re looking for a ride to Coral Gables, Coconut Grove or South Miami, this train gets you from the center to the suburbs for $5 round trip. It’s not as complex to maneuver as New York’s subway or Paris’ metro, so it’s improbable to get lost. The Metrorail is still very limited, so you may have to continue your ride on a trolley or Metromover to get to the right place. However, unlike most public transportation that is underground, this one travels above the traffic and offers sweeping vistas of the city’s architecture. Get off at Government Center to walk the streets of Downtown and visit the courthouse, the Miami-Dade Public Library, and the oldest Catholic Church in Miami.
If you happen to be staying and traveling within Miami Beach, then taking the bus is a good idea. Miami does care for its tourists more than its locals after all, so buses on the island come and go every few minutes. (If you’re on the mainland, however, do avoid burning to a crisp on a bench while waiting for a bus.) Cost per bus trip is $2.25, and you can pay once getting on the bus but only in cash and coins.