I am a New Yorker who visited Miami for the first time. Here are 15 things that surprised me the most.

I’m New Yorker and until recently had never been to Miami, Florida.

The author explores the city of Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

Seeking warmth and a change of scenery, I recently made my first trip to Magic City and was surprised by many key differences between it and my home in New York City, where I have lived for almost three years.

The first thing I noticed about Miami was how cheap public transportation is compared to New York.

The perpetrator, masked, on a train (L) A view of the Coconut Grove elevated train platform with palm trees to the left (R)

The author takes the train to Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

When I get home, I pay $ 2.75 for each metro ride. In Miami, I paid $ 5.65 per day for an unlimited pass that allowed me to take the buses and the rail system.

Miami also has a free streetcar that runs through the city 15 hours a day. I haven’t heard anything like it in New York.

A cart from Miami to Coconut Grove

Miami’s free streetcar stops in the Coconut Grove neighborhood. Joey Hadden / Insider

In my experience ride the miami carts, they were clean and not crowded.

I also found that private Lyft rides in Miami were up to four times cheaper to cover the same distance as my trips in Brooklyn.

Lyft logo

The author picked up some Lyft on his trip. Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

A 5 mile (8 km) drive to Miami cost me $ 10 while a similar distance to Brooklyn cost me $ 40.

As I walked the streets of Miami, I noticed that there didn’t seem to be as many trash cans as in New York City, but the streets always seemed cleaner.

A street in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami on a partly cloudy day.

A trash can in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

Typically in New York City, I see overflowing trash cans on almost every street corner, and there is still trash on the streets. But in Miami the streets were much cleaner, which made me think this city didn’t need that much.

In some areas of Miami, I noticed more yield than stop signs.

A yield sign on a Wynwood Street in Manhattan facing downtown

A yield sign in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

Drivers seemed patient with waiting for pedestrians, unlike my experiences walking in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

I often – mistakenly – assume that cities that are smaller or heavily car dependent won’t be as walkable as New York. But I was happy to find that Miami had many pedestrianized neighborhoods all over the city, not just downtown.

Walkers in Coconut Grove (L) and South Beach (R)

People are walking around South Beach and Coconut Grove in Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

South Beach, Wynwood, and parts of Coconut Grove all had pedestrian streets packed with restaurants and shops.

I visited Miami in October and knew it had a reputation for being hot all year round. But I had no idea it was one of the hottest places in the United States in winter with highs nearly 80 degrees, as experts at the weather station reported last month.

Miami Beach date and temperature on a sign surrounded by palm trees

A date and temperature sign in South Beach. Joey Hadden / Insider

It is around 80 degrees in winter, but when I visited Miami in October it was typically 85 degrees during the day, which was much warmer than a fall day in NYC.

The hot weather also came with high humidity which I found unbearable at times.

Author bares humidity in Miami Beach

The author experienced hot and humid weather in South Beach. Joey Hadden / Insider

Miami is quite humid in October, when I have been there, according to Global weather and climate.

New York is also humid in the summer. But in Miami in October, my glasses immediately fogged up as I walked outside, which I have never experienced at home.

While exploring, I thought people seemed more eager to talk to strangers than in New York City.

People play basketball in a public park in Miami

People play basketball in a public park in South Beach. Joey Hadden / Insider

I had a lot of nice, random encounters with strangers during my week in Miami, which hardly ever happens near my Brooklyn home. Some people even greeted me in the street from their car windows.

Of course, no trip to Miami is complete without a stop at the beach. South Beach is possibly the cleanest beach I have ever seen.

A beach scene in Miami on a partly cloudy day

Miami Beach on a sunny day. Joey Hadden / Insider

I expected the beaches in Miami to be clean, especially compared to the sandy beaches in New York City, but I was blown away by its beauty. According to The cultural journey, Miami Beach imports sand from Caribbean beaches.

Before visiting Miami, I never thought of it as a nature destination. But it’s the only American city bordered by two national parks – Biscayne and Everglades.

A boat docked on a cloudy day

A view of the Everglades from a dock near Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

Overall, I found my week in Miami to be a warm and friendly change of pace from my life in New York.

The author takes a selfie in Miami

The author enjoys his stay in Miami. Joey Hadden / Insider

Definitely coming back soon for the clean beaches, colorful streets, and affordable peanut butter.

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