Ten reasons to be thankful you live in Miami

By | November 24th, 2010 | 10 Comments

Miami Favs Turkey drawing

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we asked irrepressible optimist Megan Ann Harmon over at Miami Favs if she’d contribute ten reasons to be thankful to live in Miami. “Only ten?” she said. We knew we had the right person for the job. Here’s her list.

The beach is my front yard

And it happens to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the things I can do on the beach are endless. I can watch the sunrise, run, stroll, surf, paddle board, wind surf, jet ski, kite board, play almost any sport, pass out on a Boucher Brothers’ lounger, drink daiquiris, walk hand-in-hand with a handsome Latino, stare at the chiseled bodies on the gay beach, attend concerts, festivals, and rallies, etc., etc., etc. Basically, the beach in our front yard is my playground.

The Everglades is my back yard

There is only one of its kind, and it’s here in Miami. If you thought our front yard was fun, think of this as your eco-adventure. You can watch meteor showers and stare at the stars, bike through mangroves, kayak, hike, go bird/gator watching, or take an air-boat ride through the swamp. Very few people ever get to see the miraculous eco-system that is the Everglades. We live in it.

The sun also sets

I can see the two most beautiful scenes of the day — sunrise and sunset – in a single day because I live in Miami. It’s an amazingly Zen experience to watch the sun come up on South Beach and then drive an hour to Key Largo to see the spectacle in reverse. And it’s worth the time. Nature does all the work. I just sit back, relax, and enjoy. And if I’m at Sundowners, that’s usually with a beer in hand, listening to a live band. Magical.

The Miami Book Fair and Art Basel

This year’s Miami Book Fair was the best thing that ever happened to this lit major. I got to watch John Waters, David Eggers, Salman Rushdie, Jonathan Franzen, and do not even get me started on the magic that was the Patti Smith reading. I die. Throw in Art Basel two weeks later, and you have yourself one happy culture-lover.

Driving. Anywhere.

I love driving to work. Not too many people can say that. But I get to ride through South Beach, with its flip-flopped pedestrians and dog-in-basket cyclists, and across the causeway surrounded by the blue-green bay. Off of 395 I see the graffiti murals and then, from 95, a perfect view of the Magic City and its sparkling river. And that’s not even the best drive. We have A1A along the ocean, US-1 with its palm trees and colorful storefronts, Coral Way lined with ficus and banyan trees, and the postcard worthy views off the Julia Tuttle and Rickenbacker. Now I know traffic can be a bitch, but every city has horrible traffic (I know, I’ve lived in others). At least Miami has beautiful scenery to help you through the commute.

We are creative

Everyone who likes to complain about Miami’s culture is not paying attention. We have the Borscht Film Festival; Tarell Alvin McCraney, one of the best young playwrights in the world, whose goal is to open a playhouse in Miami; Jillian Mayer, whose “Scenic Jogging” won a recent Guggenheim short-film competition; the upcoming poetry festival O, Miami, organized by the University of Wynwood; and A LOT more.

Random adventures

Visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest, join the Gold Coast Roller Derby team, take trapeze classes, go shooting at Big Al’s Gun Range, ride a mechanical bull in Gulfstream Village, partake in parkour lessons, join a drum circle. The (weird) list goes on. Trust me, it’s all pretty spectacular.

The food

The food in Miami is amazing. New restaurants open every week, and the old ones are still amazing. The lobster grilled cheese tomato sandwich at Red Light, the baked alaska at Michy’s, the fried fish tacos at T-Mex, the chipotle black bean burger and cookie à la mode at Lost and Found. And who’s excited about the opening of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar? This girl.


The volunteering opportunities in Miami are so diverse that anyone who wants to give back in his or her own way should be happy here. Some of my favs: Habitat for Humanity, Community Partnership for the Homeless, Fertile Earth Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Miami City Ballet, Hands On Miami, and TREEmendous Miami. Each of these is a great way to help your community and to meet amazing people.

The people

Yes. The people. I am tired of hearing about the lack of cultural Miamians. Like I said, if that’s your complaint then you aren’t paying attention. I have made amazing friends in my mere 17 months here. People willing do to crazy things with me, others who will grab a glass of wine and talk politics, others who inspire me with their creativity and drive, and others still who make me laugh again and again. And then there are the bloggers, Miami’s true champions. For them, I am very thankful.

In closing

On this Thanksgiving eve, Miami, I want to tell you that I love you. You’re so pretty, you give so much, and you only get better with age. Thank you for being you.

And Happy Thanksgiving fellow Miamians! I hope you realize how much we have to be thankful for. We’re pretty lucky. And I’m glad I get to share this amazing home with all of you.


10 Comments on “Ten reasons to be thankful you live in Miami”

  1. 1 Eric said at 9:25 pm on November 24th, 2010:

    -The beach is my front yard
    I live in Cutler Ridge. It’s at least an hour to a beach

    -The Everglades is my back yard
    see above

    -The sun also sets
    sure you can drive to a sunset. Why not drive to the Gulf side of the state where the view is spectacular?

    -The Miami Book Fair and Art Basel
    I probably should have gone this year, but not worth loving Miami

    -Driving. Anywhere.
    Driving? Really? Holy Christ it’s a nightmare every time I get in my car. I hate Miami traffic. HATE it.

    -We are creative

    -Random adventures
    Santa’s Enchanted Forest? Lol. That’s a carnival. I wish Cheap Trick would play it.

    -The food
    One can only eat so much latin-inspired food.


    -The people
    are egotistical, self-absorbed, and shallow.

    no. Of all the things I have to be thankful for, Miami is not one.

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 9:56 pm on November 24th, 2010:

    Eric, I actually considered doing a counter list — ten reasons *not* to be thankful to live in Miami — because, as you suggest, this place is far from perfect. Thanks for obliging. I do think Miami’s getting somewhere though. I grew up here, and things are far better culturally, musically, artistically and otherwise than when I was a bored teenager. It’d be hard to argue otherwise.

  3. 3 Ten Reasons to be Thankful You Live in Miami | Beached Miami | Caribbean Cruise Lines South Florida said at 11:19 pm on November 24th, 2010:

    […] more: Ten Reasons to be Thankful You Live in Miami | Beached Miami No Comments by on November 24, 2010  •  Permalink Posted in Uncategorized […]

  4. 4 arielle said at 1:25 pm on November 25th, 2010:

    Gotta agree with Eric. Weak list. Driving? Really? Driving? Ugh.

    Also, I’ll start being thankful for the Borscht Film Festival when they actually start showing good films.

  5. 5 megan said at 2:02 pm on November 25th, 2010:

    wow. it’s thanksgiving guys. you can’t think of one thing in miami to be thankful for? sad.

    i guess i can’t win them all. all that really matters is that all of the above is exactly why I am thankful i live in miami. those of you who aren’t, i’m sorry you have to deal with that day in and day out. that must really suck.

    if you both want to discuss further, i’d be happy to do so over coffee. my treat. i’ll even throw in a hug. seems like you both could use one.


  6. 6 megan said at 2:03 pm on November 25th, 2010:

    oh, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!! =)

  7. 7 vicequeenmaria said at 1:41 pm on November 26th, 2010:

    What would we do without you, Megan?

    Screw the haters. While this city is far from perfect, everything you describe above is correct to a T.

    The best city is the one where you’re happiest. If that’s Miami for you, then great.

    Keep on spreading the love …

  8. 8 megan said at 8:43 am on November 29th, 2010:

    maria, have i told you lately that i love you? cause it’s so true. =)

    hope you had an amazing thanksgiving!

    xoxo, m

  9. 9 carlos said at 1:02 am on December 1st, 2010:

    eric and jordan: it sounds like you may be happier elsewhere, why not move? better yet, why don’t you use some of the energy you expend on writing negative blog comments to improve the city as you see fit- not that cutler ridge is actually part of the city- it’s a far suburb.

    arielle: the guggenheim, cannes, tribeca, and sundance festivals would disagree with you about borscht films- look it up. maybe you should stick to watching michael bay movies at sunset place?

  10. 10 Jordan Melnick said at 1:20 am on December 1st, 2010:

    Hey Carlos, you’re not really coming with “love it or leave it”, right? And check out the about page of this site — you might find that I do a little more than leave negative blog comments around town. As for Borscht, should Arielle let guggenheim, cannes, and sundance overrule her opinion? And the Michael Bay taunt? Come on.

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