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      10-27-2019, 08:25 PM   #1
Lucky1
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Move to Miami or LA - San Diego for a car guy

Been thinking about relocating from the great Canadian white north for years. I've now done all that I wanted to here in terms of goals and professional/material achievements here. Only things I want now in life are warm weather and good vibes. Time to move.


I go back and forth between whether I want to move to Miami area or LA/San Diego. The other thing that bothers me is cost of living vs professional opportunities. Lastly while I have no relationship I do have three cars which are the world to me. A 2008 BMW 128i 6MT, a 2006 BMW Z4MR and a 2015 Porsche Carrera 4S. Would likely sell the 128i to cover moving costs. But I am worried about fires and storms destroying my cars. Need to figure out where they are safest and how to keep them safe. No point moving to Miami and losing my lifelong goal of owning a 911 to water (which is ironic because Porsche chose to water cool the car and now water does this)! I have spent a decent amount of time in Miami, a little less on the west coast.



So Canadians who have made the move and Americans who have lived in either or both coasts let me know where you think I should go. Here's a list of wants:


  • I'm not rich but I'd like to be able to rent or own a two car garage home with a pool and hot tub (even if it takes a few years to work my way up there)
  • To be honest don't like it too hot, 77F to 83F is fine with me. Miami is great for pool weather at night but man its too stinkin' hot during the day. On the flip side I hear it is way less expensive to live there as long as you don't party on South Beach every weekend
  • I like the ladies! Especially in those skimpy California and Miami bikinis. Pretty sold on the whole Beach Boys, California Girls vibe and lifestyle
  • Need to be able to drive and enjoy my cars and not worry about them getting stolen or otherwise destroyed by nature or criminals
  • Sustainable, regular employment
  • I like laid back, easy going vibes and open minded culture


Since I would need a work VISA and company to sponsor me its not so easy to just go to one place and if you don't like it go to the other. Need to be very targeted. I hear Miami (or at least Florida in general) is very conservative while LA/San Diego is more open minded.


As fellow car guys what do you think? I know California is the epicenter of car culture so there's that.
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      10-27-2019, 09:02 PM   #2
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Are you able to qualify on the TN-1 visa? I've heard that generally makes it far easier to move. I met quite a few Canadian immigrants working in LA who came through that channel

Figure out where your likely jobs are and go from there. Then check out average housing prices nearby. A single family home with space for 2 cars and pool in the west side of LA can run to obscene costs, 2M+ in the nice areas like Santa Monica, 1M in other good beach areas like Redondo Beach. San Diego is probably half or less than LA prices. Reduce prices a lot for condos, which would make more sense for a single guy. Finding a 1BR condo or apartment with 2 parking spots is not that easy in LA, especially in smaller buildings. Most apartments come bundled with one spot and you can rent a neighbor's garage parking spot. Very rarely, I've seen places listed with 2 bundled spots. Not as familiar with Miami real estate.

Career-wise, LA is likely to offer far better growth and opportunities. 2019 LA is about a lot more than Beach Boys, California Girls vibe though. You will still get some of that but it is more like urban hipster. LA weather is far better than Miami, Santa Monica is at 60-80F nearly year round and is not humid. Look up Mediterranean climate vs. humid tropical.

Not sure what you mean by Miami being more conservative while LA/San Diego being more open minded means. If you mean politically, LA is by far the most liberal, followed probably by Miami, then San Diego/Orange County being more conservative but definitely still are blue areas these days. I'd say all are quite culturally open-minded in that there aren't a ton of conservative Christians who look at you sideways if you are atheist, few people are likely to be anti-immigrant, etc.

The car scene is quite good in SoCal with plenty of well developed clubs and meets and track days and tuner scenes, but beyond that it may not yield you that much on a daily basis. South Florida likely also has this. Edit as it was mentioned: the driving roads, including the Angeles Crest Highway areas and Malibu mountains/canyons are unparalleled. There's a reason so many car magazines test cars in those areas. The weather allows you go to top down nearly whenever you want. If you mod a lot, CA has quite strict emissions laws especially the biannual smog checks after 6 years, while FL no longer has any emissions program. The CA government has steadily passed many laws making it harder to own and use cars, but usually money can alleviate this.

I'd say swing for LA first if your career allows. If space and lifestyle are a big deal shoot for San Diego instead. If you prioritize partying first and want a lower cost of living go to Miami.

Last edited by EstorilM240; 10-28-2019 at 01:50 AM..
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      10-27-2019, 09:10 PM   #3
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EstorilM240 you hit it right on the head.
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      10-27-2019, 09:20 PM   #4
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EstorilM240 you hit it right on the head.
I agree, thanks very much. Was really well thought out, thanks for taking the time to write it up
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      10-27-2019, 09:37 PM   #5
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Obviously I like living in Florida and lived in Miami from 1986 - 2002. I am now about 75 miles North and drive down to Miami for business at least a couple of days a month. I used to go down more frequently, but the drive has gotten much worse over the years. Not sure if there is a specific company you are thinking about but there are many other places to live in FL aside from Miami. Miami was great when I was in my 20s but now in my 50s I would not want to live there mainly due to congestion, but also due to costs. Personally, I would not own a nice car if I lived in Miami.

CA is not for me from a political, tax or cost perspective. I like to visit CA but will never live there. Miami is a blue city with red pockets, but in a different league from CA as a whole, particularly L.A. and S.F.

However, this is your choice, not our’s. What is your rent or home purchase budget? Miami is expensive for FL but again nothing compared to LA / San Diego. That may be a pretty important factor because I wouldn’t want to live in CA on a FL budget (even if I wanted to live in CA). Where in the city do you want to live? What type of commute are you willing to tolerate?
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      10-27-2019, 10:05 PM   #6
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I agree with everything RickFLM4 says and will add a few more things:

I live about an hour north of Miami. Little more conservative here than Miami, but still somewhat liberal compared to Ohio where I used to live. Lots of Canadians vacation down here, BTW.

There are plenty of homes around here with 2+ car garages (my whole neighborhood has 3-car) at prices I would consider reasonable. Miami is going to be a little more pricey with smaller homes on smaller lots. If you want something on a canal with ocean access you're going to spend quite a bit more, something we did not consider a necessity. Like LA, there is a limit to the land available with the ocean on one side and the Everglades on the other. Things get cheaper the farther north you go, in general.

Couple things to consider about the car culture here: convertible weather is flipped around. Mine stays in the garage between Memorial Day and Halloween.

The other is that the roads here are straight straight straight with no more than about 10 feet of elevation change. You could argue some of the best roads in the country are just outside of LA once you get away from the congestion. I brought a motorcycle with me from Ohio and haven't once taken it out of storage -- time to sell it.

Have you seen fuel prices lately? $3 per gallon for 91 octane I paid the other day. Something like $5 out in CA for same thing. I hear income taxes in CA are not low; we don't have an income tax in FL.

All in all, love it down here even with the drawbacks listed above. Been to CA dozens of times for work and would never consider moving there.
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      10-27-2019, 11:26 PM   #7
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There are significant financial differences as other posters have pointed out. I’ll let you sort that out.
But if you are asking as car guys, to me there is no choice. Having lived in Florida and San Diego and now in NorCal, California is one of the best places for cars. Low humidity and we go months without rain to spot your car. Just dust it off and it shines. In Florida it rains daily. I could hardly keep my cars clean for more than two days straight. Weather is more enjoyable than Florida. I always own a convertible and in Cal it is top down weather daily. The only plus to Fl are the warm evenings to enjoy your convertible whereas it’s usually cool most California evenings. If you can afford Ca go for it. If not Florida is a good Second choice.
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      10-27-2019, 11:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RickFLM4 View Post
Obviously I like living in Florida and lived in Miami from 1986 - 2002. I am now about 75 miles North and drive down to Miami for business at least a couple of days a month. I used to go down more frequently, but the drive has gotten much worse over the years. Not sure if there is a specific company you are thinking about but there are many other places to live in FL aside from Miami. Miami was great when I was in my 20s but now in my 50s I would not want to live there mainly due to congestion, but also due to costs. Personally, I would not own a nice car if I lived in Miami.

CA is not for me from a political, tax or cost perspective. I like to visit CA but will never live there. Miami is a blue city with red pockets, but in a different league from CA as a whole, particularly L.A. and S.F.

However, this is your choice, not our’s. What is your rent or home purchase budget? Miami is expensive for FL but again nothing compared to LA / San Diego. That may be a pretty important factor because I wouldn’t want to live in CA on a FL budget (even if I wanted to live in CA). Where in the city do you want to live? What type of commute are you willing to tolerate?

Completely agree here. I'm still in Miami but growing tired of it. Actually, I am tired of it. I enjoyed the Miami 20 years ago when homes had nice green lawns up front. It's just become congested. Construction doesn't stop. You're paying $500k for a home that has a kitchen built in the 70's. I can go on. Also, and this may be my own personal encounters but I find people have become way more nasty and rude. I don't know. Maybe just my experience.

Love CA but wouldn't want to live there.

Last edited by soulcrft; 10-27-2019 at 11:41 PM..
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      10-28-2019, 01:30 AM   #9
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I've been in SoCal for a few months now. It is so large and populated it really feels like its own state. LA has so many different flavors to it, it's hard to put it all in one. OC/SD are more homogenous in regards to their vibe/demographics. LA is obscenely expensive if you want a decent sized home (3000+ sq ft). We are talking $2.5-3 mil+ in the more desirable areas near the coast, and $3-4 mil+ once you get to Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel-Air, etc. The OC coastal cities (e.g. Newport, Laguna) and La Jolla are similar. Luckily, in OC you can move 20-30 mins inland from the coast and homes get more affordable. By SoCal standards, San Diego area is the most reasonable. Throw in obscene taxes and California's expensive reputation holds up.

As far as car scene goes. SoCal has the most robust scene in the country. But everything is so damn far apart, and you spend an obscene amount of time in traffic here. There's really nothing like it anywhere else. Once you get away from the hustle and bustle and into the hills you have the best driving roads in the country.

I will say that one of the major things I dislike here is the lack of a true downtown. You're from Toronto, so you're used to a city that is dense, walkable, and has a shopping/nightlife district, waterfront, etc. SoCal lacks this concept. In LA if you want to shop or go to good restaurants, you have to drive from one place to another and sit in the parking lots that are the 10 and 405. Don't expect a downtown anywhere near Toronto, Vancouver, SF, Philadelphia, etc.

On a side note, not sure why people are getting so into red vs. blue. Everything is purple with a skew one way or the other. Both SoCal and Miami are major metros with all types of people. OC/SD has a reputation for being more conservative but there's nothing closed-minded about it from my observations. LA is very white and Mexican with some asians thrown in, totally depends on where you are. OC is almost purely white in the wealthier areas and SD is also very white.
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      10-28-2019, 06:26 AM   #10
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Been in So Cal for 40 years. Can't think of anyplace I would rather be. We are in an area that has a Mediterranean climate. This is as close to ideal as weather gets. The driving roads are just awesome. Twisty mountain roads are what the roadsters are built for. The roads out my back door to San Diego county or up and over the mountains are exhilarating in the Z4
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      10-28-2019, 07:23 AM   #11
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FloGrown from Miami most of my life till seven years ago when I moved a little north to Ft Lauderdale.

Miami is not for the faint of heart. Rent is through the roof, people suck, thieves everywhere and hater that bang your doors in parking lots just because... and I'm not even going to talk about the drivers, gray hairs or those crawling parking lots like the Palmetto and I95...

good luck.
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      10-28-2019, 07:46 AM   #12
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I live in Miami and there a few thing that you should know-

1) There is no way to develop a career here; the job market is nowhere near California's and significantly underpays. We have a service based economy here that revolves around low wages.

2) Housing and cost of living is high even with the above knowledge of a poor job market. This is due to constant money flowing in from overseas and people out of town purchasing to rent or simply invest.

3) People are insanely rude and lack common sense / intelligence. There appear to be no laws and the Police do not do anything to enforce them. This really wears on you after a while.

4) Drivers are straight up dangerous and reckless; I drove in LA in comparison and thought I was in Heaven.

Other than that; the weather is great and I really enjoy a mild winter... however reading your needs; Miami would not work well for you. Cali's downside are the polarizing and restrictive politics as well as an extremely high cost of living.
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      10-28-2019, 09:48 AM   #13
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Where is your family. Father, mother etc, do you have siblings?

And FWIW i'd avoid Miami, spent a few days there and .. no.

Last edited by Alfisti; 10-28-2019 at 10:28 AM..
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      10-28-2019, 11:23 AM   #14
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I live in Miami and there a few thing that you should know-
...

4) Drivers are straight up dangerous and reckless; I drove in LA in comparison and thought I was in Heaven.
so much this. i'm a fairly aggressive driver but traffic around miami is a whole 'nother level of insane. my in-laws have lived in south fla for over 30 years, so i've spent a good bit of time driving down there...it's ridiculous.

i've also spent a decent bit of time in SD, not as much in LA...probably less than a week of total drive time in/around LA....regardless either of those cities would be miles ahead of south fla for me. SD would probably be #1 just because the sheer size of LA is insane. SD just feels like the right size for me.
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      10-28-2019, 11:33 AM   #15
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so much this. i'm a fairly aggressive driver but traffic around miami is a whole 'nother level of insane. my in-laws have lived in south fla for over 30 years, so i've spent a good bit of time driving down there...it's ridiculous.
So you’re saying you don’t like being tailgated by a dump truck, with cars in the left lane going 13 mph and cars in the right lane going 80 mph, when you come upon a broken down car someone abandoned in the middle lane with no hazard lights?
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      10-28-2019, 01:08 PM   #16
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So you’re saying you don’t like being tailgated by a dump truck, with cars in the left lane going 13 mph and cars in the right lane going 80 mph, when you come upon a broken down car someone abandoned in the middle lane with no hazard lights?
What, no distaste for motorcycles? Or is that what you are on?
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      10-28-2019, 02:00 PM   #17
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What, no distaste for motorcycles? Or is that what you are on?
You’re right. My bad. I need to be more inclusive.

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      10-28-2019, 03:22 PM   #18
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I would say none of the above myself. For me, Texas would be a nice sweet spot, especially after seeing TXStyle and LSinturbo's digs for the $$. Very similar to the midwest in what you can afford, and leagues above Miami or pretty much anywhere in SoCal.
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      10-28-2019, 03:28 PM   #19
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      10-28-2019, 05:34 PM   #20
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Based on what you like it seems to me San Diego is the obvious choice. If you live outside the city like 30 min away or what not, just browsing Zillow for fun while we were there it seemed you could get something decent in the 500k range which is probably about the same as Miami since Miami is getting ridiculous. Weather is good, good car scene, employment is probably better than Miami, I'm sure they have plenty of ladies, do they have as many whores as Miami, I dunno.

But don't listen to me because I despise Miami and I'm not much of a fan of LA. Personally I prefer where I am which is north of Miami between West Palm and Ft Lauderdale. Good houses for around $350k, plenty of jobs (in my field anyways), roads that won't knock your fillings out, fairly inexpensive cost of living and it's always pool weather. However if you like 70F you wont get it here for most of the year and if your max is 83F you will die in FL. As for the ladies in these parts we have a ton of them, plus they're a cheap date as they qualify for senior discounts most everywhere!
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      10-28-2019, 11:58 PM   #21
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Where is your family. Father, mother etc, do you have siblings?

And FWIW i'd avoid Miami, spent a few days there and .. no.

All live here in the 6ix. But I hardly see them so I wouldn't make a decision based on where they are
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      10-29-2019, 12:01 AM   #22
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Thanks for the responses guys. Yeah I have a funny feeling about Miami and Florida in general. I didn't get out to San Diego last year when I was in LA last but I did enjoy LA for the few days I saw of it. I'm going to try an make a trip out to SD/LA in the New Year.


I guess a key thing will be to understand what kind of salary I can expect an what kind of life it can offer in the state. And what am I willing to give up!
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