What Low Season?
As Miami has emerged as a major business and financial center, the city sports a year-round vibe
What do high season and low season mean anymore in the evolution of South Florida? Well-traveled readers of this blog know that other resort areas around the world do indeed have distinct high and low seasons. In the jet-set world of the Amalfi Coast and Mykonos and the French Riviera, most of the hotels shut down in October or November. The music stops; the pools are drained. Locals reclaim their villages. Closer to home, in the Caribbean, the top hotels shutter during the fall rainy season to freshen up for high season.
Time was, it used to be like that in South Florida. A century ago, Palm Beach welcomed the most fashionable New Yorkers for “the season” and became a ghost town after the charity events quieted down at the end of winter. Palm Beach still carries echoes of that yearly cycle, as their seasonal snowbird homeowners decamp for the Hamptons, Cape Cod, or worldly travels when things really start heating up.
But the Miami metro—which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties—is a major urban area: the ninth largest metropolitan statistical area in the country, sandwiched between Atlanta and Phoenix. A metro of that size can’t be open for just part of the year, especially since the tri-country region is diversifying, ushering in technology, fintech and professional services to complement its established travel and tourism base. Miami has seen the most pronounced migration of any city in the U.S. According to Axios, “Miami experienced the largest increase in people moving in from before the pandemic.”
What does this do to seasonality? It all but erases it. When business and employees put down roots, they work year-round (with staggered vacations pegged for the summer and fall). The activity is especially apparent in Miami, but is also noticeable in Broward. In summer, beaches are packed with tourists, many from in-state, taking advantage of low summer hotel rates. The sidewalks of Brickell, a buzzy neighborhood that so very much wants to be a tropical version of New York, is teeming with shoppers and young executives taking gym breaks during their lunch hours.
If Miami slows down at all, it is very briefly and barely discernable. Once Spring Break is over, for a few weeks in May, things seem quieter. And after the kids go back to school at the end of August, September and October can feel somewhat more sedate than the previous stretch.
Of course, Miami is most active from Art Week in early December through April, which is arguably the busiest month of the year. And any weekend that has a festival on the calendar is sure to pack the city, regardless of the time of year.
“Locals know that if you want some beach time that isn’t a party scene, during the week in the summer is good, as well as pockets in the fall and the few weeks between Art Basel and Christmas,” says Marco Tiné, principal of Casa Collection Realty. “But let’s face it. Miami is no longer simply a resort town. Even the last 20 years have changed things drastically. This is a year-round urban center that’s doing increasingly diversified business every day of the year. Just like a real city.”