Miami Insider: Pilates Instructor Darcy Smith

At the end of last year, this lifelong Los Angeles resident picked up and moved to Midtown Miami, where she knew few people. Landing a great job in the Brickell section of town, she tells us why the Design District, great tapas and floor-to-ceiling water views in her apartment have her living the good life, Miami style.

Name, Age, Occupation: Darcy Smith, 42, Pilates Instructor

Neighborhood: Midtown Miami

Abode: Two-bedroom apartment. I feel like a princess here. I have floor-to-ceiling windows from every spot in my apartment and I'm overlooking Biscayne Bay in a full-service building.

How long have you lived in Midtown Miami? Four Months. It feels like I've been here a long time though. I love it!
What do you love most about your neighborhood?

First of all, I love the view of the water. I also love that I am in the center of everything: 10 minutes from South Beach, five minutes to Downtown Miami, 10 minutes to Brickell, and I'm right by the highway to go north. It's very, very central.

Do you talk to your neighbors?
Yes! I live across the street from a park and every day between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. it's filled with dogs and so I walk mine. Everyone has a small dog here and being on a block with four high-rise buildings the park is always filled with people. I've gotten to know many folks.

Best kept secret in Midtown Miami?
I would say the Design District which has art and design and is the base of the area It's close to me and it's new. It's got all sorts of interior design stores and boutiques and shops and high-end gallery's and restaurants. It's a four-square-block area and it looks very different from the rest of the city. Some of the best new restaurants in Miami are in the Design District. My favorite spot is Sra. Martinez. It's a Spanish Tapas Restaurant. It's so good! If you like Spanish and tapas there are so many [options] here.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday night in your neighborhood?
I live four blocks from the performing Arts Center and tomorrow night I'm going to the ballet -- and I'm walking there! The idea of walking places is just amazing as I came from L.A. where we drove everywhere. [Here we] have a beautiful ballet and opera house, contemporary and gorgeous.

You went from L.A.'s warm, sunny palm tree days to Miami's. From one workout city to another. How different is it really?

My idea of Miami was so different than it actually is. Miami has a very different energy from L.A. I find it much more relaxed here and it's not as crowded, there's not as much traffic. And Miami has so many different flavors and neighborhoods. My idea of Florida was that it's all the same but it's not and that's what I like about it. It's so clean here and the air is so clean and with everyone outside; I started running again.

It is very fit here which is similar to L.A. It's a body-conscious place, but it's a little more forgiving than in L.A. I like working in the Brickell section because it's very international so I have clients from all over the world. Working at the Four Seasons in the Sports Club L.A. I find my clients are really motivated and pilates is really popular here.

When I moved here I started from scratch. I didn't know anybody and it was so good for me and the best thing I ever did. And the view I have doesn't exist in California. It's would cost millions and millions of dollars to have a view like this!

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Midtown Miami or Miami homes for sale at AOL Real Estate.
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