Komila Kholmatova: Sunny Isles 2020

Photo of Komila Kholmatova at Sunny Isles Beach. Photo by Zakhrakhanum Alieva/ CC BY 4.0


Hello everyone! My name is Komila Kholmatova. I was born in “the pearl of Central Asia” Ferghana, Uzbekistan. The city gained the title for its beauty, picturesque view and for being completely surrounded by mountains. I spent half of my childhood in Moscow, Russia and lived there for 6 years. I came to US 2 years ago to study and chase my dreams. I am junior at Honors College at Florida International University. I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree in International business with a focus on a certificate in Social Media and E-Marketing Analytics. I really love traveling, getting to know new people, trying new food, painting, and listening to music. My passion for travelling and discovering new places contributed to my decision to take Miami in Miami class and learn more about this beautiful and diverse city. For my Ineffable Miami project, I chose to explore a Sunny Isles Beach city. To learn more about the city read below.


Photo by Komila Kholmatova at Sunny Isles Beach/ CC BY 4.0

The Sunny isles Beach city is a relatively large city located in the north part of Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. Sunny Isles Beach also known as Venice of America. The 124th largest community in Florida, Sunny Isles Beach is two-miles long island that is surrounded with Atlantic Ocean from one side, and bay water from the other. If one would describe the city with two words, they would be private yachts and private beaches.  It is a luxurious and exclusive place that occupied by skyscrapers, great range of restaurants, residential houses, villas, penthouses, parks, and shopping centers.  The unique location of the city makes it easy for people to get to the best stores in South Beach only in 2o minutes and enjoy the mesmerizing energy of the nightlife. The real estate prices in the city are relatively high and start around $500,000. Thus, not many individuals can afford to live there, and whoever do are the lucky ones.

Map of the Sunny Isles Beach from Google Maps


Source: https://www.sibfl.net/announcement/early-sunny-isles-beach/

Even though the city of Sunny Isles Beach seems young, it is rich in history. Years ago the area was not even a city and looked quite different. According to the City of Sunny Isles Beach official website, it all started in 1920, when Harvey Baker Graves bought a land with an aim of developing a resort for tourist. As it was mentioned earlier the city is also known as “Venice od America” and it was H.B. Graves who name it that way. Until 1931 the city was called as North Miami Beach, then until 1997 known as Sunny Isles. The massive constructions continued, and the completion of Haulover bridge in 1925 opened opportunities to the city and made it easy for people to access the city from Miami Beach. Developers and investors started to get interested in the city. That’s how canals were dug to create peninsulas and islands in order to construct first line by water properties on Biscayne Bay. In 1936 Milwaukee industrialist and benefactor, Kurtis Froedtert, bought Sunny Isles. At the head of him, different tourist destinations were built. The one that were most famous ones were The Sunny Isles Pier and the Golden shores area, single family homes, that were built in 1950’s.  From 1950’a to 1970’s there were drastic changes made to the infrastructure of the city. Along the Ocean Palm and Collins Avenue “Motel Row” came to life.  “Motel Row”, the construction of more than 30 motels in the city. The motels were a great source for the city’s prosperity and economic development, and they became the favorite tourist destination for snowbirds all over the world.

1950’s Motel Row. Source: https://www.sibfl.net/announcement/early-sunny-isles-beach/

By the end of nineties, different illegal activities as drug dealing and prostitution were hosted. There was little to no hope for improvement, as infrastructure aged and streets continued to be polluted, code enforcement barely existed. Luckily, community activists came on time to save the area and a council-manager form of governing was established and the area was finally called: The City of Sunny Isles Beach. The population has doubled in numbers, the streets got renovated, magnificent building and beautiful residents rose, and parks got acquired.   From year to year the City has been meeting all the goals that were set by the founders and improving the overall quality of life.


According to US Census Bureau, the population estimates of the Sunny Isles Beach city, Florida has increased for 4.7 % from 2010 and made 21,804 people. The ratio of male and female persons does not have a significant difference, it is only 2% in difference. In terms of age demographics, the leading age of the inhabitants is 65 years, the second teenagers under 18 years, and Children under 5 years, respectively, 24,1 %, 14,0% and 3.7%.  The income level per capita in past 12 months of 2015-2019 was $47,470. Compared to the previous years, it has shown growth for 7.3 % and the median household income has also boosted to $55,350. The White alone percent of residents living in the Sunny Isles Beach city is 91,1%, , Hispanic or Latino percent of residents is 46,0%, White alone, not Hispanic or Latino percent is 47,5%, and smaller percentages of residents living in the city include Black or African alone and Asian alone races, respectively, 2.9% and 2,5%.

Interview with Zakhrakhanum(Zara) Alieva, Resident of the Sunny Isles Beach City, Florida:

Photo of Zakhrakhanum Alieva by Karthshen/ CC BY 4.0

Zakhrakhanum Alieva is junior at Florida International University and she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication.

Komila: Where are you from, and how long have you been living in Sunny Isles Beach City?

Zara: I am from Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I became resident of Sunny Isles Becah City 6 years ago in 2014.

Komila: Why did you choose to live in this area?

Zara: I chose this place because it is the place where I got independent and learnt how to be on my own. And it has the most beautiful views and close to the ocean.

Komila: What is your favorite and least favorite aspect od Sunny Isles Beach City?

Zara: My favorite aspect of the city is the resemblance of it with my hometown. People are very nice and they have a sense of community, and there are so many places, stores and restaurants that make me feel comfortable and create warm atmosphere.  The least favorite aspect is traffic, it creates tension and causes aggression.

Komila: What is your favorite memory made here in Sunny Isles?

Zara: The day when I got married to the love of my life.

Komila: How would you describe the residents of Sunny Isles?

Zara: I like them. They are very nice and hospitable people that are always willing to help. Also, most of the residents in here speak Russian, which is another aspect of resemblance with my home that I like.

Komila: If you could change something in the area what would it be?

Zara: I would keep everything the same and try not to overbuild the infrastructure and I would emphasize and preserve the culture heritage.


Sunny Isles Beach

Photo by Komila Kholmatova/ CC BY 4.0

The best thing about the city of Sunny Isles Beach is the beach itself. Most of the tourist come to visit the city just for the beach. The area around the coastline is very famous among celebrities, and most of them own houses and villas in the city. Older population usually come to retard and spend the rest of their life in paradise of the Sunny Isles. The location of the beach is very convenient for tourist since most of the hotels and restaurants are lined with the beach itself. Warm weather for the whole year, swimming in the Atlantic ocean, and sitting back in the sand  are the most enjoyable things that tourist come for to the beach

Collins Avenue, Florida

Source: Felix Mizioznikov / shutterstock, Collins Avenue/ CC BY 4.0

Collins Avenue is the most famous and main street that lies at the center of the Sunny Isles Beach. It is a heart of the city. The Avenue is a home not only for high rise apartments, beautiful resorts, and hotels, but also for city shops. The Collins Avenue is surrounded by the beach from one side and the Intracoastal waterway from another. By taking a walk only for an hour, one will be able to discover the whole Avenue with all its beauty and dynamics within.

St Bernard de Clairvaux Church, 16711 Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach, FL 33160

Source: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / shutterstock

Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux

The St Bernard de Clairvaux is a fascinating Church with the historical architecture of the 12th century. Located in Sunny Isles Church was built in the town of Segovia and brought to Florida in the beginning of 20th century. It is a local extraordinary piece that worth seeing at least ones.


Samson Oceanfront Park, 17425 Collins Avenue

Source: sibfl.net/parks.

The Samson Oceanfront Park was named after Gilbert Samson. The area of the park is 2.1-acres. It is a public park open to community with its natural resources and recreational sites. The park receives funds from the “Florida Communities Trust Preservation 2000 Program,” and from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s, “Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program”, and creates facilities for people. By following the specific guidelines and restrictions resident are welcome to enjoy the park from 7am- 8pm daily.

Heritage Park, 19200 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

Source: City of Sunny Isles Beach Government / Facebook

Heritage Park

The Heritage Park located in the opposite end side of Collins Avenue. Even though the area of the park is not as large as other parks, it pleases residents with its green and lovely open place  that includes several memorials dedicated to local heroes who served for US across the world in the armed forces.

Pelican Community Park, 18115 North Bay Road

Source: sibfl.net/parks

The Pelican Community Park opening ceremony took place on August 23rd 2008. For almost 12 years the park have been working hard and creating various opportunities for the well-being of the residents, including community involvement, learning and educational activities. The park partners with Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8 School, and has a special Community center with study rooms, camps, after-school programs and fitness centers that are open for both children and adults. The park operates from 8:30 am – 9:00 pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm on Sundays.


There are various types of transportation in the Sunny Isles Beach city. Transportation ranges from affordable to expensive one, and even free one, which makes it convenient for the different income rage community.

One can find:

Shuttle Routes

The Shuttle Service is provided for the City is free  of charge and it works 7 days per week. There are 3 lines(Orange1, Orange2, Blue) working at the same time for the comfort of the residents and tourists.

Mount Sinai Transportation Services

It is another transportation that one can enjoy a free ride from but the only thing to keep in mind is to be early in the place and that children under 12 are not allowed to ride without an adult, since times are arranged on an approximate level because of traffic. No pets, no food, no alcohol is permitted during the ride. The SIBshuttle provides transportation to Mount Sinai Miami Beach. The rides are available through appointments only that are made by calling 305.792.1706.

Miami-Dade Transit Service

Miami-Dade Transit buses provide rides for the community in Sunny Isles Beach. Buses make stops on the Routes S, H, E and 12o Beach Max. For additional information of schedules and services, go to www.miamidade.gov/transit.

Additionally, residents and travelers can use taxi apps like Uber and Lift that are relatively higher in price.


Chayhana Oasis, 250 Sunny Isles Blvd, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

Source: www.chayhanaoasis.com

When I first came to Miami, I did not know that I would be able to find my hometown food in here. Surprisingly, there was one. Chayhana Oasis is an Uzbek Restaurant that serves an Uzbek Cuisine in Miami. Back home there’s a hilarious saying: “If you have not tried Uzbek Pilaf what is the reason of your existence in the world”. It is a colorful and lively restaurant that has a comfortable and unique cultural environment.  I would personally recommend going to and of course trying our national food. My favorite ones are lamb kebab and pilaf.

Mozart Cafe: Kosher Restaurant

Mozart Café is one of the best Kosher restaurants that introduces Israeli cuisine to its customers. They have a fantastic menu and exceptional service. The menu varies from sushi to falafels, ravioli and lasagnas. I went there during the breakfast and had eggs benedict and I am definitely going back.

Old Samovar, 18220 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160-2727

Old Samovar, is a Russian restaurant that pleases its guest with it cozy atmosphere and nice homemade food like blini, olivye salad, borsht and etc. It is a place where you will not feel alone but included. It is like you are invited to a party of old friends. The place also has karaoke but only in Russian but if you do not know the language there should be no worries since it is eased to catch the beat of the music. Since I grow up eating Russian food, I really love the place, my favorite Russian food is borsht and that’s what I ordered when I went there.


When one thinks of Miami, they imagine luxurious and exotic place with a crazy nightlife and yearlong warm weather with a beach, such as Sunny Isles Beach city. I am glad that I chose this neighborhood that is reach both in history and culture. I learned and discovered new places that I have not been to yet, and food that I have not tasted. With beautiful and mesmerizing infrastructure that includes hotels, motels, skyscrapers, centers for academic and recreational services, Sunny Isles continues to impress people and create the best life for the community’s well-being. I believe that as history once started for this city to be a tourist resort, it will continue to attract people from all over the world and be the dream place to visit and live.


“Early Sunny Isles Beach – City Of Sunny Isles Beach”. City Of Sunny Isles Beach, 2020, https://www.sibfl.net/announcement/early-sunny-isles-beach/.

“U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts: Sunny Isles Beach City, Florida”. Census Bureau Quickfacts, 2020, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sunnyislesbeachcityflorida/BZA115218.

Beach, Sunny. “Sunny Isles Beach – The Beacon Council”. The Beacon Council, 2020, https://www.beaconcouncil.com/why-miami-dade/cities/sunny-isles-beach/.

Top Companies In Sunny Isles. 2020, https://www.glassdoor.com/Explore/top-companies-sunny-isles-beach_IL.14,31_IC1166211.htm. Accessed 14 Dec 2020.

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