It’s hard to find a U.S. city more diverse than Miami, Florida. With a tropical climate year round and picture-perfect beaches and city sights, it’s always the place to be. Day or night, the array of activities for you to do is limitless. There really is something for everyone in the Magic City.
A Variety of Activities
To say that Miami has it all is not an understatement. The summer months are hot and humid which makes for the perfect beach weather and water activities. The winter is mild and dry, ideal for most outdoor activities. On the off chance of a rainy day there are plenty of museums and sporting events to keep you entertained!
Get to Know the City
Along with downtown Miami there are many smaller communities surrounding the city. To be specific, the area is divided into north, south, west and downtown. Each of these areas has its own niche. Downtown Miami is the entertainment hub where you can find the famous Port of Miami. This is also where you’ll find the business district and major financial centers. The southern part of the city features Coral Way and Coconut Grove, two historic and upscale communities. The north side of Miami, also known as Midtown, is an artsy/bohemian district set away from the usual tourist scene.
The Early Years
Native American settlement in Miami dates back to some 10,000 years ago. At this time Miami was mostly hardwood forests and wildlife. In the mid-1500s the first Europeans arrived, and at this time much of southeastern Florida, including what is Miami today, was inhabited by the Tequesta people. Spanish soldiers followed shortly after, lead by Father Francisco Villareal. Unfortunately, European and Spaniard diseases quickly struck the Tequesta population and most of them were killed by 1743.
Around 1800 the first permanent white settlers arrived in Miami. Treasure hunters from the Bahamas and the Florida Keys came to Miami in the search for treasure from ships that had sunk around the dangerous Great Florida Reef. Some of these hunters accepted Spanish land offers and built homes along the Miami River. Shortly after, the Seminole Indians came to the land with a group of runaway slaves. By 1858, a large numbers of families were establishing settlements and could call Miami home.
Between 1900 and 1920 the population of Miami grew from 1, 681 people to 29, 549. Thousands of people began to migrate from the northern United States to the Miami area, once word spread of the booming region and beaches. In 1926, the tragic Great Miami Hurricane hit, followed by the Great Depression, which halted growth of the city for many years.
During the 1940s Miami began to recover and there was a massive flow of immigrants from all over but primarily from Cuba and Latin America. In the 1980s Miami became all about luxury: The most expensive cars, five star hotels, breathtaking condominiums and classy nightlife all seemingly appeared at once.
The official nickname “The Magic City” stemmed from the massive growth that Miami incurred over only 110 years. In this time period it grew to over five million residents, which is a staggering number, seeing as how Miami began virtually uninhabited. It quickly became a yearly escape for those who lived in cold weather and they often noticed how quickly the city would develop year to year, saying it was like “magic.”
Modern Day Miami
From 2000 to present day the Magic City has continued to grow. It now boasts some of the tallest skyscrapers and longest beaches in the United States. It has one of the strongest international business communities and is a booming center place for entertainment, media and finance industries. As if Miami isn’t great enough, it is considered a “green city” and Forbes Magazine granted it the title of “America’s Cleanest City” in 2008.
Art Basel Miami Beach
Each December, Art Basel Miami Beach draws in the most elite crowd with their exhibits of world-renowned artwork. This high profile event has gained recognition for showing work of the highest merit and is not to be missed.
Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail
Considered the “Greatest Boat Show in the World,” this event features over 3,000 boats and 2,000 exhibitors from all over the world. In addition to seeing the most impressive boats of the year, you can take sailing lessons, go on a cruise or visit the famous Big Game Room and much more.
Carnaval Miami/Calle Ocho
Arts, culture, charity and celebrities all come together for this 3-day festival each year. This huge block party provides some of the best live entertainment all year, with no shortage of latin dancing, incredible Latin food, art exhibitions and musical performances by some of the most well-known musicians.
International Mango Festival
Every July, Fairchild Tropical Gardens hosts this buzzed about event. One key feature of this festival is mango-themed brunch made by celebrity chefs that sells out every year. Mango lover or not, this is a unique experience you don’t want to miss. Try mango smoothies, chutney, sweets and so much more. A mango auction also draws big bids each year.
Ultra Music Festival Miami
Considered one of the most in demand music festivals in the U.S., Ultra Music Festival sells out each year within minutes. It always hosts the most extensive music line-ups, world’s best DJ’s and unparalleled production. Enjoy the best electronic music with views of the beautiful city all around you.
Everglades Tour with Airboat Ride
You won’t have seen Miami if you miss a visit to the Everglades. With 1.5 million acres of preserved land, the Everglades National Park is one of the richest subtropical ecosystems in the world. Besides the beaches, this is the best way you can spend your time outdoors in Miami. You can explore the reeds and swamps by boat, go hiking to observation decks, kayak, bicycle, get hands-on with reptiles and so much more.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
At Kennedy Space Center you can get an inside look into the U.S. launch site that has been used for every NASA human space flight since December 1968. View artifacts, exhibits and displays all about the history and future of human and robotic spaceflight. You can even see space shuttle launch viewings to re-live the iconic missions of the past.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya used to serve as a winter vacation home for the American industrialist James Deering in 1916. It’s now one of the biggest must-see attractions in Miami. You’ll want to tour the gorgeous gardens and the museum gives you an exclusive look into the lives of the wealthiest people of the 1920’s.
SoBe Art Museum
South Beach is the number one art museum in Miami. It has a 3 mile radius of art deco buildings that date back to the 1920’s. This is considered the oldest collection in the world! You can even view the collection at night but in a whole different way: The entire collection gets lit up in neon lights.
This iconic five star property was once the home of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace. It has now been converted into a boutique hotel that is worth a visit. The mansion is located on the star-studded Ocean Drive, and some key features are original designs of Versace, such as a mosaic-tiled swimming pool ined in 24-carat gold. An intimate 30-seat restaurant called II Sole just opened as well.