Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an Alpha−World City in the World Cities Study Group's inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States and 33rd among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami "America's Cleanest City", for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world's seventh-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the "Capital of Latin America" and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises. Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the "Cruise Capital of the World", has been the number one cruise passenger port in the world. It accommodates some of the world's largest cruise ships and operations, and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines. Metropolitan Miami is a major tourism hub in the American South for international visitors, ranking number two in the U.S. after New York City.
The Miami area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Native American tribes. The Tequestas occupied the area for a thousand years before encountering Europeans. An Indian village of hundreds of people dating to 500–600 B.C. was located at the mouth of the Miami River.
In 1566 admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Florida’s first governor, claimed the area for Spain. A Spanish mission was constructed one year later in 1567. Spain and Great Britain successively controlled Florida, and Spain ceded it to the United States in 1821. In 1836, the US built Fort Dallas as part of its development of the Florida Territory and attempt to suppress and remove the Seminole. The Miami area subsequently became a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War.
Miami is noted as "the only major city in the United States conceived by a woman, Julia Tuttle", a local citrus grower and a wealthy Cleveland native. The Miami area was better known as "Biscayne Bay Country" in the early years of its growth. In the late 19th century, reports described the area as a promising wilderness. The area was also characterized as "one of the finest building sites in Florida." The Great Freeze of 1894–95 hastened Miami's growth, as the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railway to the region, for which she became known as "the mother of Miami." Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896 with a population of just over 300. It was named for the nearby Miami River, derived from Mayaimi, the historic name of Lake Okeechobee.
Black labor played a crucial role in Miami's early development. During the beginning of the 20th century, migrants from the Bahamas and African-Americans constituted 40 percent of the city's population. Whatever their role in the city's growth, their community's growth was limited to a small space. When landlords began to rent homes to African-Americans in neighborhoods close to Avenue J (what would later become NW Fifth Avenue), a gang of white men with torches visited the renting families and warned them to move or be bombed.
During the early 20th century, northerners were attracted to the city, and Miami prospered during the 1920s with an increase in population and infrastructure. The legacy of Jim Crow was embedded in these developments. Miami's chief of police, H. Leslie Quigg, did not hide the fact that he, like many other white Miami police officers, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Unsurprisingly, these officers enforced social codes far beyond the written law. Quigg, for example, "personally and publicly beat a colored bellboy to death for speaking directly to a white woman."
The collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane, and the Great Depression in the 1930s slowed development. When World War II began, Miami, well-situated on the southern coast of Florida, became a base for US defense against German submarines. The war brought an increase in Miami's population; by 1940, 172,172 people lived in the city.
After Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba in 1959, many wealthy Cubans sought refuge in Miami, further increasing the population. The city developed businesses and cultural amenities as part of the New South. In the 1980s and 1990s, South Florida weathered social problems related to drug wars, immigration from Haiti and Latin America, and the widespread destruction of Hurricane Andrew. Racial and cultural tensions were sometimes sparked, but the city developed in the latter half of the 20th century as a major international, financial, and cultural center. It is the second-largest US city (after El Paso, Texas) with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami and its metropolitan area grew from just over 1,000 residents to nearly 5.5 million residents in just 110 years (1896–2006). The city's nickname, The Magic City, comes from this rapid growth. Winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.
Miami and its suburbs are located on a broad plain between the Florida Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east, which also extends from Florida Bay north to Lake Okeechobee. The elevation of the area never rises above 40 ft (12 m) and averages at around 6 ft (1.8 m) above mean sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast. The highest undulations are found along the coastal Miami Rock Ridge, whose substrate underlies most of the eastern Miami metropolitan region. The main portion of the city lies on the shores of Biscayne Bay which contains several hundred natural and artificially created barrier islands, the largest of which contains Miami Beach and South Beach. The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current, runs northward just 15 miles (24 km) off the coast, allowing the city's climate to stay warm and mild all year.
The surface bedrock under the Miami area is called Miami oolite or Miami limestone. This bedrock is covered by a thin layer of soil, and is no more than 50 feet (15 m) thick. Miami limestone formed as the result of the drastic changes in sea level associated with recent glaciations or ice ages. Beginning some 130,000 years ago the Sangamonian Stage raised sea levels to approximately 25 feet (8 m) above the current level. All of southern Florida was covered by a shallow sea. Several parallel lines of reef formed along the edge of the submerged Florida plateau, stretching from the present Miami area to what is now the Dry Tortugas. The area behind this reef line was in effect a large lagoon, and the Miami limestone formed throughout the area from the deposition of oolites and the shells of bryozoans. Starting about 100,000 years ago the Wisconsin glaciation began lowering sea levels, exposing the floor of the lagoon. By 15,000 years ago, the sea level had dropped to 300 to 350 feet (90 to 110 m) below the contemporary level. The sea level rose quickly after that, stabilizing at the current level about 4000 years ago, leaving the mainland of South Florida just above sea level.
Beneath the plain lies the Biscayne Aquifer, a natural underground source of fresh water that extends from southern Palm Beach County to Florida Bay, with its highest point peaking around the cities of Miami Springs and Hialeah. Most of the Miami metropolitan area obtains its drinking water from this aquifer. As a result of the aquifer, it is not possible to dig more than 15 to 20 ft (5 to 6 m) beneath the city without hitting water, which impedes underground construction, though some underground parking garages exist. For this reason, the mass transit systems in and around Miami are elevated or at-grade.
Most of the western fringes of the city extend into the Everglades, a subtropical marshland located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida. Alligators have ventured into Miami communities and on major highways.
In terms of land area, Miami is one of the smallest major cities in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, the city encompasses a total area of 55.27 sq mi (143.1 km2). Of that area, 35.67 sq mi (92.4 km2) is land and 19.59 sq mi (50.7 km2) is water. That means Miami comprises over 400,000 people in 35 square miles (91 km2), making it one of the most densely populated cities in the United States, along with New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Miami is partitioned into many different sections, roughly into North, South, West and Downtown. The heart of the city is Downtown Miami and is technically on the eastern side of the city. This area includes Brickell, Virginia Key, Watson Island, and PortMiami. Downtown is South Florida's central business district, and Florida's largest and most influential central business district. Downtown has the largest concentration of international banks in the U.S. along Brickell Avenue. Downtown is home to many major banks, courthouses, financial headquarters, cultural and tourist attractions, schools, parks and a large residential population. East of Downtown, across Biscayne Bay is South Beach. Just northwest of Downtown, is the Civic Center, which is Miami's center for hospitals, research institutes and biotechnology with hospitals such as Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami VA Hospital, and the University of Miami's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.
The southern side of Miami includes Coral Way, The Roads and Coconut Grove. Coral Way is a historic residential neighborhood built in 1922 connecting Downtown with Coral Gables, and is home to many old homes and tree-lined streets. Coconut Grove was established in 1825 and is the location of Miami's City Hall in Dinner Key, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, CocoWalk, many nightclubs, bars, restaurants and bohemian shops, and as such, is very popular with local college students. It is a historic neighborhood with narrow, winding roads, and a heavy tree canopy. Coconut Grove has many parks and gardens such as Villa Vizcaya, The Kampong, The Barnacle Historic State Park, and is the home of the Coconut Grove Convention Center and numerous historic homes and estates.
The western side of Miami includes Little Havana, West Flagler, and Flagami, and is home to many of the city's traditionally immigrant neighborhoods. Although at one time a mostly Jewish neighborhood, today western Miami is home to immigrants from mostly Central America and Cuba, while the west central neighborhood of Allapattah is a multicultural community of many ethnicities.
The northern side of Miami includes Midtown, a district with a great mix of diversity with many West Indians, Hispanics, European Americans, bohemians, and artists. Edgewater, and Wynwood, are neighborhoods of Midtown and are made up mostly of high-rise residential towers and are home to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. The wealthier residents usually live in the northeastern part, in Midtown, the Design District, and the Upper East Side, with many sought after 1920s homes and home of the MiMo Historic District, a style of architecture originated in Miami in the 1950s. The northern side of Miami also has notable African American and Caribbean immigrant communities such as Little Haiti, Overtown (home of the Lyric Theater), and Liberty City.
Miami has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am) with a marked drier season in the winter. Its sea-level elevation, coastal location, position just above the Tropic of Cancer, and proximity to the Gulf Stream shape its climate. With January averaging 68.2 °F (20.1 °C), winter features highs generally ranging between 73–80 °F (23–27 °C). Cool air usually settles after the passage of a cold front, which produces much of the little amount of rainfall during the season. Lows fall below 50 °F (10 °C), an average of 10–15 nights during the winter season following the passage of cold fronts.
The wet season begins some time in May, ending in mid-October. During this period, temperatures are in the mid 80s to low 90s (29–35 °C), accompanied by high humidity, though the heat is often relieved by afternoon thunderstorms or a sea breeze that develops off the Atlantic Ocean, which then allow lower temperatures, but conditions still remain very muggy. Much of the year's 55.9 inches (1,420 mm) of rainfall occurs during this period. Dew points in the warm months range from 71.9 °F (22.2 °C) in June to 73.7 °F (23.2 °C) in August.
Extremes range from 27 °F (−2.8 °C) on February 3, 1917 to 100 °F (38 °C) on July 21, 1940. While Miami has never officially recorded snowfall at any official weather station since records have been kept, snow flurries fell in some parts of Miami on January 19, 1977.
Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, although hurricanes can develop beyond those dates. The most likely time for Miami to be hit is during the peak of the Cape Verde season, which is mid-August through the end of September. Although tornadoes are uncommon in the area, one struck in 1925 and again in 1997. Around 40% of homes in Miami are built upon floodplains and are considered as flood-risk zones.
Miami falls under the USDA 10b/11a Plant Hardiness zone.
The city proper is home to less than one-thirteenth of the population of South Florida. Miami is the 42nd-most populous city in the United States. The Miami metropolitan area, which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, had a combined population of more than 5.5 million people, ranked seventh largest in the United States, and is the largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States. As of 2008, the United Nations estimates that the Miami Urban Agglomeration is the 44th-largest in the world.
The 2010 US Census file for Hispanic or Latino origin reports that 34.4% of the population were of Cuban origin, 15.8% shared a Central American background (7.2% Nicaraguan, 5.8% Honduran, 1.2% Salvadoran, and 1.0% Guatemalan), 8.7% were of South American descent (3.2% Colombian, 1.4% Venezuelan, 1.2% Peruvian, 1.2% Argentinean, and 0.7% Ecuadorian), 4.0% had other Hispanic or Latino origins (0.5% Spaniard), 3.2% descended from Puerto Ricans, 2.4% were Dominican, and 1.5% had Mexican ancestry.
As of 2010, those of African ancestry accounted for 19.2% of Miami's population, which includes African Americans. Out of the 19.2%, 5.6% were West Indian or Afro-Caribbean American (4.4% Haitian, 0.4% Jamaican, 0.4% Bahamian, 0.1% British West Indian, and 0.1% Trinidadian and Tobagonian, 0.1% Other or Unspecified West Indian), 3.0% were Black Hispanics, and 0.4% were Subsaharan African.
As of 2010, those of (non-Hispanic white) European ancestry accounted for 11.9% of Miami's population. Out of the 11.9%, 1.7% were German, 1.6% Italian, 1.4% Irish, 1.0% English, 0.8% French, 0.6% Russian, and 0.5% were Polish.
As of 2010, those of Asian ancestry accounted for 1.0% of Miami's population. Out of the 1.0%, 0.3% were Indian people/Indo-Caribbean American (1,206 people), 0.3% Chinese (1,804 people), 0.2% Filipino (647 people), 0.1% were other Asian (433 people), 0.1% Japanese (245 people), 0.1% Korean (213 people), and 0.0% were Vietnamese (125 people).
In 2010, 1.9% of the population considered themselves to be of only American ancestry (regardless of race or ethnicity.) And 0.5% were of Arab ancestry, as of 2010.
As of 2010, there were 158,317 households of which 14.0% were vacant. 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.3% were married couples living together, 18.1% have a female head of household with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older (4.0% male and 7.3% female.) The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.15.
In 2010, the city population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.8 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.1 males.
As of 2010, the median income for a household in the city was $29,621, and the median income for a family was $33,379. Males had a median income of $27,849 versus $24,518 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,745.
In 2010, 58.1% of the county's population was foreign born, with 41.1% being naturalized American citizens. Of foreign-born residents, 95.4% were born in Latin America, 2.4% were born in Europe, 1.4% born in Asia, 0.5% born in Africa, 0.2% in North America, and 0.1% were born in Oceania.
In 2004, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported that Miami had the highest proportion of foreign-born residents of any major city worldwide (59%), followed by Toronto (50%).
In 1960, non-Hispanic whites represented 80% of Miami-Dade county's population. In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Miami's population as 45.3% Hispanic, 32.9% non-Hispanic White, and 22.7% Black. Miami's explosive population growth has been driven by internal migration from other parts of the country, primarily up until the 1980s, as well as by immigration, primarily from the 1960s to the 1990s. Today, immigration to Miami has slowed significantly and Miami's growth today is attributed greatly to its fast urbanization and high-rise construction, which has increased its inner city neighborhood population densities, such as in Downtown, Brickell, and Edgewater, where one area in Downtown alone saw a 2,069% increase in population in the 2010 Census. Miami is regarded as more of a multicultural mosaic, than it is a melting pot, with residents still maintaining much of, or some of their cultural traits. The overall culture of Miami is heavily influenced by its large population of Hispanics and blacks mainly from the Caribbean islands.
About 22.2% of families and 27.3% of the population were below the poverty line at the census, including 37.1% of those under age 18 and 32.8% of those aged 65 or over.
As of 2010, 70.2% of Miami's population age five and over spoke only Spanish at home while 22.7% of the population spoke English at home. About 6.3% spoke other Indo-European languages at home. About 0.4% spoke Asian languages or Pacific Islander languages/Oceanic languages at home. The remaining 0.3% of the population spoke other languages at home. In total, 77.3% spoke another language other than English.
As of 2000, 66.75% of residents spoke Spanish at home, while those who only spoke English made up 25.45%. Speakers of Haitian Creole (French-based) were 5.20%, French speakers comprised 0.76% of the population, and Portuguese at 0.41%. Among U.S. cities, Miami has one of the highest proportions of residents who speak languages other than English at home (74.55% in 2000).
Due to English-speakers moving away from the area, the percentage of residents who speak only English is expected to continue to decline.
Christianity is the most prevalently practiced religion in Miami (68%), according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, with 39% professing attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, and 27% professing Roman Catholic beliefs. followed by Judaism (8%); Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and a variety of other religions have smaller followings; atheism or no self-identifying organized religious affiliation was practiced by 24%.
There has been a Norwegian Seamen's church in Miami since the early 1980s. In November 2011, Crown Princess Mette-Marit opened a new building for the church. The church was built as a center for the 10,000 Scandinavians that live in Florida. Around 4,000 of them are Norwegian. The church is also an important place for the 150 Norwegians that work at Disney World.
Organizations such as the Miami-Dade Salvation Army and its iconic Red Kettle Christmas Campaign, Hands On Miami, City Year Miami, Human Services Coalition of South Florida, and Citizens for a Better South Florida, among many other organizations have been working to engage Miamians in volunteerism.
Miami is a major center of commerce, finance, and boasts a strong international business community. According to the ranking of world cities undertaken by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC) in 2010 and based on the level of presence of global corporate service organizations, Miami is considered a "Alpha minus world city". Miami has a Gross Metropolitan Product of $257 billion and is ranked 20th worldwide in GMP, and 11th in the United States.
Several large companies are headquartered in or around Miami, including but not limited to: Akerman Senterfitt, Alienware, Arquitectonica, Arrow Air, Bacardi, Benihana, Brightstar Corporation, Burger King, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Lines, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Espírito Santo Financial Group, Fizber.com, Greenberg Traurig, Holland & Knight, Inktel Direct, Interval International, Lennar, Navarro Discount Pharmacies, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, Perry Ellis International, RCTV International, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ryder Systems, Seabourn Cruise Line, Sedano's, Telefónica USA, UniMÁS, Telemundo, Univision, U.S. Century Bank, Vector Group, and World Fuel Services. Because of its proximity to Latin America, Miami serves as the headquarters of Latin American operations for more than 1400 multinational corporations, including AIG, American Airlines, Cisco, Disney, Exxon, FedEx, Kraft Foods, LEO Pharma Americas, Microsoft, Yahoo, Oracle, SBC Communications, Sony, Symantec, Visa International, and Wal-Mart.
Miami is a major television production center, and the most important city in the U.S. for Spanish language media. Univisión, Telemundo and UniMÁS have their headquarters in Miami, along with their production studios. The Telemundo Television Studios produces much of the original programming for Telemundo, such as their telenovelas and talk shows. In 2011, 85% of Telemundo's original programming was filmed in Miami. Miami is also a major music recording center, with the Sony Music Latin and Universal Music Latin Entertainment headquarters in the city, along with many other smaller record labels. The city also attracts many artists for music video and film shootings.
During the mid-2000s, the city witnessed its largest real estate boom since the Florida land boom of the 1920s. During this period, the city had well over a hundred approved high-rise construction projects in which 50 were actually built. Rapid high-rise construction led to fast population growth in the city's inner neighborhoods, primarily in Downtown, Brickell and Edgewater, with these neighborhoods becoming the fastest-growing areas in the city. Miami's skyline is ranked third-most impressive in the U.S., behind New York City and Chicago, and 19th in the world according to the Almanac of Architecture and Design. The city currently has the eight tallest (as well as thirteen of the fourteen tallest) skyscrapers in the state of Florida, with the tallest being the 789-foot (240 m) Four Seasons Hotel & Tower.
A housing market crash in 2007 caused a foreclosure crisis in the area. In 2012, Forbes magazine named Miami the most miserable city in the United States because of a crippling housing crisis that has cost multitudes of residents their homes and jobs. The metro area has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country and workers face lengthy daily commutes. Like other metro areas in the United States, crime in Miami is localized to specific neighborhoods. In a 2016 study by the website 24/7 Wall Street, Miami was rated as the worst U.S. city in which to live, based on crime, poverty, income inequality and housing costs that far exceed the national median.
Miami International Airport and PortMiami are among the nation's busiest ports of entry, especially for cargo from South America and the Caribbean. The Port of Miami is the world's busiest cruise port, and MIA is the busiest airport in Florida, and the largest gateway between the United States and Latin America. Additionally, the city has the largest concentration of international banks in the country, primarily along Brickell Avenue in Brickell, Miami's financial district. Due to its strength in international business, finance and trade, many international banks have offices in Downtown such as Espírito Santo Financial Group, which has its U.S. headquarters in Miami. Miami was also the host city of the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations.
Tourism is also an important industry in Miami. Along with finance and business, the beaches, conventions, festivals and events draw over 38 million visitors annually into the city, from across the country and around the world, spending $17.1 billion. The Art Deco District in South Beach, is reputed as one of the most glamorous in the world for its nightclubs, beaches, historical buildings, and shopping. Annual events such as the Sony Ericsson Open, Art Basel, Winter Music Conference, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami attract millions to the metropolis every year.
Miami is the home to the National Hurricane Center and the headquarters of the United States Southern Command, responsible for military operations in Central and South America. In addition to these roles, Miami is also an industrial center, especially for stone quarrying and warehousing. These industries are centered largely on the western fringes of the city near Doral and Hialeah.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2004, Miami had the third highest incidence of family incomes below the federal poverty line in the United States, making it the third poorest city in the USA, behind only Detroit, Michigan (ranked #1) and El Paso, Texas (ranked #2). Miami is also one of the very few cities where its local government went bankrupt, in 2001. On the other hand, Miami has won accolades for its environmental policies: in 2008, it was ranked as "America's Cleanest City" according to Forbes for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets and citywide recycling programs.
In addition to such annual festivals like Calle Ocho Festival and Carnaval Miami, Miami is home to many entertainment venues, theaters, museums, parks and performing arts centers. The newest addition to the Miami arts scene is the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the second-largest performing arts center in the United States after the Lincoln Center in New York City, and is the home of the Florida Grand Opera. Within it are the Ziff Ballet Opera House, the center's largest venue, the Knight Concert Hall, the Carnival Studio Theater and the Peacock Rehearsal Studio. The center attracts many large-scale operas, ballets, concerts, and musicals from around the world and is Florida's grandest performing arts center. Other performing arts venues in Miami include the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Colony Theatre, Lincoln Theatre, New World Center, Actor's Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, Jackie Gleason Theatre, Manuel Artime Theater, Ring Theatre, Playground Theatre, Wertheim Performing Arts Center, the Fair Expo Center and the Bayfront Park Amphitheater for outdoor music events.
The city attracts a large number of musicians, singers, actors, dancers, and orchestral players. Miami has numerous orchestras, symphonies and performing art conservatories. Some of these include the Florida Grand Opera, FIU School of Music, Frost School of Music, Miami City Ballet, Miami Conservatory, Miami Wind Symphony, New World School of the Arts, New World Symphony Orchestra, as well as the music, theater and art schools of the city's many universities and schools.
Miami is also a major fashion center, home to models and some of the top modeling agencies in the world. Miami is also host to many fashion shows and events, including the annual Miami Fashion Week and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami held in the Wynwood Art District.
The city is home to numerous museums as well, many of which are in Downtown. These include the Frost Art Museum, HistoryMiami, Miami Art Museum, Miami Children's Museum, Miami Science Museum, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, home of the Miami Main Library. Miami is also the home of the world's largest art exhibition, dubbed the "Olympics of Art", Art Basel Miami. The event is held annually in December, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
Miami music is varied. Cubans brought the conga and rumba, while Haitians and the rest of the French West Indies have brought kompa and zouk to Miami from their homelands instantly popularizing them in American culture. Dominicans brought bachata, and merengue, while Colombians brought vallenato and cumbia, and Brazilians brought samba. West Indians and Caribbean people have brought, reggae, soca, calypso, and steel pan to the area as well.
In the early 1970s, the Miami disco sound came to life with TK Records, featuring the music of KC and the Sunshine Band, with such hits as "Get Down Tonight", "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" and "That's the Way (I Like It)"; and the Latin-American disco group, Foxy (band), with their hit singles "Get Off" and "Hot Number". Miami-area natives George McCrae and Teri DeSario were also popular music artists during the 1970s disco era. The Bee Gees moved to Miami in 1975 and have lived here ever since then. Miami-influenced, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, hit the popular music scene with their Cuban-oriented sound and had hits in the 1980s with "Conga" and "Bad Boys".
Miami is also considered a "hot spot" for dance music, Freestyle, a style of dance music popular in the 1980s and 90s was heavily influenced by Electro, hip-hop, and disco. Many popular Freestyle acts such as Pretty Tony, Debbie Deb, Stevie B, and Exposé, originated in Miami. Indie/folk acts Cat Power and Iron & Wine are based in the city, while alternative hip hop artist Sage Francis, electro artist Uffie, and the electroclash duo Avenue D were born in Miami, but musically based elsewhere. Also, ska punk band Against All Authority is from Miami, and rock/metal bands Nonpoint and Marilyn Manson each formed in neighboring Fort Lauderdale. Cuban American female recording artist, Ana Cristina, was born in Miami in 1985.
The 1980s and '90s also brought the genre of high energy Miami Bass to dance floors and car subwoofers throughout the country. Miami Bass spawned artists like 2 Live Crew (featuring Uncle Luke), 95 South, Tag Team, 69 Boyz, Quad City DJ's, and Freak Nasty. Examples of these songs are "Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team in 1993, "Tootsee Roll" by 69 Boyz in 1994, and "C'mon N' Ride It (The Train)" by the Quad City DJ's in 1996.
This was also a period of alternatives to nightclubs, the warehouse party, acid house, rave and outdoor festival scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s were havens for the latest trends in electronic dance music, especially house and its ever-more hypnotic, synthetic offspring techno and trance, in clubs like the infamous Warsaw Ballroom better known as Warsaw and The Mix where DJs like David Padilla (who was the resident DJ for both) and radio. The new sound fed back into mainstream clubs across the country. The scene in SoBe, along with a bustling secondhand market for electronic instruments and turntables, had a strong democratizing effect, offering amateur, "bedroom" DJs the opportunity to become proficient and popular as both music players and producers, regardless of the whims of the professional music and club industries. Some of these notable DJs are John Benetiz (better known as JellyBean Benetiz), Danny Tenaglia, and David Padilla.
Miami is also home to a vibrant techno and dance scene and hosts the Winter Music Conference, the largest dance event in the world, Ultra Music Festival and many electronica music-themed celebrations and festivals.
There are also several rap and hip hop artists out of Miami. They include Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, Trina, Pitbull, Pretty Ricky, and the Miami Bass group 2 Live Crew.
The cuisine of Miami is a reflection of its diverse population, with a heavy influence especially from Caribbean cuisine and from Latin American cuisine. By combining the two with American cuisine, it has spawned a unique South Florida style of cooking known as Floribbean cuisine. Floribbean cuisine is widely available throughout Miami and South Florida, and can be found in restaurant chains such as Pollo Tropical.
Cuban immigrants in the 1960s brought the Cuban sandwich, medianoche, Cuban espresso, and croquetas, all of which have grown in popularity to all Miamians, and have become symbols of the city's varied cuisine. Today, these are part of the local culture, and can be found throughout the city in window cafés, particularly outside of supermarkets and restaurants. Restaurants such as Versailles restaurant in Little Havana are landmark eateries of Miami. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, and with a long history as a seaport, Miami is also known for its seafood, with many seafood restaurants located along the Miami River, and in and around Biscayne Bay. Miami is also the home of restaurant chains such as Burger King, Tony Roma's and Benihana.
The Miami area has a unique dialect, (commonly called the "Miami accent") which is widely spoken. The dialect developed among second- or third-generation Hispanics, including Cuban-Americans, whose first language was English (though some non-Hispanic white, black, and other races who were born and raised the Miami area tend to adopt it as well). It is based on a fairly standard American accent but with some changes very similar to dialects in the Mid-Atlantic (especially the New York area dialect, Northern New Jersey English, and New York Latino English.) Unlike Virginia Piedmont, Coastal Southern American, and Northeast American dialects and Florida Cracker dialect (see section below), "Miami accent" is rhotic; it also incorporates a rhythm and pronunciation heavily influenced by Spanish (wherein rhythm is syllable-timed). However, this is a native dialect of English, not learner English or interlanguage; it is possible to differentiate this variety from an interlanguage spoken by second-language speakers in that "Miami accent" does not generally display the following features: there is no addition of /ɛ/ before initial consonant clusters with /s/, speakers do not confuse of /dʒ/ with /j/, (e.g., Yale with jail), and /r/ and /rr/ are pronounced as alveolar approximant [ɹ] instead of alveolar tap [ɾ] or alveolar trill [r] in Spanish.
The video game Scarface: The World Is Yours takes place in Miami. The game is based on and is a quasi-sequel to the 1983 motion picture Scarface starring Al Pacino reprising his role as Tony Montana, with André Sogliuzzo providing Montana's voice. The game begins in the film's final scene, with Tony Montana's mansion being raided by Alejandro Sosa's (Robert Davi) assassins.
Miami's main four sports teams are the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League, the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association, the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball, and the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. As well as having all four major professional teams, Miami is also home to the Major League Soccer expansion team led by David Beckham, Sony Ericsson Open for professional tennis, numerous greyhound racing tracks, marinas, jai alai venues, and golf courses. The city streets has hosted professional auto races, the Miami Indy Challenge and later the Grand Prix Americas. The Homestead-Miami Speedway oval hosts NASCAR national races.
The Heat and the Marlins play within Miami's city limits. The Heat play at the American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami. The Miami Marlins home ballpark is Marlins Park, located in Little Havana on the site of the old Orange Bowl stadium.
The Miami Dolphins play at Hard Rock Stadium in suburban Miami Gardens. The Florida Panthers play in nearby Sunrise at the BB&T Center. Miami FC of the North American Soccer League, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid, play at FIU Stadium, and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers play at Lockhart Stadium in nearby Fort Lauderdale, also in the North American Soccer League. Miami is also home to Paso Fino horses, where competitions are held at Tropical Park Equestrian Center.
The Orange Bowl, a member of the Bowl Championship Series, hosts their college football championship games at Hard Rock Stadium. The stadium has also hosted the Super Bowl; the Miami metro area has hosted the game a total of ten times (five Super Bowls at the current Hard Rock Stadium, including Super Bowl XLI and five at the Miami Orange Bowl), tying New Orleans for the most games.
Miami is also the home of many college sports teams. The two largest are the University of Miami Hurricanes, whose football team plays at Hard Rock Stadium, and Florida International University Panthers whose football team plays at FIU Stadium.
Miami's tropical weather allows for year-round outdoor activities. The city has numerous marinas, rivers, bays, canals, and the Atlantic Ocean, which make boating, sailing, and fishing popular outdoor activities. Biscayne Bay has numerous coral reefs that make snorkeling and scuba diving popular. There are over 80 parks and gardens in the city. The largest and most popular parks are Bayfront Park and Bicentennial Park (located in the heart of Downtown and the location of the American Airlines Arena and Bayside Marketplace), Tropical Park, Peacock Park, Morningside Park, Virginia Key, and Watson Island.
Other popular cultural destinations in or near Miami include Zoo Miami, Jungle Island, Miami Seaquarium, Monkey Jungle, Coral Castle, St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church, Charles Deering Estate, Fairchild Botanical Gardens, and Key Biscayne.
The government of the City of Miami (proper) uses the mayor-commissioner type of system. The city commission consists of five commissioners that are elected from single member districts. The city commission constitutes the governing body with powers to pass ordinances, adopt regulations, and exercise all powers conferred upon the city in the city charter. The mayor is elected at large and appoints a city manager. The City of Miami is governed by Mayor Tomás Regalado and 5 City commissioners that oversee the five districts in the city. The commission's regular meetings are held at Miami City Hall, which is located at 3500 Pan American Drive on Dinner Key in the neighborhood of Coconut Grove.
Public schools in Miami are governed by Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which is the largest school district in Florida and the fourth-largest in the United States. As of September 2008 it has a student enrollment of 385,655 and over 392 schools and centers. The district is also the largest minority public school system in the country, with 60% of its students being of Hispanic origin, 28% Black or West Indian American, 10% White (non-Hispanic) and 2% non-white of other minorities.
Miami is home to some of the nation's best high schools, such as Design and Architecture High School, ranked the nation's best magnet school, MAST Academy, Coral Reef High School, ranked 20th-best public high school in the U.S., Miami Palmetto High School, and the New World School of the Arts. M-DCPS is also one of a few public school districts in the United States to offer optional bilingual education in Spanish, French, German, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin Chinese.
Miami is home to several well-known Roman Catholic, Jewish and non-denominational private schools. The Archdiocese of Miami operates the city's Catholic private schools, which include: St. Hugh Catholic School, St. Agatha Catholic School, St. Theresa School, Immaculata-Lasalle High School, Monsignor Edward Pace High School, Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, St. Brendan High School, amongst numerous other Catholic elementary and high schools.
Catholic preparatory schools operated by religious orders are Christopher Columbus High School and Belen Jesuit Preparatory School for boys and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Lourdes Academy for girls.
Non-denominational private schools in Miami are Ransom Everglades, Gulliver Preparatory School, and Miami Country Day School. Other schools in the area include Samuel Scheck Hillel Community Day School, Dade Christian School, Palmer Trinity School, Westminster Christian School, and Riviera Schools
Miami has over 200,000 students enrolled in local colleges and universities, placing it seventh in the nation in per capita university enrollment. In 2010, the city's four largest colleges and universities (MDC, FIU, UM, and Barry) graduated 28,000 students.
Colleges and universities in and around Miami:
Overall, amongst Miamians 25 years and older, 67% had a high school diploma, and 22% had a bachelor's degree or higher.
In 2011, Miami was ranked as the sixth-most-read city in the U.S. with high book sales.
Miami is also home to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that offer a range of professional training and other, related educational programs. Per Scholas, for example is a nonprofit organization that offers free professional certification training directed towards successfully passing CompTIA A+ and Network+ certification exams as a route to securing jobs and building careers.
Miami has one of the largest television markets in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. Miami has several major newspapers, the main and largest newspaper being The Miami Herald. El Nuevo Herald is the major and largest Spanish-language newspaper. The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald are Miami's and South Florida's main, major and largest newspapers. The papers left their longtime home in downtown Miami in 2013. The newspapers are now headquartered at the former home of U.S. Southern Command in Doral.
Other major newspapers include Miami Today, headquartered in Brickell, Miami New Times, headquartered in Midtown, Miami Sun Post, South Florida Business Journal, Miami Times, and Biscayne Boulevard Times. An additional Spanish-language newspapers, Diario Las Americas also serve Miami. The Miami Herald is Miami's primary newspaper with over a million readers and is headquartered in Downtown in Herald Plaza. Several other student newspapers from the local universities, such as the oldest, the University of Miami's The Miami Hurricane, Florida International University's The Beacon, Miami-Dade College's The Metropolis, Barry University's The Buccaneer, amongst others. Many neighborhoods and neighboring areas also have their own local newspapers such as the Aventura News, Coral Gables Tribune, Biscayne Bay Tribune, and the Palmetto Bay News.
A number of magazines circulate throughout the greater Miami area, including Miami Monthly, Southeast Florida's only city/regional; Ocean Drive, a hot-spot social scene glossy, and South Florida Business Leader.
Miami is also the headquarters and main production city of many of the world's largest television networks, record label companies, broadcasting companies and production facilities, such as Telemundo, TeleFutura, Galavisión, Mega TV, Univisión, Univision Communications, Inc., Universal Music Latin Entertainment, RCTV International and Sunbeam Television. In 2009, Univisión announced plans to build a new production studio in Miami, dubbed 'Univisión Studios'. Univisión Studios is currently headquartered in Miami, and will produce programming for all of Univisión Communications' television networks.
Miami is the twelfth largest radio market and the seventeenth largest television market in the United States. Television stations serving the Miami area include: WAMI (Telefutura), WBFS (My Network TV), WSFL (The CW), WFOR (CBS), WHFT (TBN), WLTV (Univision), WPLG (ABC), WPXM (Ion), WSCV (Telemundo), WSVN (Fox), WTVJ (NBC), WPBT (PBS), and WLRN (also PBS).
Miami International Airport serves as the primary international airport of the Greater Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world, Miami International Airport caters to over 35 million passengers a year. The airport is a major hub and the single largest international gateway for American Airlines. Miami International is the busiest airport in Florida, and is the United States' second-largest international port of entry for foreign air passengers behind New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and is the seventh-largest such gateway in the world. The airport's extensive international route network includes non-stop flights to over seventy international cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Alternatively, nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport also serves commercial traffic in the Miami area. Opa-locka Airport in Opa-locka and Kendall-Tamiami Airport in an unincorporated area serve general aviation traffic in the Miami area.
Miami is home to one of the largest ports in the United States, the PortMiami. It is the largest cruise ship port in the world. The port is often called the "Cruise Capital of the World" and the "Cargo Gateway of the Americas". It has retained its status as the number one cruise/passenger port in the world for well over a decade accommodating the largest cruise ships and the major cruise lines. In 2007, the port served 3,787,410 passengers. Additionally, the port is one of the nation's busiest cargo ports, importing 7.8 million tons of cargo in 2007. Among North American ports, it ranks second to the Port of South Louisiana in New Orleans in terms of cargo tonnage imported/exported from Latin America. The port is on 518 acres (2 km2) and has 7 passenger terminals. China is the port's number one import country, and Honduras is the number one export country. Miami has the world's largest amount of cruise line headquarters, home to: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International. In 2014, the Port of Miami Tunnel was completed and will serve the PortMiami.
Public transportation in Miami is operated by Miami-Dade Transit and SFRTA, and includes commuter rail (Tri-Rail), heavy-rail rapid transit (Metrorail), an elevated people mover (Metromover), and buses (Metrobus). Miami has Florida's highest transit ridership as about 17% of Miamians use transit on a daily basis.
Miami's heavy-rail rapid transit system, Metrorail, is an elevated system comprising two lines and 23 stations on a 24.4-mile (39.3 km)-long line. Metrorail connects the urban western suburbs of Hialeah, Medley, and inner-city Miami with suburban The Roads, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami and urban Kendall via the central business districts of Miami International Airport, the Civic Center, and Downtown. A free, elevated people mover, Metromover, operates 21 stations on three different lines in greater Downtown Miami, with a station at roughly every two blocks of Downtown and Brickell. Several expansion projects are being funded by a transit development sales tax surcharge throughout Miami-Dade County.
Tri-Rail, a commuter rail system operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), runs from Miami International Airport northward to West Palm Beach, making eighteen stops throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
Construction is currently underway on the Miami Intermodal Center and Miami Central Station, a massive transportation hub servicing Metrorail, Amtrak, Tri-Rail, Metrobus, Greyhound Lines, taxis, rental cars, MIA Mover, private automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians adjacent to Miami International Airport. Completion of the Miami Intermodal Center is expected to be completed by winter 2011, and will serve over 150,000 commuters and travelers in the Miami area. Phase I of Miami Central Station is scheduled to begin service in the spring of 2012, and Phase II in 2013.
Two new light rail systems, Baylink and the Miami Streetcar, have been proposed and are currently in the planning stage. BayLink would connect Downtown with South Beach, and the Miami Streetcar would connect Downtown with Midtown.
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Miami, FL, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 90 min. 39% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 18 min, while 37% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 13 km, while 38% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Miami is the southern terminus of Amtrak's Atlantic Coast services, running two lines, the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star, both terminating in New York City. The Miami Amtrak Station is located in the suburb of Hialeah near the Tri-Rail/Metrorail Station on NW 79 St and NW 38 Ave. Current construction of the Miami Central Station will move all Amtrak operations from its current out-of-the-way location to a centralized location with Metrorail, MIA Mover, Tri-Rail, Miami International Airport, and the Miami Intermodal Center all within the same station closer to Downtown. The station was expected to be completed by 2012, but experienced several delays and was later expected to be completed in late 2014, again pushed back to early 2015.
Florida High Speed Rail was a proposed government backed high-speed rail system that would have connected Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. The first phase was planned to connect Orlando and Tampa and was offered federal funding, but it was turned down by Governor Rick Scott in 2011. The second phase of the line was envisioned to connect Miami. By 2014, a private project known as All Aboard Florida by a company of the historic Florida East Coast Railway began construction of a higher-speed rail line in South Florida that is planned to eventually terminate at Orlando International Airport.
Miami's road system is based along the numerical "Miami Grid" where Flagler Street forms the east-west baseline and Miami Avenue forms the north-south meridian. The corner of Flagler Street and Miami Avenue is in the middle of Downtown in front of the Downtown Macy's (formerly the Burdine's headquarters). The Miami grid is primarily numerical so that, for example, all street addresses north of Flagler Street and west of Miami Avenue have "NW" in their address. Because its point of origin is in Downtown, which is close to the coast, therefore, the "NW" and "SW" quadrants are much larger than the "SE" and "NE" quadrants. Many roads, especially major ones, are also named (e.g., Tamiami Trail/SW 8th St), although, with exceptions, the number is in more common usage among locals.
With few exceptions, within this grid north/south roads are designated as Courts, Roads, Avenues or Places (often remembered by their acronym), while east/west roads are Streets, Terraces, Drives or occasionally Ways. Major roads in each direction are located at one mile intervals. There are 16 blocks to each mile on north/south avenues, and 10 blocks to each mile on east/west streets. Major north/south avenues generally end in "7" – e.g., 17th, 27th, 37th/Douglas Aves., 57th/Red Rd., 67th/Ludlam, 87th/Galloway, etc., all the way west beyond 177th/Krome Avenue. (One prominent exception is 42nd Avenue, LeJeune Road, located at the half-mile point instead.) Major east/west streets to the south of downtown are multiples of 16, though the beginning point of this system is at SW 8th St, one half mile south of Flagler ("zeroth") Street. Thus, major streets are at 8th St. + 16 = 24th St./Coral Way, + 16 = 40th St./Bird, +16 = 56th/Miller, + 16 = 72nd/ Sunset, + 16 = 88th/N. Kendall, + 16 = 104th (originally S. Kendall), + 16 = 120th/Montgomery, + 16 = 136th/Howard, + 16 = 152nd/Coral Reef, + 16 = 168th/Richmond, + 16 = 184th/Eureka, + 16 = 200th/Quail Roost, + 16 = 216th/Hainlin Mill, + 16 = 232nd/Silver Palm, + 16 = 248th/Coconut Palm, etc., well into the 300's. Within the Grid, odd-numbered addresses are generally on the north or east side, and even-numbered addresses are on the south or west side. This makes even unfamiliar addresses and distances easy – If one must travel from, say 1709 SW 8th St. to 24832 SW 157th Avenue, one knows it will be 140 blocks (157 − 17) / 20 miles to the west and 240 blocks (248 − 8) / 15 miles to the south, and that the destination will be on the south side of 248th St. Remarkably, even Miami natives are often unaware of this pattern.
All streets and avenues in Miami-Dade County follow the Miami Grid, with a few exceptions, most notably Coral Gables, Hialeah, Coconut Grove and Miami Beach. One neighborhood, The Roads, is thusly named because its streets run off the Miami Grid at a 45-degree angle, and therefore are all named roads.
Miami-Dade County is served by four Interstate Highways (I-75, I-95, I-195, I-395) and several U.S. Highways including U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 27, U.S. Route 41, and U.S. Route 441.
Some of the major Florida State Roads (and their common names) serving Miami are:
Miami has six major causeways that span over Biscayne Bay connecting the western mainland, with the eastern barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean. The Rickenbacker Causeway is the southernmost causeway and connects Brickell to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. The Venetian Causeway and MacArthur Causeway connect Downtown with South Beach. The Julia Tuttle Causeway connects Midtown and Miami Beach. The 79th Street Causeway connects the Upper East Side with North Beach. The northernmost causeway, the Broad Causeway, is the smallest of Miami's six causeways, and connects North Miami with Bal Harbour.
In 2007, Miami was identified as having the rudest drivers in the United States, the second year in a row to have been cited, in a poll commissioned by automobile club AutoVantage. Miami is also consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians.
In recent years the city government, under Mayor Manny Diaz, has taken an ambitious stance in support of bicycling in Miami for both recreation and commuting. Every month, the city hosts "Bike Miami", where major streets in Downtown and Brickell are closed to automobiles, but left open for pedestrians and bicyclists. The event began in November 2008, and has doubled in popularity from 1,500 participants to about 3,000 in the October 2009 Bike Miami. This is the longest-running such event in the US. In October 2009, the city also approved an extensive 20-year plan for bike routes and paths around the city. The city has begun construction of bike routes as of late 2009, and ordinances requiring bike parking in all future construction in the city became mandatory as of October 2009.
In 2010, Miami was ranked as the 44th-most bike-friendly city in the US according to Bicycling Magazine.
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Miami the eighth-most walkable of the fifty largest cities in the United States, but a 2013 survey by Travel + Leisure ranked Miami 34th for "public transportation and pedestrian friendliness."