Miami is a city packed with texture, color, and emotion. It is sizzling hot, irresistibly sexy and arouses all the senses – a reflection of its booming Latin culture. It was earned the moniker America’s Crime Capital, thanks to the 1980s TV Series Miami Vice. But Miami today is a flourishing metropolis that has been dubbed the country’s Casablanca, America of the Millennium, and the Magic City.
These various designations touch on a major aspect of Miami that differentiates it from many other American cities – it is a truly multicultural city. Miami is the gateway to Central and South America and also the third most popular American city (after New York and Los Angeles) for international visitors. In fact, many people consider the city as more Latin American than American.
Famous for its spicy nightlife, fine dining, sunny weather, and sexy population, Miami had humble beginnings. It was founded more than a hundred years ago, when a mogul named Henry Flagler expanded his railroad to transport citrus fruits from the frost-free south. Economic development was moving at a glacial pace until the land boom in Florida in the 1920s. When the heat was on Chicago during Prohibition, Al Capone came in Miami.
The Mafia moved in after the WWII. Waves of Cuban refugees arrived later, when Fidel Castro led Cuba in 1959. Before long, Miami became the US Latin capital. There was also mass immigration in the 1980s. The cultural climate the immigrants created in the city inspired residents from other Latin American countries (such as Puerto Rico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Dominica) to seek a better life away from the poverty and oppressive governments of their countries.
Miami is undoubtedly one of the most ultramodern cities in the US. Although it is the second largest in state after Jacksonville, it is easily Florida’s most cosmopolitan, exciting, and exotic. Much of its appeal is attributed to its diverse neighborhoods, ranging from the colorful Little Havana to the trendy South Beach to big-city and towering skyscrapers in downtown Miami. South Beach boasts of candy-colored art deco buildings amid an authentic South Florida panorama of dazzling blue ocean, cloudless skies, swaying palm trees, and pale sandy beaches.