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.
In 2016, the population is estimated to be just over 440,000. This makes Miami the 44th most populous city in the US.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami’s urban area is the fourth-largest in the U.S., with a population of around 5.5 million.
With just over 6 million inhabitants as of 2016, the Miami metropolitan area is the most populous in Florida and the eighth-largest in the southeastern United States.
Miami covers an area of 145 square kilometers (56 square miles) of which 93 square kilometers (36 square miles) are land and 52 square kilometers (20 square miles) are water.
The elevation of the area never rises above 12 meters (40 feet) and averages at around 1.8 meters (6 feet) above mean sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast.
A major transportation and business hub, Miami is a leading resort and Atlantic Ocean port situated on Biscayne Bay at the mouth of the Miami River.
Thousands of years before Europeans arrived, a large portion of south east Florida, including the area where Miami exists today, was inhabited by Tequestas.
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.
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.
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 the Mayaimi people who lived in the area at the time of European colonization.
During the early 20th century, northerners were attracted to the city, and Miami prospered during the 1920s with an increase in population and infrastructure.
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.
After Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, many Cubans emigrated to Miami, further increasing the population.
During the 1980s Miami gained a reputation as a center of the illegal cocaine trade.
Today, Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade.
Miami Beach is actually a separate municipality from Miami. It is located on an island, connected to the mainland by a series of bridges. The area is known for its popular beaches and the Art Deco District, with pastel buildings from the 1930s sporting classic neon signs. An expensive tourist district, this area features numerous beachfront restaurants, shops, hotels, and plenty of sunbathing opportunities. It is the main attraction for most tourists heading to Miami.
Miami is home to the world’s largest collection of Art Deco Architecture, the majority of which can be found in the Art Deco Historic District. In addition to bright-colored exteriors, chrome accents, porthole windows, geometric fountains, and statues, Art Deco design also centers on whimsical interior motifs including exotic flora, fauna, and decor.
Located at the southern end of Miami Beach where the Art Deco buildings line the waterfront road, this is the most famous and popular section of Miami Beach. In summer the beach is a popular draw for locals and tourists and in winter the area is simply a popular place to stroll around.
Bayside Marketplace is recognized as a must-see destination and the number one most-visited tourist attraction in Miami. It’s also popular among local residents, who make up 35% of annual traffic to the center. Situated on the beautiful Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami, the shopping center provides residents and tourists with a large selection of national retailers, restaurants and live entertainment.
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, previously known as Villa Vizcaya, is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate includes: extensive Italian Renaissance gardens; native woodland landscape; and a historic village outbuildings compound. The landscape and architecture were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean Revival architecture style, with Baroque elements. Miami-Dade County now owns the Vizcaya property, as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is open to the public.
The Wynwood Walls are free and open to the public. This art loving attraction has brought the world’s greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami. With each year, the Wynwood Walls endeavors to expand its breadth, introduce well known and emerging artists and bring world class art to the community.
Miami is one of the world’s top party destinations, and like any such city, it’s filled with bars and nightclubs.
Miami has more than 800 parks in total and is the only U.S. city surrounded by two national ones: Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.
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.
Metropolitan Miami is a major tourism hub in the southeastern U.S. for international visitors, ranking number two in the country after New York City.
PortMiami is the largest passenger port in the world, and one of the largest cargo ports in the United States.
Miami likes to bill itself as the “Wreckreational Dive Capital of the World.” There are more than 75 wrecks to explore from its shores thanks, in part, to an artificial reef program that began in 1981 with the sinking of the 36-meter (118-foot) Navy tug Orion.
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.
Miami’s year-round semi-tropical climate is free of extremes in temperature, with a long, warm summer and abundant rainfall followed by a mild, dry winter.
July is the hottest month in Miami with an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) and the coldest is January at 20°C (68°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 12 in July.
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.
Miami is also nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
The cuisine of Miami is a reflection of its diverse population, with a heavy influence especially from Caribbean cuisine and from Latin American cuisine.
The first Burger King opened in Miami in 1954.
Christianity is the most prevalently practiced religion in Miami.