Destination guide: Miami, United States
Located in south-east Florida, the city of Miami is one of the most visited destinations in the United States, mainly due to its sandy beaches and warm water, which make it ideal for vacations.
Plan your trip to Miami and visit Collins Avenue with its restaurants, shops and hotels, skate down South Beach, discover the beauty of Coral Gables and Bal Harbor and marvel at the city’s Art Deco architecture. Don’t put it off any longer and take advantage of our flight promotions to Miami.
Miami - History Overview
It’s always been the weather that’s attracted Miami’s two most prominent species: developers and tourists. But it wasn’t the sun per se that got people moving here – it was an ice storm. The great Florida freeze of 1895 wiped out the state’s citrus industry; at the same time widowed Julia Tuttle bought out parcels of land that would become modern Miami, and Henry Flagler was building his Florida East Coast Railroad. Tuttle offered to split her land with Flagler if he extended the railway to Miami, but the train man didn’t pay her any heed until north Florida froze over and Tuttle sent him an ‘I-told-you-so’ message: an orange blossom clipped from her Miami garden.
The rest is a history of boom, bust, dreamers and opportunists. Generally, Miami has grown in leaps and bounds following major world events and natural disasters. Hurricanes (particularly the deadly Great Miami Hurricane of 1926) have wiped away the town, but it just keeps bouncing and building back better than before. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Miami earned a reputation for attracting design and city planning mavericks like George Merrick, who fashioned the artful Mediterranean village of Coral Gables, and James Deering, designer of the fairy-tale Vizcaya mansion.
Miami Beach blossomed in the early 20th century when Jewish developers recognized the potential American Riviera in their midst. Those hoteliers started building resorts that were branded with a distinct art-deco facade by daring architects willing to buck the more staid aesthetics of the northeast. The world wars brought soldiers who were stationed near local naval facilities, many of whom liked the sun and decided to stay. Latin American and Caribbean revolutions introduced immigrants from the other direction, most famously Cubans, who have arrived in two waves: the stridently anti-Castro types of the ’60s, and those looking for a better life since the late 1970s, such as the arrivals on the 1980 Mariel Boatlift during a Cuban economic crisis.
The glam and over-consumption of the 1980s, personified in Scarface and Miami Beach, attracted a certain breed of the rich and beautiful, and their associated models, designers, hoteliers and socialites, all of whom transformed South Beach into the beautiful beast she is today.
Today, Miami feels like a city on the edge. Political changes in Latin America continue to have repercussions in this most Latin of cities – as mayor Manny Diaz likes to say, ‘When Venezuela or Argentina sneezes, Miami catches a cold.’ Economically, as housing prices soar and families move to more distant suburbs like Kendall, it seems Miami will either become a town split between patricians and poverty, or a first-class city that lets its own citizens in on the good life it promises to the rest of the world.