Miami is located in Miami Dade County in the southeastern portion of Florida in the United States. This city has a population of over five million people contained within the greater metropolitan area. It is a coastal city and is considered a major international hub for movie and television entertainment, fashion, music and the performing arts. This city is also a financial hub of North America with the greatest number of international banks of any city in the United States. Miami also has an impressive skyline that ranks in third place behind New York and Chicago and consist of over fifty high rise skyscrapers.
While the metropolitan area of Miami has a large population, the population within the city limits consists of only about two hundred thousand residents. This is due to the small land area of the city. The city of Miami sits on only thirty five square miles of land, the smallest land area of any major metropolitan area in the United States. The city is home to less than seven percent of the residents in South Florida. Miami also has the distinction of being the only major city in the U.S. that has two national parks on its borders. These are the Everglades National Park and the Biscayne National Park.
Originally, the area that Miami is now located was home to the Tequestas for over eleven hundred years. But, it wasn’t until 1566, when the area was claimed in the name of Spain by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, that the city began to become a metropolitan area. The first major structure to be placed upon the site is a Spanish Mission in the year 1567. Later, in 1836, Fort Dallas was erected and the area became the theater for major hostilities during the Second Seminole War. Years after the war, Julia Tuttle, a wealthy citrus grower, convince the railroads to expand their lines into the region. This hastened the areas growth and in 1896 Miami was founded as a city. Its population at that time was a mere three hundred residents.
Miami is a city that can be divided geographically into several different sections; the North, South, West and Eastern portions. The eastern portion consist of Miami’s downtown area. This is Miami’s central financial district and is home to the many banks, hotels, and high rise residential buildings. The western portion is a diverse mix of the many immigrant neighborhoods that call Miami home. These include the Little Havana, West Flagler and Flagami neighborhoods. The south side of this city consist of many historic neighborhoods that were built during the roaring twenties. Some of these include the Coral Way, The Roads and Coconut Grove neighborhoods. The northern side of the city is a mix between diverse ethnic neighborhoods and historic neighborhoods. Neighborhoods here include Little Haiti and Overtown. This part of the city is usually referred to as Midtown.
One of Miami’s major hot spots is South Beach. This area is known for its crystal clear blue water, immaculate beaches and art deco architecture. This area is also known for its many boutiques, mega shopping malls, street vendors, and resort hotels. There are also many restaurants in this area that offer a combination of cuisines which include Italian, Haitian and Cuban delicacies.
Another popular attraction in the city is the Miami Metro Zoo. This three hundred acre zoo contains over twelve hundred animals located in large open exhibits. Some of its main features include the twenty seven acre Amazon & Beyond Exhibit, Wings of Asia Aviary, Humpy’s Camel Ride and Samburu Giraffe Feeding Station. Visitors here can rent a safari bicycle, take the tram or ride on the monorail to see all this parks attractions. After your visit here you can also take a trip to Miami Seaquarium. This park sits on thirty-eight acres where guest can get a close up look at killer whales, dolphins and sea lions.
A great time for families with children can be had at the Miami Children’s Museum. This museum was founded in 1983 and features hands on interactive exhibits that include a television studio, a fire station and a police station. There is also an ocean exhibit and a teddy bear display for the younger children. Other museums that can be checked out in the city of Miami include the Black Heritage Museum, the Frost Art Museum, Gold Coast Railroad Museum, the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Miami Art Museum. Another great museum to visit in the city is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This thirty-four room mansion was built in 1916 by the industrialist James Deering. Its filled with fifteenth and sixteenth century European furniture and paintings. After exploring this historic house, visitors can check out the twenty eight acre grounds that are filled with many Italian and French style fountains, as well as pools and sculptures.
The city of Miami is also home to a number of beautiful historic buildings. One of them is the Miami Herald Museum. The Freedom Tower is another historic building that visitors should check out. It was built in 1925 and is done in a tradition art deco style. It is one of the oldest skyscrapers in the country and was home to the Miami Daily News.
One stop every visitor should make to this city is a trip to Bayside Marketplace. This is a large mall that is home to over one hundred and fifty shops, stores, restaurants and cafes. It is also the location where several tour boats depart from, offering tourist scenic views of Biscayne Bay. And if that’s not enough to peak your interest, there are also water taxi’s that can shuttle tourist from this area to Miami Beach and the many hotels that are situated there.