The city of Miami is located in the south of the state of Florida at the East Coast of the USA and is part of the Miami-Dade County. It has almost half a million inhabitants, an area of 143.1 km² and lies at the mouth of the Miami River in Biscayne Bay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The metropolitan region of Miami, which includes the neighbouring city of Miami Beach, has about 5.5 million inhabitants. The name "Miami" comes from the Native American word "Mayaimi", which means as much as "big water". Miami has tropical monsoon climate with particularly hot, humid summers and warm, dry winters. The high humidity is caused by the great amount of precipitation, which reaches its climax between May and October. At this time, Miami often suffers from hurricanes. The best time for a trip to the city is between March and May.
Miami officially became a city in 1896. Its connection to the railway network and the construction of the first hotels caused tourism to grow here. More and more people came to Miami in the 1920s because gambling was still allowed at that time, which started an enormous building boom. Today, Miami is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA. The majority of Miami's population has Hispanic roots. Most of them are from Cuba and that is apparent from the city. Little Havana and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a villa with a garden in the style of the north Italian Renaissance, attract many travellers. An important landmark and popular sight is the Freedom Tower, which was built in 1925 to remind of the Cuban immigration. Other historical attractions are Barnacle History State Park, the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Jewish Museum of Florida. Miami lies directly at the sea and is close to the Caribbean, which is apparent from sights like the Miami Sea Aquarium, Jungle Island and Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. Art plays an important role too. The city has a number of art museums such as the Pérez Art Museum, the Bass Museum of Art, the Lowe Art Museum, the Frost Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A true highlight is the Art Deco District, which has the highest density of art deco buildings in the world.
Travellers who come to Miami expect a unique variety of culinary and shopping facilities, nightlife and beaches. Connoisseurs can treat themselves to dishes from various Latin American cultures. The Bayside Marketplace is a popular shopping centre in the city centre with many restaurants, shops and entertainment facilities. There is something for every budget here from small souvenirs to technology, fashion, beauty products and jewellery. Various dance and live music events take place at the weekend. The Bayside Marketplace is the perfect starting point for party nights. Another popular shopping street is the Miracle Mile and the famous Ocean Drive is always crowded as well. During the day, people meet in hip cafes and restaurants in Cuban style and at night, the Ocean Drive becomes a mecca for all locals and holidaymakers who want to experience the city's nightlife. Sun-worshippers find some of the country's most beautiful beaches here. The long, wide and white sandy beaches with the crystal clear water attract thousands of visitors every day. The most popular ones are those in South Beach. Travellers who like it quiet find several fashionable boutiques and cosy cafes on Espanola Way.
Miami offers numerous ways of being active. Travellers can go for walks on the beach promenades, stroll through the beautiful streets or go cycling. The beaches are excellently suited for water sports like surfing, jet-skiing, swimming, snorkelling, fishing or water trampolining. If you are looking for a rush of adrenaline, you can go tandem skydiving, take part in the Miami Exotic Auto Racing Experience or cruise the Everglades National Park with an airboat. The latter is located outside of the city but not far away. The many alligators, which the Everglades are famous for, are not the only spectacular creatures you find there. You also see American crocodiles, manatees, dolphins, bald eagles and snowy egrets. You can spot the most animals between December and April. While the paths between the cypresses and mangroves in the Everglades are excellently suited for going hiking and cycling, the waterways invite you to go on ride in a canoe, kayak or airboat. Another popular activity is a day trip to Key West, a city which already fascinated writers like Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.
Miami is full of Cuban culture. Therefore, it is no surprise that about 67 percent of its population are Spanish native speakers. Only 25 percent are native speakers of English. Although English is still the official language in Florida, you get by better in Spanish. After all, there is a reason why Miami is called the "Gateway to Latin America".