Condo Living in Miami
With four professional athletic teams, Miami has no shortage of sports fans. The NFL’s Miami Dolphins play at the Sun Life Stadium in the Miami Gardens, which is also home to the Orange Bowl in the college Bowl Championship Series. The Florida Panthers, a member of the National Hockey League, plays just outside the city limits at the Bank Atlantic Center, while the Miami Marlins MLB team’s home is at Marlins Park in Little Havana. The 2012 NBA Championship winning Miami Heat’s home court is at American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. Professional tennis is played each year at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, and the city boasts many greyhound racing tracks, marinas, and golf courses for interested residents and visitors. Racing enthusiasts can see the Miami Indy Challenge in the streets of the city, and the nearby Homestead-Miami Speedway frequently hosts NASCAR events.
Miami is home to the recently-built Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the Ziff Ballet Opera House, as well as a concert hall, theater, and rehearsal studio. Many local, traveling, and internationally famous operas, ballets, and concerts are performed at this center, and it is home to the Florida Grand Opera.
In addition to this center, several other performing arts locations are spread around the city, including the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Jackie Gleason Theatre, and the outdoor Bayfront Park Amphitheater. International musicians, singers, and dancers are members of the Miami City Ballet, Miami Conservatory, New World Symphony Orchestra, as well as the city’s numerous universities and training centers.
Home to some of the top modeling agencies and fashion entrepreneurs in the world, Miami hosts Miami Fashion Week as well as the Miami week of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Show each year. Local and national talents are featured in these shows, keeping Miami fashion on the cutting edge.
Art lovers and museum goers can visit the Frost Art Museum, the Miami Children’s Museum, Miami Science Museum, and the Vizcaya Museum and Garden in the city’s downtown district. Those looking to understand the history and people of the region can visit the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, which includes the city’s main library. Additionally, Art Basel Miami, the world’s largest art exhibition, attracts thousands of art enthusiasts each December.
With the tropical weather perfect for outdoor activities all year, marinas and beaches are some of the main attractions to Miami. Coral reefs at Biscayne Bay are popular snorkeling and scuba diving destinations, and sailors and fishermen are continuously visible on the rivers and Atlantic Ocean. More than 80 parks and gardens are spread throughout the city for short walks or long picnics, including the Bayfront Park, Bicentennial Park located downtown, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The Jungle Island attraction, Zoo Miami, and Miami Seaquarium are also popular destinations for visitors and residents willing to pay a small fee to see more exotic flora and fauna.
History of Miami
Four hundred years ago, when Ponce de Leon arrived from Spain, the native people of Miami-Dade County were known as the Calusa. The Calusa had named the area “Mayami,” which means “Big Water,” because of the Miami River and the nearby ocean. Enticed by the mild climate and readily available food and water sources, the Spanish conquistadors repeatedly tried to colonize the area throughout the early sixteenth century, but the Calusas hostilely rebuffed their attempts. The conquistadors brought with them from Europe smallpox and many other diseases unrecognized by the Calusas, and by the early 1700s, very few of the native people still survived in the Miami region. Those who did faced invaders from Spain as well as from local Creek and Seminole tribes, and many of the remaining Calusas fled to Havana, Cuba.
Spain ceded to the British its claim to the Miami area after supporting the defeated French in the French and Indian War in 1763, but Miami was soon passed back to Spain following the American Revolution. In 1821, Spain sold Florida to the newly established United States for a staggering 5 million dollars, and eager new settlers began moving into the Biscayne Bay region.
Conflicts with the native Seminoles caused the U.S. Army to develop Fort Dallas at the mouth of the Miami River to help subdue the angry natives. By 1842, after several clashes, the Seminoles were pushed into the nearly uninhabitable Everglades. Farming in the region became impossible, and many of the settlers left. By the time the Civil War erupted, it was generally assumed that no one lived in the area except deserters and freed slaves.
Finally, investors began developing the region in the 1870s, including Julia Tuttle, who saw the opportunity for a resort in the Miami area. As one of the first women to found a city, this wealthy Cleveland widow brought the Florida East Coast Railroad past Palm Beach and into Miami-Dade, leading to the development of the town. Miami Beach was officially founded in 1915, with other entrepreneurs soon traveling to the growing resort area. The advents of World War I and World War II brought explosions in transportation systems and buildings to Miami. Soldiers who had trained and ported in the city returned to make it home. The 1960s brought a boom of migrating refugees from Communist Cuba, laying the stage for today’s internationally renowned, Spanish-speaking Miami.
Nightlife in Miami
As a city of cultural fusion and a hotspot for dance music, Miami has some of the most eclectic musical influences in the country. Cuban immigrants brought the conga and the rumba to the city, Dominicans brought the meringue, Colombians brought the cumbia, and Brazillians brought the samba. Additionally, reggae, calypso, and steel pan have been mixed into the equation. With all these styles and influences, the music scene of Miami has become internationally famous for its energy and innovative style.
The disco sound in the 1970s of groups such as KC and the Sunshine Band came from Miami, and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine brought a Cuban sound to music in the 1980s. Dance music known as Freestyle originated in Miami in the 1980s and 1990s. Miami Bass, a high energy dance form of music, saw some popularity in the early 1990s as well. Current hit artists such as Trick Daddy, Pitbull, and Flo-Rida are based out of Miami.
Miami has an active nightclub and dance scene, and it features many dance clubs that pulse loudly with live and electronic dance music year round. The Winter Music Conference, known internationally as the largest dance event, and the Ultra Music Festival are hosted in Miami each year as a testament to the musical influence of the city.