You might think you know a thing or two about Miami, Florida, but for every thing you know about the city, there’s a lot more that you don’t. There is an array of fun facts about Miami to learn.
Here are 13 things you probably didn’t know about sun-kissed Miami.
Miami was founded by a woman
Miami was founded by American businesswoman Julia Tuttle, known as the ‘Mother of Miami’ who convinced oil tycoon Henry Flagler to extend his railroad from Central Florida down to Miami. The first train of the Florida East Coast Railroad arrived in the city in 1896, and Miami was incorporated later that same year. Miami is the only major American city to have been founded by a woman.
Its name comes from the native word Mayaimi for ‘big water’
Miami is named after the Mayaimi people, a Native American tribe that lived around Lake Okeechobee until the 17th or 18th century. The term Mayaimi translates to “big water”.
Miami’s nickname “Magic City” is not all due to its amazing weather
It’s got more to do with the city’s spectacular growth. Construction was so fast it made Miami skip the status of ‘town’ and directly reach the status of ‘city’. Today, it is home to over 450,000 people. The moniker “Magic City” comes from its rapid growth being like ‘magic’.
It has the warmest winters in the United States
It is no secret that Miami is warm, that’s one of the main reasons so many tourists flock to it every year. That being said, Miami actually has the warmest winters in all of the United States. That’s why Miami might be the best choice for a winter getaway.
It is the cruise capital of the world
The port of Miami is the largest passenger port in the entire world. In 2019, roughly over 6.8 million passengers passed through the city. Figures like that have earned a reputation as the cruise capital of the world.
It is bordered by two national parks
Miami is bordered by not one but two national parks. To the west is the famous Everglades National Park and to the east is Biscayne National Park. It is the only city in the USA to be bordered by two national parks.
The sand in Miami Beach is imported
Miami Beach is known for its beautiful white sand but that sand does not occur naturally in the area. Most of the sand on the beaches was imported from the Bahamas or other beaches in the Caribbean. The state of Florida spent $11.5 million importing sand to restore the shoreline in Miami Beach that continues to be eroded by the ocean waves.
Sunscreen was invented here
Miami is the place where first sunscreen in the US was invented. In the 1940s, a pharmacist called Benjamin Green worked in the kitchen of his Coconut Grove residence to create a lotion for WWII soldiers stationed in the South Pacific. This red petroleum gel would eventually evolve into the now-famous sun lotion, Coppertone.
It has only snowed once in Miami
That was on January 19, 1977. Snow began to fall early in the morning between 8am and 9:30am and temperatures fell down to the 30s. We cannot imagine Miami covered in a freezing blanket of snow.
Burger King opened its first location in Miami
The predecessor to the fast-food chain was founded in Jacksonville as Insta Burger King, but was later purchased by Miami-based franchises who renamed it Burger King. The first Burger King location opened in Miami on December 4, 1954.
It is a hub for Art Deco architecture
Though the city is teeming with modern and opulent condos and hotels, there is a large collection of hotels and building reminiscent of the glamorous Art Deco movement. There are over 800 Art Deco historic buildings just in Miami Beach, the largest collection of this kind of architecture in the world. Book a tour with us to learn more.
Miami is home to one of the oldest buildings in the Western World
Popularly known as the Ancient Spanish Monastery, the Church of St. Bernard of Clairvaux in North Miami Beach is actually a Spanish monastery built in 1141. Originally built in Spain, this building is almost 800 years older than the Magic City. In 1925, William Randolph Hearst purchased the monastery and shipped it to Miami. The monastery was rebuilt in 1964 and has been resting in its current location ever since. Open to the public. Entrance is $10 adults, $5 children (5-18). Visit hours of operation.
There are no basements
You won’t find many basements in Miami. Try digging deep enough into the ground and water will start spouting up. Florida homes don’t have basements because the land is just about six to nine feet above sea level.