15 Fun Facts & Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Miami

Discover something new about this chic beachfront metropolis.

fun facts about miami
Photo by Arnie Watkins on Pexels

Miami is a destination unlike any other in the United States. This city is known for having an unforgettable nightlife scene and there is a lot more to explore than simply sunny beaches. Initially a swamp, this destination evolved into a tropical paradise. Here are 15 fascinating facts about this exciting city.

1. Over 70% of the population in Miami is Hispanic/Latinx.

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The city is primarily made up of Cuban residents who immigrated to Miami during the 1960s after the Cuban Revolution. Many have stayed, several generations later. According to NBC News, “Miami is a majority Latino city — 70 percent of its population is Hispanic.” What makes the Sunshine City special is the Caribbean culture in an American metropolis, which makes this destination an unforgettable experience.

2. Spanish is a must.

Pixabay on Pexels
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

The city of Miami is bilingual in English and Spanish due to the largely Hispanic and Latinx communities. On the streets, a combination of both languages can be heard. Spanglish is spoken by locals and younger generations to converse more easily. The majority of street signs, menus, and posters are written in both English and Spanish.

3. Third best view In America.

fun facts about miami
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According to Everywhere Forward,  the best view in the country goes to New York, the runner-up is Boston, and third place is Miami. The skyline combines skyscrapers and beaches that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. The most breathtaking and scenic views in all of Miami are at the bridges connecting downtown to Miami Beach.

4. Sunscreen was invented in Miami.

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In America, the first person to successfully develop a sunscreen was Miami-based pharmacist Benjamin Green, who also served in the Pacific during World War II. When he and his fellow soldiers needed some way to protect against damage from the sun, upon returning home, he developed what we now know as Coppertone.

5. A deep divers’ paradise.

Ayman Zaki on Pexels
Photo by Ayman Zaki on Pexels

There is a legend that a man who used to live on Elliot Key sailed to Miami for supplies. A thunderstorm appeared so he docked on a very shallow reef to pick up ballast rocks as a makeshift anchor for his boat. The boat was docked for 6 months before he scraped one of the rocks to discover that it encrusted silver bars. The man died without pinpointing where the treasure was found, however, the area is suspected to be Dry Rocks coral reef near Elliot Key.

6. A longstanding Native American history.

Boston Public Library on UnsplashBoston Public Library on Unsplash
Photo by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

Even before the influx of Hispanic and Latinx immigrants in Miami, there were a group of Native Americans – or The Timucua – who came from southern Georgia and settled in northern Florida.

The tribe spoke dialects of the same language and they were not united, politically. The community grew much of its own food, but also hunted for meat. When Europeans first arrived in Florida in the 1500s, over 19,000 square miles of land was owned by the Timucua and their population was likely about 200,000. By 1800, the tribe was wiped out of existence with no one to tell their story.

7. Miami has only seen snow once.

snow in miami
Photo by Snow In Miami

On January 19, 1977, snow fell between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in Miami. Residents believed snow could never fall in this warm city, but they were proven wrong. A cold arctic front reached the Magic City in the early morning and many residents wrote the famous date on the snow-covered windshields of their cars to remember this special day.

8. Basements don’t exist in this paradise.

charlesdeluvio on Unsplash
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Florida’s thin limestone foundation means digging for a basement will lead you straight to water. There is also a low elevation across South Florida of only 6ft above sea level. In the state of Florida; there is a high water table which means there are rivers, lakes, and swamps all within close proximity making it difficult to dig for a basement without reaching the water.

9. Some may believe: that the rudest and worst drivers live here.

traffic in miami
Photo by Pontus Wellgraf on Unsplash

According to Florida Toyota Rental, “Drivers here tend to drive however they want and this leads to accidents, road rage, and general stress on the road.” Thus, Miami is often considered to be filled with rushed drivers resulting in over a thousand pedestrian accidents due to cars speeding near crosswalks. Expect drivers to cut in lanes, without the use of indicators, flipping off, honking repeatedly, and much more.

10. There are man-made islands in Miami.

Brendon Spring on pexels
Photo by Brendon Spring on PexelsPhoto by Brendon Spring on Pexels

The Venetian Islands, Palm Island, and Star Island were all constructed in the 1950s. In the present day, the islands have turned into Millionaire’s Row, which offers 360 scenic views of the cruise port, downtown Miami, and the Atlantic Ocean.

11. The largest Hispanic festival in the country.

Calle Ocho Festival
Photo by Calle Ocho Festival

Calle Ocho is one of the biggest Hispanic festivals in the whole country and dates back to 1978. Initially, the festival was meant to educate South Floridians about Cuban culture, but as the years went on, the festival began to include other Hispanic and Latinx countries.

12. Coconut Grove is one of the oldest inhabited neighborhoods.

fun facts about miami
Photo by Adrian Diaz-Sieckel on Unsplash

Tracing back to 1873, Bahamians were the first to inhabit the area. Currently, 40% of the Bahamian residents in the United States live in Coconut Grove. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens are located in this neighborhood along with the University of Miami and Florida International University.

13. A boat owner’s dream destination.

fun facts about miami
Photo by Irasema McAllister on Pexels

The Miami River and easy access to the ocean make Miami perfect for boat owners who can sail without interruptions under any bridge while indulging in the beautiful view. According to Dockwa, “A premier yachting and tourist destination, Miami is a thriving city in southeastern Florida with dozens of marinas catering to all boaters.” Many portside restaurant strips accommodate boat parking for customers to dine in with no restrictions.

14. Burger King began in Miami.

burger king
Photo by Julian Steenbergen on Unsplash

Burger King was started in 1954 and the headquarters is in Miami. Inspired by McDonald’s, Keith Kramer opened the restaurant chain and by 1961, its signature sandwich, the Whopper, was created. Burger King expanded its menus over time to include chicken sandwiches, beyond meat burgers, and much more.

15. The Key Lime Pie originated in South Florida.

Nathan Lemon on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Key limes originate from the Key West islands, which means only the best key lime pies can be found in South Florida. The sweet dessert gained popularity in the 1950s and contains only three ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and eggs. When the recipe was first created, the pie was frozen with no baking process. Today, the sweet treat is baked for a short period of time to prevent any foodborne illnesses.

Natalia Guerra

Contributing Editor

Natalia Guerra was born in Miami and comes from a Cuban background. Aside from her passion for travel writing and culinary arts, she also loves to step out of her comfort zone to live life to the fullest. Her lifestyle is being a digital nomad, working remotely as she travels the world one city at a time. Her favorite country has been Spain for its beautiful architecture and food, which reminds her of her Cuban culture.

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