Miami (/maɪˈæmi/) is a major port city on the Atlantic coast of south Florida in the southeastern United States. As the seat of Miami-Dade County, the municipality is the principal, central, and the most populous city in the Miami metropolitan area and part of the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami’s metro area is the eighth-most populous and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S., with a population of around 5.5 million.
Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an Alpha−World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States and 33rd among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s seventh-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises. Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the “Cruise Capital of the World”, has been the number one cruise passenger port in the world. It accommodates some of the world’s largest cruise ships and operations and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines. Metropolitan Miami is a major tourism hub in the American South for international visitors, ranking number two in the U.S. after New York City.
Miami has a tropical monsoon climate with a marked drier season in the winter. It’s sea-level elevation, coastal location, the position just above the Tropic of Cancer, and proximity to the Gulf Stream shape its climate. With January averaging 68.2 °F (20.1 °C), winter features highs generally ranging between 73–80 °F (23–27 °C). Cool air usually settles after the passage of a cold front, which produces much of the little amount of rainfall during the season. Lows fall below 50 °F (10 °C), an average of 10–15 nights during the winter season following the passage of cold fronts.
The wet season begins sometime in May, ending in mid-October. During this period, temperatures are in the mid-80s to low 90s (29–35 °C), accompanied by high humidity, though the heat is often relieved by afternoon thunderstorms or a sea breeze that develops off the Atlantic Ocean, which then allow lower temperatures, conditions still remain very muggy. Much of the year’s 55.9 inches (1,420 mm) of rainfall occurs during this period. Dew points in the warm months range from 71.9 °F (22.2 °C) in June to 73.7 °F (23.2 °C) in August.
Extremes range from 27 °F (−2.8 °C) on February 3, 1917, to 100 °F (38 °C) on July 21, 1940. While Miami has never officially recorded snowfall at any official weather station since records have been kept, snow flurries fell in some parts of Miami on January 19, 1977.
Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, although hurricanes can develop beyond those dates. The most likely time for Miami to be hit is during the peak of the Cape Verde season, which is mid-August through the end of September. Although tornadoes are uncommon in the area, one struck in 1925 and again in 1997.
Miami International Airport serves as the primary international airport of the Greater Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world, Miami International Airport caters to over 35 million passengers a year. The airport is a major hub and the single largest international gateway for American Airlines. Miami International is the busiest airport in Florida, and is the United States’ second-largest international port of entry for foreign air passengers behind New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and is the seventh-largest such gateway in the world. The airport’s extensive international route network includes non-stop flights to over seventy international cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Alternatively, nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport also serves commercial traffic in the Miami area.j Opa-Locka Airport in Opa-Locka and Kendall-Tamiami Airport in an unincorporated area serve general aviation traffic in the Miami area.
Miami’s tropical weather allows for year-round outdoor activities. The city has numerous marinas, rivers, bays, canals, and the Atlantic Ocean, which make boating, sailing, and fishing popular outdoor activities. Biscayne Bay has numerous coral reefs that make snorkeling and scuba diving popular. There are over 80 parks and gardens in the city. The largest and most popular parks are Bayfront Park and Bicentennial Park (located in the heart of Downtown and the location of the American Airlines Arena and Bayside Marketplace), Tropical Park, Peacock Park, Morningside Park, Virginia Key, and Watson Island.
Other popular cultural destinations in or near Miami include Zoo Miami, Jungle Island, Miami Seaquarium, Monkey Jungle, Coral Castle, St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church, Charles Deering Estate, Fairchild Botanical Gardens, and Key Biscayne.