10 Miami Landmarks With an Amazing Story

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Coral Gables City Hall
©Ahren/Flickr, Creative Commons
Coral Gables City Hall

Appropriately named “The City Beautiful,” Coral Gables is an utterly charming community of gracious Mediterranean architecture, monumental gateways, fountains and streets shaded by huge banyans. City Hall is an excellent example of the period’s architecture which blends elements of Spanish, Moorish and Italian architecture.

2 / 10
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
©Bill Sumner
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Completed in 1922 as the private winter estate for millionaire and American industrialist James Deering, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, welcomes visitors to explore its European-inspired gardens and 18th-century style Italian villa. 

3 / 10
Freedom Tower Miami
©Ed Webster/Flickr, Creative Commons
Freedom Tower, Miami

The 17-story Miami Freedom Tower was built in 1925 and it served as the headquarters and printing office of the Miami Daily News and Metropolis until 1957. Between 1962 and 1974 the building was used as an immigration station for Cuban refugees. 

4 / 10
Deering Estate
Courtesy Deering Estate
Deering Estate

From its archeological features to its historic houses and nature preserves, the 444-acre Deering Estate at Cutler is a noteworthy archaeological site and park. The vast estate is home to the art and design collection of philanthropist Charles Deering. 

5 / 10
Olympia Theater
©Dan Forer
Olympia Theater

This stunning Mediterranean Revival-style theater is a gem in the Miami arts and culture community. Built in 1926 by Paramount Pictures Inc. and later restored by hotel architect Morris Lapidus, the theater has been the site of vaudeville acts, movies and performances by Elvis Presley and Luciano Pavarotti. 

6 / 10
©Meg Pukel

Perched above the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, a group of wood stilt houses stand against all odds, as a reminder of the faded glamor of its colored past. Its history dates to the 1930s Prohibition-era when rumrunners, gamblers and outlaws sought sanctuary from persecution.

7 / 10
The Kampong
Courtesy The Kampong
The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden

Located in Coconut Grove, The Kampong, part of The National Tropical Botanic Garden, is the former estate of David Fairchild, the famed botanical explorer who traveled throughout Southeast Asia and other tropical regions collecting exotic plants he introduced to the U.S. 

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Cape Florida Lighthouse
Cape Florida Lighthouse

Built in 1825 and rebuilt after the Second Seminole War in 1846, the Cape Florida Lighthouse is the oldest structure in Greater Miami. In addition to guiding ships safely into the harbor, it was a secret meeting place and port for runaway slaves and Black Seminoles fleeing to the Bahamas.

9 / 10
Venetian Pool
©Minhocos/Flickr, Creative Commons
Venetian Pool

One of the grander attractions in Coral Gables is the Venetian Pool, built from a coral rock quarry in 1923. The 820,000-gallon public pool is a fantasy of caves, waterfalls, loggias, palm trees and a signature bridge, fed with spring water from an underground aquifer. 

10 / 10
City of Miami Cemetery
©Phillip Pessar/Flickr, Creative Commons
City of Miami Cemetery

Stroll the park-like setting of the city's oldest cemetery and reflect on the lives of pioneer families including the Burdines, Seybolds, Peacocks and Sewells. Plus, Dr. James Jackson, Miami’s pioneer doctor and 86 Confederate Civil War veterans and 200 Spanish American War veterans.

By Victoria Cervantes

Founded in 1896, Miami is a young city compared to other metropolitan areas in the U.S. Its earliest inhabitants, the Tequesta people who settled along the banks of Biscayne Bay, date back to the 1200s.

Beyond the art-deco architecture of South Beach, the rich heritage is embodied in hundreds of archaeological sites, historic homes turned museums and even a cemetery. 

Travel back in time and explore places from Old Miami, when Native Americans, homesteaders and industrialists settled here. From the hallowed grounds where Julia Tuttle, the only female founder of a major city, is interred at the City of Miami Cemetery to the Cape Florida Lighthouse, the oldest standing structure in South Florida, Miami has some of the most fascinating sites preserving the area's cultural heritage. 

Victoria Cervantes
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