You may wonder why we're quoting a Will Smith song. One, it's a song that one associates with the city (CSI: Miami itself used it once). Two, it sums the bilingualism of the city pretty nicely. Miami is the most Latin city in the U.S.- with 66% plus of the residents speaking Spanish as their first language. 34% of the city's population are of Cuban descent; there are more Cubans living in Miami-Dade County than in any city except Havana.note
Before we go on, we should mention that although there is in fact a city in Florida law called the City of Miami, whenever people talk about "Miami", they're really talking about Miami-Dade County. This is because the City of Miami, for various historical and legal reasons, has had limited room to expand its borders, and is therefore very small geographically—35.68 square miles of land (for comparison, Washington, D.C., which has about 200,000 more people, has about 20 more square miles of land). On the other hand, none of this has stopped actual construction of city-like development outside the city's official borders, and as such Miami-Dade County consists of two things: areas that are basically city, and swamp. Nobody lives in the swamp, or goes there, or cares about it (except for alligators, environmentalists, criminals, and madmen); whenever you talk about Miami-Dade, you're talking about the urban area where everyone lives.
Miami is felt to be an intrinsically cool city - MTV loves the place, it's associated with the whole US Spring Break tradition and there are number of TV shows set there. Behind the camera, Miami is a major US media production center, especially for Spanish-language media, and is also widely known for music. Not to mention this is where Dave Barry lives, which instantly ups the cool level a bit.
The city also has a darker underbelly, especially in the 1980s, where works like Scarface (1983) and the hit '80s TV show Miami Vice were based off the major cocaine problem the city was dealing with at the time. The documentary Cocaine Cowboys covers the Miami drug war extensively. Today, the city is a common location for The First 48. Only in Florida, indeed.
As far as sports are concerned, Miami's on a shorter end of the stick - the Marlins only made the playoffs three times in their comparatively brief existence (but won the World Series the first two times), and the Miami Dolphins last won a Super Bowl in 1973 (though they are one of few repeat champions, having won in 1972 beforehand, where they put up the only undefeated season in NFL history). The Miami Heat are their go-to powerhouse, having won three championships in their history, including two in a row in 2012 and 2013. It feels like we're forgetting someone... ah, right. The University of Miami Hurricanes were also one of college football's premier dynasties in the 1980s.note Most recently, the area added a Major League Soccer team in 2020, Inter Miami CF. While Inter is planning to build a new stadium in Miami-Dade, it's playing in Fort Lauderdale for now.
It should be noted that there is contention between Miami-Dade County and the rest of Florida, springing mainly from the Miami attitude that they are the only part of Florida worth a tinker's damn.
Also known for having some of the worst drivers in the nation. You DO NOT want to be on the road during rush hour.
Miami in fiction:
Films — Live Action
A lot of movies have been set and filmed here, along with a number of past TV series, including a rather obvious one involving Ray Bans.
- Bad Boys (1995) and its sequels.
- Fair Game (1995)
- Goldfinger: The Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach.
- Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
- Iron Man 3: Air Force One is destroyed by the Mandarin's forces above Miami, causing all the President's staffers to be sucked right out. Luckily, Tony Stark arrives in time to save them from falling to their deaths and places them in strait the divides Miami from Miami Beach.
- Moonlight (2016)
- Scarface (1983)
- Transporter 2
- True Lies: The climax of the film takes place in the Florida Keys and Miami.
Television — Live Action
- Austin & Ally, CSI: Miami, Dexter, The Golden Girls and Jane the Virgin - All five of the shows took place in Miami, but were actually filmed in Los Angeles.
- Burn Notice - Shot in Miami and environs; the permanent set is in Coconut Grovenote .
- Magic City - Shot in Miami and set in 1959.
- Miami Vice - duh.
- Narcos - deals about the Miami drug problem during the 1980s and its connection with Colombian drug cartels.
- In the late 90s/early 2000s, Barry Diller (founder of Fox) decided to replicate the format pioneered by Citytv in Toronto, by way of the over-the-air TV affiliates of the Home Shopping Network, which he owned at the time (along with the USA Network). The result was WAMI "Whammy" 69, which only lasted until 2001, when Diller decided to sell out and sold the USA Broadcasting stations to Univision (which used the stations as the nucleus for secondary network Telefutura/UniMas). It's mostly remembered as a place where Daniel Tosh got his start.
- Miami is either an area of glitz and glamour, a seedy inner city- or both. It is home to the Ultra Music Festival, an annual EDM music festival held every March.
- There's a surprisingly large amount of rappers and hip-hop artists from Miami (although it's not necessarily to same level as cities like Atlanta, Chicago and especially New York City). This includes acts such as Pitbull, Trina, 2 Live Crew (and their most well known member Uncle Luke), City Girls, and Rick Ross, among others. There are also several rappers from the Fort Lauderdale area, such as XXXTentacion and Kodak Black.
- Battlefield Hardline: Set in Present Day and described as Miami Vice meets Battlefield''.
- Vice City in the Grand Theft Auto series is basically Miami and the Florida Keys with the serial numbers filed off.
- Scarface: The World Is Yours: Video game sequel of the film with similar elements to GTA Vice City.
- Total Vice: Has a level set in Miami.
- Resident Evil: Outbreak: Kevin Ryman's epilogue in File #2 has him talking on the phone about getting a new job in Miami before riding off into the horizon.
- Miami Shark has you play as a shark devouring people/animals and destroying stuff in Miami. The game had a number of follow-ups themed around other cities or specific time periods.
- Quite obviously, Hotline Miami and its sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, though the story in the latter also moves beyond Miami at times.
- Hitman 2 has a mission set at a fictional race circuit in Miami where you assassinates an arms dealer and his racer daughter.
- 1983: Doomsday: Miami and the metropolitan area is destroyed by Soviet nuclear missiles. The damage extends to Fort Lauderdale to the north and Key West to the south.
- Protect and Survive: A Timeline has a spin-off called Protect & Survive Miami: End of Watch which details a detective and his partner taking down drug lords in Miami in the days leading to the exchange. One user has commented that is basically Narcos meets Miami Vice meets The Day After or Threads.