Make A Date With Multicultural Miami – Learn About The Cuban & Jewish Culture, Festivals, Architecture and Much More!
Miami is an iconic American city – a rich melting-pot of cultures and lifestyles. Here are the places to visit if you want to see some of the diverse cultures that make Miami the vibrant city that it is.
When Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, political refugees flooded into Miami seeking a new life. The cupola tower, originally built in 1925 in the style of the Giralda Tower in Seville, the building took on the office of a makeshift lighthouse over Miami Bay whilst housing the Miami News.
The newspaper went out of business in the mid-fifties and the tower lay vacant for a number of years. When Cuban refugees began arriving in Miami, the tower was reopened and served as a hub for processing refugees, offering advice and relief aid to those arriving in the US with nothing. It was then that the cupola tower was re-named Freedom Tower, and with good cause.
The prominent Cuban-American activist Jorge Mas Canosa raised the money to buy the tower in the 1990s after it had fallen into ruin for nearly 30 years. Today, the Freedom Tower is a museum and monument to the trials and tribulations of Cuban-Americans in America, their arrival in Florida and life pre- and post-Castro.
Having gotten a taste of Cuban-American at the Freedom Tower, bring yourself right up to date with a visit to Viernes Culturales. The last Friday of every month is Cultural Friday in Little Havana, and a large festival of art and culture takes over the streets in the heart of Calle Ocho. Music, art and Cuban cuisine spill onto the streets, while free walking tours departing at 7pm from the Tower Theatre my a famed local historian give you a full flavour of Cuba in Miami.
Jewish life in Florida – 250 years of immigration:
Second only to the Hispanic population of Miami is the Jewish community. The first synagogue on Miami Beach was built in 1929 on Washington Avenue, the location chosen for the fact that Jews were not at the time permitted to live north of Fifth Street.
The synagogue is now home to the Jewish Museum of Florida, which has a permanent collection that tells the story of universal immigration. The museum is also home to a number of visiting exhibits, including fine art by Jewish artists and collections of artifacts charting the history of particular parts of the Jewish immigrant community in Florida.
International festivals in Coconut Grove
The neighborhood of Coconut Grove is the oldest in Miami, with a hugely multicultural population. Hispanic, African-American and many other immigrant nations have made The Grove their home.
The Goombay Festival is staged in the month of June each year. This Caribbean Carnival is staged on Grand Avenue and celebrates the culture of immigrants from the Bahamas now naturalized in the USA. With Bahamian music, food and dancing on the streets, the tropical tree-lined avenues become a mini-Caribbean beyond the seas.
Outside of the festival, The Grove remains one of the most multicultural parts of the city. Enjoy the mixture of races and nationalities that converged in the neighborhood through your stomach – the area has Italian, Peruvian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Mediterranean, French, Italian, Argentine, Pan and good old fashioned American fare, all within a few blocks.
Distinctively Miami – MiMo architecture:
Popular since the 16th century, Biscayne Bay was the location where the Spanish galleons stopped to replenish their water tanks before crossing the Atlantic. More recently, the area around Biscayne Boulevard from 50th Terrace to 77th Street as become popular for Miami Modern Architecture – known as MiMo – a style of post-war buildings that grew up around the area.
Long-neglected and plagued by drugs and prostitution, the Boulevard was given a new lease of life in the mid 2000s with the opening of a number of popular restaurants and bars.
Much of the original architecture has been preserved and restored. The New Yorker Boutique Hotel, for instance, has been built in the shell of a motel designed by the famed post-war architect Norman Giller.
Wherever you choose to spend your time in Miami, there’s no escaping its thriving multicultural heritage that makes the city beautiful. If you need good the best accommodation and car hire Miami has to offer there are plenty of deals online.