According to CBS Miami, more people visited this southern Florida city than ever in 2017, with Miami hitting a new single-year high when it comes to tourism with 116.5-million visitors, up from 112.4 million in 2016. While most tourists come to experience its beautiful beaches and hopping nightlife, history buffs will find plenty to enjoy too. In fact, if you’re a lover of history, a tropical climate and palm-lined white powder sands, you may want to check out some of the Miami real estate while you’re here.
The Art Deco Historic District
Arguably the top spot for any visitor to Miami is the Art Deco Historic District. It boasts over 800 pastel-hued historic buildings constructed in the architectural style that dates back to the 1920s, though the structures were built between 1923 and 1943. This is one of the country’s largest areas on the National Register of Historic Places, and one of the best ways to explore it is to take the official Art Deco District Walking Tour. Hosted by the Miami Design Preservation League, you’ll learn more about Art Deco style, the history of the district and some of the fascinating tales behind the buildings as well. There are also plenty of beachside pop-up art projects to check out and lots of glowing neon signs that make for postcard-perfect photos of the neighborhood.
The Monastery of St Bernard de Clairvaux
This ancient Spanish monastery has a history that dates all the way back to the 12th-century. It was the home for Cistercian monks for nearly seven centuries – in Spain. Today, it’s a must-visit for anyone who wants to learn about the city’s history. The monastery was seized after a social revolution and ultimately purchased in 1925 by an American who had it dismantled so that he could bring it back home. It was taken apart stone by stone in order to transport it over the Atlantic and into North Miami, where a multi-millionaire banker then purchased and gifted it to the Bishop of Florida. Today, visitors can take a free tour of the historic grounds or attend a weekend mass.
The Freedom Tower
While it may not be ancient, the Freedom Tower played an important role during the Cuban refugee crisis, used as a government facility which processed Cuban immigrants who were seeking refuge in Miami after Fidel Castro’s communist regime took power in 1959. The historic landmark also served as the headquarters of The Miami News before processing the immigrants, and today, it serves as a contemporary art museum.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum is housed in a historic villa filled with opulent European décor, complete with stained glass windows and marble columns. The beautiful, expansive gardens outside feature geometric-style shrubs, exotic plants, animals and statues, reminiscent of the Versailles gardens in France. A national historic landmark, the 1922 estate was once the winter home of American industrial executive James Deering.