Movies, books, and songs to capture the essence of Miami and get you in the mood for travel

Movies and TV Shows

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Jim Carrey is on the case to find the Miami Dolphins' missing mascot and quarterback Dan Marino, who plays himself in this goofy comedy.

Bad Boys (1995)
Action movie in which two Miami cops played by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have 72 hours to reclaim drugs stolen from under their station's nose. (The building used for police headquarters is actually the Miami-Dade County Courthouse.)

The Birdcage (1996)
Hilarious update of the French comedy La Cage Aux Folles, with Robin Williams starring as a gay South Beach nightclub owner forced to play it straight with his drag-queen partner (Nathan Lane) so they can meet their future daughter-in-law's right-wing parents.

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)
Documentary about Colombian cocaine barons putting Miami on the map as a drug, murder, and cash capital in the 1980s.

Miami Rhapsody (1995)
Quirky romantic story of a young Miami Beach woman (played by Sarah Jessica Parker, pre-Sex and the City) whose fear of commitment grows as she discovers the various affairs her family is having.

Scarface (1983)
The bloody rise and fall of Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who builds a drug empire in early 1980s Miami.

There's Something About Mary (1998)
The Farrelly brothers' wacky love story of a high school geek (Ben Stiller) who hires a sleazy private eye (Matt Dillon) to track down his long-lost heartthrob (Cameron Diaz) in Miami.

Books

Tourist Season, by Carl Hiaasen (1986) 
The Miami Herald columnist's first stab at sleazy businessmen, corrupt politicians, dumb rednecks, crazed exiles, empty-headed tourists and other plagues on South Florida; the first in a continuing chain of satirical mysteries with the Sunshine State—particularly Miami—as the endangered backdrop.

The Everglades: River of Grass, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1947)
Political manifesto defending Florida's "worthless swamp" from developers; it mustered public support to protect more than two million acres (800,000 hectares) of wilderness as Everglades National Park.

MiMo: Miami Modern Revealed, by Eric P. Nash and Randall C. Robinson, Jr. (2004)
A plea for preservation, this architecture book celebrates some of the hottest building designs around in a comprehensive account of the postwar Popular Modernism architecture that sets Miami apart.

Miami, by Joan Didion (1987)
Finely tuned prose and impressions of the Magic City at the height of passion among Cuban exiles.

The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat, by Edna Buchanan (1987)
Pulitzer Prize-winning police reporter for the Miami Herald set a spare, detailed tone for a new generation of journalists covering crime in this tough-minded account of murder, rape, drug deals, and robbery during the crazy, cocaine-infused '80s in Miami.

Done Deal, by Les Standiford (1993)
The first in a string of satire-laden thrillers with Miami contractor Johnny Deal at the center.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay (2004)  
Thriller with Dexter Morgan, a forensic blood-spatter specialist for the Miami Police Department, as the narrator. He also happens to be a serial killer. Inspiration for the Showtime TV show Dexter.

South Beach Diet, by Dr. Arthur Agatston (2003)
The famed anti-carb diet book by a Miami Beach doctor who campaigns against bread, rice, pasta, and fruit—and makes it edible with recipes from South Beach chefs.

Music

Compilations:

Miami Vice Tunes
From the hit 1980s TV show Miami Vice, this album includes the show's theme song and offerings by Chaka Khan, Glenn Frey, Tina Turner, and Phil Collins.

Miami Sound Machine: Primitive Love
Gloria and Emilio Estefan's Latin-flavored dance grooves include top hit "Conga."

Om: Miami 2007
Eclectic soundtrack of underground dance music and electro beats typical of Miami's party scene, including Chuck Love’s "Still Funky." Features remixes and original tracks.

Miami Sound
Rare funk and soul music from Miami Florida 1967-1974. Features hits "I Get Lifted," "Funky Me," "Spanish Flyer," and "You Got to Be a Man," by Helene Smith, Miami's first lady of soul.

Classic Songs:

1. "Everybody's Got a Cousin in Miami" by Jimmy Buffet
2. "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" by Gloria Estefan
3. "Miami Vice Theme" by Jan Hammer
4. "Moon Over Miami" by Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra
5. "Miami" by Will Smith
6. "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" by KC and the Sunshine Band
7. "Guantanamera" by Celia Cruz
8. "Coconut Grove" by Lovin' Spoonful
9. "Smuggler's Blues" by Glenn Frey
10. "Que Manera De Quererte" by Albita
11. "Melting Pot" by Pitbull
12. "Chan Chan" by Buena Vista Social Club
13. "Fruta Fresca" by Carlos Vives

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