The season of sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes falls upon us. New students are thinking about the holidays, wondering what fall will be like in the tropical city they now call home.
In Miami, temperatures usually don’t drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, and Miami hasn’t seen snowfall since Jan. 19, 1977. This can leave students feeling a little homesick for the colder climes, especially if they are used to a northern autumn. While there may not be snow to shovel or fireplaces to huddle around in Miami, there are many natural joys the city has to offer in place.
One of the greatest perks of living in Miami is that students can take advantage of the beach practically all year long. Students from the landlocked part of the country may have autumn leaves and snowmen, but they rarely have access to beaches.
Students can say goodbye to spray tans and having to slap on layers of heavy clothing just to make it to class. Sandy paradise being minutes away definitely outweighs the fact that the leaves don’t change colors.
Our tropical geography allows the city to be a gateway to other cultures. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” because of its high population of immigrants from the Caribbean and Central America. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians and other cultures dominate Miami, contributing to the mixture of customs and traditions incorporated into the nightlife and cuisine that the city has to offer.
Latin food, particularly Cuban food, is a staple of the city. Cuban coffee has been called the “elixir” of life that everyone should taste while in Miami. In addition, the city’s nightlife is always buzzing with live bands on Ocean Drive, art festivals in Coconut Grove and live painting in Wynwood, Miami’s public art district.
We may not have fall harvest apple orchards to visit, but there would be no pastelitos without guava, no batidos without mango. The tropical growing season allows for this immense diversity of fresh, local cuisines that are not available anywhere else.
Lastly, Miami is connected to an important national park, the Everglades. The Everglades is a two-million-acre wetland ecosystem that spans Southern Florida. Referred to as the “river of grass,” it is dominated by sawgrass marshland that passes through diverse habitats that include wildlife such as alligators and herons. Whether you take an airboat ride through the marsh or go on a wildlife tour, the ‘glades can bring some connection to nature back into Miami’s endless summer.
Miami definitely makes up for not having much of an autumn season. Whether it is a day at the beach, a flawless Cuban dish or a trip to the Everglades, students from other places in the country can find comfort in connecting with the natural gifts of their new home.
Nicole Macias is a freshman majoring in English.