Best Magic City Icon (2000)

Miami International Airport

Say you're in Dallas and you've got a layover in Charlotte. Or make that Detroit with a layover in Chicago. Who would know the difference? Most U.S. airports are as seamlessly generic as fast-food chains and Michael Bolton concerts. But fly into Miami International Airport and whoa! -- time to check your passport. MIA contains a little of everything that makes our city unique. It's loud and boisterous. It's corrupt (recent revelations include dozens of drug-smuggling airline employees and no-bid contracts). The announcements are bilingual, often trilingual (Kreyol being our unofficial third language). You can get a café cubano as easily as the ubiquitous Au Bon Pain dreck you find at other airports. And despite our cosmopolitan airs (MIA tops the nation in international flights), we can be so gosh-darn provincial: Remember when Cigar Aficionado magazine featured a photo of Fidel Castro on the cover and county airport officials tried to ban its sale? How quaint.


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