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A History of Billboards in Miami: From the Miami Welcome Arch to the Billboard Ban

Miami is one of those places with a rich history that can’t be ignored. The city is a melting pot of people from all different backgrounds in the same place, so there are some stories to tell. Miami is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for its beaches and diving sites. It’s also the second most populous city in Florida, and for a good reason: who doesn't like the sun and spanning beach?

Highly popular tourist destinations like Miami are the perfect places to have billboards, as locals and out-of-towners alike have the chance to see them. There’s an expansive history behind Miami billboards with a great future ahead. Let’s dive right into the history of billboards in Miami, from the creation of the Welcome Arch to the banning of billboards.

Miami Welcome Arch

While it’s not an actual billboard, the famous Miami Welcome Arch must be included for its historical significance. Created in 1911 for the 15th anniversary of the birth of Miami, residents had much to celebrate and needed something to commemorate this achievement. On either side, the arch had the dates 1896 and 1911 marked, and residents gathered in a parade to celebrate.

While there’s some photographic evidence of the arch, no one is sure what happened to it, as it disappeared about a year after it was created. It is said to have possibly just been built for the 15th-anniversary celebration. Regardless of its creation and destruction, we have come a long way from two pillars and an arch to digital billboards that now make up nearly 20% of billboards in Miami and are great for creating a dynamic campaign.

Banning of Billboards

This billboard battle started in the 60s and took five years to come to an end. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Lady Bird Johnson’s pursuance of the banning of billboards to preserve the beauty of the nation. While the bill seems relatively sound, it had a negative impact on the economy.

It cost taxpayers millions of dollars to take down billboards they deemed outlawed. Fast forward to the 80s, and they still wanted to limit these billboards on the streets, but they eventually agreed to a 10-billboard limit on I-95 in Miami.

Just last year, it was evident that there was a change in policies regarding how Miami operates.

They were seeking larger billboards in urban areas, which could mean ads on city property and on bayfront parks. Of course, not everyone is not going to be happy about this change, but it shows how much the city has shifted throughout the years.

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In 2021, there was a debate about whether advertisements should be used in the ocean. This debate was sparked when people saw a floating billboard flashing an Instagram handle while advertising a clothing brand and an alcohol company. While we don’t come across these too often, many Miami residents cited these types of advertisements as too distracting and taking up unnecessary space.

A bill was signed in 2019 banning flashing advertisements in the water, but some argue it's too harsh of a rule and that it’s no different than any other advertisement. With arguments coming from both sides, debates continue over social media platforms.


Miami has a rich advertising history that’s not to be overlooked. As with any other city, Miami has its challenges, but the growth they’ve seen is incredible and continues each year. Be one of the many who have an advertisement set in the city and see what this bustling area has to offer.

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