Freedom Tower

Downtown Miami

An iconic slice of Miami's old skyline, the richly ornamented Freedom Tower is one of two surviving towers modeled after the Giralda bell tower in Spain’s Cathedral of Seville. As the ‘Ellis Island of the South,’ it served as an immigration processing center for almost half a million Cuban refugees in the 1960s. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it was also home to the Miami Daily News for 32 years.

In the beautifully restored lobby, above the elevators and stretching toward the coffered ceiling, you can see reliefs of men at work on the printing presses. The tower also houses the MDC Museum of Art & Design.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Downtown Miami attractions

1. Museum of Art and Design at MDC

0.01 MILES

Miami-Dade College operates a small but well-curated art museum in Downtown; the permanent collection includes works by Matisse, Picasso and Chagall and…

4. Bayfront Park

0.38 MILES

Few American parks can claim to front such a lovely stretch of turquoise as Biscayne Bay, but Miamians are lucky like that. Noted artist and landscape…

5. Pérez Art Museum Miami

0.41 MILES

One of Miami's most impressive spaces, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron, integrates tropical foliage, glass, concrete and wood – a melding…

6. Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater

0.54 MILES

Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald once walked across the stage of the Lyric, a major stop on the ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ – the black live-entertainment trail…

7. Void Projects

0.54 MILES

If you'd like to meet local artists and see how life is lived on a smaller, more modest scale in Miami's creative pockets, visit this arts collective –…

8. Miami-Dade County Courthouse

0.56 MILES

If you end up on trial here, at least you’ll get a free tour of one of the most imposing courthouses in the USA. Built between 1925 and 1929, this a very…