Miami City Cemetery
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikipedia/Daniel Di PalmaMiami City Cemetery

Here's where to find Miami's most famous graves

The most illustrious graves in Miami include actors, musicians, athletes, ex-presidents and even mobsters.

Ashley Brozic

The ghosts of your one-night stands aren’t the only spirits resting around town. We’ve got haunted places in Miami and graves for days, including some with pretty notable bones. Actors, musicians, athletes, ex-presidents and even mobsters have chosen South Florida as their place to “retire” for good. You can even find the remains of one fabulous cooking personality 40 feet below the surface of Biscayne Bay. We did a little digging and unearthed seven cemeteries that contain a few of Miami’s most famous graves.

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Famous graves in Miami

Jackie Gleason and Don Shula

With a flair for the dramatic and a whip-smart sense of humor, it’s only fitting that Jackie Gleason’s mausoleum is endowed with a dreamy inscription: “And away we go.” After making his name in Hollywood and capturing the nation’s heart through such hits as The Jackie Gleason Show and The Honeymooners, the multi-faceted performer moved himself and his production facilities to Miami Beach, where he filmed at what is now The Fillmore.

Buried here, too, is Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL History. Shula passed away in 2020, and while the Graham family may have erased his name from the golf course, hotel and steakhouse that put Miami Lakes on the map, you can still remember him every time you book it down his eponymous expressway. Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery, 11411 NW 25th St, Doral

Julia Child

Plankton isn’t the only microscopic matter floating around Biscayne Bay. Dive three miles out from Key Biscayne and you’ll find Neptune Memorial Reef, an artificial reef and underwater mausoleum that, when completed, will be able to hold 250,000 cremated souls, not to mention tons of marine life as coral takes over each grave. Allegedly, it houses the remains of Julia Child, the mother of American home cooking, who died of kidney failure in 2004. Neptune Memorial Reef, N25º 42.036′ W80º 05.409′


Mitzi the Dolphin

While we’re on the topic of underwater American legends, head to Marathon to pay tribute to Mitzi the Dolphin, the original “Flipper.” It was here, at the former Santini Porpoise School, where she was trained and discovered. One day, owner Milton Santini dropped a ball in the pool and, much to his surprise, Mitzi fetched it and brought it back.

This stunt eventually led to the premiere of her signature “backward tail walk.” Hollywood got wind of her talents and decided to come here to film the 1963 movie with Mitzi as the star. Unfortunately, Mitzi died of a heart attack at the early age of 14. Her memory lives on every time a bottlenose dolphin is spotted on Biscayne Bay. Dolphin Research Institute And Center, 58901 Overseas Hwy, Grassy Key

Meyer Lansky

Lansky, like most nefarious professionals, retired quietly in Miami Beach. He’d enjoyed years of success in the underbelly, first bootlegging, then orchestrating the National Crime Syndicate and operating lucrative gambling operations across the country, including Florida. Lansky may have been more buttoned up and subdued than other gangsters of his time, but he loved the tropics—more specifically, Cuba.

He had very successful dealings there and eventually got all his ducks in a row to have full control over gambling operations on the island. Then the Cuban Revolution happened and Lansky was forced to flee, leaving behind millions. He died with meager means, on paper at least. His tomb is unassuming but ever present, because a true gangster should be felt, but never seen. Mount Nebo/Miami Memorial Gardens, 5505 NW 3rd St


Miami Pioneers

We welcome any ghost encounters from Miami City Cemetery because these are the plots of Miami’s legends. How did Julia Tuttle fare in the marshy footbeds of Biscayne Bay? What could Theodore Gibson (credited with desegregating Miami’s beaches, among other feats) tell us about Overtown in its glory days? Would Charles Peacock be more of a ‘Cudas guy or a Mr. C’s? And, most importantly, can the Burdines family come to for a bit to raise Florida’s true department store from the dead?

Conjur your friends together and see if you can summon the spirits at HistoryMiami’s annual Miami City Cemetery Walking Tour, which takes place on October 28. Miami City Cemetery, 1800 NE 2nd Ave

The Brickells (Formerly)

They may still have a piece of real estate there but, like many Brickell landlords, the Brickells don’t actually live in Brickell. At one point, William and Mary owned thousands of acres of land from Coconut Grove to the Miami River. Today, that mausoleum (a landmark on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places) is the only structure of theirs that still stands. Brickell Mausoleum, 501 Brickell Ave


Cuba’s Who’s Who, Presidents, Nobility and (Presently) the Brickells

If Miami City Cemetery holds the city’s turn-of-the-century zeitgeist, then consider Caballero Rivero Woodlawn North (that’s a mouthful) the final stop of many of Miami’s Cuban ex-pat community. Here, you’ll find the Bacardi mausoleum and other statuesque headstones of notable family members, along with the grave of Manuel Artime, leader of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the father of Desi Arnaz and even the tombs of two former Cuban presidents.

Speaking of diplomacy, former Nicaraguan president/dictator Anastasio Somoza Garcia is also buried here, and, for a time, Alfonso, Prince of Asturias and heir apparent to the throne of Spain, was buried here too.

But wait! Those aren’t the only famous people you’ll find at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn North (yep, still a mouthful). Here, too, lie some of Miami’s most important pioneers. George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables and the University of Miami, has his grave here, as do William and Mary Brickell. In 1948, their daughter Maud moved them from their Brickell mausoleum because there was too much noise in the area at night. It seems some things never change. Caballero Rivero Woodlawn North, 3260 SW 8th St

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