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For the first Grand Theft Auto rendition, see Vice City (2D Universe).
For the unseen HD Universe rendition, see Vice City (HD Universe).

Does anyone really care about the history of Vice City? Probably not. Today it's a city run by dealers and weasels. Expensive suits, flashy cars and beautiful women are the accessories of millionaires that spend their afternoons in the shade, determining the fate of Vice City's less fortunate and waging war on rival drugs barons. Vice City's warm weather may be the only reason anyone would have dreamed of inhabiting the place at all. The weather is generally hot and sunny all year round with occasional showers and thunderstorms.
— Vice City Tourist Guide, Page 4 (Official Manual). [2]

The City of Vice [3], commonly known as Vice City or simply Vice, is a city located in the state of Florida, United States. The city is the setting for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.


Vice City is based on Miami, which was a major cocaine trans-shipment point for South America during the 1980s. This is further reinforced with its theme of the drug business and crime, as well as the presence of new upper-class businesses and residents in the city, with some of them likely to be funded by the drug business.

Vice City consists of two major islands and two smaller islands; both major islands are separated by a large body of water named Ocean Bay, which separates Vice City Beach from Vice City Mainland. Each major island is divided into several districts. The population of Vice City is given at around 1.8 million in 1986. [4]

The city has four hospitals (two in each major island) and four police stations (two in each major island) distributed evenly in the city; these facilities serve as respawn points after the player dies or is arrested. The city also has one fire station and an air base known as Fort Baxter Air Base. Unlike Liberty City and the state of San Andreas, however, Vice City has no known railway or rapid transit systems, and all islands are connected by road and bridges.

Despite being based on the real-life city of Miami, the city of Miami itself exist in some form in the 3D Universe, as it is mentioned in both Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.


Vice City Beach

Vice City Mainland

Smaller Islands


Vice City is located in a tropical climate. The city is also exposed to hurricanes like Miami or any other city in South Florida; in 1986, Hurricane Hermione was forecast to strike Vice City, which forced the closing of all bridges to and from the mainland. When the storm changed course before it could hit, the bridges were reopened.

In both games, Vice City seems to be in the middle of the summer rainy season, having long, hot, humid days and occasional tropical thunderstorms, much like Miami in summer.

Differences Between GTA Vice City and GTA Vice City Stories

The Vice City featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is based on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City version of the city, but set two years earlier in 1984. The majority of the city remained the same but contains several noticeable differences in its landscape from its "future" depiction.

Landmark Differences

  • In Vice City Stories, many of the art deco buildings in Ocean Beach are completely changed from what they looked like in Vice City. This is because some buildings in Vice City resemble their real-life counterparts much more closely. For example, the Colon Hotel based on Colony Hotel is replaced in Vice City Stories by a similar but unnamed hotel.
  • A populated trailer park exists just south of Little Havana close to Sunshine Autos, a car showroom. The trailer park serves as the location Victor Vance would receive missions from Marty Jay Williams, head of his gang, but in GTA Vice City, the trailer park has been cleared and is now an unused, empty green space.
  • Sunshine Autos itself operates from an older establishment in a slightly different location (down the road towards the north), with its newer showroom under construction further south.
  • All empire sites in Vice City Stories are absent in 1986. They are replaced by some newer buildings and empty lots.
  • The Rockstar-shaped pool is absent in Vice City Stories , although it can still be seen from far away in a helicopter.
  • The Cholo Warehouse, which Vic destroyed, is absent in 1986.
  • The Moist Palms Hotel, in the southern Downtown district, is under construction. The location is featured in one mission where Victor has to kill Biker members in order to save his brother Lance.
  • In 1984, Phil Cassidy's residence is in Viceport along with his own shooting range. "Phil's Place" in Little Haiti, which would serve as Phil's residence in 1986, is owned by Victor.
  • The Washington Beach Fairground is based on a patch of land in western Washington Beach, which features a Ferris wheel, dubbed the "Chunder Wheel". The area, circa 1986, features a construction site where in GTA Vice City, Tommy Vercetti meets Avery Carrington in a limousine for missions. A park in the immediate west of the fairground would be developed into another construction site by 1986; the site is later badly damaged by Tommy in a GTA Vice City mission, using explosives planted by a remote-controlled helicopter.
  • The Clymenus Suite, a single streamline modern-styled building (which features a jetty, garage and helipad) exists in the immediate north of the Washington Beach fairground, on what would be the site of low-rise apartments in 1986.
  • The right wing of Ricardo Diaz's mansion (towards the west) in Starfish Island is either under construction or undergoing an expansion in 1984. The hedge mazes that adorn both sides of the Diaz compound in 1986 do not exist in 1984; instead, only a pond is featured in place on the west wing of the mansion.
  • A VIP terminal with its own separate car park and jetty exists at the Escobar International Airport in 1984. The facility is absent in 1986.
  • The Washington Mall doesn't exist, in 1984 it's an empty lot with a small construction site.
  • The Vice Point Sand Track is absent in Vice City Stories.
  • A small cafe in Little Haiti, dubbed Le Singe d'Arbre (French for "the monkey of the tree") exists in 1984. By 1986 this has been renamed "Cafe Under The Tree".
  • The Fort Baxter Air Base military base has a significantly and completely different layout from the one featured in 1986. The 1984 rendition also featured more barracks and the buildings are painted in different colors.
  • A few of the rare interiors have changed. The North Point Mall, for example, has, for the most part, completely different stores in 1984 from the ones in 1986. A few stores, though, are the same in the events of Vice City. These include such stores as Ammu-Nation and the Vinyl Countdown record store.

Gang Control

The distribution of gangs in Vice City circa 1984 is significantly different due largely to activities surrounding the Vance Crime Family, which rose to prominence that year. Their subsequent dominance has devastated a number of existing gangs which previously had a significant stake in the city. In the beginning of GTA Vice City Stories, a number of previously unheard of gangs in Vice City are also present before they disbanded or were wiped out by Victor Vance and his organization.

Trailer Park Mafia, a redneck gang led by Marty Jay Williams, operates from the trailer park near Sunshine Autos and controls much of Vice City's poorer communities, and operates several small businesses. The gang engages in a brief war with the Cholos, seizing more businesses in Little Haiti. With the death of Marty at the hands of Victor Vance, the gang is disbanded as the Vance Crime Family takes control of all his operations. The Cholos, a Hispanic gang, are known to be in control of Little Havana and Little Haiti in 1984. The Cubans, led by Umberto Robina, would wage a fierce and violent gang war on the Cholos. The war concluded with the destruction of the Cholo's large illegal arms storage warehouse in Little Haiti by Los Cabrones and Victor Vance, forcing surviving Cholo members to surrender and consolidate with Los Cabrones. With the defeat of the Cholos, the Cubans/Los Cabrones control Little Havana by 1986, while the Haitians are also presumed to move into Little Haiti after the Cholos disappear.

The Sharks control the Washington Beach and Ocean Beach areas of the city, dominating in smuggling, robbery, and drug trafficking. After their businesses are seized by the Vance Crime Family, the Sharks gang is suggested to have become the Streetwannabe's street gang by 1986.

As Victor Vance is dishonorably discharged from the military, the Mendez Cartel, headed by brothers Armando and Diego Mendez, set up shop in Vice City and become the most powerful criminal organization in the city, basing their operations at Prawn Island and becoming rivals of Diaz's Gang. Originally allied with the Vance Crime Family, they eventually betrayed Victor, leading to their own deaths (with the help of Ricardo Diaz) and the collapse of their organization.

With the defeat of the Mendez Cartel, the Streetwannabe's control the northern half of the now dilapidated Prawn Island, specifically, the former residences of the Mendez Cartel and the Diaz's gang become the most powerful criminal organization in Vice City.

In addition, the Biker gang, which is featured in GTA Vice City, is stronger and more influential in 1984 than they are in 1986, controlling many businesses in Downtown and Vice Point. It is assumed that the rise of the Vance Crime Family has resulted in the Biker Gang losing control of their businesses, leaving them with only the Greasy Chopper Bar by 1986. An offshoot of the Biker Gang, the Stallionz, is featured in Vice City Stories, consisting of homosexual white supremacists. The White Stallionz are wiped out in 1984 by Victor in a bar dubbed "Stallionz," named after the gang.

As a result of the shift of power in Vice City, it is assumed the Vance Crime Family controls a fair share of the city, and both Victor and Lance agree to leave Vice City for several years to lay low and live off of their drug money in the Dominican Republic after Victor kills the Mendez Brothers. In 1986, the Vance Brothers are active in Vice City, although their organization's current size and stake in the city is unknown. Victor is killed at the beginning of Vice City, and with Lance being killed by Tommy Vercetti, the Vance Crime Family's activities are ended. The Vercetti Gang would then become the most powerful organization in Vice City, with virtually all districts under complete control of Tommy Vercetti.

Radio Stations

The player can listen to the following radio stations:

GTA Vice City (1986) GTA Vice City Stories (1984)


There are three shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean. One is a sunken Reefer, located under the bridge between Downtown and Prawn Island. The other two are sunken container ships, one north of the Vice Point Mall and the other on the very southwest corner of Ocean Beach. In addition, there is what appears to be a submarine watching over the wreckage of the northern container ship wreckage.

Sports Teams

There is only one known sports team in Vice City in 1986, the Vice City Mambas. They have one known player in 1986, BJ Smith. In Grand Theft Auto Advance, set in 2000, another player is mentioned: Jose Pimsoll, who also appears in a Downtown Ammu-Nation billboard stating he protects his family with guns from Ammu-Nation, who is the quarterback of the Mambas from 1984-2000. The Mambas are assumed to play in Hyman Memorial Stadium, in Downtown Vice City. The Mambas are most likely based on the Miami Dolphins.



Postcards from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City promotional website "Kent Paul's 80's Nostalgia Zone!".



The Beta map of Vice City had some differences from the final map. These are:

  • Fort Baxter was bigger and had its own runway and a tower
  • There was no Hyman Memorial Stadium
  • A large section of the beach was missing
  • There was no lighthouse
  • Some roads were missing in Viceport, Little Haiti and Downtown
  • The bridge that connects Little Haiti to Leaf Links originally had a big curve
  • There was no North Point Mall
  • Viceport had an L-shaped harbor that separated the area from Escobar International Airport.


  • Vice City is the only setting in the 3D Universe that does not feature a Chinatown district. It also lacks train or subway systems, universities, schools and colleges.
  • The city's name is an homage to the 1980s crime drama Miami Vice, which Rockstar Games has cited as a major influence on both Vice City-set games.
  • Sunrise is at 05:14 (5:14 am) in Vice City as of 1986. This can be proved by looking at the in-game clock when the sun is only just visible on the horizon.
  • Many structures are anachronistic compared to real-life Miami for the time period; for example, neon lights are present on most buildings and bridges when in reality, almost no buildings in Miami had neon lights. The rendition of Port Miami Bridge, Links Bridge, is based on a design that was not present in Miami until the mid-1990s. Other smaller examples are high rises in Ocean Beach resembling Miami Beach high rises that were built in the 1990s.

See Also


  1. Page 5 of the Tourist Guide, GTA Vice City's game manual
  2. Official Grand Theft Auto: Vice City manual
  3. Name seen on the Police Car in both GTA Vice City and GTA Vice City Stories.
  4. Page 5 of the Tourist Guide, GTA Vice City's game manual
  5. Rockstar Games download