December is such a pleasant time to be in Miami, it is not only the cooler sunny skies that are the magnet but also the barrage of top line events that start kicking off in and around the city...
...the art and music festivals...
...the food fairs...
...the boating events...
...lots of high-caliber entertainment...
Holiday happenings are
getting under way in the midst of the Christmas frenzy and New Year fireworks, including some beloved recurring events... the Nutcracker, the Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert... and opening just in time for the holidays is Cirque du Soleil Alegría. In addition, the Christmas boaters and the wacky Mango Strutters come out in full force just in time for the holidays and we get ready to welcome college football fans for the Orange Bowl.
For our nature lovers, this is the perfect time
to get out and soak it all up, our State and National Parks are teeming with wildlife... enjoy!
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Art Basel Miami Beach is without a doubt one of the premiere events in the world art scene and certainly one of the most prominent in the U.S.
This long weekend in early December is traditionally the unofficial kick-off to the city's busy art and cultural calendar and is quite unique in that it spawns so many other events and satellite exhibitions, if you are into arts and design, this is definitely the time to be in Miami.
When? Thursday through Sunday December 5 - 8, 2019
Where? Main Exhibition Hall at Miami Beach Convention Center
Satellite fairs and events will pop up in and around the city, keep an eye specially
in the up-and-coming districts of Wynwood, the Miami Design District and the Faena District.
Sailboats, Yachts, Barges, Gondolas, Kayaks... ANYTHING that floats, all decked up with thousands of lights and a merry spirit, traversing the
waters of the intracoastal, what could be more fun this holiday season?!
On its 47th year, the Winterfest Boat Parade has become
one of the most awaited events, this year the Ft. Lauderdale shoreline will be coming alive once again.
Some fantastic entries and surprises in the past have included a floating bus, the Galleria Mall reindeer barge, a fire truck, Mickey and Minnie... can't wait for this year's parade!
When?: Saturday December 14, 2019
Where?: Intracoastal Waterway from Ft. Lauderdale to Pompano Beach
How Much?: Free along parade route, Grandstand viewing areas available.
A Chinese Lantern Festival with a very Miami tropical twist! Taking place in Jungle Island where 13 acres of the park's environs will be decked out with humongous brightly lit silk lanterns featuring four different themes portraying the diverse animal and plant life found in the park. Certainly a fantastic way to explore wildlife and adventure in a new light.
Starting October 5, 2019 and running through early January 2020, the exhibits will be a very festive addition to the holidays!
When? October 5, 2019 - January 8, 2020 - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Where?Jungle Island at 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail Miami, Florida 33132
How Much? Adults $38.50 $30.80, Children $33.00 $26.40
The King Mango Strut is the wackiest of the wackiest, it's a parade that was born as the antithesis of the
King Orange Bowl parade way back, when struters were rejected by King Orange for being too "irreverent" so they decided to start
their own King Mango parade, and irony of ironies, the King Orange Bowl Parade does not exist any more.
So what is it? It's a parade with a party atmosphere on a fun and laid back afternoon the last Sunday of the year.
The theme or rather themes of the parade are anything and everything that made the headlines this year, Mango style of course, meaning, it is a parody of the year's highlights all in the name of fun. Like for example? Everything and everybody is fair game, the TSA, the Pope, twinkies, the Royal Family, politicians, specially politicians ...
Who participates? Anybody can participate, as in, "be on the parade". This is not an over the top parade, the "floats" are not fancy structures or designs, it is all
very relaxed with hilarity and fun as the only requirement.
Is it ok for kids? Yes, the Pre-Mango Strut activities begin with the Little Miss Mango Pageant for kids 5 to 12, it is a VERY competitive pageant and all contestants are expected to win, the winners get to ride in the opening "float" of the parade!
So take part or just come to watch, bring a cooler, a folding chair, and be ready to spend the funniest and craziest time, check it out:
When?: TBC Sunday December 29, 2019, parade starts at 2:00 p.m., after-strut street party and dancing afterwards
Where?: Downtown Coconut Grove from Green Street to Coco Walk then back to Commodore Plaza
How Much?: Free!
New Year's Eve: Big Orange Ball Drop 2020 Countdown and Fireworks Pitbull's New Year Revolution
Miami might not be Times Square, but we do have our very own "Ball Drop" and spectacular fireworks over
our beautiful bay.
As in prior years, Miami's global superstar Pitbull will be hosting the smashing live event to welcome 2020 in Bayfront Park.
Bayfront park will be the place to be for the largest FREE New Year's Eve party in South Florida!
When?: Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Where?: Bayfront Park 301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
Where to Park?: There is limited, paid parking at Bayfront Park. You can also park at Bayside Marketplace nextdoor or
take the Metrorail to the Government Center Station then transfer to the Metromover Inner Loop to Bayfront Park.
How Much?: FREE!
Private events and VIP area: Pitbull's Worldwide VIP Food & Wine Party - $295, Couples $495, Center Stage VIP $395. All prices plus fees and taxes. Age 21+ only. More info and Worldwide NYE tickets.
No bottles, cans, coolers or personal fireworks are allowed at the park.
Christmas Day, is a public holiday throughout the country. Federal government offices, schools and some National, State, and Local Parks are closed on Christmas Day and store hours and restaurant and businesses holiday schedules may vary. Likewise on Christmas Eve, early closings and holiday hours will be in effect at most businesses.
You can expect the following to
be open and closed on Christmas Day:
Visitor Centers at the following Parks (trails and boardwalks remain accesible): Biscayne National Park, Big Cypress, Loxahatchee NWR
(check for special holiday schedules)
Most Fast Food and Restaurants
Public Transportation (Limited schedules and routes)
Most Parks: Everglades National Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Oleta River State Park, Bill Baggs State Park
Here are some of this year's Holiday highlights and events:
Santa's Echanted Forest
The largest Christmas-Themed Amusement Park and Carnival is back with its 3 million lights, 92" christmas tree, and the carnival rides
for little ones and those wanting a little more extreme.
Located in the heart of Miami in Tropical Park, you will no doubt see the lights from the highway as you drive past.
It is a huge
sprawling lively event, just coming to see the lights is worth the trip. Tons of entertainment for kids and families round it all up. There are the many
live shows, games, magic acts, mazes, all sorts of rides, from carrousels to roller coasters and drop towers and of course, the carnival food!
When? October 31, 2019 - January 5, 2020 - 5:00pm to Midnight
Where? Tropical Park, on the Palmetto (SR826) and Bird Road (40th Street) 7900 SW 40th Street, Miami, FL 33155
How Much? TBA, last year Adults (10-64) $33.64, Children (3-9) $24.30, Seniors (65+) $24.30 Season and express passes available.
The holiday tradition you love will become even more magical...
A vibrant and animated winter wonderland comes to life, featuring appearances by The Sugarplum Fairy, toy soldiers, and mischievous mice, all while retaining George Balanchine's iconic choreography and Tchaikovsky's timeless score.
The legendary National Ballet Theater of Odessa with its 55 talented and brightest ballet stars, bring this romantic tale of true love to glorious life.
This full-scale production, set to the timeless music of Tchaikovsky and based on Russian folklore and German legend, follows the heroic young prince as he works to free the beautiful swan maiden from an evil spell...
One of the world's most magical adaptations of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic, the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker pirouettes its way into The Fillmore Miami Beach with close to 40 renowned dancers that bring to life the timeless story of young Masha (Clara), who receives the gift of a nutcracker one Christmas Eve and dreams that night of a grand adventure with her Nutcracker Prince.
Filled with larger-than-life puppets and nesting dolls, handmade Victorian-style costumes, gasp-inducing special effects and sets created by La La Land designer Carl Sprague, this perennial favorite is sure to cast its seasonal spell over the whole family.
Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert recreates the beauty of Vienna's golden era and this year's concert will feature a brilliant new program of Strauss waltzes and sweeping melodies from beloved operettas performed by acclaimed European singers, champion ballroom dancers, ballet, and live symphony orchestra.
The first effortless notes of the eternal Blue Danube Waltz will welcome you into a triumphant 2019!
The Annual Living Nativity at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church
Let's herald the Christmas season with a live, open-air reenactment of the Christmas Story.
Featuring live camels, donkeys, goats and sheep, along with an innovative mix of digital and live-action characters, including Mary, Joseph,
Jesus, the prophets, angels, the Wise Men and more!
This spectacular depiction, complete with narration, digital projections and a choir, is fun for the entire family!
When? TBA normally weekend in mid-December - 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Where? Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, 602 NE 96th Street, Miami Shores, FL 33138
How Much? FREE and open to the public. Volunteers for set up and spot participants: angels, shepherds, villagers, etc. welcome!