If dark, cold winter days make you feel down and out, then a winter break in sunny Miami is what you need. As winter dawns and the hurricane season ends, the sun shines brightly in Miami where a summer vacation feel prevails, and temperatures rarely dip below the ’70s. The city’s palm-lined boardwalks brim with walkers, cyclists, and skating enthusiasts, while the city’s beachfront hotels heave with visitors who head to Miami to escape the winter chills and to enjoy its many attractions including a tropical Christmas.
Get your fill of Art
Miami plays host to numerous art events in the winter months. Art Miami the city’s premier anchor fair kicks off Art Week in early December. Art Basel Miami the city’s version of the world’s most prestigious art fair arrives in the city soon after. The Miami Beach Convention Center is the home of Art Basel and showcases the works of more than 4000 artists. These artworks include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and mixed-media installations. All over the city galleries, bars, restaurants, and hotels host special events for Art Basel and display unique art installations. Art Basel Miami also features several other smaller satellite art fairs like Design Miami, Scope Miami, Pulse Miami Beach, and the Miami Mural Art Festival.
The beach life reigns supreme
It’s the dead of winter, and there are no coats and boots in sight as swimsuits are the dress code on Miami’s gorgeous beaches like Surfside, Bal Harbour, South Beach, Haulover Beach, and Sunny Isle Beach. Rather than making snowmen, winter escapees make sand castles and indulge in all the usual beach activities such as swimming, beach combing, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, deep-sea sailing, and fishing.
Shopping also plays a part
No vacation is complete without shopping and Miami doesn’t disappoint on that front as well. You can do some last minute Christmas shopping at the buzzing Lincoln Road Mall at South Beach or then head to the outlet malls like the Dolphin Mall, the Sawgrass Mill Mall and the Florida Keys Outlet Center for more affordable options. For high-end purchases and a luxe mall experience head to the shops at Bal Harbour mall.
Experience Christmas in the tropics
A tropical Christmas is certainly not devoid of Christmas cheer. During your winter break in Miami, you can still enjoy all the traditional Christmas festivities such as visiting Christmas markets, singing Christmas carols and enjoying the festive displays. Miami also hosts one of the world’s largest holiday theme park –Santa’s Enchanted Forest that sets up shop from October to January near Miami International Airport and features more than a hundred rides, holiday displays, a petting zoo, abundant food stalls, and towering Christmas tree rumored to be the world’s tallest.
Be a culture vulture
Miami may be a beach town, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in cultural pursuits. One of the city’s well-known attractions, the waterfront European style estate, the Vizcaya museum and gardens which was built by millionaire industrialist James Deering wears a festive air for the holidays as it is spectacularly decked out in Christmas lights. Visitors can enjoy various holiday-themed events during the Wonderland event at the estate. These events include story time and meet and greet with Santa Claus, a Holiday Champagne Bay cruise and a Festival of Trees evening stroll.
Miami also hosts several performances of the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker at various performing arts venues around the city.
The city’s green lung Pinecrest Gardens also gets into the act as it is illuminated with hundreds of twinkling lights. The holiday festival at Pinecrest gardens features festive activities like photos with Santa, performances by the Miami Royal Ballet and Christmas music performances by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and even pony rides and story sessions.
Towards the latter half of winter, the Carnaval season arrives in Miami and festivals abound. The Calle Ocho Festival is the largest street festival in Miami featuring food, music, dance, and art. This lively festival is held in the Little Havana neighborhood of the city while the Coral Gables neighborhood hosts a similar event called the Carnaval on the Mile soon after.
Ring in the New Year in Miami
Miami is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and the city’s many bars, restaurants and clubs host private events to bring in the New Year. However, there are many public access events all over the city too. Miami Beach hosts a New Year’s Eve party on South Beach that culminates with a dazzling fireworks display. Bayfront Park in downtown Miami has its own version of NYC’s ball drop in the form of the dropping of the ‘Big Orange’, wherein a thirty-five-foot neon orange globe adorned with sunglasses ascents four hundred feet to the top of a hotel from where it drops when the clock strikes midnight. This family-friendly event also features live bands and fireworks.
All these various events and festivities ensure that even though you are in sunny Miami during the winter months, you can still get your fill of festive cheer.