Spending Christmas in Miami? Brace for a different kind of holiday celebration—and not just because Christmas 2020 is surely one for the books. The dress code for Christmas events can range from a ball gown to a parka (you know, for the nights the temps dip below 70) but is generally some kind of variation of flip-flops and a beachy look. While much of the country looks forward to snow and sleigh bells, yuletide in the 305promises sunshine, frolicking inSouth Beachand outdoor activities at every turn—from Key Biscayne toCoral Gablesto Brickell. Overwhelmed by the number of things to do in Miami? Relax, put on some Christmas tunes and peruse our list of the best Christmas events in Miami.
Things to doPerformancesDowntown Doral Park, Doral
This is your belovedNutcrackerreimagined, live and outdoors in Downtown Doral Park—in the heart of Miami-Dade. Marvel at vibrant, candy-colored costumes and spellbinding projections as the company dances to its reinvented version of TheNutcracker. The purists, meanwhile, can put down the pitchforks: It’s still Balanchine and it’s still Tchaikovsky.
Stock up on artisanal gifts for everyone on your list at Fairchild Gardens’ holiday market. Taking place over a weekend, the two-day event will be equal parts a shopping experience as well as an arts-and-crafts activity. OnSaturdayandSundayfrom 9:30am to 11:30am, expert floral stylist Anna Noriega of Aloré Events will be showing folks how to make their own wreaths (tickets must be purchased in advance). Rather leave the heavy lifting to someone else? You’ll find plenty of festive items to take home as well.Sat, Sun 9am–4pm
Charles Deering’s waterfront home is even more beautiful during the holidays, when it transforms into an illuminated wonderland. Witness the rustic decór inspired by the Christmas celebrations local pioneers held at the turn of the 20th century, including the vintage nautical accents in sparkling blue hues designed as a tribute to Deering as his lifelong love of the sea. The holiday decorations stick around through January and in between, visitors are invited to partake in storytime with Santa (Dec 12), a festive bay cruise (Dec 13) and more.
Things to doWalks and toursVizcaya Museum & Gardens | Miami, FL, Coconut Grove
Spend an evening strolling the grounds, specially decorated for the holidays just as they would have been more than 100 years ago when James Deering called the museum home. Wander through the Main House after dark (an opportunity that comes but twice a year) and celebrate the season with a walk through the lighted gardens, sitting in on an intimate discussion about Vizcaya’s history and taking in the beautiful holiday scene.
Deering Estate leans hard into the holiday season with all kinds of over-the-top decorates and festive activities that everyone is invited to experience. The waterfront mansion opens its doors on December 4 and December 16 or two nights of holiday film screenings, storytelling by Mrs. Claus and the opportunity to write and drop off your letter to Santa Claus.
Because eight nights of celebrations aren’t enough, the Society of Young Jewish Professionals is throwing the ultimate singles event—think of it like an IRL JDate on steroids. Dance, drink and connect with old friends and new prospects at this annual rager. The venue for 2020 has yet to be announced, though organizers do promise a safe, socially distanced no matter the space. Either way, the show will go on.
It wouldn't be the holidays without a production ofA Christmas Carol. And since most theaters remain closed, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre is making it so we can all watch at home. Tune in to watch the timeless classic directed by Tony-winning Michael Arden and starring Tony-winning Broadway actor Jefferson Mays in 50 different roles. Through Jan 3, 2021
Listen to Christmas carols and festive holiday songs from around the world performed by the renowned New World Symphony at the drive-in at Dezerland Park. This year’s program includes selections fromThe NutcrackerandSleigh Ride, plusNavidad Latina, a medley of Latin holiday songs, and Chanukah 5776by Sam Hyken, which honors the Jewish Festival of Lights. Tickets can only be purchased by subscribers, and packages are available.
Eat, drink, shop and even get a workout in at the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort’s first-annual holiday event. Taking place over two weekends, the outdoor soirée will be well-attended by Santa, who’s in town to pose for pictures, and local fitness instructors, who’ll lead hour-long classes to get you in shape for the eating fest to come. Bring your wishlist to stock up on items from Miami-based vendors, such as Anatomie—makers of luxury athleisure—as well as bid on silent auction items aimed at raising money for the Miami Beach hospitality community.Dec 11, 12, 18 and 19 4–8pm; $10–$20.
Turn your holiday festivities all the way up with Live Arts Miami’s production ofHoliday Sauce...Pandemic!—a riveting and dysfunctional celebration by 2020 Ibsen Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Taylor Mac and featuring longtime collaborators. The virtual vaudeville event combines music, film, burlesque and irreverent remixes of the carols you know and love. The show is free to watch but donations are encouraged and will go toward the support of artists and help fund Miami Dade College’s Pride Scholarship for LGBTQ Students. Dec 12 (and available to watch through Jan 2)