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Miami’s Top Events and Festivals

Plan your vacation around one of these popular Miami happenings.

 

Most major cities host festivals and events that appeal to travelers, but perhaps none so much as Miami. Its fantastic weather, energetic nightlife, art and culinary scenes don’t hurt its draw of festival guests either, especially since most of the city’s biggest festivals take place during winter, as summers tend to be a bit too hot and humid. But while the events listed below are great to attend, you’ll want to do some due diligence and advance planning before committing to your tickets.

Event Planning Tips

  • Budget for higher costs during events and festivals. While there are still pretty good airfare deals to be found in general, hotels cost decidedly more when a big event is in town. If you know in advance you’re going, try to book with hotel loyalty points, or look for special deals months before the date, otherwise a room that normally could cost $200 a night can jump to $500 before you know it.
  • Book a room off-beach or away from the event’s main hotels if you’re attending purely because the product being showcased—be it food, film, furniture or other. You’ll have a better chance of getting a reasonably priced room. But if you’re there to be a part of the party scene, then save up accordingly.
  • Consider staying in a condo rental. Plenty are available on or near the beach, and they’re almost always less expensive than hotels, and often come with on-site parking included.
  • If, like in this economy, show attendance is down, you might get lucky with last-minute plans and snag a hotel deal, but don’t count on it.
  • Skip the car rental and rely on public transportation or taxis. Traffic will be a nightmare, and you’ll want to enjoy the event rather than worry about getting there late, or finding your way home at night, especially if your activities include late-night dining, drinking and dancing.
  • If you do drive, know that hotel valet and parking lot charges are often increased for the days of Miami’s events. For last week’s Miami Boat Show, rates that were typically $30 per day jumped to $40.
  • Make restaurant reservations in advance. They fill up quickly during show days, especially for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the Miami Film Festival and Art Basel Miami Beach.
  • Same goes for clubs. If staying at a top hotel, take advantage of the concierge and try to get on guest lists or get passes where possible.

Recommended Events

So, you’ve decided to brave the crowds, have some fun and plan a Miami events vacation. Here are a few to get you started.

January

Art Deco Weekend Festival
The Art Deco Weekend Festival, which celebrates Miami’s Art Deco era (roughly from 1925 to 1945), features events including tours, lectures and more.

Original Miami Beach Antique Show
More than 1,000 dealers provide shopping pleasure for antique lovers at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

February

Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail
More than 2,000 exhibitors feature powerboats, sailboats, engines, electronics, accessories and more.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival
A world-class wine, spirits and food tasting unfolds along with sparking dinners, a beachside barbecue, a champagne brunch, and more.

March

Miami International Film Festival
Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) uses several venues for screening independent domestic and foreign films.

Calle Ocho
Little Havana's festival of food, music and Latin culture stretches out over the 23-block area flanking SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho).

Miami International Orchid Show
The Miami International Orchid Show draws up to 15,000 admirers each year and features more than 500,000 rare and exotic blooms from nearly 200 professional growers, amateurs, and orchid aficionados.

April/May

Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
The Regal, Gusman and the original art-deco Colony Theater host hundreds of full-length and short features from around the world.

September

International Ballet Festival
The Jackie Gleason Theatre and the Manuel Artime Performing Arts Center host leading ballet companies performing contemporary work.

November

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Ford 400
The Homestead Miami Speedway is the site for this annual NASCAR race.

Miami Book Fair International
One of the nation’s largest outdoor book fairs features some 300 booksellers and publishers, and more than 250 authors at Miami-Dade Community College Wolfson Campus.

December

Art Basel Miami Beach
Sister to Art Basel in Switzerland, the increasingly popular Art Basel Miami Beach showcases art from more than 150 galleries in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.


Destinations: Miami

Themes: Art and Museums, Culinary


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