14 Fun Things to Do in Miami This Winter

The snowbirds are back—but so are the best events of the year.

NightGarden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
NightGarden | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
NightGarden | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens

Winter is our time to shine in South Florida. There’s a reason all the snowbirds make their way down south—we’ve got the perfect weather and an endless list of things to do. There's never not a day that’s ideal for hanging at the beach, but if you’re looking for a bit more action, winter in Miami is full of exciting things to do. From immersive experiences at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and holiday shopping on Lincoln Road to a wild night with Magic Mike Live and a scented ice skating rink, here are 14 fun things to do in Miami this winter

Take in the sights of Miami Art Week and Art Basel

Various locations
Easily one of the most electric times of the year in Miami, Art Basel brings billions of dollars of art into Miami, but along with it come visitors from all over the world who spend the week either genuinely looking to add to their collection or those who are just here for the parties that also take over the city. Either way, it’s 100% worth checking out.

Visitors at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens' NightGarden
NightGarden | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens

Take an illuminated stroll through The NightGarden

Pinecrest
Venture across the rainbow-colored pathway of the Orchid Bridge and find a nocturnal wonderland brought to life with 360-degree illusions and innovative technology at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. Back for its fourth year, you’ll find yourself immersed in 83-acres of gardens where you’ll come across Archimedes, a wise and dazzling talking tree; swaying Giant Dandelions; unexpected snowfall experience; hidden fairies; and sunken secret ponds. Through lighting displays, advanced special effects, motion-sensing technology, state-of-the-art outdoor holograms, and shadow sculptures, the gardens become a completely different universe once the sun sets. It runs until Sunday, January 8. Tickets can be purchased at TheNightGarden.com starting at $30 for adults and $25 for children ages 10 and younger.

People Shopping at Urbanspace
Urbanspace NYC | Urbanspace

Get your holiday shopping done at Urbanspace Lincoln Road Holiday Market

South Beach
Urbanspace’s famed New York holiday market is setting up shop on South Beach’s Lincoln Road. Head straight to there to score this year’s holiday gifts. With a range of home goods, children's toys and apparel, animal lover accessories, books and prints, men's and women's apparel and accessories, jewelry, art, and artisan food products, spanning several city blocks, there’s bound to be something for everyone on your list. Honestly, this might even be one of those one for you, two for me kind of shopping moments. Oh, and there’s tons of seasonal programming from storytelling and holiday pet portraits to dance lessons and live performances. It’s open every day from 10 am to 9 pm now through February 15th.

The Miami Beach EDITION's Basement Skating Rink
The Miami Beach EDITION | The Miami Beach EDITION

Take a skate about Basement Miami’s Scented Ice Rink

Miami Beach
For those looking to pretend there’s actually some kind of coolness in the air, make a date to visit Basement’s ice skating rink located in the downstairs area of The Miami Beach EDITION. This isn’t just any neon-lit hotel basement ice skating rink, this one’s got its own winter wonderland scent. Partnering with Drake and his Better World Fragrance House team, a Winter Warmth aroma has been added to the 2,000-square-foot rink pumping out vibes of a woodsy and fruity scent, adding a bit of decadent wintery fragrance to the rink all December long.

Miami Beach
The newest show to hit the stage at Faena Theater’s features New York’s sensational Rocky Lanes, who leads guests through a mesmerizing journey in the form of an uber sexy high-tech cabaret. From holographic architecture to interactive motion capture and body mapping along with choreographed dancers, singers, and musicians, this show explores futurism and seduction. Set to the tone of a 1980s Latin-inspired soundtrack, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Catch this show Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through January 28, 2023.

Magic Mike Live Dancers Performing
Magic Mike Live | Magic Mike Live

Treat your crew to a night out with Magic Mike Live

Key Biscayne
There’s no need to go to Vegas for the Channing Tatum-inspired all-male revue. Here until April, this sexy show features a build out like you’ve never seen before at Miami Marine Stadium that seats nearly 600 people and houses technology, lighting, and a stage that makes you think you might actually be in Vegas. There’s lots of six-packs, dancing, acrobatics, and, of course, a bit of audience participation—pro tip: wear pants if you’re hoping to get a special dance of your own. Arrive before show time and enjoy dinner at Wildfire, the on-site steakhouse.

People at Smorgasburg Miami
Smorgasburg Miami | Smorgasburg Miami

Explore local vendors while enjoying lunch at Smoragsburg

Wynwood
Now that the weather is finally a bit more tolerable it's the perfect time to truly embrace socializing outdoors. Hailing from Brooklyn, Smorgasburg made its way to Wynwood as a weekend market that features local vendors on both Saturdays and Sundays. Just across the street from the famed Wynwood Walls, you’ll find a massive lot—one of the few yet to be developed in the area—where dozens of local restaurants set up shop with everything from oysters and cheesesteaks, to teas and tacos, to pincho, milkshakes, and more. Grab some friends and make a plan—just be sure someone claims a table while you wait in the various lines for maximum chill time.

People at SOBEWFF
SOBEWFF | World Red Eye

Various locations
Back for its 22nd year, SOBEWFF has not only taken over the sands of South Beach, but this year it has spread to Wynwood and beyond. Known as spring break for celebrity chefs, this four day festival is the largest in the country with events happening non-stop from Thursday, February 23th to Sunday, February 26th. From intimate dinners with some of the world’s most famous chefs to late night parties with more booze and bites than you can imagine, each event includes all the food and drink you can consume once you’re inside with dishes by locally loved chefs and those who have traveled from around the world to take part in the festival. Mix and mingle with the likes of Guy Fieri, Andrew Zimmern, Rachael Ray, and more. Tickets are on sale here.

Photo by MOG PRESS IMAGES

Experience art in a very different way

Various locations
While our world renowned museums are no doubt cherished cultural institutions, our city truly excels in showcasing art in untraditional ways. A shining example is Superblue, a series of immersive installations from names like Es Devlin and James Turrell, where you can touch the walls to change how the art is displayed. In South Beach, Artechouse is hosting Renewals 2021, a trippy look at a climate-ravaged Tokyo 100 years in the future. Beyond that, the Museum of Graffiti in Wynwood, allows guests to learn the history of graffiti and immerse themselves in exhibits from famous artists.

Oleta River State Park
Oleta River State Park | Globalaura/Shutterstock

Oleta River State Park
In one of the more surreal natural experiences one can have in South Florida (even in the winter), Oleta River State Park offers you the chance to kayak through ancient mangroves and escape into a Florida of yesteryear. Then immediately pop out into a bay lined with massive condo towers. It’s a beautiful paddle through our dwindling nature, which takes you to uninhabited bay islands and beaches you can only reach by boat. If the water’s not for you, the park also has miles of mountain bike trails to explore. Of course, this is South Florida, so “mountain” is a loose description. But it’s the best you’re getting without a long trip up the Turnpike.

Inspired By Maps/Shutterstock

Key Largo
Experiencing the natural wonders of the Florida Keys doesn’t mean enduring the two-lane torture all the way to Key West. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is only about an hour from Miami, and offers some of the best snorkeling in the state.  And if you just want to go swim off the shore here you won’t need a boat, guide, or any reservations. Want even more to do in the Keys? We've got that guide right here.

Monty's Raw Bar
Monty's Raw Bar

Relax with a drink on the water, obviously

Various locations
One of the best things about Miami is the ability to enjoy the outdoors all year long, especially in the winter. Hit either Monty’s Sunset in South Beach or Monty’s Raw Bar in Coconut Grove for a classic Miami experience. Smith and Wollensky in South Beach is the move for a higher-end vibe and solid martinis. There's also Klaw’s rooftop for stunning views of Biscayne Bay. If you want a scene, grab a table at The Deck at Island Gardens or lounge at Joia Beach Club. That’s far from the extent of our outdoor options, though, so here’s a comprehensive guide to South Florida’s best drinking patios and rooftop bars.

1-800-Lucky
1-800-Lucky

Do a neighborhood beer and food crawl

Wynwood
Wynwood has a collection of the city’s best breweries. You can enjoy cold suds outdoors at J. Wakefield or take in the Miami-centric murals inside Wynwood Brewing. Then hit the oldest brewery in Cuba’s Miami outpost at Cerveceria La Tropical, before kicking back on the sunny patio at Veza Sur. While you're sobering up, take yourself on an art tour as you sample the best quick food in the neighborhood by grabbing some Asian cuisine at 1-800 Lucky, a slice at Pizza Tropical, and a couple of tacos at Coyo.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Visit some awe-inspiring museums

Various locations
Miami makes it more convenient than most to visit the city’s many showpiece museums, with both the Frost Museum of Science and Perez Art Museum Miami situated right downtown in Museum Park (not to mention Verde, one of America’s best and breeziest museum restaurants). HistoryMiami, only a short walk away downtown, is guaranteed to teach you something about your hometown. If you want to delve into the modern art scene, hit up the Institute of Contemporary Art in Buena Vista, or check out an entire collection of art made on parking tickets at the NSU Art Museum. Round it out with a tour of the gleaming new Rubell Museum, or enjoy art al fresco in the plaza at MOCA in North Miami.

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Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.