Everything You Need to Do in Miami This Winter

Expect snowbirds, outdoor concerts, and plenty of fun in the sun.

Here we are, again. It’s “winter” in Miami, meaning it’s time to put on your bikini, go to the beach, and make all your friends shoveling snow jealous. (It’s a true Miamian’s favorite winter pastime.) Yet our epically good weather also brings an influx of snowbirds, meaning slow drivers and more traffic. Luckily, one good thing snowbirds do guarantee is a packed roster of cool winter events that visitors and locals alike can enjoy. (And if they take you to the beach, well, all the better.) Here’s everything you need to do in Miami this winter.

Now through December 29
Starts & ends at Brightline’s Fort Lauderdale station
Yes, we know. There is nothing polar or express about anything in South Florida. But thanks to Brightline, we can all now feel like we’re heading to the North Pole. Starting and ending at Brightline’s Fort Lauderdale station, this festive one-hour train ride comes alive with singing and dancing train conductors telling the story of The Polar Express. There are also cookies, hot chocolate, and surprises for all onboard. Young passengers can get excited for an appearance by the big guy himself (Santa), but no matter how old you are, wearing Christmas pajamas is extremely encouraged. 
Cost: $55-$70 per adult/$50-$65 per child

Now through January 5
Tropical Park
Nothing says Christmas in Miami like a few Cuban Santas, fried Oreos, and a bunch of spinning rides that make you puke up those fried Oreos. And you can find it all at Santa’s Enchanted Forest. Sitting on the side of the Palmetto, this very Miami Christmas theme park is actually the largest holiday theme park in the world. Note: All bathroom use will be restricted to porta potties, and the “Mi Burrito Sabanero” song WILL be stuck in your head by the time you leave. 
Cost: Single-day tickets $35.51 per adult/$27.10 per child and senior

Now through January 8
Jungle Island 
Much like one of those trippy scenes from Alice in Wonderland, Luminosa has turned Jungle Island into a weirdly wonderful Chinese lantern festival with 1M+ LED lights and colorful, handcrafted Chinese lanterns shaped like larger-than-life plants and animals. Bringing a little Miami flavor into the mix, there’s an underwater tapestry filled with fish, turtles and manatees, and a faux South Beach that practically begs for an Instagram photo.
Cost: $31.50-$35 per adult/$27-$30 per child 

NightGarden Experience

Now through January 11
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Apparently Miami is seriously into light festivals this year, and one of the coolest ones is no doubt The NightGarden. Picture an already whimsical botanical garden turned into a mystical fairyland with thousands of colorful lights, talking trees, an interactive light canopy, a technicolor maze, shadow sculptures, art and dance performances, a snowfall of lights, and more.
Cost: $24-$55

December 30
Hard Rock Stadium
When it comes to football, The Orange Bowl has been sacred ground in Miami for 83 years. (Let’s not talk about the Dolphins.) Bids are still out for who’s playing, but you can expect two top college teams and a week of related events like the famous Junior Orange Bowl Parade, a burger battle, and a Fan Fest with live performances and carnival rides leading up to the game.
Cost: Game tickets $101 and up

January 10
The Miami Beach EDITION
Make your 2020 extra chill by starting it at the EDITION’s popular Full Moon Festival! Rooted in all things wellness, there will be a guided yoga and meditation session on the sand with Modern ŌM, sounds from Tavin Reiter, professional drummers and tribal dancers, wellness bites, and vendors selling holistic goods. While you’re there, relax in a daybed or by a fire pit and drink cocktails that you pick based on chakra color. 
Cost: $45 for general admission

January 10
Hard Rock Live
The legendary Billy Joel will perform at the new and improved Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood for the first time in 11 years, and he’s bringing his classic hits with him. Sit back and sing your heart out as the star belts out tunes like “Only the Good Die Young”, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and of course, “Piano Man.” 
Cost: $109-$40

The Yoga Expo
The Yoga Expo

January 11
Broward County Convention Center
Led by Bizzy Yogi founder Arianne Traverso, the fifth annual Yoga Expo gives attendees access to unlimited yoga classes led by 60+ nationally recognized instructors and popular local yogis alike. When you’re not in a class, spend some quiet time in one of many meditation rooms, go to a mindfulness workshop, listen to live music or watch an acroyoga show. This event is open to yogis of all skill levels and practices, and there are events and play areas for those with families, too.
Cost: $35-$108

January 19
FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality
Well, this certainly takes Sunday Funday to a whole new level. The 13th annual American Fine Wine Competition is coming back to Miami, and its “One Thousand Bottles: Sipping Through America” event is exactly what it sounds like. After professional judges spend the weekend evaluating wines from all over the world, the leftover bottles are put out for grabs and everyone can get a taste. Needless to say, we recommend Lyft or Uber.
Cost: $95 per adult 21+

January 19 - 25
Regatta Park/Biscayne Bay
The 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami is one of many stops on U.S. Sailing’s World Cup tour, and we’re stoked to have it in Coconut Grove. Here, top-level Olympic sailors from all over the world battle it out on Biscayne Bay. Watch it from the water or the giant jumbotron at Regatta Park and once the winners get their medals, celebrate with your family, friends, and maybe even a few Olympic sailors.  
Cost: Free

January 24 - 26
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Chocoholics, unite! Back for its 14th year, International Chocolate Weekend brings together everything from artisan chocolate truffles, chocolate baked goods and raw chocolate samples to chocolate-making classes, cooking demonstrations using chocolate by Miami’s top chefs, cacao tree vendors, a “ChocoWalk,” and so much more. Bottom line? This is not the weekend to diet. 
Cost: $25 per day

Pegasus World Cup Invitational
Pegasus World Cup Invitational

January 25
Gulfstream Park
The world’s richest thoroughbred horse race takes place right here in Miami, and it involves 12 of the world’s top horses racing for a purse of $16M. If Miami had a Kentucky Derby, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series would be it! Men, dress your most dapper and ladies, as with most things, the bigger the fascinator the better. 
Cost: $49 and up

February 2
Hard Rock Stadium
Super Bowl LIV is coming to Miami, which you know already if you don’t live under a rock. You can stay home and catch whatever Budweiser commercial makes us all cry this year, or you can be the envy of every football fan’s dreams and replace it with real-life Shakira and J.Lo’s halftime show. 
Cost: $4,500 and up

Miami Marathon
Miami Marathon

February 9 
Starts at AmericanAirlines Arena
There’s no better way to see Miami than to run through it (okay we’re lying -- a yacht is always best), and the Miami Marathon & Half Marathon lets you do just that. Join thousands of runners from around the world and beat your personal record as you breeze through Miami’s hit list of must-see areas including Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, Ocean Drive, Bayfront Park, and more.
Cost: Registration $130 for the half marathon/$145 for the marathon

Miami International Boat Show
Miami International Boat Show

Hang out with folks who own yachts

February 13-17
Various locations
Miami has two major boat shows every year, the Miami International Boat Show and the Miami Yacht Show, and they happen on the same weekend. Hop between the two to see every type of boat your South Florida life requires (including superyachts with helipads on them) plus sailing and boating accessories from 170+ vendors. To really be on brand, get there via free water taxi. 
Cost: Boat show $19-$180; yacht show TBA

February 14
Deering Estate
This Valentine’s Day, wind your way down Old Cutler Road to Deering Estate for its annual V-Day concert under the stars. There are no seats, but that’s part of the charm! Bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets, and let the sensual sounds of pop, R&B, and soul artist Keba heat up the night.
Cost: TBA

February 19 - 23
Various locations
Strap on your fat pants, because this is Miami’s favorite week to eat. The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) is America’s most popular food festival, and it brings together pretty much every major and celebrity chef, TV food personality, sommelier, Martha Stuart fangirl, and area foodie for five days of dinners, brunches, celebrity cooking demonstrations, walk-around tastings, beach bashes, late-night parties, and afterparties.
Cost: Varies by event; packages $255 and up

Ping Pong, Pizzas & Peroni
Ping Pong, Pizzas & Peroni | Market at EDITION

February 21
Market at EDITION
Ping Pong, Pizzas & Peroni is the unofficial SOBEWFF event that everyone who’s anyone is at. This late-night bash is hosted by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Spend the night playing ping-pong against your friends or one of JG’s celebrity chef friends (*cough* Guy Fieri *cough*), and reward yourself with a smorgasbord of pizza, beer, raw bar snacks, and desserts. 
Cost: $75

March 4
AmericanAirlines Arena
Our (sometimes) beloved Miami Heat are playing against their Florida rival Orlando Magic, so throw on your coveted Vice Night jersey and Wade L3gacy shoes and cheer them on. 
Cost: $15 and up

March 4 - 10
Various locations
What started with a single dance party has since erupted into a week of parties all over South Beach, attracting 10,000 LGBTQ-friendly partygoers from around the world. We aren’t exaggerating: Winter Party Festival is literally seven days of DJ parties and drinking. Adding to its allure, all proceeds benefit the National LGBTQ Task Force, an organization that advocates for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
Cost: Varies by event; $250-$675 for passes

March 12-13
The Fillmore Miami Beach
The Motown queen herself is coming to Miami Beach! Get on your feet and dance to the soul-powered hits of Diana Ross, from “I’m Coming Out” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to “I Will Survive” and so, so much more. 
Cost: $51.50 and up

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Jennifer Agress is a food and travel writer who was born and raised in Miami. Follow her on Instagram at @jenniferagress and watch her make Northerners jealous ALL winter long.