A snow-free, sun-filled Christmas is standard on a winter vacation in Miami. Stock up on festive gifts at South Beach’s Lincoln Road Mall or go Gucci-mad in the prestigious shops of Bal Harbour on Miami Beach. Open-air Christmas dinners are part of a Miami Christmas with many Miami restaurants dishing up traditional fare on open-air terraces. Families flock to Santa’s Enchanted Forest, a Christmas theme park near Miami Airport and home to the world’s tallest Christmas tree. A free carnival and over 100 rides, attractions and shows make it a festive special. Even the Miami Seaquarium gets Christmassy after dark with light sculptures, winter snowfalls and nightly fireworks.
Book a Miami hotel to enjoy the warm temperatures and low rainfall of the winter months, well clear of the hurricane season. Rent bicycles or in-line skates and breeze along Miami Beach Boardwalk or take to the water and swim in the calm waters of the Atlantic Ocean where it meets the Caribbean Sea. Go sailing around Biscayne Bay or relax on Miami’s beaches. Family-friendly Homestead Bayfront Park in downtown Miami and the Art Deco building-lined South Beach are two big favorites.
Miami goes art-crazy during the winter months. In early December, it’s the turn of Art Basel Miami Beach. It is the sister event to Switzerland’s exclusive arts show, Art Basel, with galleries, bars and hotels exhibiting cutting-edge art collections. Also in December is Art Miami’s art fair in Miami’s Wynwood district. In January, the five-day Miami International Art Fair comes to town. February hosts Miami Beach Festival of the Arts in North Beach and the open-air Coconut Grove Arts Festival complete with Global Food Village.
Miami Beach hosts its own New Year's Eve Party on South Beach with a fireworks celebration at midnight. In downtown Miami, the Bayfront Park Amphitheatre plays host to a family-friendly celebration with live bands and fireworks. Join in the midnight countdown for the dropping of the Big Orange, the 35ft neon globe. Party people can book tickets to one of Miami’s many clubs. The themed New Year party at the Sky Bar at the Shore Club is the ultimate beach party. Or book a New Year’s Eve fireworks cruise for on-board dinner, music and skyline views.
Miami puts on numerous cultural events during the popular winter months, ranging from quirky film festivals to contemporary photography exhibitions. See the killer moves of top dancers at Florida Dance Festival: WinterFest or join the costumed revelers during Carnaval Miami. Other events include an 8km carnival run and the jam-packed Calle Ocho street party in the downtown Cuban quarter, Little Havana. For something a little more refined, there are free performances of some of English literature’s finest dramas at the Shakespeare in the Park event in Peacock Park in the suburb of Coconut Grove.