Look, we’re going to level with you: Even we here at New Times have trouble finding things to do in the long, hot summer. It’s the slump season: Spring breakers have left and the Basel crowds are months away. The only major holiday during the whole season is the Fourth of July. Just stepping outside means risking sunburn and heat stroke. Summer sucks, it really does. Anyone who says otherwise should not be trusted.
Nevertheless, as a handsome movie scientist once said, “Life, uh, finds a way.” And so must we, Miami! Below, you’ll find a list of conclusive, extremely not-fake proof that the summer – bear with us – isn’t terrible! We know it sounds crazy, but there’s actually quite a lot to do in this town, even when everyone’s hiding out and cursing the sun for whipping us with its venomous rays.
1. You have an excuse to stay inside. Say it with me, folks: “It’s too hot to go anywhere.” Northerners get their snowstorms and subzero temperatures as an excuse to be antisocial; South Floridians have the oppressive, scornful heat and subtropical humidity, which are only getting worse thanks to global warming. What’s the point of being seen in public if you’re just going to end up looking like a sweaty, red-faced mess? Why even bother? Your pad has A/C. Your TV has Netflix, cable, maybe even a game console. There’s ice in your freezer. Stay home! What has being sociable ever done for you, anyway?
2. Fewer tourists.Should you deign to step outside into the burning sun, you may be pleasantly surprised to find less of what Miamians detest the most: tourists. Sure, there are a few intrepid summer vacationers traipsing around the beach or shooting photos in Wynwood. There always are. But it’s certainly not the same as during Art Basel, or Spring Break, or WMC/Ultra. Two long, hot months without many major events may not be a boon for the local economy, but it’s also two months without snowbirds — a blessing in a sweaty disguise.
3. Staycation! With tourists away, the locals can play. Miami’s hospitality industry is one of the best in the world, so why not take advantage with an off-season staycation? Without the usual glut of vacationers, hotels are willing to lower rates to entice locals through their doors. A cursory glance at Trip Advisor, for instance, reveals rooms going for less than half the usual price: $50 at the Freehand, $144 at the Royal Palm South Beach, and so on. Plus, the Convention and Visitors Bureau offers special summer deals for Florida residents who don't want to travel far.
4. Miami Spice. From luxurious, full-service restaurants on South Beach to trendy eateries in Wynwood, Miami’s food scene is one of the best in the nation. Wouldn’t it be nice to sample it all at a fraction of the cost? That’s where Miami Spice comes in. The two-month-long event features prix-fixe menus from 240 of the city’s most prestigious restaurants: $23 for lunch, $39 for dinner, and $23 for the all-important weekend brunch. That’s a lot of menus, so if you can’t decide where to go on your own, relax: We have a guide for you. Miami Spice runs through September 30.
5. Miami Spa Month. Technically, it’s two months long (not that anyone’s complaining). From the first day of July to the last day of August, spas across the area team up with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau to offer deals and discounts on their most sought-after treatments, from as low as $109. Some of Miami’s most high-end, exclusive spas are in on the plan: Try a walk through the “Water Journey” at the Fontainebleau’s Lapis Spa, or the Setai Hotel’s Japanese tea treatments. For more info, check out New Times’ list of the best deals, and wash away your stress before Spa Month evaporates like sauna steam.
6. Mango mania. A curious aroma floats in the air outside your home – fruity, tropical, almost too sweet. At last, the mangos from the tree in your yard are dropping! Soon, you’ll be up to your knees in delicious, sticky fruit to last through the hot summer months, eaten raw or prepared in dozens of culinary permutations: mango lassi, mango salad, mango sorbet and frozen yogurt, and on and on. For those without their own tree, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden on old Cutler Road holds its annual Mango Festival in mid-July, where you can learn about the many varieties of this scrumptious plant. If you’re not sick of mango by the summer’s end, you haven’t indulged enough.
7. When it rains and doesn't pour. As anyone born and raised in Florida knows, the state has only two seasons: wet and dry. The summer months happen to coincide with the wet one, where near-daily thunderstorms assault the peninsula thanks to its position between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, making it a lightning alley. Basically, the Sunshine State it ain’t — the area is even classified as a tropical monsoon climate. Nevertheless, there's a sweet spot between unabated sun and torrential, hurricane-aided downpours that flood the streets, when the sky doesn’t open up and simply remains cloudy. Sometimes, believe it or not, it’s fuckin’ nice out.
8. A day at the movies. Since film was invented over 100 years ago, Americans have flocked to movie palaces during the summer to avoid the dreaded heat, and it hasn’t changed since then. With a massive array of cinematic options in the area, film fans can while away an afternoon in air-conditioned bliss watching the latest summer blockbuster or arthouse hit. Take in a Marvel movie in luxury at CMX in Brickell or the latest A24 curio at O Cinema. Horror fans can get their fill of gore at the annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival. And if you’re willing to make the drive, experience Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk at the only true IMAX theater in Florida, at Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Discovery and Science.
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9. Swimming. Yes, living in Miami means you can go swimming pretty much year-round — but summer’s the absolute best time to do it. For one, the ocean is the warmest and most comfortable it’ll be all year, and the less-crowded beaches (see “fewer tourists” above) means you might have the water all to yourself. Of course, there are plenty of options if salt water isn’t your jam. You could be lucky enough to have access to a slammin’ pool. Or you could kick it at one of the area’s water parks.
10. Museums and more. Without much in the way of festivals or events keeping you busy, summer’s a perfect time to rediscover Miami’s indoor amenities. Go crate-digging at Sweat Records or hunt for new reads at Books and Books. Take advantage of Museum Month in May and visit the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Wolfsonian-FIU, or any of the city’s many galleries. If you have kids out of school, take them to the newly opened Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami Children’s Museum, or the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale. Or, if you’re willing to slather the little ones in sunscreen, watch them frolic with the animals at Zoo Miami while you cool off under the mist machines.