The best time of the year is finally here — Christmas and Hanukkah weekend. The next three days are filled with holiday-inspired music, art, and boozy beverages galore. From Coral Gables to Little Havana to South Beach, these are the best places to be until the sun comes up Monday morning.
The Lantern Light Festival hits Miami this weekend.
Fire & Ice Holiday Reunion and Toy Drive at Churchill's Pub: Though the club shut its doors for good in the late '80s, the people and vibe live on. Fire & Ice reunion events have popped up from time to time, but unlike past getties, this one will be for the kids. In collaboration with Artists Collecting Toys, this event will be your chance to party with Fire & Ice DJs Cecilia Cruz, Mystic Bill, Carlos Menendez, and Jose Strummer, and in the spirit of the holidays, help bring smiles to children in need. All you have to do is bring an unwrapped toy and have fun reliving the past.
Sarge: The Chanukah Chutzpah Tour... Kiss My Mezuzah at Aventura Arts and Cultural Center: There's no doubt Hanukkah gets short thrift when stacked up against Christmas or Thanksgiving. Sure, it offers eight days rather than just one, but other than "The Dreidel Song," it simply doesn’t boast the hits that its Christian counterpart can claim — “Silent Night,” “White Christmas,” “The First Noel,” and all the other sacred songs. So leave it to Sarge to give the Festival of Light the respect it deserves, courtesy of his irreverent and uproarious production The Chanukah Chutzpah Tour... Kiss My Mezuzah. As the title implies, it’s not your usual holiday pageant, but thanks to Sarge’s triple-threat abilities — as a comedian, singer, and pianist — it promises to deliver more entertainment than repeated reruns of It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and A Charlie Brown Christmas combined.
- Lantern Light Festival at Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center: Firing up the caja china, setting the menorah ablaze, or maybe just getting lit with your out-of-town cousins — these are hot holiday traditions that we Americans hold dear. But like adding another glass of Manischewitz to your dreidel spinning, Americans are always open to new traditions, especially ones that we can enjoy passively and that involve fire. Many Floridians will then likely add the ongoing Lantern Light Festival, an evening of Chinese lantern lighting, to their regular festivities this year. The fest, which makes its way around the nation, has found a winter home in this corner of the globe. The event celebrates Chinese culture and includes a 400-foot dragon, acrobats, musical performances, a huge castle to saunter through, and the release of tons of lanterns created by 80 Chinese artisans.
MatzoBall turns 30 at the Fontainebleau on Saturday.
Photo by Simone Berger
Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami: Explore the zoo at night to see giant illuminated sculptures of giraffes, elephants, peacocks, and other animals — all in 3D. Enjoy free carousel rides for the little ones, hot chocolate and cookies, and plenty of holiday music. With all of that Christmas magic, you’ll feel as if you’re at the North Pole — sans snow.
- MatzoBall at Fontainebleau Miami Beach: 'Tis the season to be single and ready to mingle for MatzoBall. Going on its 30th year, the “number one holiday party of the year” will make its Magic City return this Saturday. Presented by the Society of Young Jewish Professionals, the night is all about partying it up with like-minded singles, having a good time with your squad and making new friends, and maybe finding that nice Jewish girl or boy to take home. More than just a fun night out, MatzoBall attracts thousands of solo professionals from all over the nation through events taking place simultaneously from coast-to-coast, making it the perfect opportunity to network with that attractive lawyer for, you know, business purposes.
Michele Eve Sandberg
- Jingle Bowl at Batch Gastropub: Things haven't always been sunshine and roses for the Fins. Miami’s defense has been Jekyll and Hyde at times, and the offense recently lost Ryan Tannehill to injury until at least the end of the regular season. And now comes a pivotal road game against division rivals the Buffalo Bills on Christmas Eve, when the fate of the season could very well be decided. So what better way to spend the holiday than by watching the Fins try to save their season while downing great food and free beer at Batch? The gastropub will celebrate Jingle Bowl by serving football fare and handing out a free Bud Light to every guest who arrives between noon and 12:30 (with RSVP).
- Christmas Brunch at Vagabond Hotel: We’re used to sitting down with family under twinkling lights for Christmas dinner. What about switching it up and making a new tradition, Christmas brunch? Vagabond Kitchen & Bar is throwing the brunch of the season this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 pm. Imagine yourself in the Vagabond’s eclectic, upscale-retro space while stuffing your face with buttery chicken, oysters, bagels, pancakes, omelets, quiche, and other delectables. And don't forget those bottomless mimosas and bellinis.
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- Prayerdanse at the Sacred Space Miami: As 2016 comes to a close, one thing is clear: Americans are afraid. Unfortunately, fear is like a virus, and the best way to beat it is its opposite: love. So Prayerdanse is just in time. The sacred self-love practice is “a guided study in sacred embodiment,” developed by the founder of Miami’s Sacred Space, love coach Rachel Levy, LMHC. Essentially, it’s a moving meditation, a kind of conscious dance that allows participants to celebrate themselves, feel the flow, and release all the negativity they’ve been carrying around.