To live in Miami is to constantly sweat. It feels as if summer lasts forever. When we aren't complaining about how hot and sticky we are, we're chugging cold beer to deal with the humidity. But as we approach the end of October, the thought of spending time outside begins to sound wonderful.
From beachside spots to lush courtyard hangouts, music venues are the best way to enjoy a fall breeze. Rest assured, you probably won't melt into a puddle during that sunset dance party. Here are Miami's five best outdoor music venues.
1. North Beach Bandshell. We know we're preaching to the choir when we complain that some of our city's music venues have been ripped to shreds. But the exact opposite happened in Miami Beach's North Shore Historic District. In 2011, the venue, built in 1961, underwent a complete makeover: restoration of the band shell, expanded backstage facilities, improved acoustics, and upgraded theatrical lighting thanks to the City of Miami Beach. It was Afrobeta & Friends' Mooncake Jam that brought us to the Miami-modern-style spot for the first time in 2015, and we've been swaying with the palms here ever since. The impressive open-air, beachside band shell boasts both standing and seating options, including several rows of benches. It's a prime place to take in Miami's beauty under the stars. 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-5202; northbeachbandshell.com.
2. The Wynwood Yard. This vibrant outdoor hangout is the best place to watch music while catching rays with a cocktail in one hand and a bowl of five-cheese truffle mac and cheese in the other. The family-friendly Wynwood Yard is a self-described "new hub of food and culture in Miami." Toward the back, you'll find a bar and a ton of food trucks serving local fare. The lush community hub hosts a variety of concerts and cultural activities throughout the week, such as Jazz at the Yard Wednesday nights and Reggae Sundays. But lately, the Yard has been hosting epic surprises for Miami music fans. You've probably heard that Shakira created a frenzy here when she surprised the 305 with a free pop-up set this past May. And most recently, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin delighted the crowd when he joined Izzy Bizu, Coldplay's opening act, for an impromptu song on the Yard's stage the night before a show at Hard Rock Stadium. Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Should we camp out here while we await the next secret show? 56 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-351-0366; thewynwoodyard.com.
3. Bayfront Park Amphitheater. The 2,600-seat, 8,000-capacity amphitheater in Bayfront Park is where you’ll catch acts that won't quite fill the neighboring American Airlines Arena. Situated in bustling downtown Miami with postcard-worthy views of the city's skyline, the park is notably home to Ultra Music Festival and, more recently, Rolling Loud. The amphitheater offers both reserved seating and general admission, the latter of which is located in the grass, so don't forget to pack a blanket. Take in the beauty of the city lights under the night sky while dancing in the cool Biscayne Bay breeze. 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; bayfrontparkmiami.com.
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4. Pineapple Stage at Ball & Chain. We bet that only in Miami do live bands perform inside a giant pineapple. The fruit-shaped stage, located in the venue's courtyard, is home to Ball & Chain’s monthly Pineapple Sunday party, presenting five-plus acts and earning a nod from New Times for best outdoor concert series. Cozy up at a table in front of the stage and enjoy a day of live music at one of Calle Ocho's most iconic landmarks. After you’ve spent an afternoon downing mojitos and dancing at this quintessential Miami spot, head next door for ice cream at Azucar, recently named one of the best restaurants in Little Havana. 1513 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-643-7820; ballandchainmiami.com.
5. Gramps. There’s no place that feels more like home than the backyard tiki-hut stage at Gramps. We’ve spent the majority of 2017 catching some of the city’s best shows at this Wynwood hot spot, and other great shows are on deck in the next few months. The venue boasts two stages. Larger shows are usually held on the outdoor stage, while smaller ones take place in the backroom, Shirley's. Grab a drink from the bar toward the back of the patio and take a seat for the show. For those who like to be in the thick of the action, arrive a little early to guarantee a prime spot. The standing-room area in front of the stage is under a large tent, so if Miami's unpredictable weather strikes, you're covered. 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com.