New Year's Eve for Free: Five Miami Events That Won't Cost You Anything

If you're anything like us (which is to say, broke), you're trying hard to find New Year's Eve plans that won't have you spending loads of money on a half-rate party. Luckily, this year we're in a recession (hooray?), so the city's party planners have made arrangements for the 99% too.

If you've already spent all your money on gifts for your loved ones, those ingrates, check out these spots around the city that offer fun -- and free -- ways to ring in the new year.

King Mango Strut

The self-proclaimed "Weirdest Parade in the Universe" is back for its

30th run. Beginning as a place for King Orange Bowl Parade rejects to

strut their stuff, the event has developed into a display of the most

creative, unusual, and not infrequently offensive exhibitions Coconut

Grove has to offer. You can join in the march or enjoy from the

sidelines, and make sure you hang around afterward for the bands of the

King Mango Music Massacre.

Saturday, December 31, 2 p.m., Commodore Plaza and Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305-401-1171; www.kingmangostrut.org.

The Big Orange

There's almost nothing we enjoy more than a 35-foot neon fruit in

sunglasses. Assuming you feel the same way, you'll want to check out the

Hotel InterContinental Miami on New Year's Eve. The astutely-named Big

Orange will begin its 400-foot ascent in the air at 6 p.m., and

spectators can enjoy fireworks and a laser show at midnight.

Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m., Hotel InterContinental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami; 305-577-1000.

City of Miami Beach New Year's Eve Celebration

If you're the more laid-back type, you can head down to Ocean Drive and

8th Street for free fireworks at midnight. Rest assured that if our

significant others lived in Miami, we'd be dragging them down to South

Beach for a midnight makeout session under the lit up sky.

Saturday, December 31, all night, Miami Beach.

Noon Year's Eve

We can't all stay up for the midnight countdown. Those of you with

children should think about going to Miami Children's Museum, where kids

can spend their time playing games, making arts & crafts and

watching their very own balloon drop. Full disclosure: This event isn't

entirely free; it's free with paid admission to the museum. But it's

worth it -- it'll leave the little ones all tuckered out so you adults

can party all the harder when they're in bed.

Saturday, December 31, 10 a.m., Miami Children's Museum, 980 MacArthur

Causeway, Miami; 305-373-5437; www.miamichildrensmuseum.org.

Your Couch

Let's face it: Miami's a shitshow every New Year's Eve, and this year

the holiday falls on a Saturday, which'll only add boozy fuel to the

drunken fire. Why put yourself through the hassle of braving the Miami

streets when you can get good and drunk in the comfort of your own home?

Cuddle up on the couch with your boo and flip through the many New

Year's Eve specials on TV, from that one old dude on that boring news

channel to whatever talentless hack is hosting MTV's countdown this

year. Come midnight, you can gulp down champagne, eat your 12 grapes, and

thank whatever God you pray to that January 1st is a Sunday.

--Kathleen Elise

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