Miami Music Week is nearly upon us. From March 20 through 25, the Magic City will be one giant, sweaty rage fest hosting some of the world's best DJs, producers, and electronic musicians and attracting hundreds of thousands of dance music fans from across the globe. The climax of the famed week is Ultra Music Festival, the world-renowned three-day electronic music festival, and it's all taking place right in your backyard. Are you prepared for the madness?
Concerts and parties will take place from South Beach to downtown Miami and turn the city into an absolute madhouse. Maybe you're here for the unbridled revelry. But if you're not, take heart: It's possible to avoid the bright lights and uhntz-uhntz. From pop-up cat cafés to food festivals, these are the ten best ways to avoid Miami Music Week:
1. Abandoned Pet Rescue Pop-Up Cat Café. When one of the world's most revered electronic music festivals is in your backyard, it's hard to find a friend who isn't talking about the annual gathering. Our recommendation: Find yourself a new "furr-ever" friend. Head to Fort Lauderdale for the launch of Abandoned Pet Rescue's pop-up cat café at Blanco y Blanco Arts. Feline lovers can play with adoptable kittens and snack on pastries, coffee, and tea. All proceeds will benefit Abandoned Pet Rescue, Broward’s largest no-kill shelter. Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Blanco y Blanco Arts, 1147 NE Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-728-9010; abandonedpetrescue.org. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
2. FemAle Brew Fest. Women were brewing beer long before burly men in perfectly groomed beards and flannel shirts took up the task. In fact, women have been making beer since ancient times, when it was considered their job. This March 24, the nation's first women-only beer festival will return to Fort Lauderdale to celebrate and highlight the ladies of the brewing industry. A $45 general-admission ticket includes samples of beer brewed by women from 3 to 7:30 p.m. while supplies last. DJ La Trice Perry will throw down alongside performances by women solo artists and bands. A portion of the proceeds from FemAle Brew Fest 2018, presented by the Fem Collective, will benefit the Pink Boots Society, a nonprofit for women beer professionals. 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24, in Huizenga Plaza, 32 Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; femalebrewfest.com. Tickets cost $45 to $95 plus fees via eventbrite.com.
3. MissCellaneous: All Kings Edition. Miss Toto, Miami's reigning queen of the gay party scene, is bringing the 305 some fabulous alternatives to Miami's annual tiki-tiki takeover. Recently dubbed one of Miami's best drag shows by New Times, MissCellaneous is a new monthly drag night brought to you by Miss Toto and Villain Theater. This month's showcase will offer an all-drag king lineup at Little Haiti's intimate theater Saturday, March 24. Although the lineup has yet to be released, Villain Theater teased it in this Jezebel article on MissCellaneous' Facebook event page. Will Florida drag king Spikey Van Dykey make an appearance? For more fun with Miss Toto during Miami Music Week, catch Bingo With Miss Toto at Gramps at 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 21. 11:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at Villain Theater, 5865 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-391-2241; villaintheater.com. Tickets cost $10.
4. Deering Seafood Festival. Down south, in the peaceful, faraway land of Palmetto Bay, Miami's most voracious seafood lovers will gather for the 14th-annual Deering Seafood Festival. Foodies can relax with nature and sate their appetites with fresh seafood and desserts. Catch Popo’s Seafood, Tacos & Tattoos, Sports Grill, Golden Rule Seafood, Rodbenders Raw Bar & Grille, Gringa Flan, Chill’N Nitrogen Ice Cream, Wendy’s Chocolates, and others in the fest's Seafood Alley. The event will also offer live entertainment, celebrity chef demos, kid-friendly activities, and other diversions. Just don't make out with a tree like that girl did at Ultra in 2012. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Deering Estate, 16701 SW 72nd Ave., Palmetto Bay; 305-235-1668; deeringestate.org. Admission starts at $20 presale via deeringestate.org/seafood-festival and $25 at the gate. Children ages 4-14 are $7 presale and $10 at the gate.
5. Miami's Vice City Rollers vs. Key West Derby Dames. The fearless, badass babes of Miami's Vice City Rollers, the 305's first and only women's flat-track roller-derby league, will return for their first game of the 2018 season against the Key West Derby Dames. Miami's roughest and toughest will serve "derby kisses" to the competition during an action-packed bout March 24 at the Wynwood Dome. (Derby kisses cause the gnarliest black-and-blues you've ever seen.) The kickoff game will include a special Miami Heat takeover with Heat dancers, the Xtreme Team, Burnie, and special guest announcer Dale. Root for the home team, and don't forget your folding chair because seating is limited. 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Wynwood Dome, 226 NW 22nd Ln., Miami; 305-707-4443; miamirollerderby.com. Tickets cost $12 presale plus fees via vicecityvskeywest.brownpapertickets.com and $15 at the door. Trackside seating costs $20. Children aged 10 or younger get in free.
6. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It's no secret South Beach will be overrun with tourists during Miami Music Week. So if you had dreams of getting a tan next weekend, it's time to reroute. Head to Key Biscayne's Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, better known to locals as "El Farito," and singled out by New Times as one of the best beaches in Miami. This locals spot is great for primo beachside relaxation and tons of outdoor fun such as biking to fishing. Be sure to climb to the top of the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, Miami-Dade's oldest structure, for a free tour tour provided by the park Thursday through Monday beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 1200 S. Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne; 305-361-5811; floridastateparks.org/park/cape-florida. Admission costs $8 per vehicle or $4 for single drivers.
7. Robert Is Here. Your friends who decide to endure a full week of DJ sets and all-night ragers will be too partied-out to function. You'll be there to catch them when they fall. Might as well do it with smoothies. Head to the iconic Homestead fruit stand Robert Is Here and shop for some rare and exotic tropical fruits for the ultimate smoothie. Before you drive south, check out the site's tropical fruit guide to see if the fruit you're looking for is in season. This famous spot is also known for its milkshakes, which are the real reason you're going, but your friends don't need to know that. 19200 SW 344th St., Homestead; 305-246-1592; robertishere.com.
8. Little Havana Paint, Taste, and Sip Tour. If you listen closely while visiting the vibrant Cuban neighborhood of Little Havana, you can hear the dominoes clacking in Calle Ocho’s Máximo Gómex Park, AKA Domino Park. You can even smell the sweet aroma of freshly made cafecito wafting through the air. Little Havana is a special place with rich culture and a story to tell. While dance diehards are shaking their asses off at Bayfront Park, join the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism (CHAT) Miami Saturday, March 24, for the three-hour Little Havana Paint, Taste, and Sip Tour. You'll begin at the Little Havana Welcome Center for an hourlong walking tour through the neighborhood and nosh on essentials such as Cuban sandwiches, pastelitos, sugarcane water, and Cuban coffee. At Futurama Art Galleries, you can learn how to make mojitos, paint a Calle Ocho rooster sculpture, and dance salsa. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Futurama Art Galleries, 1637 SW Eighth St., Miami; 866-859-3930; chatmiami.tours. Tickets cost $89 plus fees via eventbrite.com.
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9. Gables Bike Day. Riding a bike in Miami can be scary as hell. But Sunday, March 25, Bike Walk Coral Gables will host the seventh-annual Gables Bike Day, when the community can bike and walk in a safe space and learn about bike safety. The family event will offer bike tours of Coral Gables, kid-friendly activities, giveaways, bicycle safety lessons, exercise classes, a scavenger hunt, and other fun. It's the last day of Miami Music Week — if you can make it through today, you can do anything. Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Merrick Park, 405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables; 786-529-7180; bikewalkcoralgables.org. Admission is free.
10. Ginnie Springs. Miami is the tenth most congested city in the world, according to a study from INRIX, and the fifth most congested metro area in the nation. Add the hundreds of thousands of tourists who will soon descend upon the Magic City, and you've got some serious traffic warfare. If you want to avoid the chaos completely, skip town for a pleasant weekend getaway. Located in the North Florida town of High Springs is Ginnie Springs, a serene park connected to the Sante Fe River, whose water is so clear it'll make you damn near cry. Dubbed best weekend getaway by New Times, Ginnie Springs has it all, from camping to snorkeling. Tubes, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling and diving equipment are available for rent, but the real fun is seeing how over-the-top you can get with your gear. Insane party rafts can be seen floating down the river carrying more than ten people. Ginnie Springs is about a six-hour drive from Miami, which sounds far until you remember that you'd otherwise be spending that time in traffic on the causeway. 5000 NE 60th Ave., High Springs; 386-454-7188; ginniespringsoutdoors.com. Admission costs $14.02 for adults and $3.73 for kids; children 5 and under get in free.