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The Best Things to Do in Miami This Summer

People often dismiss summer in Miami as slow season. But in many ways, it's when the city expresses its truest self. The heat and humidity can be stifling, sure, but with the powers of modern air conditioning, exploding creative energy, and a relentless drive to push the city forward, there's no limit to the things we can see, do, and explore this summer.

Need proof? Check out this list of Miami's best cultural events over the next three months. From exhibitions to festivals, performances, and more, there's no shortage of opportunities to get out of the house and remind yourself that summer in the city is about so much more than beach days.

1950 Cuba brochure by Conrado Walter Massaguer
1950 Cuba brochure by Conrado Walter Massaguer
Courtesy of the Wolfsonian-FIU / The Vicki Gold Levi Collection

June

"Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer." He palled around with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, and the King of Spain and helped shape views of his native Cuba throughout the 20th Century. Remembered best for his biting political satire, celebrity caricatures, and magazine and advertising illustrations, graphic artist Conrado Walter Massaguer thrived at the center of Havana’s cosmopolitan culture in the decades before the Cuban Revolution. Now, thanks to a recently gifted installation of works, his legacy will be on display at the Wolfsonian Library in South Beach. Browse dozens of Massaguer’s most iconic and influential illustrations, from images of the “New Woman” flapper ideal in his magazine Social to depictions of tropical paradise for the Cuban Tourist Commission. Friday, June 7, through Sunday, February 2, at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-1001; wolfsonian.org. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with ID, and free for members.

The Best Things to Do in Miami This SummerEXPAND
Courtesy of American Black Film Festival

American Black Film Festival. When the first American Black Film Festival took place in June 1997 (then known as the Acapulco Black Film Festival), its founders aimed to create a venue at which members of black Hollywood could meet, network, collaborate, and celebrate black cinema. Now in its 23rd year, having relocated to Miami and drawing nearly 10,000 attendees annually, ABFF continues to achieve its original vision as the nation's largest gathering of black film and TV enthusiasts. Festival highlights for 2019 include the panel Art of Directing with George Tillman Jr. (The Hate You Give), Malcolm D. Lee (Night School), and others; the ABFF Comedy Wings competition, hosted by Deon Cole (Black-ish); and the Hot in Hollywood Q&A with actresses Marsai Martin (Black-ish, Little), Lakeith Stansfield (Atlanta), and others. Wednesday, June 12, through Sunday, June 16, at various locations. Tickets start at $120 via abff.org.

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Photo by Iwan Baan

"Guadalupe Maravilla: Portals." The Institute of Contemporary Art welcomes the New York-and-Richmond-based, El Salvador-born multidisciplinary artist Guadalupe Maravilla to Miami for his first solo museum project, “Portals.” Comprising newly commissioned sculptures — a set of intricate, large-scale wearable headdresses that incorporate gongs used in vibrational therapy — “Portals” is a response to the artist’s geo-cultural displacement and personal mythology as one of the first wave of undocumented children to arrive in the United States during the Central American conflicts of the 1980s. The show also addresses current collective anxieties stemming from the political crisis at the United States' southern border. Thursday, June 13, through Sunday, November 3, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 61 NE 41st St., Miami; 305-901-5272; icamiami.org. Admission is free.

The Best Things to Do in Miami This SummerEXPAND
Photo by Monica McGivern

Wynwood Pride. Miami Beach celebrated Pride this past April, but for its inaugural Pride festival, Wynwood is following suit by hosting a weekend-long party in June, International Pride Month. Featuring a lineup of Miami's top-tier queer performers, from drag queens Queef Latina and Miss Toto to DJs Gami and Keanu Orange, plus guest stars such as Brazilian drag-pop superstar Pabllo Vittar, the celebrations will happen under the sprawling Wynwood Marketplace tent and at other activations around the neighborhood. What's more, all the lip-sync battles, voguing catwalks, late-night DJs, and other diversions are free and open to the public, and registration includes a complimentary drink. Friday, June 21, through Sunday, June 23, at Wynwood Marketplace, 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-239-8833; wynwoodpride.com. General admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.

The Best Things to Do in Miami This Summer
Photo by Carina Mask

July

Florida Supercon. Taking over nearly 500,000 square feet of newly renovated space at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Supercon returns in 2019 for four days of exhibits, costumes, gameplay, autographs, and more to celebrate and bring to life all things geek, from comic books and anime to videogames, cosplay, fantasy, and more. Whether you're playing in a tournament, attending a Q&A or workshop, showing off your killer cosplay skills, ogling celebrities, or simply taking in the spectacle, Florida Supercon will undoubtedly power up your Independence Day weekend. Thursday, July 4, through Sunday, July 7, at Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; 800-598-1055; floridasupercon.com. Single-day tickets start at $30.

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Photo by Matthew Murphy

John Leguizamo: Latin History for Morons. Following critical and audience acclaim direct from a sold-out run at Broadway’s Public Theater and a record-breaking night at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons comes to Miami for one weekend only. Inspired by a lack of Latinos in his son's American history books, Leguizamo embarks on a frenzied and hilarious mission to locate a Latin hero for his son's history project. Over the course of 110 uncensored minutes, the show breaks down the 3,000 years between the Mayans and Pitbull, as told by the irreverent and incisive Tony- and Emmy-winning talent. Friday, July 12, through Sunday, July 14, at Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets start at $49.

Pérez Art Museum Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Photo by Angel Valentin

"The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art." This overarching group show opening at Pérez Art Museum Miami sets its sights on times to come by exploring radical imaginations that expand our view of the Caribbean into the future. Rather than dwell on the Caribbean’s traumatic, colonial past and trials that linger today, “The Other Side of Now” seeks to break from and reframe contemporary art narratives of the Caribbean. Featuring 14 artists from the region and its diaspora, the thematic exhibit invites participants to play and grapple with the future of the Caribbean and attempt to answer the question: What might a Caribbean future look like? Thursday, July 18, through Sunday, June 7, 2020, at Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; pamm.org. Admission is 16 for adults; $12 for children, students, and seniors with ID; and free for members.

Olympia Theater
Olympia Theater
Photo by Alex Markow

August

Katya: Help Me, I'm Dying. For the first time ever, RuPaul’s Drag Race Miss Congeniality and All-Stars Season 2 finalist Katya Zamolodchikova will stop in Miami with her riotous new standup show, Help Me, I’m Dying. Fusing comedy, storytelling, video, dance, and music, the multicharacter, multimedia variety show explores what it means to be a woman. “Suspicious Rich Person” tickets will grant you access to the front of the line at Olympia Theater, priority seating, a signed poster, and a meet-and-greet photo with Katya. Or be an “Eccentric Billionaire Benefactor” to also score an exclusive signed and numbered graphic print. 8 p.m. Saturday, August 3, at Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444. Tickets start at $25 via olympiatheater.org.

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Photo by Sara McCranie / Miami BookFair

DanceAfrica Miami 2019. Starring renowned native artists from Guinea, Senegal, Mali, the Ivory Coast, Haiti, and Cuba, Miami's premier African-diaspora dance and drum festival will take over the iconic Little Haiti Cultural Complex for three days of workshops, fashion shows, yoga and wellness, a global bazaar, a children's village, live music, and other diversions. The event’s pinnacle Saturday-night performance, Seeds of the Diaspora, will take festivalgoers on a sonic journey in which artists from across cultures converge on the main stage for a historically sold-out concert. Friday, August 2, through Sunday, August 4, at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Ter., Miami; 305-960-2969; adddff.delouafrica.org. General-admission concert tickets cost $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and students with ID, and $5 for children aged 2 or younger. Individual workshop admission starts at $15.

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Photo by Jean-David & Anne-Laure / Flickr

Siempre Flamenco Festival. The stirring rhythms of flamenco will transport you to Andalucía, Spain, during Siempre Flamenco’s Festival de Cante, returning to Miami for a 14th spine-tingling edition. Bringing together old favorites and new faces, the dramatic and intimate 200-seat performance embodies the passion and raw emotion of flamenco music and dancing. This year, acclaimed Spanish singers Rocío Bazán, Manuel de la Niña, and Javier Heredia, world-renowned dancer Antoñete Castro, and the great guitarist Paco Fernandez are joined by founding members Paco and Celia Fonta to complete an A-list lineup of flamenco stars. Friday, August 30, through Sunday, September 1, at Carnival Studio Theater, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722. Tickets start at $48 via arshtcenter.org.

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