The Best Things to Do in Miami This Weekend: Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas! The best time of the week is finally here: the weekend. Miami offers just about every activity this holiday weekend. If you don't have Christmas Day dinner plans, make a last-minute reservation at one of 25 local eateries offering specialty meals and menus. On Saturday, head to the Miami International Children’s Film Festival at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, offering a variety of Miami premieres of films from around the world through Thursday, December 31, making it a perfect way to close out the year. Or celebrate post-Christmas at Nikki Beach's Jingle Beach, bringing a roster of international DJ talent for the day-long music bash. End the weekend with a moonlight canoe tour around Deering Estate, departing from Charles Deering’s boat basin and stopping at Chicken Key, a seven-acre mangrove island and bird rookery about a mile offshore.

Here's a glimpse at what our city has to offer this holiday weekend, so get up and get ready for another memorable, Miami-style weekend.

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The Best Things to Do in Miami This Weekend: Christmas Edition
Courtesy of Bulla Gastrobar


  • Christmas Dinners in Miami: Spending the holidays in Miami is different. There are palm trees covered in lights and snowmen made of sand. But feeding your ten family members, including those distant relatives you love to hate, is just the same anywhere. Though most establishments are closed for the holiday, more than 25 local eateries offer special menus Christmas Day — from cochinillo and traditional roasted ham to oysters, lobster, and crab. So make a last-minute reservation before it's too late.
  • Miami Big Sound Orchestra at Museum of Contemporary Art: Even Christmas won’t stop the music at North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Christmas Day, after the last presents have been opened and final coquitos consumed, the museum will offer one final celebration of holiday music with the Miami Big Sound Orchestra.
  • Viernes Culturales at Maximo Gomez Domino Park: Visit Little Havana the last Friday of the month and you’ll find yourself transported by a rhythmic, cafecito-fueled spectacle reminiscent of the tropical carnival processions of Cuba’s golden age. This month’s edition of Viernes Culturales is a prime example of why the folkloric event has become popular with visitors: it’s a festive cacophony of music, art, and frosty tropical libations that loosens hips and inspires revelers to join impromptu conga lines during the raucous Calle Ocho block parties.


  • Miami International Children’s Film Festival at Coral Gables Art Cinema: While Family Day at Aragon is a typical hit among adults and kids alike at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, there’s another exciting event available this month for families: the third-annual Miami International Children’s Film Festival (MICFF). Presented in partnership with New York International Children’s Film Festival, the fest offers a variety of Miami premieres of films from around the world this Saturday through Thursday, December 31, making it a perfect way to close out the year.
  • Birdman’s Clambake at Woody's West End Tavern: Boxing Day is the most mysterious holiday on the calendar — at least to us Americans. Historically, it was the day employers would bestow gifts — or perhaps more likely, re-gifts — to their loyal servants and tradesmen. You probably would’ve fit better into the tradesman category than the wealthy estate, so maybe it’s time to take Boxing Day back? Give the gift of music to yourself this Saturday and head to Woody’s West End Tavern for a special year-end set from SoBe classic Birdman’s Clambake.
  • Jingle Beach at Nikki Beach Miami: After all the wholesomeness of Christmas Day with the family, you might be seriously itching for some irresponsible behavior. Coming at just the right time, party destination Nikki Beach is hosting Jingle Beach, an all-day tech-house party kicking off the day after Christmas. Held on Nikki Beach’s oceanfront grounds, Jingle Beach brings a roster of international DJ talent for the day-long music bash. Featured acts include Jesse Perez, Paulo Rocco, Tripmastaz, and Sex Sells. Locals will be happy to hear the beats of Ben Finx + Snay, TechNeekz, Lou Flores, and others throughout the day.


  • Disney in Concert: Magical Music From the Movies at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts: For all the nostalgia junkies who want to relive their grade-school sing-alongs, Disney in Concert: Magical Music From the Movies is the perfect excuse. An orchestra, video clips from classic flicks, and killer vocals will join forces to re-create the magic of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, The Lion King, Frozen, and more. Mary Poppins and Pirates of the Caribbean will make an appearance, too, so better brush up on those lyrics. Sure, kids will dig it, but let’s be real: Many adults will probably have an ulterior motive to attend.
  • Moonlight Canoe Tour at Deering Estate at Cutler: The bright skies and blue waters of Miami’s Biscayne Bay are certainly appealing, but the energy-sapping heat during a daytime boat ride is no joke. For those looking to explore the city without the punishing rays, the Deering Estate at Cutler offers its Moonlight Canoe Tour, which departs from Charles Deering’s boat basin and stops at Chicken Key, a seven-acre mangrove island and bird rookery about a mile offshore.
  • Double Stubble at Gramps: Men, put on your dresses; women, bring your best face. It’s the last Sunday of the month, and that means it’s time to make trouble at the Double Stubble. Voted the best gay night in the whole damn city, the monthly at Gramps Bar means lots of dancing, flirting, drinking, glitter, eye makeup, and likely a bare chest or two — maybe even a bear chest. All kinds are truly welcome. The ever-fresh DJ Hottpants, Terence Tabeau, and Mystic Ball will be on the ones and twos, but everyone will have to make way for the legendary Lady Miss Kier.
  • The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge at Miracle Theatre: It wouldn’t be Christmastime if that old Ebenezer Scrooge weren’t mucking things up again. In a so-called sequel to Charles Dickens’ famous novella A Christmas Carol, playwright Mark Brown envisions Scrooge a year after his miraculous transformation. Unfortunately, the humbug is back to his old curmudgeonly ways and suing Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future for a range of crimes — from breaking and entering his home to intentionally inflicting undue emotional distress. Melding themes and plot lines from the original text with the courtroom drama of 12 Angry Men, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge places all the characters in question on the witness stand, offering a funny new take on the Christmas Eve in question.
  • Great Russian Nutcracker at The Fillmore Miami Beach It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and though Miami won’t get any snow or, by the looks of it, even a harsh breeze, it does get dancing sugar-plum fairies as splendid an any others in the nation. In fact, the Magic City has a very special rendition of Tchaikovsky’s famed Nutcracker ballet in town, straight from Moscow, Russia. With a new set design and world-class ballerinas, this performance is likely to satisfy even repeat customers.

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