Things are getting festive: Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and holiday decorations are appearing. This Wednesday, How I Met Your Mother fans should bring their trivia A-game to Growler USA for a special trivia event: Slapsgiving. Saturday, CityPlace Doral will get in the holiday spirit with a special tree-lighting ceremony loaded with live entertainment. And for those not ready to embrace the seasonal spirit just yet, there are plenty of other options, including Faena Theater's live band karaoke experience Monday and Veza Sur's epic #HechaEnMiami Block Party in Wynwood Saturday. Best of all, none of these gatherings will break the bank.
Here are the best free things to do in Miami this week:
Are you the next Garry Kasparov or Anatoly Karpov? Whether your goal is to become the next chess legend or to simply have some fun on a Monday, you can do it at Sweat Records' God Save the Queen Chess Club. It meets once a month and offers Miamians a chance to square off against fellow local enthusiasts. Some chess sets will be provided, but supplies will be limited, so bring your own set if you have one. 7 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, November 18, at Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786- 693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com. Admission is free.
The Institute of Financial Wellness for the Arts (IFWA) and Faena Theater have teamed up for the live karaoke series Rock the Mic at Faena beginning this Monday. Folks can take the mike and sing their favorite tunes accompanied by a live band. Latin artist Arias Martin will host the proceedings, and magician Alex Ramon will perform. Additional dates will be announced, so stay tuned. 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 18, at Faena Theater, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; faena.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
The podcast Worst Place on Earth has proved pretty popular with listeners. Each week, hosts Jessica Farr and Caleb Scott scour some of the wildest and weirdest true-crime-esque stories from across the globe and share them in a captivating fashion. This Tuesday, the local band Afrobeta will join the hosts at the Olympia Theater for a special recording of the podcast, complete with a live score from the accompanying act. The forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of at least one "Florida Man" story. 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 19, at Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444; olympiatheater.org. Admission is free.
Do you think you know Ted, Robin, Lily, and Barney better than anyone else? If so, hit Growler USA in Wynwood this Wednesday for How I Met Your Mother Slapsgiving Trivia. Grab your fellow sitcom enthusiasts and gear up for five rounds of HIMYM goodness, two of which will be dedicated to the wonderful tradition of Slapsgiving. But don't actually slap your friends — unless they totally deserve it. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 20, at Growler USA, 337 NW 25th St., Miami; growlerusa.com. Admission is free.
Merengue and salsa are as quintessentially Miami as midafternoon gridlock on I-95. As part of the Miami Design District's Performance Series, the legendary Johnny Ventura will perform a musical tribute to the beloved genres Friday evening in Palm Court Plaza. The Dominican singer is known as the "Elvis of Merengue" and has released more than 100 albums dating to the 1960s. 6:30 p.m. Friday, November 22, in Palm Court Plaza, 140 NE 39th St., Miami; miamidesigndistrict.net. Admission is free.
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Veza Sur Brewing Co. is readt to throw down hard this Saturday. At noon, the Wynwood craft brew hot spot will kick of its annual #HechaEnMiami Block Party, offering live music, tasty bites, and, of course, lots of beer. Among the boozy highlights, the brewery will release its first barrel-aged bottle and will host a homebrewing competition. Palo Santo, Domino Saints, Patrick & the Swayzees, and Los Wizzards will rock the crowds throughout the day. Noon Saturday, November 23, at Veza Sur Brewing Co., 55 NW 25th St., Miami; vezasur.com. Admission is free.
To get in the holiday spirit, head to CityPlace Doral this Saturday for its Tree Lighting Ceremony. In addition to illuminating a huge tree and offering a special "snowfall," the event will offer plenty to make you jolly. The traditional Cuban group Cortadito will serenade guests, and South Florida Dance Group will perform a special rendition of The Nutcracker. 6 p.m. Saturday, November 23, at CityPlace Doral, 8300 NW 36th St., Doral; cityplacedoral.com. Admission is free.
Your weekend doesn't have to end on a boring note. Every last Sunday of the month (meaning this Sunday!), the picturesque Mayfair at Coconut Grove hosts the Miami Latin Rooftop Pool Party. Arrive at noon for a special bachata class by Bloo. From there, DJs Mike Caledron, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Artie Bronx will drive the festive vibe. Noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, November 24, at the Mayfair at Coconut Grove, 3000 Florida Ave., Coconut Grove; mayfairhotelandspa.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.