Happy Presidents' Day! Regardless of your feelings about America's current commander-in-chief, Monday is a well-deserved day off for plenty of folks. And thankfully, the holiday comes with myriad free things to do. Among them is the final day of the Kite Days festival at Haulover Park, where you can join heaps of other Miamians in a childhood-favorite activity. Let's just hope it's windy. Tuesday, warm up your vocal cords and then head to Faena Theater for its live-band karaoke experience, Rock the Mic. Looking ahead to the weekend, the third-annual Soul Vegan Festival will happen in Bandshell Park this Saturday, and then Unbranded Brewing will celebrate its grand opening with a block party Sunday.
Here are the best free things to do in Miami this week:
It's been a rainy and windy few days in South Florida. Let's hope the wind keeps it up for the final day of the Kite Days festival in Haulover Park this Monday. Spend your Presidents' Day with plenty of other kite fliers — all you need is your own kite, some wind (again, fingers crossed), and $7 for parking if you drive. If you haven't owned a kite since childhood or simply want a new one, vendors will be onsite selling 'em. Noon to 5 p.m. Monday, February 17, at Haulover Park, 10800 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; miamidade.gov. Admission is free; RSVP via eventbrite.com.
You've been singing in front of your mirror and in the car long enough. It's time to join a live band onstage (the South Florida-based Higher Ground) and be the star that you are. Monday evening, head to Faena Theater for its latest Rock the Mic. Yes, you can sign up and sing your favorite tune and make the crowd swoon. As with any karaoke night, arrive somewhat early to get on the list to sing. 7 to 10:30 p.m. Monday, February 17, at Faena Theater, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; faena.com. Admission is free.
In addition to offering a nice city view and a daily happy hour, the Novotel Miami Brickell rooftop is a stellar spot to catch a flick. This Wednesday, the hotel will roll out its big screen yet again for the latest edition of Movie Under the Stars. Watch the Harry Potter spinoff and 2016 fantasy/adventure flick Fantastic Beasts. There will be free popcorn and select food/drink specials during the screening. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, at Novotel Miami Brickell, 1500 SW First Ave., Miami; novotelmiami.com. Admission is free with registration via eventbrite.com.
Each third Friday of the month, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex is a pretty rockin' place to be. Its Sounds of Little Haiti series brings some of the best and brightest talents to its friendly confines for an evening of tunes, community, and cocktails (drinks are available for purchase). For this month's shindig, catch merengue-gone-flamenco rock outfit T-Vice. If you've never experienced authentic compas music before, you will with these guys. 6 p.m. Friday, February 21, at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Ter., Miami; littlehaiticulturalcenter.com. Admission is free.
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Who's hungry? Get to the third-annual Soul Vegan Festival, happening smack in the middle of Black History Month. This Saturday in Bandshell Park, indulge in Afro-Caribbean goodness thanks to local food influencer the Hungry Black Man and the City of Miami Beach. Among the activities, you can purchase unique bites from the likes of Atlanta's Ingrid Bayoro, who will serve her signature plantain sandwich, and Orlando's Jenn Ross, who is renowned for her killer vegan bread. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at the Sand Bowl in Bandshell Park, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free; RSVP via eventbrite.com.
New brewery alert! Hialeah's Unbranded Brewing will celebrate its grand opening all weekend. The peak of its activity will come this Sunday, when the spot will host a massive block party. The brewery will offer 16 beers for purchase, a selection of food trucks, and the unveiling of a mural. Pro tip: If you sign up for the brewery's email list and show proof, your first Unbranded beer is free onsite. Noon to midnight Sunday, February 23, at Unbranded Brewing, 1395 E. 11th Ave., Hialeah; unbrandedbrewing.com. Admission is free.
You don't have to trek to New Orleans to enjoy an epic Mardi Gras. Hollywood Mardi Gras has some serious history and is always a colorful party. Dating back to 1935, the fest is still going strong, and this Sunday will be no exception. Festivities include a walking krewe parade, a crawfish boil, beads aplenty, a king and queen costume contest, and a vendor market. And, yes, there will be beads. 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at 1920 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; hollywoodflmardigras.com. Admission is free.