Twelve Best Things to Do in Miami This Week

Thursday, July 2

In Miami's nightlife-driven music scene, your ears can get pretty starved for romance. Thankfully, the Community Arts Program of Coral Gables continues to provide a break from all that bass and EDM synth with its annual Summer Concert Series. Since 1985, the series has brought prestigious classical and jazz artists from around the world to Miami-Dade County, providing affordable exposure to a time-honored genre.

The 2015 series kicked off in June with musicians such as Sherman Irby Quintet and Amit Peled, and July starts just as strong with a performance by renowned jazz vocalist James Tormé. The son of Grammy-winning jazz legend Mel Tormé, James Tormé is celebrated for his unique take on older jazz classics, infusing soul and R&B into the favorites.

Tormé will help Miami audiences ring in the Fourth of July when he and his band pay tribute to American music history this Thursday at 8 p.m. at Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables). General-admission tickets cost $30; Patron tickets cost $50 and include access to catered food and wine from Coral Gables restaurants. Call 305-448-7421, ext. 153, or visit communityartsprogram.org.

With the All-Star break coming up, America's favorite pastime is nearing the halfway mark. Your Miami Marlins, hovering comfortably near the bottom of the National League East standings, have had some recent positives, like a 12-2 trouncing of the New York Yankees. Granted, the Fish have dropped some doozies — losing to the toothless Blue Jays 11-3 and the possibly medicinally stoned Colorado Rockies 5-10. But that's business as usual since the locally maligned franchise revamped itself. Capping off a three-day homestand against the San Francisco Giants should be a fun midday game for nice-weather enthusiasts even if an opening pitch at 12:10 p.m. seems a little early. Blame the broadcasting people.

Though these Giants might not carry the thrill of a Barry Bonds, Will Clark, or even Willie Mays, they're faring a bit better in the standings and are always a formidable opponent. This game will mark the return of pitcher José Fernández from the 60-day disabled list, and to celebrate (other than with a win, of course), the Marlins will give away "José Heads" to all fans in attendance. Also, hot dogs will cost only $1 during the game, so between the free heads and dollar dogs, we're sure a dirty joke is brewing.

The Marlins will take on the Giants this Thursday at 12:10 at Marlins Park, 501 Marlins Way, Miami. Tickets cost $18 to $68. Call 305-480-1300 or visit marlins.com

Friday, July 3

Leisure is one of the great modern pleasures of the middle class. With time and money to spare, Americans made R&R a central focus in 20th-century domestic life, and companies were eager to sell products to aid in the new-found recreation. The Wolfsonian (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) debuts a new exhibition, "Promoting the Good Life," a look at mass consumerism's role in the branding and marketing of a leisurely lifestyle. Drawn from newly acquired work, the exhibition features street posters and advertisements aimed at selling the "good life": from ads for Juicy Fruit to posters for liquor, beauty products, and other luxuries. The bold typography — persuasive and compelling — of turn-of-the century advertisements laid the foundation for today's brand-driven society. Don Draper had nothing on his predecessors.

"Promoting the Good Life" will open Friday and remain on view through November 15. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, and children. Museum members, children under 6, and employees or students of state universities get in free. Visit wolfsonian.org

Saturday, July 4

The land of the free and the home of the brave is about to reach the ripe old age of 239. Sure, she's had a few nips and tucks, but who hasn't? To celebrate her double-centenarian status this Saturday, here's where to get your red, white, and blue on:

America's Birthday Bash at Bayfront Park: This patriotic blowout will feature a kids' zone (to keep the little ones occupied while you hit up the Samuel Adams Beer Garden), live tunes, good eats, and the largest free fireworks show in all of South Florida. Prepare to be impressed. The event runs all day at Bayfront Park (301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami), with the kids' zone open from 3 to 7 p.m. and the fireworks at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Visit bayfrontparkmiami.com.

Fire on the Fourth on Miami Beach: Nothing says summertime like beachfront fireworks. Make your way to North Shore Park with towels, beach chairs, bikinis, and banana hammocks for a full day of R&R. Do some yoga, listen to live tunes, make the rounds at your favorite food trucks, and, come nighttime, watch a fireworks extravaganza. Activities kick off at 9 a.m. at the North Shore Park Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Visit miamibeachfl.gov.

Key Biscayne 4th of July Parade: It's un-American not to love a good parade, so Key Biscayne's annual march is the perfect way to celebrate the USA. Pack up the chairs, sunscreen, and coolers and snag a spot early. The parade gets rolling at 11 a.m. sharp and heads south on Crandon Boulevard from Harbor Drive to West Enid. Admission is free. Visit kb4.org

America's birthday festivities usually involve beer bashes and barbecues, but people into a healthy lifestyle might prefer something a little less boozy and a little more athletically inclined. Enter the SoleRUNNERS July 4th 5K, the first of its kind at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park.

Participants will enjoy an entirely new course at a lovely park, and finishers will score a unique "We Run Miami" logo medal, perfect for humble-bragging. The route is a single loop, and for those who are into PRs, performance will be digitally timed by Split Second Timing. Only 500 folks are allowed in, so plan ahead if you don't wanna get stuck spending a regrettable holiday morning with your day-drinking pals.

The event kicks off at 7:04 a.m. Saturday at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park (11395 SW 79th St., Miami). Registration costs $25 for the 5K, $30 for the 5K plus a shuttle ride from Brickell, and $10 for the kids' run. Visit july4miami5k.eventbrite.com or call 305-595-7867.

Despite whatever turbulence is tousling the country, proud Americans pay tribute to the USA every Fourth of July. Though many families take to their backyards and neighbors' pools to celebrate the holiday, it's even nicer to get out and enjoy public spaces — especially those as pretty as the Barnacle. This Fourth, the Barnacle Historic State Park invites patriots of all walks to its lush grounds for its Old Fashioned Picnic. Family and friends (and their dogs!) can honor Independence Day with food, live music, games, and crafts as they explore the 19th-century home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove's most influential pioneers.

The picnic begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Barnacle (3485 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove). Admission is $5 for guests ages 12 and older, $3 for ages 6 to 11, and free for kids 5 and younger. Call 305-442-6866 or visitfloridastateparks.org

Miami loves any excuse to party, and America's independence is the ultimate reason. For the past decade, drumbeat devotees have kept patriotism alive by attending the biggest Fourth of July party on South Beach and dancing till nightfall at IndepenDANCE.

And this year is no different, because the beach bash will return to the white sands of Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach) Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. with a lineup of deep-house DJs guaranteed to keep you moving even when the fireworks start going off. Expect performances by Boris, Cocodrills, Vanjee, Patrick M, ALX, Allan Gallego, Bill Kelly, Donnie Lowe, Carabetta & Doons, Thinking of Us, Chiri, and Yander Delgado. As if all of that weren't enough, the folks behind the 11th-annual IndepenDANCE have a special surprise guest up their sleeve.

Ticket prices range from $20 before 2 p.m. and $30 all day to VIP tables for you and your clique in the hundreds of dollars. Visit independance.wantickets.com.

Sunday, July 5

Few things are more fantastic than a talking fox. Now, imbue that eloquent mammal with the attitude of a posh, well-respected, established man who likely wears a monocle and a mustache, and you have yourself a fantastic Mr. Fox! Although that's not quite the premise of the play Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was adapted from Roald Dahl's children's book that was turned into a 2009 feature film by Wes Anderson, it gets you in the proper mindset. The story actually follows a group of anthropomorphic farm animals led by a sly fox who work together to steal food from human farmers. Empty animal stomachs is always a strong motivator.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is playing now through July 26 at the Area Stage Company (1560 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables). Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $10 to $25. Call 305-666-2078 or visit areastagecompany.com

When kids grow up, they can be anything, so it's important to expose young'uns to as many career paths as possible. It's even more important that we teach future generations how fun it can be to let their natural exploratory side roam free, and that's what Scientist Sundays at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami) is all about.

Each first Sunday of the month, the museum brings in real-life scientists who share their points of view through fun and interactive demonstrations. This Sunday, test your ability to hunt for food, just like an animal in the wild, when FAU Associate Professor Erik Noonburg shows how making the right moves can make or break a family's survival. FIU Assistant Professor Shannon Pruden will also be there, demonstrating how spatial awareness and reasoning affect human early development. Each challenging series of games will be fun and informative. And who knows? Maybe they will inspire the little one in your family to one day do big things in the scientific community.

The fun starts at 1 p.m., and participation is free. Regular museum admission of $10.95 to $14.95 applies if you wish to explore the rest of the museum. Visit miamisci.org

Wednesday, July 8

If you can't decide between your favorite B-words — barbecue, beer, and bourbon — here's good news: You don't have to. That's because the Dutch's insanely popular Summer BBQ Series is back by demand for the fourth year, and you can have it all, or in this case, barbecue, beer, and bourbon.

The extravaganza takes places in the Dutch's backyard at the W South Beach (2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) every Wednesday this month. Each week, Conor Hanlon — chef de cuisine of Andrew Carmellini's Magic City outpost — invites one of Miami's fellow top toques to cook a mouthwatering, family-style barbecue feast. And to keep things smoking, this Wednesday's guest is none other than the man from the land down under, Edge Steak & Bar executive chef Aaron Brooks. Though the night's theme is classic Southern 'cue, it's a safe bet there will be some type of lamb being served, because both chefs are die-hard advocates of the lean meat.

Tickets to this week's cookout cost $40 per person and include tax and gratuity but not beverages — you know, beer (craft suds from local breweries) and handcrafted bourbon libations. And because no summer barbecue is complete without pie, Josh Gripper will bake some. Call 305-938-3111 or visit thedutchmiami.com.

If you love crafts and a good drink, don't miss Arts & Drafts, taking place this Wednesday at the New Tropic (7230 NW Miami Ct., #5, Miami). The night will include mixed-media art lessons and a chance to create works to take home and show off. Plus, food trucks will be onsite to provide grub while you get your artistic vibe flowing.

A single canvas panel costs $5, a triple canvas panel package is $12.50, and $15 gets you a single stretched canvas. If you're bringing a significant other, try the date-night special for $45, which includes four panels and a bottle of wine. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and class begins at 8. Seats are limited, so to reserve yours and pre-purchase supplies, visit thenewtropic.com

Author Robert Kurson adds an entirely new excitement to hunting. Some folks are fascinated by pursuing wild game or catching criminals, but Kurson invites readers into the vast depths of the sea for stories of arduous searches and unsolved mysteries. Known for his 2004 bestseller, Shadow Divers — the true story of two Americans who discover a World War II German U-boat sunk 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey — Kurson returns with another gripping adventure, Pirate Hunters. In his latest effort, the author introduces readers to John Chatterton and John Mattera, two men willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. Bannister's exploits should have gotten him immortalized alongside notorious figures such as Blackbeard, but his story and ship have been lost for centuries. If Chatterton and Mattera's search pays off, they could make history.

Kurson will share the suspense of Pirate Hunters at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com

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