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The Ten Best Holiday Parties in Miami

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Saturnalia, Festivus or nothing at all, Miami's got you on the party circuit.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Saturnalia, Festivus or nothing at all, Miami's got you on the party circuit.
Photo by Daniella Mía

It's a crisp 80 degrees outside, coquito is making the rounds, and carols are on the radio. It must be the holiday season in Miami. Even though the Magic City's spin on the holidays isn't all that different from other places across the nation, Miamians are just like anybody else this time of year: They're looking for any excuse to put their merriment and goodwill in a party-positive direction. Whether you want to participate in family-friendly fun or stay up all night with sexy people on Santa's naughty list, this city has enough going on to keep you busy straight through Hanukkah. Because Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year, the range of dates for holiday-themed parties is slightly longer than usual. Here's where you can get your egg nogged no matter what you celebrated.

Luminosa Chinese Lantern FestivalEXPAND
Luminosa Chinese Lantern Festival
Photo by Karli Evans

Luminosa Chinese Lantern Festival

More than a million LEDs electrify 13 acres of Jungle Island's wild paradise at this all-ages attraction. But these aren't ordinary lanterns: Be amazed by giant flowers, glowing jellyfish, and other illuminated wonders. Tickets include admission to Chinese acrobatic shows, live music, and access to the Moët lounge. Food and cocktails are part of the fun. 5 to 10 p.m. through January 8 at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami; 305-400-7000; jungleisland.com. Tickets cost $27 to $30 for children and $31.50 to $35 for adults.

Ugly Sweater Party

Jolt Radio kicks out the jams year-round, and it's taking the end of the year to kick back, relax, and invite some friends over. The online radio station's headquarters will open its doors and invite on-air DJs, listeners, and Miami music fans to come together, mingle, and enjoy the sense of togetherness that defines the holiday season. The weekly showcase Ladies Love and the future-focused program Strange Waves will run the show. You already know they've got great taste in tunes, so no need to worry about the grooves. There will also be a keg to keep the free beer flowing; supporting your local radio station has never been so intoxicating. 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, December 19, at Jolt Radio, 3454 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; joltradio.com. Admission is free.

Marvel at the enormous Christmas tree in Bayfront Holiday Village.
Marvel at the enormous Christmas tree in Bayfront Holiday Village.
Photo by George Martinez

Bayfront Holiday Village

It rarely snows in Miami, but that doesn't stop Santa from swinging by these parts.  The new Bayfront Holiday Village is bringing some of St. Nick's North Pole charm to the city's breezy downtown area. The calendar of events is stacked with wholesome movie nights, ugly-sweater parties, and grownup attractions that include a TGIF: Maker's Mark Bar. Saturday, December 21, is National Coquito Day, and December 22 will feature a Santa Paws Puppy Brunch. Check the website for all the festive details. Various hours through Sunday, December 22, at Bayfront Holiday Village, 2308 NW Fifth Ave., Miami; 305-461-2700; bayfrontholidayvillage.com. Admission is free.

Laser Evenings

One of the best parts of the holiday season is looking at all of the lights on display, but lasers might be even cooler than LEDs. The planetarium inside Frost Museum of Science has the raddest laser shows in town, and in addition to offering its usual Prince, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd showcases, it's bringing a yuletide lineup featuring Symphony of Stars and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Fantasy. These shows are designed to blow your mind, so sit back, relax, and get lost in the neon glow. Hourly shows from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, December 21, at the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-434-9600; frostscience.org. Tickets cost $8 for children and $10 for adults.

The Ten Best Holiday Parties in Miami (4)
Courtesy of Matzoball

Matzoball Miami

People joke that Jewish Christmas is spending the day eating Chinese food and going to the movies, but Jewish Christmas Eve at the annual Matzoball takes a sexy and over-the-top approach. Beachside megaclub LIV hosts to this annual singles dance party, which is sponsored by the Jewish dating app JSwipe. This crowd doesn't have to worry about Santa or any list of his, so party all night under the club's luxury lights and sip champagne till you feel naughty. 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tuesday, December 24, at LIV Nightclub, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-4690; livnightclub.com. Tickets cost $60 to $100.

Motörhead Forever

Screw Christmas, screw caroling, and screw clean bathrooms. If you want to ring in the new year with some hard, thrashing guitars and rasping rock 'n' roll, you might want to slam shots of whiskey and honor the legend and legacy of late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. Scream “Ace of Spades” at the top of your lungs with performances by Muddknickles, Azur, Barbey Floyd, and others. 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, December 28, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com.

Eighth-Annual Disco Dreidel

The Festival of Lights has never been quite this bright, bad, or bougie. The downtown Miami club that never sleeps — E11even — will keep you up and moving to the sounds of local groovemasters Ruen, Pirate Stereo, and ESP. Burlesque performers, strippers, and big spenders throwing cash in the air are just a few of the treats in store. Leave the gelt at home. 10 p.m. Tuesday, December 24, at E11even, 29 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-829-2911; 11miami.com. Tickets cost $20.

SantaCon Wynwood

You've seen the videos of drunken Santas clinging to street signs in other cities. Now it's Miami's turn to get red, white, and sloppy. Join other partiers in donning Santa hats and freaking out the kids by flooding the streets of Wynwood. There's no limit to your pub-crawl party, but please be responsible and let Rudolph, Lyft, or Uber take the reins. Meeting at 3 p.m. Saturday, December 21, at Rácket, 150 NW 24th St., Wynwood; 786-637-2987; santacon.info. Admission is free.

Boys Noize
Boys Noize
Photo by Lil Internet

Boys Noize

Save the “O Tannenbaum” for another night and let this German acid-house- and techno-loving mad man rock your body with insane synth sounds till the sun comes up. Boys Noize has always been the type to play as long as you'll let him, and he's fresh off garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording. He'll be sure to bring the heat, and because it's going down on the Space Terrace, it could become a marathon set of epic proportions. 11 p.m. Friday, December 27, at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $10 to $40.

The Martinez Brothers
The Martinez Brothers
Photo y Daniella Mía

The Martinez Brothers

Though these DJs have become after-hours heroes in Miami, the Martinez Brothers were raised in New York City on a steady diet of disco, house, and rowdy club anthems. They were spinning at international clubs before they graduated from high school, and they can give it to you rough and rude or smooth and meandering. No doubt they'll put on a huge show for the South Beach crowd, and Story has a big dance floor where you can burn it down. 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday, December 27, at Story Nightclub, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-2424; storymiami.com. Tickets cost $30.

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