Looking for the best things to do in Miami at Christmas?
If you’re looking for a warm tropical get away during your Christmas vacation, look no further than Miami, Florida. A booming city with a rich, diverse culture, a popping night life, and the most ideal climate to be comfortable in December.
Miami is a common place for people to travel during the holiday season, and because of that, the people of Miami are always coming up with fun things for tourists to do during Christmas break.
Some activities are awesome no matter what time of year you visit, and some are only available during the winter. Here are 14 amazing activities for you to do while you visit Miami.
14 Best Things to do in Miami at Christmas
1. Snorkeling in Key West
If you’ve been to Miami before, chances are you’ve had an interest in the vast beautiful ocean around the peninsula.
From gorgeous underwater natural terrain to cute ocean animals, to shipwrecks and other underwater treasures, Key West offers an amazing, once in a life time snorkeling experience. There are many options for you to choose from for your underwater adventure.
I recommend Danger Charters. They offer top quality snorkeling gear and wet suits, a great variety of kayaks, and even a happy hour picnic when you’re done exploring the beautiful Atlantic ocean.
Danger Charters has a team of knowledgeable sailors, captains, and divers that are there to give you the safest and best experience you could hope for during your visit to Miami.
This is one of the only opportunities you’ll have to go snorkeling during this time of the year if you live somewhere cold. If you want to know what you’re in for, you can check out Danger Charters on Instagram @Danger_Charters. They have plenty of awesome pics for you to see, and everyone I see on their page is obviously having a great time in the water.
2. Santa’s Enchanted Forest
It’s the middle of the holiday season, you’re having the time of your life in Miami. Enjoying the warm weather, beautiful ocean, and lovely palm trees of South Florida. This is great, but you came to Miami for Christmas, and you need Christmas activities.
Santa’s Enchanted Forest offers thrilling rides, magic shows, holiday attractions, and great food for the whole family. Visit their world famous, romantic, dazzling lights show and see Santa’s stadium, the grand tree, and flying reindeer.
They have rides to accommodate everyone in your group. Popular children’s rides include the Lil’ Red Car, bumper cars, the Orient Express Coaster, Rock and Roll Fun House, and the classic marry go round. If you’re looking for more of a thrill, you can find rides such as Zero Gravity, the massive Starship 3000, the Ring of Fire, and many more.
Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open for the 39th holiday season in a row from November 9th until January 8th. There’s a wide variety of classic fair food that’s sure to bring you nostalgia. The tickets are relatively cheap too, at $42.99 for an adult and $34.58 for your kids.
To see pictures of Santa’s Enchanted Forest, or for more information regarding prices, directions, rides and food, visit their website at https://www.santasenchantedforest.com
- See more: Best Christmas lights in Florida
3. Wynwood Market
Miami is a city of rich, diverse culture. With strong influence from Cuba, the Bahamas, and other tropical island vibey cultures, you don’t want to miss out on experiencing it yourself. Wynwood Marketplace “The Best of Miami in One Place” is THE cultural center of Miami.
Located on NW 2nd Ave, in the heart of the city, Wynwood Marketplace has a diverse selection of hip, local vendors that offer you apparel, accessories, jewelry, and even a psychic reading. The Pink Paloma brunch is a popular event hosted at the Wynwood Marketplace. It’s a cozy bar and restaurant inside of a modified shipping container.
There you can find a delicious taco brunch and refreshing cocktails in a relaxing environment. Just be sure to book a reservation in advance for a great time at the Pink Paloma. If you’re not in the mood for a taco and tequila brunch, Wynwood Marketplace has plenty more to offer for food choices.
Such as “Disco Pizza” a primo pizza joint with plenty of variety for toppings on your disco pizza. It’s definitely worth checking out this cultural center during your time in Miami. Great vibes, great food, and awesome, friendly vendors that will sell you clothes and accessories to remember your trip to Miami.
See more: Hidden gems in Miami
4. Winterfest Boat Parade.
The boat culture is a huge part of what the city of Miami stands for. Sailors from all over the world spend time in Miami with their beautiful ships. If you’re interested in boats, I would highly recommend visiting the Winterfest Boat Parade, sponsored by Hard Rock Caffe. You can view it from far away, or get your ticket for a seat on a private boat to be right in the parade.
Either way, you’ll be able to experience a fleet of vibey, lit up boats on the water, amazing fireworks lighting up the ocean, and a black tie Winterfest ball.
If you have your own boat that you’d like to enter into the parade and get the opportunity to compete in contests, you can apply on their website. There will be delicious, local food available from street vendors, and a number of local Christmas attractions that will be roaming the parade area.
To summarize the Winterfest Boat Parade, you will get to see a great on the water light show from a variety of boats. There will be an awesome fireworks show. And most importantly, you, and your whole group will have a jolly time on Christmas in Miami, Florida. What more could you ask for this holiday season?
See more: Indoor activities in Miami
5. Bayfront Park Christmas Tree
Surely you don’t want to spend your Christmas get away without seeing a Christmas tree. The 52 foot, well placed tree is lit up every year just after Thanksgiving in the middle of Bayfront Park. Here you’ll get a wonderful view of the Biscayne Bay and it’s little islands.
After the initial lighting ceremony in November, every hour on the hour after 8pm the tree will be lit up again with a smaller lighting ceremony. Celebrities from all over the world come to Bayfront Park to participate in these small lighting ceremonies. This is an ongoing project that many people appreciate and contribute to. Every year it gets better and better.
You will also be close to Bayskate, an awesome ice skating rink that’s next to the park. Bayskate has it’s own light show that you can skate through. They offer well priced skate rentals, and are open every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas day from 4pm until 10pm.
What a great combination of activities in a beatiful part of the city. Bayfront Park and the surrounding attractions is a great spot to be during your jolly visit to Miami this holiday season. For pricing and availability at Bayskate, visit their website at http://bayskatemiami.com/
6. Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl
For those of you visiting for Christmas who are looking for a more night life oriented experience in Miami this holiday season, consider the 6th annual Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl. Starting December 17th at 5pm, this bar crawl will have you going all over the city drinking egg nog. Hundreds of people will be attending the event in the ugliest of sweaters.
Some of the bars you’ll be visiting during this event include the Blackbird Ordinary, a well known, stylish DJ dance bar in the city’s Brickwell center. American social, a great sports bar overlooking the Miami river. Redbar, an awesome, well established bar with a wide variety of DJs playing every night, and an excellent selection of beer and cocktails.
Batch, a lovely pub in the Brickwell center featuring delicious American barbeque food, and a nearly world famous Moscow Mule.
All bars involved in this bar crawl are within walking distance, or stumbling distance. The bar crawl ticket includes 5 free drinks and discounts on other drinks you’ll buy at the bars and free Christmas candy to keep you fueled for you night of Christmas shenanigans. And no matter what, always remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver.
7. Miami Zoo Lights
The Miami zoo is the 5th largest zoo in the United States. It’s one of a kind because of the sub tropical environment of South Florida. Even if you’re not in Miami for Christmas, I would recommend visiting the Miami zoo. However, if you are lucky enough to be in Miami this holiday season, the Miami zoo will have a very festive show of lights on select nights throughout December.
Different nights have different themes. For example, December 16th and 17th is Galactic night, where you can come dressed as your favorite Star Wars or Star Treck characters. December 22nd and 23rd is Superhero night where you obviously can come dressed as your favorite superhero. You don’t have to dress up if you don’t want, it’s completely optional.
When you go to the Miami zoo for the lights, you’ll be able to see more than a million lights on display, animal appearances from exotic zoo animals, the renowned Miami zoo gift shop, and Santa will be there too.
If you’re a member of the Miami zoo, you’ll receive a discount on the already cheap tickets to attend the event. It’s very family friendly, they even rent strollers for your little ones to stroll the zoo.
8. The Deering Estate
The Deering Estate is a beautiful mansion from the 1920s. Formerly owned by Charles Deering, a very interesting man from Chicago. Deering was the first chairman of the International Harvester Company, a philanthropist, and an art collector amongst other things.
The artwork is the most notable feature of the Deering Estate. Charles’ art collection can still be seen in the estate. After Charles died, the Deering Estate continued to support artists, and still does to this day. This makes the estate a center for artwork.
The “Artists in Residence” program at the estate allows artists to have their own creative space to make some of the most beautiful artwork in all of Florida. The estate also has frequent concerts from a variety of different artists.
The most important part is the Christmas celebration put on every year by the Deering Estate. The grounds are lit up with Christmas lights, and they host events for the holidays.
One interesting event in December is the “Holiday Evening by the Bay” hosted by the estate. Here you will be included in a picknick by the bay and be able to walk the grounds of the estate to see their festive decorations and lights.
9. Miami Beach Botanical Garden
A 3 acre beautiful, tropical oasis in the middle of Miami Beach. The Miami Beach Botanical Garden has so much to offer. They have 9 different unique gardens that all have their own special niche. The Palm garden, has over 100 species of palm trees and is a great place to start.
After that, I would suggest checking out the Japanese garden that has bamboo, the zen sound of flowing water, and an iconic red bridge going over the water that’s a great photo opportunity for couples. Next, you can head to the edible garden to check out all of the tropical fruits that the South Florida climate has to offer. Such as papayas, pineapples, pomegranates, and starfruits.
Unfortunately you are not allowed to eat the fruits because the garden has to be preserved. In the center of all the gardens, they have a Koi pond that’s cool to see. The way the gardens all flow together but have different vibes when you enter them is so amazing.
They’re open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm but they will be closed on Christmas day and New Years day. General admission is free, there’s nothing stopping you from visiting this tropical oasis, what are you waiting for?
10. Miami City Ballet
For those of you who are looking for a calm yet Christmasy event during your visit to Miami for the holidays, from December 16th until the 24th the Miami City Ballet will be performing George Balanchine’s rendition of The Nutcracker.
The Miami City Ballet has a cast of over 100 dancers, and a live orchestra. Hosted at the lovely Miami Arsht center, this performance will be 2 hours long with a 20 minute intermission. The Nut Cracker is a wonderful, classic Christmas tale of a young girl dreaming of a Nutcracker Prince and a battle against an evil mouse king with seven heads. There’s plenty of jolly Christmas scenes and vibes in the Nutcracker.
The Miami City Ballet is a well established group that has excellent reviews. You will not be disappointed by them weather you’re a coinsure of classic theater, or a newbie. Classical theater can be a great time during the holiday season.
The vibes of a theatrical show fit perfectly with winter, dimly lit seating area, Christmas themed refreshments, and a jolly crowd that makes you feel like you’re at home with the family. The Nutcracker is the perfect show to go to that fits the holiday vibe.
11. Water Lantern Festival
The water has to be the best part of Miami, everyone knows the city for its beaches and waterfront views. If the boat parade or snorkeling wasn’t enough water for you, consider the Water Lantern Festival. Voted to be the number 1 festival in Miami, this festival is full of floating lanterns illuminating the water.
Thousands of people gather here every year to see the water lit up by these magical lanterns that anyone can contribute to. It’s a swimming pool of different cultures and styles of art. When you go to the water lantern festival, you’ll have access to awesome street food, vendors, and plenty of people to talk to.
There are a few different festivals in the area that do this. It’s difficult to find info on specific festivals because they aren’t organized by an official organization.
To find the festivals just go to the water on a December night in Miami, and you’ll see small groups of people participating, and eventually enough people will join in and the fun will begin. It’s not the most consistent thing to do while you’re in Miami, but if it does happen, it’s a magical event that you’ll be glad you experienced.
12. Pinto’s Farm
If you’re looking for an agrotourism attraction to visit, Pinto’s Farm is one of the most beautiful venues in the Miami area. They offer rides, food, and animal viewing.
Their selection of rides is incredible, they have race tracks, a bounce pad, pony rides, paddle boats, a hay theatre, and many more. This holiday season, they will be hosting a winter land event on their farm. Here, you’ll be able to see the farm decorated with holiday lights and ornaments. They also have holiday attractions such as the hot coco tub, a giant tub of hot coco.
The Christmas train ride, where you can ride along on a cart being pulled by a tractor to see all of the farm decorated with jolly spirit. And interactions with Santa, where the kids can meet Santa and tell him their Christmas wish list. The farm has a rich history in hospitality and tourism. They make your experience at their farm better than any other agrotourism establishment.
The Pinto’s have been doing this for over 3 generations, and they’re not stopping any time soon. People have been coming to the Pinto farm for their different holiday events for years, and the Pinto family has perfected it.
13. Lincoln Road Holiday Market
Maybe you’re looking to fill one of your days schedules with something other than purely holiday related activities. Consider going to an open street market. Miami’s markets are one of the most unique things about the city.
There’s so many to choose from, even during the holiday season when some of them are partially closed. One of my top recommendations is the Lincoln Road Holiday Market, which is part of Urbanspace’s line of markets up and down the east coast.
This one in Miami is a great place to find food, vendors and other jolly patrons to talk to. Urbanspace does a great job of finding the best vendors in the area for their markets. Some of the vendors you’ll see at Lincoln Road market include, Oyster Party, Glamour New York, Volang NYC, Iris Gallery, Geek Toys, Ultra Band, and many more.
The market will be open every day from 11am through 9pm from now until February 15th. It’s free to enter the market, and it’s a great time. A lot of interesting people will be there, such as influencers and affiliates. For a full list of information, directions, and more information, visit the Urbanspace Lincoln Road Market section of their website at https://www.urbanspacenyc.com/lincolnrd
14. Beach Party
The last item on the list is one of the best things you can do in Miami. If you’ve never been to Miami before, but you’ve seen what it’s all about from TV, movies, or online, you know that beach parties are the most lit activity in the city.
So why would you go to Miami without visiting one of these famous beach parties? Right, you shouldn’t. So many people, both local and visiting go to the beautiful Miami beaches and have their own special parties. This doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas time, because in Miami, the weather is perfect throughout the whole year.
South Beach is by far the best place for this. Not only can you party on the beach all day, but when night time comes around, you’re surrounded by some of the world’s best bars and clubs that you can go continue your party in.
You’ll meet plenty of interesting people partying on the beach, and it’s a great break from the cold winter weather if you’re traveling to Miami from a cold place. I shouldn’t have to remind you, but I will, be sure to wear sun screen while you’re partying on the beach, and always remember to drink responsibly and never drive drunk.