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Feeling festive? The best Miami Christmas events of 2021 include mistletoe, martinis and a whole lot of holiday cheer.
Despite all the usual stuff people like to do during winter in Miami—like bask on our beaches, eat out at the best Miami restaurants or enjoy the outdoors at Miami’s many beautiful parks—we’re not exempt from requiring a healthy dose of Christmas cheer each holiday season. What we lack in snow-covered rooftops, cozy fireplaces and hot toddy cocktails we more than make up for with endless rows of glittering palm trees and a bevy of festive events that kick off pretty much as soon as the last plate of turkey is cleared from the table. Whether you’re in the mood for an off-kilter take on a classic Christmastime play, a boozy pop-up full of Instagram-worthy photo opps or a family-friendly holiday market under the stars, Miami has it this year. Below, find our guide to the best Christmas events in Miami for 2021.
RECOMMENDED: Guide to Christmas in Miami
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This is your beloved Nutcracker reimagined for the tropics with candy-colored costumed and sets decked with pineapples and lime. Marvel at the scenery and spellbinding dancers as they move in sync to music from a live orchestra. It’s a lively, modern adaption but the purists, meanwhile, can put down the pitchforks: It’s still Balanchine and it’s still Tchaikovsky. Tickets for the Nutcracker are available for Miami, Broward and West Palm Beach. Dec 10–30 at various dates and times.

Jennifer Weber sets the 19th-century original in a modern-day NYC, with a dozen dancers translating the family-friendly story into the hip-hop idiom. Rap legend Kurtis Blow (“The Breaks”) emcees this must-see remix. Dec 11 at 3:30pm & 8pm. 

Opening on Black Friday, Brickell City Centre’s inaugural South Pole Speakeasy is tailored to the well-heeled shopper who prefers a bit of lubrication to ease the stress of holiday shopping. If you’ve dropped $1,000 or more at the open-air mall (splurging on something extra special this year?), head to the concierge and show your proof of purchase to receive a secret password that will grant you access to a luxurious, lively lounge where you’ll enjoy 30 minutes of comped specialty drinks before setting back out on your merry way. Level One, Block B (Next to Bally), Brickell City Centre, 701 S Miami Ave. Saturday and Sundays, Nov 26–Dec 25, 11am–7pm.

Charles Deering’s waterfront home is even more beautiful during the holidays when it transforms into an illuminated wonderland. Travel back in time to the Gilded Age on a tour of the historic houses at the Deering Estate this holiday season. Enjoy this beloved annual tradition where some of South Florida’s top interior designers showcase their most festive holiday accents and decorations. Visitors will also discover the permanent features of the Estate’s historical furnishing plan. Through Jan 6

Spend an evening strolling the grounds, specially decorated for the holidays just as they would have been more than 100 years ago when James Deering called the museum home. Wander through the Main House after dark (an opportunity that comes but twice a year), snap photos by the Christmas tree decked in charming, old-timey ornaments and make your way outside to celebrate the season with a walk through the illuminated gardens. Dec 1 6–9pm

Dubbed the “World’s Most Watched Boat Parade,” the beloved South Florida tradition celebrates 50 years this holiday season. Assemble along the 12-mile route to watch dazzling displays and illuminated vessels of all sizes travel down the Intracoastal Highway with the likes of Rudolph, Santa Claus and other Christmas favorites. The procession starts at 7pm and is followed by a concert on the festival grounds, where you’ll find opportunities to pose with Santa, grab a hot chocolate or a cocktail and enjoy live entertainment (10:30pm). Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park, 80 Las Olas Cir., Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dec 11 4–midnight; $25, children $15. 

Deering Estate leans hard into the holiday season with all kinds of over-the-top decorates and festive activities that everyone is invited to experience. The waterfront mansion opens its doors on December 3 and December 15 or two nights of holiday film screenings, storytelling by Mrs. Claus and the opportunity to write and drop off your letter to Santa Claus. Dec 3, 15 6:30–9:30pm

Downtown Doral’s new Holiday Festival features nearly a full month of Christmas-themed arts programming for the whole family. Presented by the Downtown Doral Culture and Arts Foundation, visitors to the burgeoning district can enjoy live outdoor music, dance performances from Miami City Ballet, art exhibits and more. Visit the Holiday Festival website for the full schedule. Downtown Doral, located off NW 87th Ave and NW 53rd St. Dec 2–23.

Cheers to the holidays! Raise your martini glass and nuzzle under the mistletoe at Deering Estate’s festive yearly gathering. Expect a celebration similar to what the original residents might’ve enjoyed during the Gilded Age, including music, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Proceeds from the event benefit the Deering Estate Foundation so don’t be afraid to lean into Christmas. 

Some big changes are on the horizon for the world’s largest holiday theme park (at least according to the website): In 2021, after 37 years at Tropical Park, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is moving to Hialeah Park. Folks can expect to find much of the original Santa’s reimagined at its new home, 100 East 32nd Street, including millions of twinkling lights, lots of carnival rides and only-in-Miami experiences.
The county-fair-meets-winter-wonderland is chock-full of roller coasters, amusement rides, carnival games, photo ops with Santa and his helpers and an assortment of fair food—think fresh doughnuts, funnel cakes and more. All of the vendors will be back when the 38th annual Santa’s Enchanted Forest returns this fall, plus a few surprise acts for opening weekend. Through Jan 2 at various times.

The Lincoln Eatery hosts a special holiday-themed edition of its Pop up & Shop Up artisan market, where you can score great last-minute gifts that support local small businesses, play family-friendly games, enter a raffle and enjoy DJ-spun tunes with lunch from any of the South Beach food hall’s 10+ eateries. Once the Holiday Market closes, head upstairs to the SKYYARD rooftop for scenic views, drinks and additional vendors. Lincoln Eatery, 723 Lincoln Ln N, Miami Beach. Dec 19, 1–5pm.

Coral Gables’ trendy tropical retreat THesis Hotel Miami gets into the spirit with a holiday-themed market that both guests and visitors can partake in. The market will feature a selection of handmade gifts by local artisans plus holiday-themed goods by local purveyors. The hotel’s island-inspired onsite restaurant Mamey, helmed by star chef Niven Patel, will also host a special Noche Buena (December 24 for the uninitiated) dinner celebration. Check the restaurant’s website for more details and booking information. THesis Hotel Miami, 1350 S Dixie Hwy, Coral Gables. Dec 16–19 and 24.

Inspired by the classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, Brightline’s The Polar Express experience is a magical and immersive one-hour journey to the land of sugar plum fairies and back. Don your Christmas-themed PJs and hop on at Brightline’s West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale stations to begin your adventure from the MiamiCentral Station, where you and the family can dine from several on-site eateries before the Polar Express whisks you away for hot chocolates, interactive onboard performances, a special gift from Santa himself and other surprises. MiamiCentral Station, 600 NW 1st Ave. Dec 11–30.

Grammy Award-winning Dianne Reeves rings in the holiday season with music from her celebrated album Christmas Time Is Here. Reeves melds her timeless grace, elegance, and charisma into unforgettable jazz renditions of holiday favorites. In addition to being a five-time Grammy Award recipient, Reeves has received honorary doctorates from Juilliard and Berklee College of Music. Opening for Reeves is 15-year-old keyboard wunderkind and Miami native Brandon Goldberg. Dec 17 at 8pm.

This is not your grandmother’s Christmas Carol. Playwright Tom Mula adapted this holiday favorite from his novella. The show features a single actor relating Marley, Scrooge, and the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future. Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol has been staged at theaters across the country and broadcast on NPR. Dec 2–19.

Are you looking for a way to enjoy the holidays and get into the festive spirit with your whole family? Join the Alhambra Orchestra as they perform at Pinecrest Gardens. There is something for everyone to enjoy from holiday tunes, movie music, and light classics at this outdoor orchestral concert. Nov 26.

Christmas bar Miracle—a fully immersive wonderland bursting with decor, themed drinks and holiday cheer—is back! Now with two locations, at Gramps in Wynwood in at The Doral Yard, it opens the Friday after Thanksgiving for a monthlong pop-up. Two locations mean more festive cocktails to sip, including the Bad Santa and the Christmapolitan, double the festooned bartenders and even greater chances of catching one of the timed snowfalls. Expect themed nights, tacky sweater contests, barbershop quartets and Mariah Carey’s holiday classic on loop: All we really want for Christmas is you, Miracle. Nov 26–Dec 26

Do you want to see the Dickens classic updated with a feminist, Miami twist? Look no further; Area Stage Company will host a musical production of Cuento de Navidad (A Christmas Carol), adapted by Nuria Ferrer Muñoz-Seca and Constanza Espejo. A collaboration between Area Stage Company and PAFF (Primer Acto Florida Foundation) this Spanish language production is playing at the ASC Black Box Theatre. Get pumped to see the classic play told by female ghosts-transmitting the universal values of love, charity, and mercy. Nov 19–21 at various times.

Because eight nights of celebrations aren’t enough, the Society of Young Jewish Professionals is throwing the ultimate singles event—think of it like an IRL JDate on steroids. Dance, drink and connect with old friends and new prospects at this annual rager. The party returns to its old stomping grounds, LIV, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Dec 24 9pm–4am
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