10 Things to Do in Miami at Christmas

Christmas in the United States is celebrated in style and if you are in the fantastic coast of Florida you can make dozens of unforgettable plans. Stay and I show you the best things to do in Miami for Christmas.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Miami at Christmas

Christmas from Lincoln Road | ©Edgar Zuniga Jr

Miami has always had a worldwide reputation for doing everything in a big way. The annual holidays are celebrated in a special way in this city and if you have decided to come and visit it during the Christmas holidays I assure you that you will have a great time with all the activities that I am going to propose.

It is true that Miami has a lot to see and do throughout the year, but when the cold and winter months arrive in the city, everything is transformed and adapted, especially in the Christmas month. Christmas lights, parades everywhere, Christmas themed dinners, Christmas markets and much more await you, don't miss it!

1. Attend the Winterfest Parade Boat Parade

Winterfest Boat Parade|©Rick Boggs
Winterfest Boat Parade|©Rick Boggs

If this charismatic city is famous for anything, it is for its enormous coastline, which has been the scene of great series and programs. However, at Christmas time, all the beach style of Miami Beach is somewhat disguised and the focus is placed on the port area, where every year a very interesting event is held: the Christmas boat parade.

If you have come on vacation to Miami, you will have got the itch to take one of the boat tours offered. However, you've never seen anything like the Winter Fest Parade, a parade of Christmas boats in which every year the participants show off their best themed decorations.

It is usually held every December 15 and consists of an event where the boats are showcased along the coast with their best decorations and lights and there are even parties on board with cocktails and Christmas carols. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Interesting details

  • Price: entrance to the parade is usually around 25€ and entrance to the boats starts at 35€.
  • Place: the bridge routes change but always start from a pier on the coast.
  • Date: usually takes place on December 15.

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2. Witness the lighting of the lights

Coral Gables at Christmas| ©Phillip Pessar
Coral Gables at Christmas| ©Phillip Pessar

Miami kicks off the Christmas season with the spectacular lighting of lights, which takes place every year at the Miami City Hall plaza, where a huge Christmas tree is installed. This event usually takes place on the first Saturday of December and people come from all over the city to witness the moment when the switch is flipped; and not only the tree, but the whole square and the main streets are illuminated.

In Florida they do not skimp on decorations. Just as U.S. homes have become internationally famous for carrying out a whole work of decoration on their facades, in Miami the decoration of the streets, trees, lampposts and buildings follows this line. If you want to fill your family with light and make one of the many plans that Miami has at night, this is one of the best to welcome the Christmas holidays.

You can also take advantage of the Miami sightseeing bus routes to see the Christmas lights. An ideal way to tour the city learning about its many attractions.

Details of interest

  • Price: it is a free event.
  • Place: at Miami City Hall Plaza, 3500 Pan American Dr.
  • Date: first Saturday evening in December.

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3. Live the New Year's Eve party in style

New Year's Eve in Miami| ©Lucie Svandelikova
New Year's Eve in Miami| ©Lucie Svandelikova

If you have decided this time to say goodbye to the year away from home and come to Miami, I assure you that you will have a great time because you are in one of the cities where the party and the fun are guaranteed. Each country has its own customs and Miami also has special events that you can attend for New Year's Eve.

Despite all the repertoire of parties that you can choose from after midnight, to live the 00h according to the customs here you have two popular options.

  • In the South Beach area every year people gather to watch the fireworks reflected against the sea and the beach.
  • If you feel like spending it more indoors, another location is Bayfront Park, a huge event hall that usually has concerts that night and proposes a new year's eve full of music and fun.

Details of interest

  • Price: both events are free, although in Bayfront Park you can buy a VIP pass for almost 200€.
  • Venue: on South Beach and Bayfront Park, located at 301 Biscayne Blvd.
  • Date: the night of December 31.

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4. Shop at the Holiday Markets

Christmas Sears Coral Gables Florida|©Phillip Pessar
Christmas Sears Coral Gables Florida|©Phillip Pessar

One of the most anticipated activities with the arrival of Christmas is the installation of themed markets where you can buy all kinds of decorations, crafts and, of course, typical food and drinks such as cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate or gingerbread cookies.

If you want to take a walk through one of these markets, soak up the Christmas spirit and buy some unique decorations to take home when you return from the vacations, you should know that there are several scattered throughout the city and almost all have free access.

One of the most popular is Coral Gables, where every year they organize a whole enclosure full of stalls with all kinds of handmade products, sound carols and even Santa Claus himself is there to listen to the requests of all children.

Interesting details

  • Price: access is free, depending on how much you want to spend inside.
  • Location: The Coral Gables flea market is located at 220 Miracle Mile, Ste 234.
  • Date: open during the first three weekends of December.

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5. Celebrate Christmas Eve in multiple ways

Redland Hotel| ©Cris
Redland Hotel| ©Cris

One of the most special nights of the year is December 24th. It is traditional for families to get together for dinner at home and make typical dishes for these dates, such as roast turkey or various salads. If you are looking for a home-cooked meal in the purest American style, every year the Redland restaurant and hotel organizes Christmas dinners with a special menu. You must book in advance, but the atmosphere is fantastic.

If you want something more original, you can also choose to book a table at 94Miami, an old shed on the outskirts of the city that organizes dinners and a big party at night. You can even celebrate Christmas on the high seas on a boat.

But if, above and beyond the food, you want to make it an unforgettable night, you can always climb aboard the Polar Express and experience a Christmas night out. The Polar Express Ride organizes during the holidays, and especially on the night of the 24th, a show in style aboard a train where Santa Claus will be there and sweets and hot chocolate will be served to recreate the popular tale.

Details of interest

  • Price: the average Christmas menu can be around 40€ and the entrance to the Polar Express is 70€.
  • Location: Redland is at 5 South Flagler Avenue, 94Miami at 1395 N.W. 57th Avenue and the Polar Express Ride at 600 NW 1st Ave.
  • Date: during the night of December 24.

Celebrate Christmas in Miami by boat

6. Fly over Miami and celebrate Christmas as it deserves

Miami Helicopters|©HELICOPTERS OVER MIAMI - Joe Reyes
Miami Helicopters|©HELICOPTERS OVER MIAMI - Joe Reyes

If Miami is already beautiful all year round from the heights, at Christmas time with all the typical Christmas lights, it is even more so. There are many people who are encouraged every year to live a unique experience flying over the city of Miami to see it from a totally different perspective. Also, if you do this activity during the day you will have the opportunity to see the beautiful coastline from the top.

Do you dare to see Miami from another point of view? In addition, this activity is usually done with an expert guide who will tell you interesting facts about the city while you see it from the heights.

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7. Go to the Jungle Island Parades


If you are traveling with your family and you are in love with animals, a good plan could be to visit the great Jungle Island Zoo. This park is open all year round and has a great selection of species that you can come and see, but during the month of December they all dress up to welcome you.

The Jungle Island decorates for Christmas all its infrastructure and, in addition to filling the park with light, organizes themed shows with animals such as parrots, kangaroos, penguins or iguanas. In addition, the Chinese acrobatics shows and the festive atmosphere are often famous.

If you want to visit a zoo in a different way and celebrate these dates with your family, you can come to see the zoo in the afternoon session to be able to see the whole park illuminated.

Details of interest

  • Price: general admission is around 30€.
  • Location: Jungle Park Zoo is located at 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail.
  • Date: Events and decorations take place throughout December and into early January.

8. Have fun in Santa's forest

Santa's Forest| ©Juan Carlos
Santa's Forest| ©Juan Carlos

If you are traveling with your family and are looking for a plan that has entertainment for both adults and children, without a doubt Santa's Enchanted Forest is the right place. The famous Christmas amusement park is an excellent option if you come with children to Miami.

The entire park during the month of December has a special decoration and lighting, Christmas carols sound in every corner and the attractions are adapted to have the most Christmas theme. To top it all off, Santa Claus has his own space in the park and all the kids can visit him.

Adults will have all the comforts to spend a very special day while the kids have a great time and soak up the spirit of these dates.

Details of interest

  • Price: tickets to the park are around 20€.
  • Location: Santa's Enchanted Forest is located at 3100 E 4th Ave, Hialeah.
  • Date: It is a theme park that usually opens its doors throughout the month of December, starting in November and ending in early January.

9. Enjoy the Christmas concerts at Fairchild Gardens

Fairchild Gardens| ©Krystal S
Fairchild Gardens| ©Krystal S

If you like nature and natural spaces, one of the most beautiful parks to visit in Miami is the Fairchild Garden botanical garden, a space full of unique species and with a guided tour to learn more about the flora of the area. However, despite being an interesting plan throughout the year, if you like Christmas, the garden will be your favorite place at this time of the year.

With an unparalleled natural setting, Fairchild Gardens hosts Christmas concerts every year during the month of December so that everyone can come and listen to live music. In addition, the park professionals are in charge of putting up a whole framework of lights throughout the park to decorate without harming the plants.

Most of the concerts are usually held during the first days of the month as a way to welcome the holidays and it is very endearing and solemn to be able to attend to see all the citizens singing Christmas carols together with such a beautiful natural setting in the background.

Details of interest

  • Price: to see the concerts you will have to pay the entrance to the gardens for about 25€.
  • Location: the Miami Botanical Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables.
  • Date: the illumination is all December but the concerts are usually the first week.

10. Play in the snowy streets at CocoWalk

Snow Day in Miami| ©Cindy Stuntz
Snow Day in Miami| ©Cindy Stuntz

In general, the entire state of Florida tends to have fairly stable temperatures year-round, making it virtually impossible to get snow during the winter. However, one of the emblems of Christmas is that the roofs of the houses and the streets are snowed.

To solve this, every December, the chain of shopping centers Cocowalk organizes a whole event and, with large machines, they spread tons of artificial snow all around the mall.

Children and not so children can come and play with this artificial snow and get to throw balls and even make dolls. In addition, its composition is non-toxic, so families with children of all ages can come.

Details of interest

  • Price: it is free of charge.
  • Place: the manager of this event in the Cocowalk shopping center, located at 3015 Grand Ave, Coconut Grove and snow covers the entire vicinity.
  • Date: Saturdays in December.

11. Glide on the ice rinks

Kendall Ice Arena| ©Lonny Paul
Kendall Ice Arena| ©Lonny Paul

There is no sport that is more appealing when the cold weather arrives than ice skating and gliding around the rink. When the cold season arrives, from late November, there are several ice rinks in the city of Miami that prepare for Christmas and take care of everything for you to live a unique experience.

One of the best known rinks is Kendall Ice Arena, which during the month of December usually has a themed atmosphere with DJ music and various exhibitions to celebrate Christmas. The entrance is suitable for all ages and you have the option to rent skates there.

If you want a plan for adults without giving up sliding on your skates, in Basement they have thought of you, because during the Christmas party they have managed to merge the atmosphere of the clubs with skating, creating a subway rink with disco music in which you can be skating for half an hour to the rhythm of the music.

Interesting details

  • Price: the price of both places is between 15€ and 30€.
  • Location: the Kendall Ice Arena is at 10355 Hammocks Blvd and the Basement at 2901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach.
  • Date: open all year round but the theme parties are held during the month of December.

Temperatures in Miami at Christmas

Beaches in December| ©pml2008
Beaches in December| ©pml2008

Miami is a city that does not stand out for being especially cold during the winter. Generally, if you come at Christmas time, you will find an average temperature between 19ºC to 22ºC. However, being a coastal city, the humidity can give a lower thermal sensation.

A good option to see the city comfortably and without having to be calculating the warm clothes to wear during the day is to get on one of the tourist buses of Miami to see all its essential parts and, if you come at Christmas, all its decorations and lighting.

Miami is a city that will surprise you no matter what time of the year you come. But, if you decide to visit it at Christmas, I assure you that you will live one of the most unforgettable experiences.

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