By: Kara Franker
If you’re a sports fan, Miami has something for you. Become a “Dolfan”, feel the HEAT or catch a game of Jai-Alai—just to name a few of the many sporting events that can quickly fill up your itinerary with peanuts, ballpark nachos and cold beers.
Catch a pro game: In this town the Miami HEAT reigns supreme over the sports-meets-social scene. Games are held downtown in the state-of-the-art AmericanAirlines Arena, a.k.a. the AAA on Biscayne Bay. A swanky social scene for socialites, well-heeled Miamians and fans from all over the world fill the arena to watch superstars like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh rule the court.
Play for fun: Test your skills on the court and play an outside pick-up game at Jose Marti Park on the border of Brickell and Little Havana, Flamingo Park in the heart of South Beach, Alice C. Wainwright Park on the waterfront in Coconut Grove and Margaret Pace Park in downtown’s Edgewater neighborhood. Or if you book a room at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, you’ll have access to their NBA-sized indoor basketball court.
Catch a pro game: The Miami Dolphins, the city’s oldest sports franchise, was founded in 1966 and still holds the record for the only undefeated team in American professional sports. Dolphins' games are energy-filled and action-packed. Fans will soon be able to enjoy the newly renovated Sun Life Stadium with amenities such as an open-air canopy to provide shade, brand new seats and a new array of concession options.
Play for fun: Toss the football around at any of the area public parks or beaches. During the offseason it’s not uncommon to find NFL players training at the football field at South Beach’s Flamingo Park.
Catch a pro game: The Miami Marlins ballpark is located in the heart of Little Havana and has a retractable roof. Beat the heat and watch summer baseball games in a fun-filled air-conditioned atmosphere. For a party-style viewing experience, head to the Clevelander at Marlins Park, where you’ll find a swimming pool and a DJ spinning hits during the game. In 2017, Marlins Park will host the MLB All-Star Game, a gathering of the sports elite, which includes a Home Run Derby, Futures Games and Fan Fest at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Play for fun: Practice your swing at one of the following batting cage facilities in Miami: Tamiami Park, Hitter’s Hangout, Line Drive Performance, Slugger’s Inc. or Extra Innings Indoor Baseball and Softball Training Center.
Catch a pro game: The rumor is that Miami may be landing a Major League Soccer expansion team sometime in the near future. Former pro footballer David Beckham received an option to own a franchise from the MLS and the superstar has his eye on the Magic City. Nothing has been finalized and negotiations are in the works.
Miami FC will begin its inaugural season in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in April of 2016. Miami’s newest pro club will play its home games at FIU Stadium. Miami also has two teams competing in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The Miami Fusion play its home games at Ted Hendricks Stadium at Milander Park in Hialeah and Miami United plays at Flamingo Park on South Beach.
Play for fun: Rent an entire soccer field for yourself and your friends, or join a pick-up game in Miami at Play Soccer Miami with locations in Palm Park (South Miami), Armbrister Park (Coconut Grove) and
Kendall Soccer Park. Amelia Earhart Park recently renovated its soccer facility and now has six regulation soccer fields to rent for leagues and tournaments. Or check out Soccer Town Miami’s field located in Midtown. There’s also an urban rooftop soccer field in Brickell at 444 Brickell Avenue, but you better check it out while it lasts; a brand new high-rise will be taking the place of the current structure soon.
Catch a pro game: Winter sports may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of sunny Miami sports, but the Florida Panthers is a professional ice hockey team based in Sunrise. Watch pro players duke it out on the frigid ice.
Play for fun: Bundle up and strap on some skates at the Kendall Ice Arena located in suburban Miami. Hockey and ice-skating lessons are also available.
Catch a pro game: The 80-degree weather in Miami each fall makes it an ideal escape for NASCAR enthusiasts right at the cusp of winter. Homestead-Miami Speedway, host to the Ford Echoboost 400 (the final race of the NASCAR season) and Ford Championship Weekend, is an oval-shaped track that seats 65,000 people. Take a cooler, some sunscreen and you’re off to the races. The track also hosts over 200 events throughout the year so be sure to check out their calendar of events for fun things to do on asphalt!
Play for fun: Not only does Homestead-Miami Speedway host events where you can drive like the pros, a few other local companies offer the opportunity to drive the care of your dreams at a professional raceway. Redline Xperience offers a unique approach to exotic track racing by providing access to two international racing champions and a team of professional in-car instructors. Located near the airport, K1 Speed brings the thrill of go-kart racing to Miami with an indoor, professionally designed track and electric karts.
OTHER PRO SPORTS
The Miami Tridents play action-packed rugby games at Ben Franklin Park in North Miami.
Gulfstream Park Racetrack & Casino in Aventura is one of the nation’s premier thoroughbred racetracks offering year-round championship racing. Experience heart-pounding action from the grandstands or be pampered like royalty while enjoying the views from a private luxury suite.
Jai-Alai, the fast paced main attraction in 50’s and 60’s Miami, is still alive and well in the Magic City. For just a dollar you can enjoy a Jai-Alai game in a venue that still looks and feels like 1955 and enjoy a beer for just a dollar, too.
College sports fans love to cheer for the University of Miami Hurricanes, who have won national titles in football, baseball and many other sports throughout the decades.
There’s also plenty of sporting excitement at Florida International University, whose Panthers compete in Conference USA.
Other Miami hometown college sports teams include: ASA College Silver Storm, Barry University Buccaneers, Florida Memorial University Fighting Lions, Florida National University Conquistadors, Johnson & Wales University Wildcats, Miami Dade College Sharks, and the St. Thomas University Bobcats.
ANNUALLY HELD SPORTING EVENTS
Capital One Orange Bowl: Since 1935, Miami has hosted the Orange Bowl, crowning many champions of college football. Now played in Sun Life Stadium, the Capital One Orange Bowl is one of the prestigious post season college football games.
World Golf Championships — Cadillac Championship: Held annually in March at Trump National Doral, the Cadillac Championship tournament showcases the best players from around the world. While it’s all about the game of golf, the event also features food, fashion, music, celebrities and nightlife.
Miami Open presented by Itaú: The top tennis players in the world all descend on the tropical island of Key Biscayne for the Miami Open tennis tournament each year in the spring.
Miami Beach Polo World Cup: They don’t call it the “sport of kings” for nothing; the Miami Beach Polo World Cup returns to the sands of South Beach every year. The event features an international lineup of teams coming from all over the world and matches are held directly on the beach.
NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend: Each November during Ford Championship Weekend, NASCAR crowns champions in three of its top tiers: the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series.
Miami Marathon & Half Marathon: Join 25,000 fellow runners for mile after mile of tropical views and sounds! Enjoy the fabulous Miami hot spots along our beautiful course that have been featured on hit TV shows and movies. Friends, family and thousands of screaming fans will line up along the 26.2 miles of roadways filled with inspiring sights and sounds. Plus, join our Half Marathon or Tropical 5K and see why so many choose to RUN MIAMI!
Miami Beach Bowl: The Miami Beach Bowl is an annual College Football Bowl Game played at Marlins Park and features a team from the American Athletic Conference against a team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference or the Sun Belt Conference.
MIAMI SPORTS MONTH
Happening during the month of April and highlighting active ways to enjoy the springtime, Miami Sports Month is all about getting outside and staying active. For more ideas and money-saving deals, visit miamisportsmonth.com.
For tickets to professional sporting events, check the teams’ official websites. For a complete list of sporting opportunities click here and use our Sports search.
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