Family Friendly Holiday Events In Miami


New World Symphony Wallcast

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By: Kara Franker

Check out these family-friendly holiday events in Miami.

While most of the nation is under snow alerts, Miami’s winter weather is picture-perfect and full of sunshine. December in Miami is all about warming up your holiday spirit, so here’s a list of family-friendly happenings for the 2018 holiday season.

Christmas Performances & Musicals

There’s nothing better than attending a production of The Nutcracker during the holiday season. Bring your little ballerinas, sugar plum fairies and toy soldiers to Downtown to watch Miami City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, December 14 through Monday, December 24, 2018. Or see Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Fillmore Miami Beach’s Jackie Gleason Theater on Saturday, December 29, 2018. In Aventura, check out Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s Nutcracker production at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center on Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9, 2018.

In addition to the shimmering decorations along Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, head to the Actors’ Playhouse on the mile for a winter classic. A musical version of Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, is playing at the Mainstage six times during the month of December, including on Saturday, December 8, twice on Saturday, December 14, twice on Saturday December 22 and a big finale performance on Christmas Eve.

Sure to be a merry and bright experience for the whole family, head to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. The musical tells the story of two showbiz buddies and features an array of holiday-themed songs and performances.

Holiday Lights & Boat Parades

Every year, Zoo Miami hosts Zoo Lights, a special holiday event that kids adore. Tour a sparkling village that includes lit up animal shapes and dazzling trees arrayed in Christmas lights. The kids will love the hot chocolate and cookies, Snowman’s Riverboat rides, photos with Santa and more. Zoo Lights will take place in the evenings on each Friday and Saturday in December.

A beautiful sight to see, the Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade will feature more than 75 boats decked out for the holidays. Located in Bayfront Park in Downtown, the event on Saturday, December 16, 2018, will feature a parade, music, food vendors and a fireworks spectacular for the finale. The club uses the event to collect donations and toys benefiting the least fortunate children in Miami’s community. Come early and grab your spot. The show starts at 7 p.m. and fireworks are at 9 p.m.

Christmas Carnivals

Known as the world’s largest Christmas theme park, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is also home to the largest Christmas tree in Miami. Head to Tropical Park—you can’t miss the beautifully lit Ferris Wheel stationed right next to Miami’s Palmetto Expressway. The lights all over the park are worth the price of admission, but carnival rides from toddler-friendly carousels, to extreme drop towers, are also included. Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open every day, including holidays, from 5 p.m. to midnight, starting November 1 until January 6, 2019.

In Pinecrest Gardens, the Live Like Bella foundation for childhood cancer is hosting Nights of Lights including a mini carnival, music, storytelling, pony rides and holiday treats. Check out the thousands of sparkling Christmas lights throughout the gardens on December 14, 2018 through January 1, 2019.

Historic Mansions & Holiday Décor

The holiday season is truly magical at the legendary Deering Estate in Cutler. The Festival of Trees season kicks off in the beginning of December with a family-friendly event that includes viewing the holiday decorations, sipping on hot chocolate, nibbling on Christmas cookies and more. Kids can write letters to Santa at the beginning of the month and see him in person when he comes to the estate for a special story time in the historic Stone House Ballroom. There will also be traditional music, a Champagne bay cruise, holiday wreath workshop and more. Check for the full list of events.

Head to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on the waterfront in Coconut Grove and tour the mansion and grounds decorated for the holidays, exactly as they were 100 years ago when it was the winter home of James Deering. Throughout the month of December, delight in a beautiful old-fashioned holiday evening with caroling, arts and crafts, tours, holiday treats and more.

Visit a uniquely restored 1925 Pueblo-Mission revival home and revel in the holiday season. Located in Miami Springs, the Curtiss Mansion is the former home of aviator and inventor Glenn Curtiss. Happening on December 7-8, 2018, the event will feature a bevy of stunning Christmas trees and you can vote for your favorite one. Then peruse the holiday boutique store and get a little Christmas shopping done while you celebrate the season.

Traditional Celebrations

On December 2, 2018 the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center is hosting the Miami Beach Community Chanukah festival from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. On the same evening starting at 8 p.m., head to the Rok Family Shul Chabad Downtown Jewish Center for live music on the rooftop hosted by the Young Jewish Professionals of Miami. Or gather together with more than 10,000 people for a line-up of multiple Jewish bands at the annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival at Gulfstream Park.

Learn about the rich cultural history and traditions of local Native Americans at the Miccosukee Indian Arts & Crafts Festival at the Miccosukee Indian Village from December 26, 2018 through January 1, 2019. The weeklong event features authentic foods such as Miccosukee famous fry bread, pumpkin bread, Everglades frog legs, gator tips, catfish, as well as standard American cuisine. Featured artists will include the Great Plains Dance Company, Joe Tohonnie Jr. and the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers, Sky Iroquois Smoke Dancers and the Lightning Boy Hoop Dancers along with traditions from other tribes. It’s truly something for the whole family to experience and enjoy.

Every year, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex hosts special Kwanzaa events celebrating African family, community and culture. Located in the heart of Little Haiti, the center regularly hosts special events, art exhibitions and speakers that represent Afro-Caribbean history.

Holiday Concerts & Live Music

Every year, the talented musicians at The New World Symphony host a Sounds of the Season concert in South Beach. Conducted by Dean Whiteside, listen to the orchestra play classics from a variety of cultural heritages such as Tchaikovsky’s selections from the Nutcracker, Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and Hyken’s Chanukah 5776. The holiday performance is happening on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

Listen to the sounds of the season at A Seraphic Fire Christmas concert. Musicians and an accompanying choir ensemble will perform classic English carols and Gregorian chants, led by artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley. Several of Miami’s most beautiful churches are hosting the concert, including St. Philips Episcopal in Coral Gables on December 7, All Souls Episcopal in Miami Beach on December 8, Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Miami on December 12, First United in Coral Gables on December 14 and a finale performance in Cutler Bay on December 16.

Photos with Santa

An annual tradition, it’s the perfect opportunity for children to sit on Santa’s lap, ask for what they want for Christmas and get their photo taken with the bearded man in red. Some of Miami’s biggest shopping centers will have Santa as their guest star throughout the month of December. Jolly old St. Nick is scheduled to make appearances at Brickell City Centre, Dolphin Mall, Aventura Mall, The Falls, Dadeland Mall, Miami International Mall and the Shops at Merrick Park.

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