Family Friendly Holiday Events In Miami

Luminosa

Luminosa at Jungle Island

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Spending the holidays in Miami? Picture this: no snow or ice, just everything nice. Palm trees strung with sparkling lights, historic homes and mansions dressed in their holiday best, treasured seasonal events from festive musical concerts to performances of The Nutcracker, a fantasy land of light shows, and you might even spot Santa in shorts or on a paddleboard! Gather the family together to make special memories at these top holiday events.

Luminosa at Jungle Island
Luminosa at Jungle Island

Merry and Bright

Bayfront Holiday Village: Nov. 30

Kick-off the holiday season at Bayfront Holiday Village for the annual holiday tree lighting on Saturday, November 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Bayfront Park. In addition to the holiday tree lighting, the Bayfront Holiday Village will also feature shops, food and beverage vendors, holiday music and more. This event is free and open to the public. 301 Biscayne Boulevard

Luminosa Chinese Lantern Festival: Oct. 5 - Jan. 8

Ready to light up the (wild) night? For the first time, Jungle Island is hosting the Luminosa Festival of Lights, a mammoth nighttime lantern festival that runs from October 5, 2019 - January 8, 2020. This Instagram-worthy experience spans 13 acres and features hundreds of beautifully hand-crafted silk lanterns by the world’s top Chinese Lantern Festival creators. The festival paints a magical story of the jungle, its wildlife, birds and blooms, along with Biscayne Bay. A few of the visual delights will include striking silk parrots, a sea of glowing jellyfish and panoramic reinterpretations of several iconic Miami destinations. 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail

ZooLights: Nov. 29 - Dec. 29 (select nights)

Another dazzling light and animal adventure can be found at Zoo Miami during their annual Zoo Lights, where portions of the zoo shine brightly with more than a million lights, many shaped like the animals that inhabit the zoo. Families can enjoy different activities such as animal encounters, special holiday performances, photos with Santa, and there will be hot chocolate and cookies for purchase. Zoo Lights will take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, along with a few select Sunday nights, from November 29 - December 29. 12400 SW 152nd Street

The NightGarden: Nov. 15 - Jan. 11

If you really want to see your child’s eyes light up with amazement, take them to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, which transforms into The NightGarden from November 15, 2019 – January 11, 2020. This is where fantasy and magic (cue the special effects) comes to life; where there’s a Wise Talking Tree, flying fairies and holographic butterflies flitting around, and where flowers are ten-feet tall. Trust us, adults will be just as amazed as the kids. 10901 Old Cutler Road

Night of Lights: Dec. 13 - Jan. 1

Wander the illuminated gardens of Pinecrest Gardens, which hosts Nights of Lights from December 13, 2019 - January 1, 2020. Every night from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., the gardens glow with sparkling lights, and the fun is cranked up with mechanical rides, pony rides, as well as story time, pictures with Santa and tasty food from vendors. 11000 Red Road

Santa's Enchanged Forest: Oct. 31 - Jan. 5

Locals will tell you Santa’s Enchanted Forest is a family tradition that shouldn’t be missed (and, if you live in Miami, you probably started singing their famous jingle as soon as you saw the name). Considered the world’s largest holiday theme park, you’ll walk through a tunnel of glistening lights to reach more than 100 rides, from a sky-high Ferris wheel to a toddler-friendly carousel, life-size holiday displays, music, variety shows and games. Stop by the vendors churning out food before reaching South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree. The carnival fun kicks off again on October 31, 2019 and lasts until January 5, 2020. 7900 SW 40th Street

Deck the Halls

Festival of Trees: Dec. 6 & 18

Can Miami’s historic estates be any more beautiful? The holidays prove they can, especially when dressed in lights. The historic Deering Estate truly comes alive for the holidays, when families have two nights, December 6 and 18, to take part in the annual Festival of Trees. Stroll through the estate’s sprawling grounds to see sparkling Biscayne Bay at night, while peeping holiday decorations and sipping hot chocolate. Bring the whole family for story time and photos with Santa on December 14 and check the website for more events like a holiday wreath-making workshop.
16701 SW 72nd Avenue

Holiday Evening: Dec. 19

Families who are members of the gorgeous villa, Vizcaya, can make special memories during a Holiday Evening on December 19, when the main house is decked out as it might have been in the 1920s when James Deering wintered there. While you can also explore the decorated home during normal museum hours, this night will be filled with sipping hot chocolate by the bay, guided tours and a sing-along with carolers.
3251 S. Miami Avenue

New World Symphony
New World Symphony

Holiday Performances

Sounds of the Season: Dec. 20 & 21

Holiday performances also take center stage at Miami’s cultural centers. If the season isn’t complete without joyful music, join the New World Symphony fellows, clad in festive costumes, for their Sounds of the Season concerts at New World Symphony on December 20 and 21, where you can hum along to selections from a variety of cultural heritages.

A Seraphic Fire Christmas: Dec. 11 - 22 (select dates)

Another South Florida tradition is the Seraphic Fire Christmas, where you can hear Florida’s Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble belt out heavenly carols, ancient and modern, at several Miami locations throughout December.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical:
Dec. 23

Check out the calendar for the Adrienne Arsht Center for holiday productions like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical on December 23.

Miami City Ballet's The Nutcracker: Dec. 13 - 22

If watching the dancing sugar plum fairies and marching toy soldiers is a cherished family tradition — The Miami City Ballet gracefully performs The Nutcracker on December 13 – 22, set to the music of Tchaikovsky performed by a live orchestra. 

Art Ballet Theatre of Florida's The Nutcracker:
Dec. 6 - 8

Head to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center  where the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida will also show off their ballet production of The Nutcracker on December 6 - 8.

Moscow Ballet's The Great Russian Nutcracker:
Dec. 30

See  Moscow Ballet’s The Great Russian Nutcracker  at the Fillmore Miami Beach’s Jackie Gleason Theater  on December 30.

Miccosukee Indian Arts & Crafts Festival
Miccosukee Indian Arts & Crafts Festival

Traditional Celebrations

Miami Beach Community Chanukah Festival: Dec. 15

Chanukah is an important time in South Florida, and on December 15 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center is hosting the Miami Beach Community Chanukah Festival. Kids will revel in rides, slides, inflatables, games, arts and crafts and more. Families can also engage in a menorah lighting with community rabbis. Family rates are $50 before the event and $60 at the door.
4221 Pine Tree Drive

Miccosukee Indian Arts & Crafts Festival:
Dec. 26 - Jan. 1

For another beloved and culturally enriching experience, head to the heart of the Everglades for the Miccosukee Indian Arts & Crafts Festival at the Miccosukee Indian Village from December 26, 2019 through January 1, 2020. At this multicultural celebration, you’ll learn about the rich heritage and traditions of Native Americans, Indian, Amerindian, First Nations and Aboriginal cultures of the Americas. Expect vibrant performances by tribes from other parts of the world, shop artwork and clothing, and sample authentic foods such as the Miccosukee’s famous fry bread, pumpkin bread, Everglades frog legs and more. Kids will love the alligator demonstrations and the chance to glide through the Everglades on an airboat ride.
Mile Marker 36, U.S. Highway 41, #200

Read More:

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Miami's Hottest Events In November
What to do this December in Miami
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