Miami's Top Free Annual Events


Fireworks over the Downtown Miami skyline


Gay8 Festival Drag Queen


Flapper at the Art Deco Weekend

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Add these free annual events to your itinerary during your Miami vacation.


Art Deco Weekend

Every January, the Miami Design Preservation League’s Art Deco Weekend transforms Ocean Drive into a pedestrian-only zone with a street festival celebrating the area’s iconic architecture. Take a stroll down Ocean Drive and Lummus Park and take in the neon and pastel facades of historic buildings from the 1920s through ‘40s. It’s a festive, family-friendly street fair atmosphere with vintage cars, live music, entertainment, food vendors, antiques and fine art dealers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade

Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the annual parade held in Liberty City. Expect high school marching bands, athletes and cheerleaders on foot, as well as floats, cars and fire trucks bearing local politicians, union leaders and activists. For a Caribbean twist, Carnival dancers in colorful ruffled costumes are also part of the celebration. Once the parade reaches the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, revelers enjoy food, activities for kids and a wide variety of vendors and entertainment.


Gay8 Festival

Gay8 Festival is a free Latino LGBTQ music, food and art street festival celebrating diversity. This annual one-day festival blends all of South Florida’s delights into one gigantic party in the heart of Miami’s historic Little Havana on Calle Ocho. Whether it’s a long time resident of South Florida who hasn’t had much of a reason to check out Little Havana or an intrigued visiting traveler, Gay8 strives to build a lasting bridge that will bring all of the city’s communities together in celebration and forge a union that will unite us for generations to come.


Calle Ocho Festival

Hit the streets of Little Havana for the largest Hispanic street party in the southeastern United States. Produced by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana as part of their month-long Carnaval Miami events lineup, Calle Ocho Festival features 12 stages with live music ranging from merengue to reggeaton, bachata, balada, hip hop, rap and jazz with demonstrations of traditional Cuban and Caribbean dance. It’s also a great time to sample the full range of Cuban flavors and art with food stands, artists and vendors on display.

Funkshion Fashion Week – Spring

While you might need to be on the RSVP list, all runway shows featured at Funkshion Fashion Week are free. With a main tent at Collins Park, fashion shows and events are also held at swanky nearby hotels. The shows feature everything from emerging to established designers, as well as local and international talent. It’s a treat for any fashionista.

Winter Music Conference

Winter Music Conference is the annual electronic music festival held across South Beach at various hotel swimming pools, nightclubs and conference venues. While many of these parties require tickets or a cover charge, there are plenty of events that are free and open to the public (some may require an RSVP). If you’re devoted to electronic music, Winter Music Conference is the week to be in Miami.


Miami Beach Gay Pride

Love is love is love every April (and all year round) in Miami Beach at the Gay Pride Festival. With events and parties thrown throughout the long weekend across Miami Beach, the festival culminates with the Gay Pride Parade down Ocean Drive with past grand marshals including Adam Lambert, Ross Matthews and Mario Lopez. It always promises to be a drag queen-filled, rainbow flag-flying, glitter and confetti-swirling good time.


Overtown Music & Arts Festival

Overtown Music & Arts Festival celebrates the neighborhood’s thriving cultural scene, as well as the heritage of Historic Overtown, which was once considered the Little Broadway of the South. The street festival features a full lineup of top musical talent, which in the past has included CeeLo Green, Tito Puentes, Jr. and Keisha Cole. Festivalgoers also enjoy Overtown businesses and vendors showcasing artwork, ethnic cuisine, food trucks, live cooking demonstrations and unique crafts, as well as a Youth Zone with arts and crafts, fitness activities, competitions, bounce houses and a multi-lingual story time tent.

Miami Swim Week

The temperatures sizzle every July when Miami Swim Week rolls into town featuring hundreds of runway shows dedicated to swim and resort wear. Fashion shows and special events are held at trendy South Beach hotels, as well as at tents set up in Collins Park. While Swim Week events are free, most of them require RSVPs to a guest list. It’s a perfect weekend to spot the top swimwear trends of the year.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Fourth of July is a classic summer holiday and perfect time to visit Miami. Whether you’ve set up a beach blanket anywhere from South Beach to North Beach or you plan to watch the sparklers from the festivities at Bayfront Park overlooking Biscayne Bay, the entire city lights up with free fireworks displays reflecting over Miami’s many waterways. The official celebrations also include free concerts, activities for kids and food trucks.


Miami Broward One Carnival

Celebrate the melting pot of Miami’s Caribbean cultures every October at the Miami Broward One Carnival at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds. Listen to sweet melodies at the steelband competition and enjoy mouthwatering food from the islands of the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Guyana, Dominican Republic and more. The lively weekend festival culminates in the crowning of the Carnival King and Queen Panorama.

Funkshion Fashion Week – Fall

Funkshion Fashion Week returns to Miami Beach in October for its fall runway shows held at tents in Collins Park and at various nearby South Beach hotels. With runway shows, parties and shopping events, it’s the perfect time for fashionistas to visit Miami Beach. Funkshion Fashion Week events are free, but may require RSVP for entry.


Great Grove Bed Race

To witness an “only in Miami” annual event, head to Coconut Grove in November for the Great Grove Bed Race. Teams of five compete in a race to the finish line down historic streets aboard their original, homemade beds on wheels. Expect zany costumes, lots of laughs and a fun crowd of Miami locals. The Great Grove Bed Race is the perfect prelude to brunch at a sidewalk café in this charming, tree-lined neighborhood.


King Mango Strut Parade

Originating in 1982 lampooning the Orange Bowl Parade, the King Mango Strut Parade is held in Coconut Grove every December. The tongue-in-cheek parade has a satirical bent with crazy costumes, marching bands, floats with a facetious focus on local, national and global news. It’s a whacky annual event worth witnessing.

NADA Art Fair

Art Basel Miami Beach and Miami Art Week descend upon Miami every December as North America’s largest contemporary art fair. While most fairs, including the main event at the Miami Beach Convention Center, require an admission fee, NADA Art Fair is always free. An acronym for New Art Dealers Alliance, the fair is held at the Ice Palace Studios and features some of the most thought-provoking and cutting edge works of the week by emerging talent.

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