What To Do This December In Miami

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By: Shayne Benowitz

There are plenty of ways to get festive in Greater Miami & Miami Beach this December, whether it’s holiday lights on palm trees, a performance of the classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker or a holiday party at a historic estate. December also kicks off the Miami Arts, Culture & Heritage Months celebration, when special offers and events are designed to explore the destination’s rich multicultural arts and heritage attractions. Read on for the best of Miami’s December events.

Shimmering Lions at Zoo Lights
Stroll through dazzling holiday lights at Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami

Zoo Lights At Zoo Miami

Select nights from November 26-December 30

Take a walk on the wild side and head to Zoo Miami in South Dade for its annual Zoo Lights spectacular. Cruise the zoo beneath a million dazzling holiday lights, including a 26-foot-tall LED-lit Christmas tree. Kids can write letters to Santa, indulge in cookies and hot chocolate, take part in arts and crafts and embark on a river ride. And jolly old Saint Nick – along with plenty of zoo animals – are promised to make appearances throughout the evening.

Fairchild's NightGarden dazzles at night
Wander around the enchanting NightGarden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Fairchild NightGarden

November 26-January 2

Pay a visit to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables after dark to enjoy the spectacular NightGarden. Set on 83 acres of lush tropical flora, the gardens will be illuminated with holiday lights and special effects with interactive light and sound experiences. During these enchanted evenings, you can talk to the tree of wisdom, spy fairies flying before your eyes and watch as a giant dandelion sprouts taller than you. You’ll also find a variety of food vendors throughout the grounds to help fuel your evening.

Madeline’s Christmas at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre

November 30-December 19

Bring your family to the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in beautiful Coral Gables for a special children’s theater production of Madeline’s Christmas, all about the beloved character from the classic French children’s book series by Ludwig Bemelmans.

Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol at The Adrienne Arsht Center

December 2-19

Celebrate the holidays at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami with two classic productions. Running from December 2-19 in the center’s Carnival Theater, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol turns the Charles Dickens play on its head by shining the spotlight on Ebenezer Scrooge’s long-dead business partner, the chains-rattling ghost, Jacob Marley. In this creative adaptation, a single actor tells the tale of Marley, Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

Holidays Evening Strolls at Deering Estate

December 3 and 15

For a family-friendly evening out at the Deering Estate in South Dade, the Historic Holidays Evening Strolls are scheduled for December 3 and 15. Tour the sprawling grounds all decked out in holiday lights and décor, led by designer-in-residence Alfredo Brito and featuring decorations by Miami’s top interior designers. The evening features campfires, holiday movies, a mailbox to drop off letters to Santa, and bedtime stories read by Mrs. Claus.

Deering Estate's festive decorations
Festive music & a Gilded Age theme at Mistletoe & Martinis at Deering Estate

Mistletoe & Martinis at Deering Estate

December 10

Pencil another holiday party into your calendar for December 10 with the Mistletoe & Martinis party at the Deering Estate to benefit The Deering Estate Foundation. With a Gilded Age theme, the event offers guests the chance to enjoy festive music, catered hors d’oeuvres and desserts from area restaurants (and, of course, a martini bar).

North Beach Music Festival

December 10-11

The North Beach Bandshell will transform into the North Beach Music Festival with a lineup of musical acts and improv comics, including Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Ghost-Note, Marco Benevento and more. With the ocean breeze in your hair and stars twinkling above, it promises to be two festive nights of music and entertainment in North Beach.

Sparkling trees & butterflies
Twinkling lights & tasty treats at Nights of Lights at Pinecrest Gardens

Nights of Lights at Pinecrest Gardens

December 10-January 2

Pinecrest Gardens transforms into a dazzling subtropical wonderland with its Nights of Lights celebration. Thousands of twinkling holiday lights are strung throughout the botanical landscape in Pinecrest, and special performances and holiday concerts will be held on the Banyan Bowl stage. Santa and Mrs. Claus will even make appearances, and you can enjoy delicious treats (including a signature holiday cocktail).

Nutcracker ballerina flying across the air
Don't miss The Miami City Ballet performance of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker at The Adrienne Arsht Center

December 16-26

It’s simply not the holiday season without The Nutcracker. The Miami City Ballet is back at the Arsht Center with its annual production of the classic Balanchine ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s soaring score. Book your tickets for this fantastic production and beloved holiday tradition, which runs from December 16-26.

Ode To Joy A New Year's Celebration

December 31

Orchestra Miami celebrates the end the year with an unforgettable free beachfront concert for the whole family. Ode to Joy highlights include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony led by artistic director Elaine Rinaldi, world-renowned soloists, a 60-voice choir and Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco. With VIP packages available, this incredible evening will be capped off with a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks show!

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