What To Do This December In Miami

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By: Shayne Benowitz

December is a happening month in Greater Miami & Miami Beach. From Art Basel Miami Beach kicking off the month to New Year’s Eve bashes closing out the year, visitors will find plenty of action in Miami all month long. December also marks the beginning of Miami Arts, Culture & Heritage Months, when special offers and events showcase Miami’s rich multicultural arts and heritage attractions. December is a wonderful time to enjoy a tropical twist on the holiday season, from performances of “The Nutcracker” to a holiday party at a historic bayfront estate. Read on to learn about the best of Miami’s December events.

Mary Sibande's life-size sculpture The Domba Dance, Courtesy Art Basel
Art lovers admiring Mary Sibande's The Domba Dance, Courtesy Art Basel

Art Basel Miami Beach & Miami Art Week

Through December 6

Art Basel Miami Beach is celebrating 20 years at the Miami Beach Convention Center from December 1-3, with its annual fair devoted to the best in international contemporary art. The accompanying satellite art fairs, gallery shows, celebrity-splashed parties and other events are collectively known as Miami Art Week, with events scheduled from November 27 through December 6.

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

Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami

Select evenings through December 30

Zoo Miami gets into the holiday spirit during Zoo Lights, the annual tradition where the zoo stays open late so visitors can explore its dazzling array of holiday lights. Stroll around the grounds to find immersive light displays including animal lanterns, and enjoy holiday music, cookies and hot chocolate. Bring the whole family to marvel at the 26-foot LED tree, and the kids will definitely want to tell Santa what’s on their wish list.

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

December at the Arsht Center

Throughout December

December is a blockbuster month for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. From December 6-11, the center’s Broadway in Miami series will stage the Tony Award-winning musical Hadestown, a reimagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Heidi Schreck’s revelatory 2019 Broadway play, What the Constitution Means to Me, runs December 1-18, and the homegrown Nu Deco Ensemble will take the stage December 10 for a special performance featuring Wyclef Jean. Of course, it simply isn’t the holiday season until the curtain goes up on The Nutcracker from December 16-24.

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

NightGarden at Fairchild

Through January 8

Wait until after dark to visit Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden – that’s when the NightGarden spectacular comes to life. The holidays meet high tech as 20-plus acres of lush tropical flora turn into an illuminated magical fairyland. Wander the grounds to find technicolor flowers and festive sculptures created with a combination of lighting effects, holograms, motion-sensing technology and projection mapping, all set to music. For a fully immersive augmented-reality experience, download the FairyScope app before you visit.

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

Mistletoe & Martinis at the Deering Estate

December 9

Pencil another holiday party into your calendar on December 9 – it’s the Deering Estate’s annual Mistletoe & Martinis mixer to benefit The Deering Estate Foundation. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the estate’s Stone House with a 1920s Jazz Age theme, festive music, catered hors d’oeuvres and desserts from area restaurants – and, of course, a fully stocked martini bar.

Dance Now! Miami presents Clara at the Miami Theater Center

December 10

For a modern spin on the classic “Nutcracker” ballet, Dance Now! Miami presents “Clara” at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores, with special guest Opus Ballet. In this rendition, the heroine Clara is off on a personal journey to explore the exotic, the unknown and the forbidden in her quest for love, identity and self-determination. Inspired by Tchaikovsky's original orchestration, the score is by Berlin-based composer Davidson Jaconello.

Andrea Bocelli in Concert

December 18

Spend an evening with beloved tenor Andrea Bocelli as he performs selections from his most recent album, traditional arias and fan favorites from his long career. Soprano Larisa Martínez and Bocelli’s son and daughter, Matteo and Virginia Bocelli, will perform alongside him.

Seraphic Fire Christmas at the Moss Center

December 18

Chamber music fans rejoice every year for Seraphic Fire’s special Christmas recital. Conducted by James K. Bass, the Seraphic Fire singers serenade their audience at The Moss Center with timeless holiday classics like “Silent Night” and “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” as well as a selection of new favorites.

Full stadium watching the game at the Hard Rock Stadium
Cheer for your favorite team at Hard Rock Stadium

Capital One Orange Bowl Football Game at Hard Rock Stadium

December 30

The Capital One Orange Bowl has been one of Miami’s favorite New Year’s traditions since 1935. To watch this college football playoff semifinal game in person, head to Hard Rock Stadium and cheer on your favorite team.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

December 31

Of course, there’s perhaps no better place than Miami to ring in the New Year. From a lavish soiree at The Biltmore’s Country Club Ballroom with a premium open bar and fireworks on the golf course, to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s poolside bash featuring Marshmello and Khalid, there’s no shortage of fabulous parties to ring in 2023. After your big night out, ease into New Year’s Day on a cushy lounge chair at the beach.

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