What to do in Miami for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Feast

Luminosa at Jungle Island

Luminosa Chinese Lantern Festival at Jungle Island

Photo by Laura Medley
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

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Frost Museum

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Thanksgiving in Miami is jam-packed with activities, from concerts to light shows and holiday wonders. Whether you’re looking for the traditional, or just want to take a breather from all the cooking, there is something for everyone. We’ve created an itinerary filled with activities to fill up your holiday weekend — including ways to work off those epic holiday meals.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

In Miami, the night before Thanksgiving is a time to gather your friends and family for an exciting night out. A few of our “favorite things” happening this night: Sing along with pop star Ariana Grande (a native of South Florida) who is sure to electrify the crowd at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Another wild night can be found at Jungle Island’s Luminosa Festival of Lights, a mammoth nighttime lantern festival that spans 13 acres and features hundreds of beautifully handcrafted silk lanterns by the world’s top Chinese Lantern Festival creators. You’ll wander by striking silk parrots, a sea of glowing jellyfish and panoramic reinterpretations of several iconic Miami destinations.

While we’re wrapping up November, which is part of Miami Entertainment Months, you still have time to experience discounted prices at Miami’s state-of-the-art cinemas, movie houses, theatres and more.

Luminosa Chinese Lantern Festival at Jungle island
Luminosa Chinese Lantern Festival at Jungle island

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving! Before you dig into all the traditional foods like turkey and all the trimmings, lace up your running shoes to take part in the Baptist Health Turkey Trot Miami, with a 5K, 10K and a kid’s race that lines up inside Tropical Park next to the baseball fields. If that’s too ambitious, burn off some calories by strolling the white sands of South Beach, or join the parade of locals on pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road for some shopping or lounging at an al fresco cafe. For a true local’s experience, make your way to South Pointe Park to gaze at the ocean, and where the kids can roll down the park’s grassy hills and splash around in the interactive water fountains.

If you’re not the type to slave over the stove all day to prepare a huge feast, Miami is full of restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving Day and will do all the work for you. Or, for something totally unique and stress-free, book a dinner boat cruise with Island Queen Cruises & Tours, where you’ll board the Venetian Lady luxury yacht for a buffet dinner and open bar while gliding along scenic Biscayne Bay.

Another Thanksgiving night tradition is to see a movie, so head to Brickell City Centre to catch one of the latest flicks at CMX, a luxury dine-in theater where dinner and cocktails arrive at your reclining seat.

Dolphin Mall
Dolphin Mall

Friday, November 29, 2019

Hello, Black Friday. If you’re into getting up early for the door-busting deals, map out your shopping strategy at malls like Bal Harbour Shops, Shops at Merrick Park, Aventura Mall, Dolphin Mall, Dadeland Mall, or Brickell City Centre. If you’re looking for luxury, spend a day in the Design District for fashion houses like Dior, Versace, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and more; then move over to neighboring Wynwood to find something for the artsy person on your list. The best part: when you’re done shopping, you can reward yourself by sunning on the beach.

At night, the family fun is endless. Head to Zoo Miami for the kick-off of their annual Zoo Lights, where portions of the zoo shine brightly with more than a million lights, and families can enjoy different activities such as animal encounters, special holiday performances and photos with Santa. Or, join the locals at Santa’s Enchanted Forest, the world’s largest holiday theme park, for glistening lights and more than 100 rides, life-size holiday displays, music, variety shows and games, and South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree.

Frost Science Museum
Frost Science Museum

Saturday, November 30

You’re in Miami, so you need to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Head to explore our natural wonder, the Everglades, where you can zip off on an airboat ride and experience unique wildlife encounters that include birds and even alligators.

Miami is also bursting at the seams with museums, and parents as well as kids can enjoy two Miami gems that are situated next door to one another: Pérez Art Museum Miami for modern and contemporary international art of the 20th and 21st centuries, dramatic hanging gardens and suspended swinging chairs with epic views of Biscayne Bay, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science which houses a 3D planetarium, an aquarium with touch-tanks and an impressive oculus lens that offers a view of sharks circling overhead.

When the sun goes down, kick-off the holiday season at Bayfront Holiday Village for the annual holiday tree lighting at 7:30 p.m. at Bayfront Park. The event is free, and the Bayfront Holiday Village will feature shops, food and beverage vendors, holiday music and more.

If you’re looking for some culture and fun, spend an evening at the stunning Adrienne Arsht Center, where Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be displayed on a giant screen and accompanied by a symphonic orchestra.

Sunday, December 1

For a magical ending to the holiday weekend, make evening plans at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, which transforms into The NightGarden for the months of November and December. You’ll be transfixed by a Wise Talking Tree, flying fairies and holographic butterflies flitting around as well as flowers that are ten feet tall. Haven’t had enough fun? Check out more great events in Miami.

Read More:

Miami's Hottest Events In November
Family Friendly Holiday Events In Miami
A Guide To Outdoor Shopping Areas In Miami
Family-Friendly Free Events & Festivals In Miami

More About Events In Miami

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