Vivo! Holiday Drinks
Photography: Courtesy Vivo!

Where to find the best Miami Christmas events and holiday happenings

Twas the week before Christmas, and Miami is stirring with so much festive fun around town.

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For snowbirds, winter in Miami typically means sunning on the beach and indulging at all the best restaurants. But make no mistake: What we lack in snowy nights and cozy fireplaces we more than compensate for with dazzling palm tree-lined boulevards and a slew of festive holiday happenings that kick off before the last plate of turkey has even been cleared.

Whether you’re in the mood for a colorful Miami take on a classic holiday show, a boozy pop-up full of Instagram-worthy photo ops or a massive, family-friendly lighted garden tour the stars, Miami has it this year. Below, find our picks to the best Christmas events in Miami for 2023. And don't forget to check back often as we add even more fun festivities throughout the season.

RECOMMENDED: Time Out Guide to Christmas in Miami

Best Christmas events in Miami

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions

A much-anticipated precursor to the holiday season in Miami, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s immersive NightGarden installation will return for a fifth season this November, promising even more psychedelic scenery, cutting-edge technology and interactive experiences running through the New Year.

Spanning 83 acres of enchanted tropical trails, the full NightGarden experience takes anywhere around 60 minutes as visitors explore a neon playground of secret sunken ponds, hidden fairy worlds, giant swaying dandelion fields and the rainbow-colored Orchid Bridge. Chock-full of photo-worthy moments, projection-mapped pitstops and holographic sculptures, NightGarden invites guests to frolic in a magical snowfall experience, and yes, Archie will be there to once again reprise his role as your favorite wise-talking tree.

  • Things to do

For a ninth year running, North American drag production company Murray & Peter presents its rollicking holiday tour, “A Drag Queen Christmas.” Expect a cast of your favorite queens lip-syncing, twirling and twerking to holiday hits live on stage, plus queens from Season 15 and All Stars 8 of Ru Paul's Drag Race. Note there may be some adult content, and this year's show has been restricted to 18+.

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  • Things to do
  • Performances

From Broadway Director and Cirque Dreams Founder Neil Goldberg comes POMP, SNOW & CIRQUEumstance, an immersive holiday show for all ages combining "the magic of Broadway with the glamour of Hollywood." Based on the eponymous book, the play follows three besties at a secret wintery university who are in the process of mastering their magic and circus skills before putting them on display. The show invloves 360 degree video mapping to bring the book's characters and setting to life, along with acrobats, magicians, singers, dancers and characters changing in and out of 200 elaborate costumes – including an appearance by Santa himself. There are two to three shows a day from afternoon to night and tickets start at $39. 

 

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Santa's Enchanted Forest may have up and left Tropical Park, but the spirit of Christmas (and carvnival) lives on at this Palmetto-side park, albeit with a more Miami twist. There are rides, rollercoasters and the largest traveling Ferris wheel in North America. Then there are a number of other attractions like 3D-mapped igloo shows, a whole North Pole village and HoliDade, a celebration of the 305 with Instagram-worthy displays. Oh, and the lights. THE LIGHTS! There's a half-mile of holiday displays, light shows, and immersive experiences, including a light show on the hour, every hour where all six worlds of Christmas Wonderland illuminate in a synchronized manner.

 

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  • Hotels
  • Chain hotels
  • Key Biscayne
  • price 3 of 4

What's a Ritz propery in Miami without a tropical moody bar made festive over the holiday season? Rumbar at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne has decked its halls for the season and is offering a fun holiday menu of bites and beverages. Wash 'Prancer's Pizza' down with the vodka, passion fruit and prosecco topped 'Let Me Take an #Elfie.' Cue the 'Charcutewreath' or finish things off off with a 'Tipsy Reindeer Bread Pudding.' The menu will be available through January 1st, so make your way onto the Key before then.  

 

  • Things to do

The sprawling Gulfstream Park Village property gets illuminated by more than 250,000 sparkly LED lights this season, all set to the sounds of holiday favorites and jolly pop hits. Shop, dine, catch a horse race and soak in all the festive cheer through December. A 10-minute light show will begin at the top of every hour from 6 to 11pm. The kick-off event (Nov. 11, 7–10pm) features performances by DJ Chris Cruz and music from the Valerie Tyson eight-piece band. Snap photos with Santa as he joins the festivities along with his group of elves and Nutcracker stilt walkers as the snowfall commences.

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7. Christmas Village Pop-Up at Vivo! Dolphin Mall

If you’re headed to Dolphin Mall to stock up on Christmas gifts, then take a quick shopping break and delight in the Christmas Village Pop-up. Until Christmas Eve, expect live performances, an artisan market, igloos to duck into and kid-friendly activities like cookie decorating. Pop into the Tinsel Tavern at Vivo!, where they're shaking up holiday-themed drinks, including a few with coquito-esque ingredients. On December 23rd, they'll be playing National Lampoons Christmas Vacation movie at 4:45. All you have to do is bring your own lawn chair to enjoy. 

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Charles Deering’s waterfront home is even more beautiful during the holidays when it transforms into an illuminated Wonderland. This season, the Deering Estate celebrates its 101st anniversary by taking guests through the looking glass with décor inspired by the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll. Directed by Deering Estate Designer-in-Residence Alfredo Brito, each room of the Stone House and Richmond Cottage will feature whimsical holiday decorations by local interior designers that will bring to life the colorful characters and topsy-turvy world of Alice and her Wonderland. 

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9. The Grinch Bar at Santa Diabla

The Grinch has stolen Christmas, and dropped it smack center in Miami Lakes. Santa Diabla, the speakeasy tucked inside Chela’s, has been rocking a Grinch-themed hideaway since November with plenty of holiday-themed cocktails like an O Holy Dark Night, a riff on an espresso martini with clarified spiced latte and the Tiki Clause, a rum drink with garam masala served in, what else, but tiki-themed Christmas glassware. Through January 6, you can enjoy their version of coquito: the Grinch’s Coconut Cup features dark and white rum mixed with a mint and coconut mixture and topped with green sprinkles and a candy cane. 

Oh, the weather outside is actually delighful, which means that watching movies on a rooftop is quite the treat. Rooftop Cinema Club is playing all the box office holiday hits, including Home Alone, Elf, It’s A Wonderful Life and The Holiday. And now, they've just introduced Florida resident pricing, which means 25% off your ticket. Bring a blanket and cozy up with popcorn, cocktails and bar fare through December 23rd. 

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  • Hotels
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

The National Hotel has transformed its Bar1939 into a festive holiday nook with a tropical view. Through January 3rd, get into the holiday spirit in Sobe with wintery decor, tapas, live music and an assortment of seasonal cocktails. Perhaps the best day to check out the holiday pop-up, however, is December 21 for National Coquito Day, where they’ll be serving up their signature drink, the Coquito National, all night long. There will also be an ugly sweater party on December 15, with a free welcome cocktail for sweater-wearers and live music. 

  • Things to do
  • Quirky events

Countdown to Christmas with a cocktail in hand at Miracle in Miami. The international holiday-themed pop-up bar makes a new home at Better Days in Brickell this yuletide season for a month of festive drinks and naughty fun. Expect the usual (fake) snow, holiday hits on repeat (these guys must be beating some kind of record for the most consecutive plays of Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas") and cheeky libations ike the Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!, made with a potent trio of rums, coconut orgeat and acid-adjusted pineapple juice.

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  • Hotels
  • Coconut Grove

Through December 31st, head to the Ritz-Carlton's moody, intimate bar for a special Coquito and Cookies menu curated by local food influencer @ChatChowTV. There are tons to choose from, as each is inspired by different coquito-esque drinks from around Latin America: a Patrón-based Mexican rompope, a Cuban Crema de Vie, American egg nog and of course, the Puerto Rican classic. Coquito-fiends can even try them all with a flight for $39. The best part? Every cocktail comes with a different cookie.  

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