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Downtown Miami view along Biscayne Bay from Brickell Key
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best fall events in Miami to add to your calendar

See ya, summer! Check out some of the best fall events in Miami and plan ahead for a season of fun—no sweater necessary

By Virginia Gil and Falyn Freyman

Fall events in Miami are very different from what the rest of the country experiences. Our leaves don’t drop or change color (though the occasional hurricane does shake things up), and it’s not quite sweater weather around these parts yet. It’s still a tad hot but fall in Miami is a great time to shake off the summer funk and get ready for a fresh crop of things to do in Miami, even if most of what’s on the calendar this year is either outdoors or happening virtually. A lot of the recurring festivals we’re used to attending are canceled or have moved online, but there’s still so much to look forward to. In the 305, we think of fall as an extended summer: more opportunities to explore the best Miami beaches, additional weekends for camping and hiking in Miami and plenty of reasons to enjoy the sunshine outdoors. And we won’t say no to a pumpkin drink either, so long as it’s iced.

RECOMMENDED: Miami events calendar

Fall events in Miami

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Miami Book Fair

Things to do Festivals

Lockdown or not, the weeklong literary celebration isn’t skipping a beat this year. The Miami Book Fair goes virtual for its 39th edition and it’s planning more author presentations, more mind-expanding conversations and even more innovative ways to honor the written word. Instead of the usual one-on-one interviews we’re used to, the fair will showcase highly produced segments that’ll drop online—Netflix-style—and be free for folks to watch over the course of a week. Also new this year will be a Virtual Pachanga, featuring experienced Latina authors in conversation with young Latin writers. Even from home—and while missing the energy of the annual street festival—expect a strong and engaging digital connection.

Girl at a pumpkin patch
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/DCvision2006

2. Drive-through Pumpkin Patch in Miami

Things to do

Fall activities may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be fun. This Not-So-Spooky Halloween adventure is a drive-through event that’s perfect for families. Taking place over the next few weekends leading up to the holiday, the kid-friendly happening features interactive storytime, a pumpkin patch and a trick-or-treating alley—all of which little ones can enjoy from the safety of their parents’ car. Costumes are encouraged.

Zoo Miami Run 5k virtual
Photograph: Courtesy Zoo Miami/Gustavo Maccio

3. Zoo Run 5K

Things to do

Kids and adults of all ages and fitness levels gather each fall for Zoo Miami’s annual fundraiser, and lockdown isn’t holding them back in 2020. This year, the 5k marathon goes virtual, encouraging participants to go the distance in their neighborhoods, track their performance and share the results online. Registration is just $12 and includes a $4 discount to the zoo when it reopens, a themed Spotify playlist to get you moving, a personalized bib, a finisher certificate and other digital swag. Proceeds from the event benefit West Kendall Baptist Hospital and Zoo Miami Foundation.

Pinecrest Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy Pinecrest Gardens/ARDZPhotography

4. JazzAid Live from the Banyan Bowl

Things to do

Lockdown has impacted every single one of Miami’s beloved attractions, including Pinecrest Gardens. Forced to cancel its anticipated all-star jazz series this fall, the botanical garden reimagines it as JazzAid Live from the Banyan Bowl—an eight-part virtual event that helps raise money for nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen, which has been feeding vulnerable communities in the U.S. since the crisis began.

It features Grammy-winning artists and international superstars, beginning with hometown talent Jon Secada singing live from the Banyan Bowl at the gardens on October 17. Jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will follow on November 14 and Kurt Elling on December 12, with more to follow. The shows begin at 8pm and will be broadcast live for one night only. Each one is $15 to watch or purchase all eight for $100—not bad when you consider it doubles as entertainment and a charitable contribution.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

5. Eat. Drink. Garden.

Things to do

Fairchild Garden’s monthly dinner series, held on the last Saturday of each month, continues throughout fall. First up is chef Niven Patel of the newly opened Mamey and critically acclaimed Ghee Indian Kitchen. He’ll be preparing a four-course, island-inspired meal for diners to enjoy amid Fairchild’s lush, tropical landscape. Dinners are limited to 30 guests per seating (5:30pm or 8pm) to allow for an intimate yet socially distanced experience under the stars.

The Horrorland
Photograph: Courtesy the Horrorland

6. The Horrorland

Things to do

Halloween in Miami is usually a string of parties where the only thing scary is the hangover you’ll have the next day. But with bars and clubs still closed, this year’s fear factor is coming to us from a different source: The Horrorland.

This new drive-through haunted house experience rolls into Miramar Regional Park on most evenings in October. The first of its kind, Horrorland is a totally contactless, immersive horror game where guests get to participate from their cars. You’ll drive up and while going at an unhurried three miles per house watch as a freaky horror movie unravels around you. Monsters, ghosts, zombies and all kinds of frightening creatures will jump up when you least expect it as you make your way through seven themed passages. Think a creepy carnival, a zombie apocalypse and a Christmas nightmare. The whole thing takes about 35 minutes—if you can handle it.


Plant-Based Food Festival at Gulfstream
Photograph: Courtesy Gulfstream Park

7. Plant-Based Festival at Gulfstream Park Village

Things to do Festivals

Taste, shop and learn about all things plant-based at Gulfstream Park Village’s third-annual vegan food festival. It celebrates World Vegan Day and features dozens of vendors selling ready-made eats, fruits and veggies, and animal-free products. Expect music, kids’ contests and giveaways (the first 500 attendees get a free reusable stainless steel straw) at this family-friendly outdoor fest.

Downtown Miami view along Biscayne Bay from Brickell Key
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. In Class with Dr. Paul George: A History of Florida

Things to do

Class in session! HistoryMiami’s Dr. Paul George is used to sharing his knowledge on tours and in classrooms, and this fall the beloved historian is schooling us online. In this six-part series, Dr. George covers the history of Florida through weekly sessions comprising a video lecture, a virtual tour and an animated discussion about South Florida’s neighborhoods. Meetings take place during the day and all are welcome to join.

Overture to Overtown
Photograph: Courtesy Overture to Overtown

9. Overture to Overtown

Music Music festivals

The Betsy hotel pays tribute to historic Overtown’s famed jazz roots with a monthlong music and culture festival, featuring nearly 20 performers taking the digital stage. You’ll hear from poets and scholars and take in free concerts from the likes of Nicole Yarling, Brenda Alford, Allen Paul and more local musicians keeping the history and legacy of Overtown alive through their craft. It’s the first time the annual festival goes virtual but it’s even more immersive than ever before.

Gustavo Oviedo: “Symbiosis”
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Graffiti

10. Gustavo Oviedo: “Symbiosis”

Things to do Exhibitions

While other graffiti artists turned toward urban decay, Gustavo Oviedo gravitated to the ocean and the aquatic life beneath the surface of Miami’s Biscayne Bay. “Symbiosis” is the 39-year-old artist's ode to the sea with vivid works as colorful as the brightest coral reefs plus mixed-media sculptures made up of found objects both marine and otherwise. The exhibit features large, seemingly abstract paintings that resemble sea creatures, collages and more.

Courtesy Vizcaya Museum and Gardens/Bill Sumner

11. Vizcaya First Fridays

Things to do

Miami’s most famous estate stays open late on the first Friday of the month, inviting visitors to explore its grounds and its interiors. There’s always live music or DJ-spun tunes and some sort of cocktail available for purchase (or free) to enjoy on the waterfront courtyard with Biscayne Bay as your backdrop. Talk about a view!

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