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 and our peak season hasn’t officially arrived. But fall is a great time to shake off the summer funk and get ready for a crazy three months of events and a fresh crop of things to do in Miami, because things are about to turn. In Miami, we think of fall as an extended summer: more opportunities to explore the best Miami beaches, additional weekends for Miami pool parties and plenty of reasons to enjoy the sunshine outdoors. And we won’t say no to a pumpkin drink either.
Fall events in Miami
Like seafood? If you’re in South Florida, you don’t have much of a choice. And even if your taste buds dwell more on land, South Beach Seafood week might convert you thanks to a week’s worth of showcases featuring some of our tastiest seafood restaurants like Joe’s Stone Crab. It all culminates with the giant South Beach Seafood Festival main event on October 26. Bring an appetite and possibly a bib.
Love food festivals but wish they left you feeling a little less, uh, bloated? Well, health nuts will certainly appreciate Seed Food and Wine Week, a plant-based food and wine festival that won’t have you in a sodium coma for months to come. There are events spread throughout the week, everything from a grand tasting village to smaller workshops and panels featuring a whole bunch of plant-based all-stars. Grab a ticket to one event—like Thursday’s plant-based burger battle—or snag an all-access pass to all of the above.
The annual weeklong celebration of all things literature is back with a bang. The program boasts seven full days of programming, including readings and a massive outdoor street fair. In previous years, notable guests have includd former Vice President Joe Biden, Dan Rather, Patti Smith, Isabel Allende, Pete Souza (President Obama’s official photographer), Bill McKibben, Michael Eric Dyson, Edwidge Danticat and Kevin Young, plus numerous others.
Take your seats for three full days of races as NASCAR takes over the Homestead-Miami Speedway for its Ford Championship Weekend. Each day brings a new race and title, culminating in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400. Last year, Joey Logano took home his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. Can Logano defend his title in 2019, or will someone dethrone the champ?
Feel like the belle of the ball at one of Miami’s most glamorous affairs. This year’s spectacular “Rock Your Rococo”- themed evening begins with a red-carpet photo op, followed by cocktails in the courtyard and a lavish dinner on the terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay. Bonus: Proceeds from the hefty ticket price go toward preserving and protecting the historic property.
Jungle Island’s grand reimagining of a Zen ancient Buddhist tradition weaves giant lanterns—beautifully hand-crafted out of colorful silk by Chinese artisans—throughout the park’s lush 18 acres, painting a magical story of the habitat, its wildlife and beautiful Biscayne Bay.
Art Basel, which stages three major fairs each year—in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami Beach—focuses on modern and contemporary art and puts more than 200 leading galleries and 4,000 artists from across the globe in front of the art world’s top curators, museums and collectors. The weekend of Art Basel has become a major draw for Miami, with parties, satellite fairs and major events being held in conjunction with the show—have fun celebrity-spotting.
Any true dance music fan should be drooling over any sort of collaboration between the wonderful labels Life and Death and Innervisions. The two dance music powerhouses take over Virginia Key Beach Park once again this year for their Rakastella party. The roster of DJs includes Ben UFO, Jayda G, John Talabot, KiNK, Mor Elian and more to be announced. Pace yourself, though. The party doesn’t stop until 7am the next day.
Former downtown club Heart rises from the ashes as a two-day, four-stage dance festival housed in the sprawling Wynwood Factory. Techno stars like Martinez Brothers and Damian Lazarus headline, but expect emerging house DJs and live electronic performances too. 55 NE 24th St
Marching bands, colorful floats and community groups take over the streets of downtown Coral Gables during this South Florida staple. Created especially for children and families, and acting as the flagship event of the Junior Orange Bowl Festival Season, the parade marches through Thanksgiving weekend and often boasts celebrities like last year’s 70th anniversary Grand Marshal, Flo Rida.
OG mononymous icon Madonna wraps up the North American leg of her massive Madame X tour in Miami this December with a whopping seven dates set at the intimate Fillmore Miami Beach.
Vessels ranging from LED-adorned paddleboards to corporate megayachts and privately owned seacrafts are decked out with lights, music, live entertainment, decorations and revelers as they travel east 12 miles through the Intracoastal Waterway and north to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. Events get underway at 6:30pm, but eager attendees are encouraged to show up early for the best views.
Get in the holiday spirit by surrounding yourself with nearly a million bright, animal-shaped lights draped throughout Zoo Miami. Families can stroll through the park and enjoy carousel rides and nightly carollers. Santa will be around for photos, plus milk and cookies will be served (for an additional fee). Be sure to check the Zoo’s website for information on themed nights, like December 13 and 14’s ugly sweater event and Santa and elf look-a-like nights on December 27 through 29.