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Photograph: Courtesy Groove Cruise/Alexa Izabella

The best January events in Miami

Start 2023 with a bang at the best January events in Miami—from a horse race to art and music festivals, shows and more.

Virginia Gil
Falyn Wood
Written by
Virginia Gil
&
Falyn Wood
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Hello, 2023! It’s the first month of the year and, with it, comes glorious weather and a whole slew of January events in Miami. We hope you took some time to rest after Christmas chaos and Art Basel madness because this year is looking like another doozy, packed with even more parties and performances than we can realistically handle.

January in Miami is also an excellent time to dabble in the city's many outdoor activities, everything from lounging on a Miami beach to picnicking at a Miami park to going for a dip at one of Miami's many sparkling swimming pools. This really is the best place to be while everyone else is snowed in, and we’ve got just the things to do in January to keep you busy. Peep our list below.

Recommended: Guide to Miami events

January events in Miami

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden dedicates two full days to the beloved cocoa bean for this 16th-annual event. The main star of the show—if you couldn’t guess—is chocolate. Don’t miss your opportunity to taste samples from artisan chocolatiers, indulge in chocolate pairings with wine and spirits, sit in on lectures and participate in all sorts of sweet demonstrations.

  • Things to do
  • Sport events

The million-dollar horse race ($3 million, to be exact) returns to Gulfstream Park this January. Not into horses? Come for the atmosphere, which borders on South Beach nightclub thanks to a day party and live musical performances. This year's acts have yet to be announced, but previous headliners have included Lil’ Kim, Ja Rule, Mase, El Debarge and DJ Cassidy.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Relive all things Jazz Age at the Miami Design Preservation League’s annual festival, with free events and activities including the artisan and antiques marketplace, a classic car show, lectures, films, guided architectural tours and a variety of musical performances. The theme for this 46th edition is "Art Deco Worldwide," in honor of the upcoming 16th World Congress on Art Deco, taking place from April 18 through 30 in South Florida. Fifth to 15th Sts and Ocean Dr, Miami Beach at various times

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Ever wonder what it’d be like to dance non-stop for 96 hours and escape reality with 2,200 new friends? This winter, find out as you set sail for the Bahamas aboard Groove Cruise Miami 2023. From Tuesday to Sunday, you’ll party to some of the biggest names in EDM—from Nora En Pure and Cocodrills to Casmalia and Doc Brown—on multiple different stages across the decks of the Celebrity Summit. Expect themed experiences, artist activities and more, with several different suite categories to choose from. 1015 N America Way

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  • Things to do
  • Miami

Brought to you by the team behind hit films Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL—including star Channing Tatum, director Steven Soderbergh and others—the 360-degree, immersive experience weaves together hot dance performances, acrobatics, live music and cocktails, which you’ll want on deck as things heat up throughout the 90-minute production. Miami's six-month run of the touring production takes place at Miami Marine Stadium, where they've built a souped-up venue complete with a lounge serving food and drink options pre- and post-show.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

This 72nd annual arts festival (Miami’s longest-running juried art festival) in support of South Florida’s first art museum, the Lowe, returns to the University of Miami’s campus. The event, encouraging an appreciation of the arts across Miami, features over 150 outdoor fine-art exhibits, local vendors, a beer garden, live music and lots of food.

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  • Things to do
  • Quirky events

Kick back in Frost Science’s massive Planetarium for its monthly retro classic laser shows, featuring a new set of artists each week. This Friday brings a special show featuring tracks from Stranger Things, That 90's Laser Show, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd: Welcome to the Machine. Arrive early or stay late to hang at the atrium lounge, where you can pre-game in style with a curated selection of beers and snacks.

  • Things to do
  • Mid-Beach

Urbanspace, producers of NYC’s largest holiday markets, is expanding nationally and landing right here in Miami with the Urbanspace Lincoln Road Holiday Market. Its first endeavor outside of the city will run from November 15 through February 15 (opening daily from 10am to 9pm), bringing more than 100 local and out-of-state vendors to the busy pedestrian strip in South Beach.

Miami’s will mirror a similar layout to New York’s with dozens of outdoor pop-up shops along Lincoln Road at the intersection of Washington Avenue. The outdoor marketplace will be a brightly lit, outdoor shopping extravaganza, featuring items across a long list of categories—from home goods and artisanal food products to toys, apparel and accessories. In addition to retail, the holiday market plans to put on musical performances, art installations and Instagrammable photo displays throughout the season.

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  • Things to do

Immerse yourself in a journey through parallel universes at Faena Theater’s newest cabaret show, Allura. New York sensation Rocky Lanes will serve as a sexy spiritual guide, daring guests to peek behind the veil of the known to explore the divine matrices encoded within us all. Ultra-high-tech holographic architecture, interactive motion capture and body mapping converge with choreographed dancers, singers and musicians to explore themes of Futurism and seduction in this ethereal, high-energy production with a 1980s Latin-inspired soundtrack.

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

The world’s largest holiday theme park (at least according to the website) returns for its 39th season of shimmering lights, carnival rides and only-in-Miami experiences. The county-fair-meets-winter-wonderland is chock-full of roller coasters, amusement rides, carnival games, photo ops with Santa and his helpers, and an assortment of fair food—think fresh doughnuts, funnel cakes and more.

For 2022, Santa's Enchanted Forest moves from Hialeah Park, where it decamped for a year after spending 37 at Tropical Park, to a new, much larger location in Doral. 7500 NW 87th Ave

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  • Things to do
  • Downtown

Pérez Art Museum Miami presents an immersive exhibition featuring iconic artworks by Leandro Erlich in the Argentine artist’s first monographic survey show in North America. The 16 works in Leandro Erlich: Liminal have been selected and arranged by New York-based guest curator Dan Cameron to offer an underlying narrative on the act of perception and its possibilities, and to create a conversation between the audience and the art itself.

Visitors will be able to interact with some of Erlich’s most widely known artworks and installations, including Swimming Pool. Constructed to be viewed from either above or inside, the work allows viewers to look down and see people “underwater” (through a layer of water contained in transparent glass), while those below exist in an apparently suspended reality. Other works in the show at PAMM include The Cloud, Erlich’s celebrated glass sculptures of ephemeral beauty, and the labyrinthine Changing Rooms. 

  • Things to do
  • South Beach

Showcasing posters, record and sheet music covers, film clips and audio, Turn the Beat Around at FIU's Wolfsonian museum explores the artistic exchange between Cuban and American music and dance from the 1930s through the 1960s. From rumba, conga and Afro-Cuban jazz to mambo, cha-cha-cha and salsa, these infectious rhythms flowed out of tourist-packed Havana cabarets, New York City dance halls and Hollywood films. The exhibition brings to life the musical fusion found between cultures, illustrating how musicians of both nations produced new musical forms by riffing off their neighbors. 

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  • 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 fourth 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 from 60 to 90 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 and interactive pit stops, 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
  • Exhibitions
  • Downtown

Travel back in time to prehistoric South America, Africa and Madagascar, where a special breed of dinosaurs once roamed. These rarely seen specimens are brought to life at Frost Science using cutting-edge technology, offering a hands-on, interactive experience for fans of these bigger-than-life creatures. "Ultimate Dinosaurs" also features 13 dinosaur casts as well as fossils and various specimens folks can see and touch.

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  • 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 100th anniversary by taking us back to the glitz and glamour of the early twentieth century, taking cues from the cultural explosion of jazz and film that blossomed in the age. The Richmond Cottage dining room will be set in the fashion of a celebratory dinner to ring the holiday season as it could have during Deering’s residence, while the Stone House Library will capture the magic and splendor of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

  • Things to do
  • North Miami

MOCA North Miami presents “Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè,” the largest solo exhibition of the Haitian-born, North Miami-raised artist’s career to date. Translated as “We’ve Left That All Behind,” the show is imbued with and literally surrounded by memories of the neighborhood where Williams once grew up. The more than 40 works on display will span paintings (including brand-new painted works), printmaking, drawings and artist books. Curated by Erica Moiah James, Ph.D, the exhibition will also premiere William’s first monumental sculpture: a 12-foot-tall wooden body emblematic of a religious column present in Haitian worship rituals. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum has partnered with ten-time Emmy award-winning producer and director Marlon Johnson to produce a documentary on William, along with a series of scholarly public programs around the artist and his works.

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  • Things to do

Multi-disciplinary artists Friday, Loni Johnson and VantaBlack come together for a group exhibition at New World Gallery opening in tandem with Miami Art Week. Enter through the doorway of The Front Room into an erected and carefully arranged space of comfort, intimacy and belonging. Exploring themes of home, identity and memory, the free and open-to-the-public show is curated by Pamela 'Zee' Lopez Del Carmen and centers around liberation from the deep social practice of self-containment and self-negation. The opening reception takes place Friday, November 18 from 6 to 9pm. New World Gallery, 25 NE 2 St

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