Florida

The Best festivals and fairs in Miami & Miami Beach

by Paul Joseph  |  Published January 29, 2020

Miami’s reputation for entertainment is renowned across the globe, ensuring the city attracts huge numbers of party-lovers every year, all lured here by the superb climate, ocean setting, dazzling nightspots and pumping music scene. Little surprise, therefore, that the city boasts a superb calendar of festivals and fairs throughout the year, too.

A performance at Miami’s Sleepless Night festival (Photo: Knight Foundation via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.02.0)

For anyone visiting Miami, the scope and scale of events that take place here on an almost-weekly basis ensures there’ll be something to suit every taste. To help you find the events you’d be keen to attend in 2020, we’ve created a comprehensive list of the best festivals and fairs taking place here over the coming 12 months.

Tamiami International Orchid Festival

Approaching its 20th birthday, this internationally recognised show is dedicated to the colourful and fragrant orchid flower. This year’s event is being billed as the largest to date, offering visitors the chance to marvel at a diverse collection of rare orchids assembled into beautiful exhibits – and purchase some if they wish, too. There are also free classes for those keen to learn more about orchids..

LOCATION Dade County Youth Fairgrounds, Miami-Dade DATES 17 January 2020 

Plans on show at the Tamiami International Orchid Festival (Photo: Tamiami International Orchid Festival)

Beaux Arts Festival

A juried fine arts show featuring art, crafts and multi-media from hundreds of exhibitors, Beaux Arts Festival is one of Miami’s biggest cultural events of the year. Whatever your favoured art form, be it wood, watercolours, photography, oil and acrylics, graphics, glass, ceramics or 3D sculpture, there’ll be something to please every preference. Furthermore, with live music, kids’ art experiences, and free entertainment on offer, it’s a real family friendly occasion too, while food lovers will enjoy the array of top class dining options available.

LOCATION University of Miami DATES 18 January 2020 

Vewtopia Music Festival

Held to coincide with The Big Game Weekend 2020 – aka Superbowl 2020 – the inaugural edition of this two-day music festival is promising to take Miami by storm with a star-studded line-up of talent spanning a wide range of musical genres, including Hip-Pop, Urban, Latin & Caribbean. Festival organisers are placing cultural diversity at the heart of the festival, reflected in both the musicians taking part and the anticipated audience too.

LOCATION Marlins Park DATES 31 January-1 February

A dazzling performance at Vewtopia Music Festival (Photo: Vewtopia Music Festival)

Brew Miami

Local bites, live music and as much craft beer as you can guzzle is just some of what guests can look forward to at the 2020 edition of Brew Miami, which acts as the perfect showcase for the area’s burgeoning craft beer industry. Beer lovers can come and sample lashings of locally produced amber nectar by purchasing either General Admission or VIP tickets (the latter including a variety of speciality pours), and for spirits fans there are also Jack Daniels Experience tickets which provide access to an exclusive area with specialty samplings of Jack Daniels Rye, Ford’s Gin, Old Forester Bourbon and Jack Daniels Country Cocktails, plus foodie samples.

LOCATION Riccardo Silva Stadium DATES 8 February 2020 

A bustling scene from a previous edition of Brew Miami (Photo: Brew Miami)

Coconut Grove Arts Festival

Each year, the winding streets of Coconut Grove, considered by many to be Miami’s original art district, plays host to a hugely popular outdoor arts festival that attracts tens of thousands of visitors hailing from far and wide. Originally a small clothesline fair, the event has grown dramatically and today showcases a remarkable assortment of visual, performing and culinary arts experiences.

LOCATION McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive & Pan American Drive DATES 15-17 February 2020

Eye-catching public art on display at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Photo: Bob B. Brown via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Dedicated foodies in Miami this February will not want to miss this star-studded, five-day gastronomic extravaganza, which serves as a showcase for some of the world’s finest chefs and culinary experts. Attracting more than 65,000 visitors each year, the event invites guests to watch demos, participate in a fun-packed programme of food-themed activities, and sample plenty of mouth-watering treats along the way.

LOCATION Lummus Park DATES 20-24 February 2020 

Speciality cocktails on sale at South Beach Wine & Food Festival (Photo: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Winter Party Festival

Featuring two huge weekend dance events, cocktail receptions, and the biggest pool party in Miami, the Winter Party Festival is a major event on the LGBTQ calendar, raising much needed funds for this community. The weeklong celebration has been running since 1994 and provides a platform for an impressive line-up of internationally acclaimed DJs, plus an array of other high-energy dance and social events in the idyllic environs of Miami Beach.

LOCATION Lummus Park DATES 4-10 March 2020 

Revellers at the Miami Winter Party Festival (Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Asian Culture Festival

Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a weekend packed full of exotic music and dance, Asian arts, crafts, plants and entertainment, as well as a mouth-watering selection of authentic Far Eastern cuisine. Cultural performance highlights include Thai classical and folk dance, martial arts demonstrations, fashion shows, Japanese origami, and Fusho Daiko drumming. There’s also a Global Kids Village where little ones can enjoy storytelling, puppet shows, games, song and dance from around the world.

LOCATION Fruit & Spice Park DATES 7-8 March 2020 

Miami Music Week

One of the world’s most prestigious electronic events returns to Miami this March as part of the build up to the grand finale, the equally acclaimed Ultra Music Festival. Every year hundreds of thousands of music lovers from around the world descend on the city for a week-long marathon of parties featuring almost every major artist in the electronic dance music scene. Venues include nightclubs, pools, boats, and pop-up spaces across the city.

LOCATION Venues across Miami DATES 16-22 March 2020 

Ultra Music Festival

Boasting elite DJs and unparalleled production venues, the Ultra Music Festival has gained an almost mythical status in the minds of electronic music aficionados the world over. Bringing Miami Music Week to a close each year, the immersive event plays host to a diverse array of musical acts from across the electronic and dance genres, with a number of freshly produced tunes getting played in front of live audiences for the first time. Away from the music, there are also interactive art installations and live-painting displays dotted throughout the festival grounds.

LOCATION Bayfront Park DATES 20-22 March 2020 

A performance is illuminated by strobe lighting at the Ultra Music Festival (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Miami Beach Pride

With the city home to a vast LGBTQ community, Miami’s contribution to the global phenomenon of Pride events is unsurprisingly one of the biggest and best anywhere. With parties and events lasting almost a full week, the hugely popular occasion culminates with a two-day weekend festival along the sands of Lummus Park and a colourful parade down Ocean Drive.

LOCATION Ocean Drive, Art Deco district DATES 28 March-5 April 

Participants aboard a parade float at Miami Beach Pride (Photo: Phillip Pessar via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Redland Blues & Barbecue Festival

Award winning BBQ and top class blues and country music are the central focus of this fun-filled annual event, which also features a Classic Car and Motorcycle Show and a live concert music series. But the main event is without doubt the food, which sees grillmasters cooking up delectable ribs, brisket and chicken, plus seafood, conch fritters and other foodie treats to ensure no-one goes home hungry.

LOCATION Fruit & Spice Park DATES 4-5 April 2020 

Outshine Film Festival

For more than two decades, Miami has been home to one of the most important LGBT Film Festivals in the country. Designed to enable the LGBTQ community to come together to celebrate and support the films that tell the story of our lives, the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ rainbow is represented in more than 80 films from across the globe, including documentaries, short films, comedies, dramas and everything in between, with many of the films making their US premieres.

LOCATION Venues across Miami DATES 16-29 April

III Points Festival

Now in its 8th year, III Points Festival sees more than 100 musical performers and sets running until the early hours. Both established and emerging artists are given a stage to present a variety of experimental music, and there’s also visual art, film, food to help make this one of Miami’s most eagerly awaited cultural events each year. Notable names to appear at previous editions include Herbie Hancock, Tyler, The Creator, and James Blake.

LOCATION Mana Wynwood Convention Center DATES 1-2 May 2020 

Miami Fashion Week

More than any other annual event, Miami Fashion Week serves to cement Miami as one of the world’ most important fashion hubs. The world’s most renowned models, as well as a dazzling line-up of celebrities from across music, film, sport, and culture, descend on the show to see the hottest, most cutting edge creations by acclaimed fashion designers being paraded up and down the catwalk.

LOCATION Ice Palace Film Studios DATES 27-31 May 2020

A swimwear model parades down a catwalk at Miami Fashion Week (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Sizzle Miami

Held on Memorial Day Weekend each year, Sizzle Miami gives dedicated gym buffs the chance to show off their muscles and skimpy swimwear at an array of pool and beach parties at locations across South Beach. Highlights include a pumping yacht party aboard a luxury charter vessel, and the hugely popular Sizzle Pool Party at the National Hotel featuring a hot body contest and a fashion show. As for the dress code, the most accurate answer is ‘as little as possible’.

LOCATION National Hotel, South Beach DATES 21-25 May 2020 

American Black Film Festival

The rich heritage of movies that celebrate black culture is marked at this annual film festival, held over an immersive week of red carpet pageantry, films, workshops, panel discussions, director talks, and parties. The event also stages a Short Film Competition, with visitors invited to enjoy the works of finalists vying for academy approval and cash prizes.

LOCATION Theatres throughout Miami Beach DATES 17-21 June 2020

Miami Underground Film Festival

Away from the limelight of mainstream movies, the underground film scene is celebrated at this alternative festival featuring 25-plus film shorts, documentaries, animations, and music videos, along with live music performances from local acts hailing from the South Florida area. There’s also an irreverent awards ceremony to mark the achievements of some of the unsung heroes of the underground movie scene.

LOCATION Churchill’s Pub DATES 22-23 June 2020

Audience members at the Miami Underground Film Festival (Photo: Miami Underground Film Festival)

International Mango Festival

Summertime in Miami wouldn’t be the same without the International Mango festival, which celebrates the globally popular juicy fruit through cooking demonstrations, a display of the world’s largest mango collection, a mango auction, a kids’ culinary challenge, expert speakers discussing the latest research in the mango industry, and more. Away from the mango-themed action, there’s also live music, a beer garden and food trucks.

LOCATION Wynwood Marketplace DATES 11-12 July 2020

MegaRumba

Miami’s strong connections with Latin American culture stretch back decades to the first wave of Cubans who descended on the city in the 1950s. Little surprise, therefore, that Latin culture has infused the city – a fact that is celebrated each year at MegaRumba. The vast outdoor festival invites revellers to groove away to cumbia, salsa and Latin pop from a stellar line-up of musicians, and chow down on classic Latino foodie treats from a fleet of food trucks, with the entertainment lasting until the early hours.

LOCATION Wynwood Marketplace DATES 20-21 July 2020

Spice Miami

Many of the city’s finest restaurants take part in Spice Miami each year, designed to encourage visitors and locals to try out new local eateries and visit old favourites by providing discounted three-course meals. Participating restaurants for 2020 will include Ad Lib, Bakan, La Cerveceria de Barrio, La Estacion American Brasserie, La Placita, Swan & Bar Bevy, and the Jim and Neesie. The event also helps many dining spots survive Miami’s summer, when attendance drops in restaurants.

LOCATION The Confidante Miami Beach DATES 31 July – 2 August 2020

Miami Beach Kizomba Festival

Aiming to bridge the gap between Africa and the African diaspora by sharing the music, dance and culture of various African countries and encouraging cross-cultural understanding, this festival brings together thousands of people from across the globe. From pool parties with famed DJs, dance workshops, and music concerts to beach, fun and sun, the event delivers a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, vibe and connection between all who attend.

LOCATION Eden Roc Miami Beach DATES 27-31 August 2020

A DJ spinning discs at Miami Beach Kizomba Festival (Photo: Miami Beach Kizomba Festival)

Miami Music Festival from around the World

Formerly known as the Miami World Music Festival, the current incarnation of this magical event celebrates, encourages and supports the diversity of music from around the world. The festival features a range of academic, traditional and contemporary music from diverse cultures performed by acclaimed artists, with a particular emphasis given to chamber music written by legendary composers, and the use of traditional folk instruments.

LOCATION Wertheim Performing Arts Center DATES 19-22 September 2020

Celebrate ORGULLO

Celebrate ORGULLO honours the contributions of the area’s Hispanic LGBTQ community through two full weeks of art, fashion and culture-related events. Among the highlights are a Fashion Forum complete with a Q&A with expert panellists, and a Legends Fashion Gala showcasing a range of local upcoming and established fashion designers, all with the aim of celebrating the best of fashion and the LGBTQ community.

LOCATION Venues across Miami DATES 1-15 October 2020

Coral Gables Food, Wine, & Spirits Festival

One of seven events taking place during the Coral Gables Art & Mega Festival, this gastronomic extravaganza invites visitors to sample a wide variety of grub and booze from multiple food stands, as well as more than 200 beer, wine and spirits brands. The event takes place on the streets of downtown Coral Gables with giant tents hosting the exhibitors, and cooking demos and live music adding to the entertainment.

LOCATION Coral Gables Museum DATES 26 October 2020

South Beach Seafood Festival

To celebrate the October kick off of stone crab season, South Beach Seafood Week throws an epic weeklong shindig packed full of VIP dinners, cocktail parties and the culminating all-day festival at Lummus Park featuring fabulous seafood by Miami’s top restaurants and chefs. The grounds include a Live Zone featuring music and craft cocktails, as well as a Beach Club with music from local bands.

LOCATION Lummus Park DATES 22-26 October 2020

Delectable food served up at South Beach Seafood Festival (Photo: South Beach Seafood Festival)

Miami Fine Art Show

December is when Miami’s vibrant arts scene goes truly wild thanks to Miami Art Week, and the Miami Fine Art Show takes prime position within this frenzy. A high quality, juried fine art and fine craft show where all art is original and personally handmade by the artist in the show, the event offers art lovers the chance to peruse and purchase works including paintings, clay, sculpture, glass, fibre, wood, photography, jewellery and more.

LOCATION Regatta Park DATES 1 December 2020

Art Basel Miami Beach

Widely considered North America’s most important international contemporary art fair, Art Basel Miami Beach plays host to over 268 galleries from 35 countries showcasing works by more than 4,000 artists. Tens of thousands of art dealers, artists, collectors and aficionados descend on the city for the event, which has also spawned more than 20 satellite fairs (including the aforementioned Miami Art Fair) as well as parties and events galore.

LOCATION Miami Beach Convention Center DATES 3-6 December 2020

Wall and booth graphics designed by Zaha Hadid Architects at Art Basel Miami (Photo: Associated Fabricationvia Flickr / CC BY 2.0)