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Holiday Magic: 20+ Things Things to Do in December in Miami

by Roslie L.
Published: Updated:
Miami Christmas Tree and Palm Trees - Christmas Events & Holiday Celebrations

Ah, Miami! It’s one of the best winter sun destinations in the US and amongst the greatest New Year’s Eve party spots. With gorgeous weather and plenty of things to do in December, Miami is a dream destination for the holidays. While we may not have a white Christmas, the city is full of seasonal cheer and it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the countless things to do outside in Miami. 

From breathtaking holiday lights to world-class symphonies, here is your insider guide to December in Miami.


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December Events in Miami to Ignite Your Holiday Spirit

From a delightful rendition of the Nutcracker to a dazzling parade at sea, you’ll find it all in the Magic City. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly holiday events in Miami or a fun night out with friends, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here’s a look at our top picks for Christmas in Miami.

1. Santa’s Enchanted Forest

Santa’s Enchanted Forest is a theme park all about Christmas!

This Christmas-themed carnival runs from November to January and is an excellent place for the whole family.

Attractions include kiddie, family, and thrill rides, but that’s not all. You can also enjoy acrobatics, magic, and various shows! And the fun doesn’t stop there, either. Santa’s Enchanted Forest attractions include Christmas karaoke, life-sized holiday displays, an epic light display, and South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree.

  • November 9, 2023 – January 7, 2024
  • Address: 7400 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33166
  • Admission: $44.86 per adult (ages 9-64); $36.54 for children 3-8 and seniors 65+

2. NightGarden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Light display in night garden

NightGarden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a magical light spectacular. Stroll through Fairchild Botanic Gardens at night for a few hours of enchanted activities.

Come hungry to enjoy delicious food and drink while you’re there with some of Miami’s best food trucks.

  • November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024
  • Address: 10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL 33156
  • Admission: $25-$48 per adult (ages 11+); $20-$43 for children 10 and under; Group Bundle (min. 6 people) $22.10-$43.70; Senior (65+), Student, or Military for $28.60-$45.90 per person; children 2 and under enter for free

Planning Tip: The price of tickets for the holiday light show at the Botanic Garden varies by the date and time. It is more expensive at the weekend, but you can save money throughout the week by opting for one of the last two sessions of the night. Check out the site for complete details.

3. Pinecrest Gardens Nights of Lights

Explore the winter wonderland at Pinecrest Gardens Nights of Lights. From early December until early January, this gorgeous landscape is decorated with a creative splash of holiday lights.

Explore the gardens and holiday maze, eat delicious treats, and sip a cocktail while the kids enjoy a magical Story Time with Mrs. Claus. Check the Pinecrest Gardens December calendar for special appearances by Santa Claus and a lineup of holiday concerts throughout the season.

  • December 9, 2023 – January 6, 2024
  • Address: 11000 Southwest 57th Ave., Pinecrest, FL 33156
  • Admission: $23 per adult; $18 for children ages 2 – 17; free for kids under 2

4. Zoo Lights Miami

Experience the magic of the zoo and the holiday season at Zoo Lights Miami. This Zoo festival features over a million spectacular holiday lights, animal appearances, Santa, and more!

This popular festival is one of our favorite things to do in Miami for families during the holiday season and it’s one that you won’t want to miss. 

It’s a kid-friendly holiday event so bring the little ones along for arts and crafts projects, hot chocolate and cookies, riverboat rides with snowmen, letters to Santa, and, of course, an appearance by the jolly fat man himself.

Zoo Lights Miami has limited capacity and runs on select weekend nights from late November to December. From ugly sweater and silly onesie nights to elf look-alike contests, there is a great range of themed nights, so be sure to browse the calendar before you go. You can find all the details on Zoo Lights Miami here.

  • Select weekend nights November 24 – December 30, 2023
  • Address: 12400 SW 152 St., Miami, FL 33177
  • Admission: $20.95 per adult; $18.95 for children ages 3 – 12

Planning Tip: If you buy your Zoo Lights tickets online, you can save two dollars per ticket and walk right in the door with no delay.

5. Miami Beach Holiday Festival of Lights

White Christmas tree lights

Hosted by the Miami Beach Classical Music Festival, the Miami Beach Holiday Festival of Lights is a gorgeous family-friendly celebration that brings together a tapestry of international holiday traditions.

With stunning displays and live music at venues across Miami Beach, you can immerse yourselves in the enchanting atmosphere, and enjoy a medley of musical performances from different genres.

This family-friendly holiday event will delight the little ones with appearances from Santa Claus, The Grinch, and Elsa from Frozen.

  • Fridays & Saturdays, December 1 – 23
  • December 1-2: Euclid Avenue and Lincoln Road
  • December 15-16: The Gabriel South Beach
  • December 22-23: The Betsy South Beach

Planning Tip: If you’re coming for a vacation in Miami, be sure to plan a full day in Miami Beach. For inspiration, grab our guide to 24 Hours in South Beach.

6. New World Symphony Sounds of the Seasons

Experience the Sounds of the Season at the New World Symphony. Watch the NWS Fellows all decked out for the holidays and perform your favorite carols.

Treat yourself, your family, and your friends to a holiday symphony that celebrates various cultural heritage!

Enjoy selections from The Nutcracker, The Polar Express, Hanukkah Festival Overture, Navidad Latina, and more.

This special event is one day a year in December and another one of the best Miami holiday celebrations you don’t want to miss!

  • Saturday, December 16, 2023
  • Address: 500 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
  • Admission: $35 – $95 (subscriber discounts available)

Planning Tip: Ticket prices vary based on the location of the seats so check out the seating options online to choose your best options.

7. Holiday Events at Aventura Mall

Mall Holiday Village with Christmas decorations

Not only does Aventura Mall have some of the best shopping in Miami, but it is also one of the most fun places to soak in the holiday magic. Take in the beauty of the holiday village while you browse artisanal gifts and sample your favorite holiday treats like homemade panettone.

Plan plenty of time to snap festive pics, send a letter to Santa, and get your complimentary photos with Santa (and, they’ve still got the Friends Experience for iconic selfies!).
And course, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to transport yourself to the North Pole at the Miami Snow Carnival where you can frolick through the 350 tons of snow, make a snowman, go sledding, and lounge inside an igloo at the Yeti Snow Bar.

  • Daily until December 24, 2023
  • Times: Santa photo: November 24 – December 24, Fridays 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 8 p.m. Other events: Aventura Mall holiday hours 
  • Address: 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, FL 33180
  • Cost: Free to visit

8. Miami Snow Carnival

Enter a magical winter realm and immerse yourself in the festive spirit with 350 tons of authentic snow, shimmering lights, and an array of snow-filled activities.

Join this ideal family outing! Encounter delightful reindeer, polar bears, penguins, and a friendly Yeti as you stroll through festive pathways, creating unforgettable memories. Uncover Santa’s sleigh, an enchanting tree, a life-sized snow globe perfect for holiday card-worthy photos, and so much more!

  • November 23, 2023 – January 8, 2024
  • Address: Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, Miami, FL 33180
  • Admission: $39.99-$44.99 for adults (age 12+), $34.99 for children aged 4-12, Free for kids under 4. Group Bundle (6+ tickets) $35.99 per person

Planning Tip: Tickets for this experience can only be purchased on Fever.

9. Winterfest Boat Parade

It isn’t Christmas in South Florida without experiencing the Winterfest Boat Parade.

This annual holiday parade takes place in December and starts in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The parade features motorized boats of all kinds, from showboats to mega yachts decked out for the holidays in breathtaking light displays. If you’re looking for a truly Floridian holiday experience, don’t miss the Winterfest Boat Parade!

  • December 16, 2023 Canceled this year due to inclement weather.
  • Address: Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park, 300 Las Olas Circle, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
  • Admission: $30 per adult; $25 for children ages 10 and under

10. Miami City Ballet George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Miami City Ballet

It has become an annual South Florida Christmas tradition to go see the Miami City Ballet’s breathtaking performance of The Nutcracker. The magical music combined with the captivating costumes adorning the 100+ world-class dancers makes the performance unforgettable.

While grown-ups can take in the mastery of the ballet, this kid-friendly Christmas show also has fun little add-ons like the Sparkles & Sweets package, which offers sweet treats along with pre-performance and intermission parties.

11. Magic of Lights Homestead

Once you’ve got your musical fill at the symphony, head to Magic of Lights in Homestead for a kaleidoscope of lights.

With this Christmas event in Homestead, FL, you can drive through the gorgeous holiday light displays without fighting the crowds. Stay cozy in your car while you listen to the Christmas carols and become enveloped in the impressive light displays.

For more info and prices, check out the Magic of Lights Homestead website.

  • November 18, 2023 – January 1, 2024
  • Address: Homestead-Miami Speedway, One Ralph Sanchez Speedway Blvd.
  • Admission: $30-35 (standard vehicle)

Planning Tip: It’s worth checking out the Homestead Miami Speedway tickets online before you go. You can save up to $10 per ticket and also check out the Dash Pass options to skip the line.

12. Historic Holiday Decor at Deering Estates

Miami Christmas Event-Gingerbread house garland

What better way to celebrate Christmas in Miami than to step back in time for a traditional Christmas?

Wander the historic houses on the Deering Estate grounds, including the Richmond Cottage and Stone House Library, and explore award-winning designers’ festive holiday decor for some old-school fun.

Experience historic sights and sounds, as well as scents of the season. This year’s theme is Historic Holiday Décor: Holidays in Wonderland, A Lewis Carroll Story, bringing back that Christmas nostalgia.

This historic holiday display takes place daily from late November to early January.

  • November 24 – January 7, 2024
  • Address: 16701 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33157
  • Admission: $15 per adult (ages 15+); $7 for children ages 4 -14; Free for Deering Estate Foundation members and children under 4

13. Pinto’s Farm Winterland

Pinto’s Farm is a family-owned and operated farm that holds events throughout the year, and Winterland is perfect for families looking for a day trip from Miami in December.

Head out to the farm with family and friends to experience holiday treats, hot chocolate, Santa Claus, and more! Enjoy rides, activities, and holiday cheer in the countryside.

  • November 24, 2023 – January 1, 2024
  • Address: 14890 SW 216 St., Miami, FL 33170
  • Admission: $27.10 per person; children one and under enter free

Planning Tip: You can buy discounted tickets online. If you’ve got a furry friend, come on the weekend of December of 2-3 for the dog photos with Santa at the dog-friendly winter wonderland.

14. Winter Farm Festival at Berry Farm

If you’re looking for another outdoor activity in Miami, head to the Holi-Days at The Berry Farm.

Visitors enjoy holiday festivities like photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, nightly outdoor Christmas movies, a barrel train for the kids, holiday lights, snow, hayrides, music, food, and so much more!

  • November 17, 2023 – Jan 7, 2024
  • Address: 13720 SW 216th St, Miami, FL 33170
  • Admission: $11 – $20 for adults (ages 13+); $9 – $14 for children ages 3-12

15. Miami Shores Presbyterian Church Nativity Scene

Miami Shores Presbyterian Church Nativity

Looking for a Christmas event in Miami for the whole family? Look no further than Miami Shores Presbyterian Church’s nativity display.

You can walk through the various displays on the sanctuary lawn depicting the Christmas story with accompanying narration and music, including the Holy family, angels, shepherds, etc.

This classic holiday experience in Miami Shores is perfect for kids from 8 to 80 years old.

  • Address: 602 NE 96th St., Miami Shores, FL 33138
  • Admission: Free to participate

16. Holidays at Brickell City Centre

At Brickell City Centre, you can experience Santa, holiday activities, and even a ski chalet!

Enjoy the Christmas decorations, write letters to Santa, get photos with Santa, complimentary gift-wrapping, surprises, and more!

While you’re there, get some Christmas shopping done, dine on sushi, steak, vegan eats, and more!

  • November 23, 2023 – January 1, 2024
  • Address: 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33131
  • Admission: Free event

17. Christmas Events at CityPlace Doral

CityPlace Doral holiday lights

Who says the holidays are all about Christmas trees and houses glowing with holiday lights? In Miami, we like to mix things up. Just check out the holiday events at City Place Doral to see what I mean. From kids’ Christmas card contests to holiday bazaars to Hanukkah celebrations to art workshops, you’ll find a world of festival fun here.

The holiday fountain show at City Place Doral show is the perfect start to an evening at one of the many bars and restaurants or an end to your day after shopping.

  • December 2 – December 31, 2023
  • Times: Every night at the top of the hour from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Address: CityPlace Doral, 8300 36th Street, Doral, FL 33166
  • Cost: Free event

18. Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland

Red Letters to North Pole Holiday Mailbox

Bass Pros Shops holds Santa’s Wonderland, a holiday-themed event where kids can get a free photo with Santa, and families can tailgate and watch a festive parade.

You can mail your letter to Santa during your visit, attend Santa’s toy shop, and more. Reservations are required for photos with Santa so be sure to book in advance.

  • November 14 – December 24, 2023
  • Address: Local Bass Pro Shops
  • Admission: Free to participate

19. New Year’s Eve at Bayfront Park

Fireworks and Christmas Tree Miami, Florida

Wondering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Miami?

Bayfront Park has a free New Year’s Eve celebration! Ring in the new year at the largest dance party in Miami. Enjoy fireworks, a countdown to midnight with the big orange, and much more.

The real spectacle is midnight when fireworks light up the skyline over beautiful Biscayne Bay. This massive street party runs from around 8 pm to 12:30 am.

  • December 31, 2023
  • Address: 301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
  • Admission: Free event

Where to Find Holiday Lights Displays in Miami in 2023

In addition to the incredible holiday light displays at many festivals and events in December in Miami, head to these places and neighborhoods for more dazzling displays.

20. Gulfstream Park’s Symphony of Lights

GulfStream Park Palm Holiday Decorations, Palm Trees, Christmas Trees, etc

With classic Christmas music from the Tran-Siberian Orchestra playing and over 250,000 twinkly lights, standing in front of this Christmas tree is the perfect place for your holiday selfie. And you can make a night of it at the stunning Miami Symphony of Light. The open-air entertainment plaza is home to dining, shopping, a casino, and a range of regular events. You can find the full details on the Gulfstream Park site.

  • Dates: Every night from November 11, 2023 – December 31, 2022
  • Times: Every night at the top of the hour from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Cost: Free event
  • Address: Village at Gulfstream Park, 901 S Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

21. The Enchanted Place of North Miami Neighborhood

Some of our favorite childhood Christmas memories aren’t from expensive gifts or going to big events. It was all about the simple joy of wandering the streets and soaking in the best Christmas lights in Miami. One of the best spots to get started is Enchanted Place of North Miami.

Every year, the neighborhood residents collaborate to light up the block with thousands of bright lights hugging what seems like every tree branch creating a festive holiday tree canopy. The elaborate display is lit up nightly from mid-December through Christmas Eve, from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. You can check out the details on their Facebook page.

  • Dates: Every night in early December 2023 – January 6, 2024
  • Times: 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Address: Enchanted Place Neighborhood of North Miami at 1800 NE 137th Terrace, Miami, FL 33181
  • Cost: Free event

22. Coral Gables Holiday Park

Another favorite place to see Christmas lights in Miami is Coral Gables Holiday Park at Merrick Park. Visit this gorgeous spot, and be sure to bring your camera. The lights will be up until January 3, so don’t delay.

  • Dates: December 2023
  • Times: Open weekdays: 3 – 9 p.m. and weekends: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Entrance is free with limited capacity. See the City of Coral Gables 2023 holiday event schedule for more.
  • Address: City Hall – Merrick Park, 400 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134
  • Cost: Free with limited capacity

Miami Christmas Trees Lights & Holiday Events 2023

On top of those fabulous holiday events, here are a few more spots to check out to soak in the true magic of Miami at Christmas:

  • Lincoln Road Mall Christmas Tree LightsAlton Road to Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
  • Shops at Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave #2140, Coral Gables, FL 33146
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Plaza, 770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161
  • Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, FL 33180
  • Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12th St, Miami, FL 33172
  • Main Street Miami Lakes at 6843 Main St, Miami Lakes, FL 33014

Where to Take Photos with Santa in Miami 2023

Looking to get your picture taken with Santa? Here are a few of the best places for photos with Santa in Miami:

  • Dolphin Mall at 11401 NW 12th St., Miami, FL 33172
  • Aventura Mall at 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, FL 33180
  • Dadeland Mall at 7535 N Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156
  • PetSmart offering a free photo of your pet with Santa at select locations

December in Miami is an Exciting Time

Palm Trees with Red bow Christmas Wreaths

When it comes to things to do in December, Miami will have you spoiled for choice. Whether you are spending Christmas in Miami or are just craving a bit of winter sun, you’re in for an exciting time. There are activities perfect for a romantic evening with that special someone and plenty of festivals and events for kids and the family.

So, what will your holiday season in Miami be like? Are you going to soak in the culture at the ballet or maybe soak in the sun at the beach? Whether making wreaths or sipping cocktails, December in Miami is a magical time, and there is no better place to spend Christmas than South Florida!


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