If this isn’t enough to get you on the plane in your tropical shirt, we don’t know what is.

Miami tops a lot of lists for quick beach getaways come the winter months, but there’s so much more to this world-class city than the perfect T-shirt weather and white-sand beaches. For starters, the tourist crowds won’t return until January, which means you can compete to see the city’s best bits with a bit less people, and save a few dollars too. However, it’s the red-hot calendar of events and attractions Miami has to offer that is going to make you book a long weekend off and board a plane, pronto.

LGBTQ couple in a lifeguard station on the beach in Miami, Florida

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Deals, deals, deals

“Shoulder season,” which runs October through to December, means nothing but savings for you, from events to attractions. Accommodation is often one of the largest expenses for travellers, but you’ll be delighted to discover regular discounts of up to 20% to 30% off oodles of local hotels during this time (which means more money for mojitos and flowy beach wraps).

Did Somebody Say Football?

A little thing the locals like to call the Orange Bowl is kicking off Monday, Dec. 30 in Miami, as it has been, since its inception in 1935. This college bowl is one of the New Year’s Six top bowls for the NCAA. Don’t forget to pack your face paint and foam fingers for this time-honoured all-American pastime.

Madonna IRL

You’ve seen the queen of pop on TV and the silver screen, but now is your chance to see Madonna in person (so long as you have decent seats or good eyesight!), as she will be doing a special seven-night show series in Miami, starting Dec. 14. You’re “Like a Prayer” prayers have been answered! 

King Mango Strut Parade

This is the kind of event visitors dream about, because it’s just so outrageous and uniquely Miami. The King Mango Strut Parade is an annual parade where locals find occasion to dress up in outrageous and weird costumes (like a girl inside a shark on a bicycle) and build equally bizarre and topically ridiculous floats, and then dance down the street. There’s nothing like it, it’s free, and it’s only Dec. 30, downtown at Coconut Grove.

A Winterfest Boat Parade

It’s like a winter garden Christmas lights show, but using yachts, car barges, sailboats and catamarans instead. Head on down to the Intercoastal Waterway Dec. 14 and you’ll see the Ft. Lauderdale boat parade in all its holiday glory.

Art Week

Hankering for cultural experiences beyond the local taco stand? Boy are you going to be glad you’ve stepped into Miami during Art Week, as the whole city is swept up in art talks, exhibitions and events, including 20 satellite fairs showing off the latest cool-kid artists. Look out for Design Miami, Ink Miami Art Fair, Pulse Miami Beach, Art of Black Miami, Miami River Art Fair and about 15 or so more.

Couple walking in front of a Dinosaur exhibit in Miami, Florida
couple standing in front of concession stand on the beach in Miami, Florida

Wynwood Walls

Speaking of art, one of Miami’s best art experiences is also a joy to check out in December, especially because it’s free, outdoors and completely self-guided. Wynwood Walls is this special outdoor museum of international street art where visitors can just grab a gelato and take in work from the latest artists all in one place (Flytographer alert, this is obviously an amazing place to take professional photos!).

family with a baby standing on the sidewalk near the beach in Miami, Florida

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