Christmas in Miami - 16 Things To Do During Christmas & the Holidays

The Holidays are a magical time, especially when shared with friends and family. We all have our traditions and favorite ways to celebrate. For some, it is the decorations, for others the gatherings, many of us love re-watching our favorite holiday programs or movies with the kids. It isn't Christmas for me until I see Charlie and Linus give that sad little tree a home!

These holiday traditions leave life-long memories for the young and young at heart. I have always enjoyed having a few holiday-related events each week in December to keep the Christmas spirit going strong.   

Here is a list of 16 Things to Do in Miami During Christmas 

1 Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
2Tree Lighting Ceremony & Events at the Shops at Merrick Park
3New World Symphony's Sounds of the Season - with Wallcast
4Madeline's Christmas - Actors' Playhouse
5Fort Lauderdale - Winterfest Boat Parade
6Zoo Lights Miami
7Trans-Siberian Orchestra
8Coral Gable's Holiday Park, Menorah Lighting, & Tree Lighting
Pinecrest Garden's Night of Lights
10 Santa's Enchanted Forest - now in Hialeah
11 Doral Holiday Tree Lighting and Movie Night 
12 Downtown Doral Holiday Fest
13 Bass Pro Shops - Santa's Wonderland Holiday Decorations
14 The Christmas Palace Store
15 The Polar Express Train Ride on the Brightline
16 Christmas at Whitehall - Palm Beach

1. Miami City Ballet’s Production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev
Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev

Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a must-see for the holidays. Tchaikovsky, Balanchine, and the Miami City Ballet dancers are an incomparable combination for holiday magic. The beautiful costumes, stunning sets, and Tchaikovsky's music performed by a live orchestra! It is hard to believe that there is anyone that wouldn't want to make this a yearly tradition. 

Broward Center (Dec. 10-12, 2021)
Arsht Center (Dec. 16-26, 2021)
Kravis Center (Dec. 29-30, 2021)

(Shows run 2hrs with a 20-minute intermission)

For more information: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® | Miami City Ballet

2. Tree Lighting Ceremony & Events at the Shops at Merrick Park

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Dec. 2 - Streetlight Band
Dec. 9 - Remix Band
Dec. 16 Vinyl Band
Dec. 23 Khemistry Band

For additional information check out their website here: Shops at Merrick Park

 

3. New World Symphony's Sounds of the Season - with Wallcast

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Program
Leroy Anderson:  A Christmas Festival
Alan Silvestri: Suite from The Polar Express
Lucas Richman:  Hanukkah Festival Overture
Quinn Mason:  Christmas Eve Festivities
Anthony DiLorenzo:  Navidad Latina
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Selections from The Nutcracker
      Miniature Overture

      Mother Goose and the Clowns
      Coffee (Arabian Dance)
      Trepak (Russian Dance)
      Pas de deux: Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy
Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride

Click this link for tickets: NWS Tickets: Sounds of the Season

This performance is presented by the City of Miami Beach for its residents.
Tickets will be available at the New World Center Box Office beginning Monday, November 1 at 10:00 AM.
Limit four tickets per household. Proof of Miami Beach residency is required.

 

4. Madeline's Christmas - Actors' Playhouse

Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre’s production of MADELINE’S CHRISTMAS. Photos by Brooke Noble.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre’s production of MADELINE’S CHRISTMAS. Photos by Brooke Noble.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, FL. Photo by Diego Pocovi.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, FL. Photo by Diego Pocovi.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre’s production of MADELINE’S CHRISTMAS. Photos by Brooke Noble.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre’s production of MADELINE’S CHRISTMAS. Photos by Brooke Noble.

5. Fort Lauderdale - Winterfest Boat Parade

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6. Zoo Lights Miami

Zoo Lights 2019 at Zoo Miami
Zoo Lights 2019 at Zoo Miami
Zoo Lights 2019 at Zoo Miami
Zoo Lights 2019 at Zoo Miami

Enjoy the Zoo Lights Miami holiday lighting displays. Guest are encouraged to dress up based on themes for each Zoo Lights Miami event. Themes vary by date including Ugly Sweater Night, PJ & Onesie Nights, Superhero Nights, Santa & Elf Look-A-Like Nights, and Galactic Nights. Don't miss the tree lighting ceremony on November 26 at 7:30 p.m.!     

More than one million lights!
A brand new 26-foot-tall LED holiday tree
Animal appearances
Arts & Crafts** 
Appearances by Santa until Dec. 23rd
Letters to Santa

Snowman's River Boat Rides* 
Hot chocolate & cookies
Holiday shopping at the Zoo Gift Shop*

*Additional fees apply   
**Limited capacity


Select Nights: November 26 - December 30, 2021
6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Dates:
Nov. 26 & 27
Dec. 3 & 4
Dec. 10 & 11
Dec. 17, 18 & 19
Dec. 22 & 23
Dec. 26 & 27
and Dec. 30

Note: Tickets are limited!

For more information click here: Zoo Lights Miami - Select Nights (zoomiami.org)   

7. Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Celebrate 25 years of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra when they present Christmas Eve and Other Stories.  
Dec 17 - Sunrise, FL - BB&T Center - 8:00 PM

For Ticket information click here: [Tickets]

8. Coral Gable's Holiday Park, Menorah Lighting, & Tree Lighting

Little ones seem to love the small but delightful Gable's Holiday Park, across from Coral Gables City Hall.
Running from Monday, Dec. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.
The park will be open every day of the week from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Entrance is free with limited capacity.

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Dec 3, 2021 at 6:00 PM - Dec 3, 2021 at 10:00 PM
 
The annual City of Coral Gables Menorah Lighting Ceremony takes place on December 5 (8th night of Chanukah) at 5 p.m. 
Ponce Circle Park, 2800 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 
© Roldan Torres-Moure - www.pictureworksstudios.com

9. Pinecrest Garden's Night of Lights

Pinecrest Garden's Night of Lights is a magical landscape of holiday-themed lights. There will be a holiday-themed maze in the gardens, Story Time with Mrs. Claus, and the arrival of Santa Claus. On select evenings, admission includes a holiday concert performance in the Banyan Bowl.  

December 10, 2021 through January 2, 2022
From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Closed on December 18th

Schedule of Events at the Banyan Bowl:
Friday, December 10 - Greater Miami Youth Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, December 11 - Maria Verdeja School of the Arts
Monday, December 13 - Dance Empire
Tuesday, December 14 - Encore Academy of the Arts
Wednesday, December 15 - Miami Royal Ballet
Thursday, December 16 - Alhambra Orchestra, Electric Strings
Friday, December 17 - C Dance
Monday, December 20 - Dance Gallery

Tuesday, December 21 - Palmetto Elementary School Jazz- Oliver Diaz
Wednesday, December 22 - Alouettes Academy of the arts

Admission is $15 for children under 18 and $20 for adults 18+.

* Parking is free.
* No Dogs allowed during this Festival
* All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable for another date. 
* This event is outdoors and will be conducted rain or shine
.

10. Santa's Enchanted Forest - now in Hialeah

The long running Santa’s Enchanted Forest is now at a new location at Hialeah Park for the 2021 season. There is the lighting display and amusement rides. The rides include KIDDIE RIDES, FAMILY RIDES, & THRILL RIDES. There are also a number of shows scheduled including acrobats, magicians, motorcycle globe stunts and much more.
Open daily from November 4, 2021 – January 2, 2022.
5pm to Midnight - special hours may apply on weekends, holidays or due to the weather. 
Parking is free.

11 - 12. Doral Holiday Tree Lighting and Movie Night - Downtown Doral Holiday Fest

Tree Lighting and Movie Night

Dress in your festive pajamas to see the 30ft Holiday Tree and the Government Center shine with holiday lights followed by a screening of the Polar Express on the lawn.

December 1st - 6:00pm
Downtown Doral Park
8395 NW 53rd St

Radiance – By Miami City Ballet

MCB’s dancers perform George Balanchine's classics: Rubies, the Allegro Brillante, and the pas de deux from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain Pas De Deux, and the world premiere of La Follia from choreographer Durante Verzola.

13. Bass Pro Shops - Santa's Wonderland Holiday Decorations

Santas Wonderland 2021


Yes, that's right, Bass Pro Shops. Santa's Wonderland Holiday Decorations are a wonderful backdrop for those Christmas and Holiday photos you need for your holiday cards and emails. Get your photos with Santa.

Nov. 6 – Dec. 24, 2021 

To reserve time for your photos and for more information, click here: Santa's Wonderland 2021 | Bass Pro Shops

14. The Christmas Palace Store

This place is magical all year long. Anytime you drop by, year-round, it is Christmas here. If you love decorating for the holidays, then you will love this store. Stop by for that new set of lights, a nativity scene, or maybe a nutcracker. You will find tree decorations, oversized lawn decorations, artificial trees, lights, wreaths, garlands, collectibles, and much more. So much is on display that when you stop by to shop it feels like you are at an attraction. I would make this my first stop every year.

There are two stores. 

The Christmas Palace - MIAMI Location & Hours

Address: 9820 NW 77th Ave. Hialeah Gardens    Phone: (305) 558-5352  
Hours: Monday thru Saturday - 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sunday - 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

The Christmas Palace - Ft. Lauderdale Location & Hours

Address: 800 NE 13th St. Fort Lauderdale    Phone: (954) 763-1403
Hours: Every Day - 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

15. The Polar Express Train Ride on the Brightline

The Polar Express Train Ride, produced by Rail Events Productions, held on the Brightline Railroad in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Sunday, November 10, 2019. Photo by Guy Rhodes
The Polar Express Train Ride, produced by Rail Events Productions, on the Brightline train in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Saturday, November 10, 2018. Photo by Guy Rhodes
The Polar Express Train Ride, produced by Rail Events Productions, held on the Brightline Railroad in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Sunday, November 10, 2019. Photo by Guy Rhodes
The Polar Express Train Ride, produced by Rail Events Productions, on the Brightline train in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Saturday, November 10, 2018. Photo by Guy Rhodes


This hour-long train ride takes place on the Brightline. The railcars are decorated for the holidays and come alive with the sounds of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ film. Actors board the train and help to recreate the film's ride to meet Santa. Your hosts will work their way through the coach and punch your golden ticket. Hot chocolate and Walkers Shortbread are served by dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.

Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers and each guest is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. During the trip, characters on each car lead passengers in caroling and onboard entertainment just like in the film! 

Board the train for your journey at the Miami Central Station on select dates & times in December.

For full details visit the site here: THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride 

16. Christmas at Whitehall - Palm Beach

©Ebyabe - Palm Beach


Every year Christmas at Whitehall transforms the museum's first floor with historically accurate trimmings, garlands, and decorations. A 16-foot-tall Christmas Tree in the Grand Hall is decorated with lights and traditional Gilded Age-style ornaments. The home's exterior is also decorated with wreaths, ribbons, and greenery.

Plan on attending on the first Sunday of December for the lighting of the tree and to welcome the arrival of the Christmas season. Holiday music will be played on the Odell organ and Steinway piano and a choir will perform around the Museum. Santa Claus will make an appearance! The Museum Store will also be open for holiday shopping.

Christmas Tree Lighting & Festivities
December 5, 2021
12 to 5 pm
Tree lighting at 1:00pm
Free with Museum admission
Holiday decorations are on full display from late November through early January.

For more information click here: Christmas at Whitehall

One last thing . . .

Don't forget to visit our local South Florida attractions for their very own twist on the Holidays. Vizcaya, the Deering Estate, the malls, Commodore Plaza in Coconut Grove, Gulfstream Park Village ‘Symphony in Lights’, and so many other places are all decked out in the spirit of the season. If you have any favorites that aren't on the list, mention them in the comments. Holiday decorations help keep the Christmas, Chanukah, and holiday season very Merry indeed! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
 
 
 
 

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