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Miami: Five of the best winter festivals and events

By: Virgin Atlantic

October 28, 2019

Miami © Unsplash

Miami © Unsplash

We never need much of an excuse to visit the sun-soaked city of Miami, especially during the British winter. But if you need more than sunshine and beaches to entice you, we’ve rounded up the city’s most exciting upcoming events. All take place in the first few months of 2020, giving you plenty of time to plan your escape and book tickets.

Miami International Boat Show

Those with sea-flavoured lottery fantasies will find the vessel of their dreams at the Miami International Boat Show, where the latest opulent powerboats, catamarans, sailboats and yachts – more than 3,000 of them – will be on display at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. The largest annual event in Florida also offers wannabe salty sea dogs a host of seminars, demos and on-the-water clinics to help launch a life on the ocean wave, with a chance to nail your docking technique in a docking pool or try your hand at a virtual reality boating experience. Getting there couldn’t be easier – free water taxis and shuttle buses are available from various points in the city.

The Miami International Boat Show show runs from 13-17 February. For more information visit miamiboatshow.com

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Now’s the time to get booking if you want to attend the sought-after events of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival which often sell out weeks in advance. The star-studded five-day event saw 65,000 guests attend over 100 events last year, and this year’s line-up looks set to be even bigger. More than 450 top chefs from the USA and around the world will be taking part, with a schedule of brunches, tastings, demonstrations, dinners and parties to satisfy the most committed foodie. Highlights include kids’ pizza-making masterclasses, Bacardi’s Beach Carnaval at the Ritz-Carlton, and a craft cocktail happy hour at Mondrian Miami Beach, as well as a Beachside BBQ hosted by Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fame.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival runs from 19–23 February. For more information visit sobewff.org.

Miami International Film Festival

The Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) is presented by Miami Dade College and is renowned for its programme of Ibero-American cinema, as well as being a major showcase for international films and American independent and documentary cinema. Most screenings take place at the home gala venue, the magnificently restored Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, originally a Moorish-style silent movie palace and now one of the most beloved cultural venues in Miami.

The 37th Miami International Film Festival runs from 6–15 March 2020. For more information visit miamifilmfestival.com.

Winter Party Festival

Billed as the ‘Hottest Winter in the World’, Winter Party is one of the largest annual LGBTQ celebrations on the planet. The week-long festival – now in its 26th year – takes places across the most spectacular venues in Miami and features a non-stop schedule of club nights, pool parties, bowling competitions, cocktail receptions, beach parties and jazz brunches. The easiest and cheapest way to attend the festival is to purchase one of the five levels of multi-event passes, which are now on sale at a discount to early purchasers.

Winter Party Festival takes place from 4–10 March 2020. For more information visit winterparty.com

Carnaval Miami

From the end of February through to early March, Carnaval Miami features a range of different events showcasing the culture, music and flavours of Miami’s Cuban and Latin American communities. The largest annual Hispanic celebration in the United States, Carnaval is a two-week spectacle of cooking competitions, concerts and golf tournaments, in addition to the main Carnaval on the Mile in Coral Gables over the weekend of 7–8 March. Food, fine arts and crafts vendors line the two-mile stretch, and different stages play host to more than 30 musical groups. The following weekend sees America’s largest Latino street party take place on Calle Ocho in Little Havana, where celebrations of Latin rhythms and ethnic foods take over 16 colourful city blocks. Festivities wrap up on March 15, with the World Championship Croqueta Eating Contest, El Croquetazo.

For more information and full line-up of events visit carnavalmiami.com

Virgin Atlantic operates a daily flight to Miami from London Heathrow.

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