Winter Sun in Miami: Five Reasons to Visit

By: Maxine Sheppard

February 22, 2013

We never need much of an excuse to jump on a flight to Miami, especially at this time of year. But for those who need more than sun and sand to entice them, we’ve put together a round-up of the city’s most exciting upcoming events…

Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail

Those harbouring jet-powered lottery fantasies will find the vessel of their desires 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 across three different locations. The largest annual event in Florida also offers would-be salty sea dogs a host of seminars, demos and on-the-water clinics to help launch a life on the ocean wave, including the chance to give scuba diving a try in a heated pool.

The Miami International Boat Show show runs from 14-18 February. For more information visit

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 will take place from 21-24 February. The star-studded four day event saw 60,000 guests attend almost 50 events last year, and this year’s line-up looks set to be even bigger. Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Nobu Matsuhisa and Martha Stewart are just some of the famous culinary personalities in attendance, with a schedule of brunches, tastings, demonstrations, dinners and parties to satisfy the most committed foodie.

South Beach Food and Wine Festival.jpg

For more information visit

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.

Gusman Center.jpg

The 30th Miami International Film Festival takes place 1-10 March. For more information visit

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 2-3 March. Food, fine arts and crafts vendors line the two-mile stretch, and three different stages play host to more than 30 musical groups. The following weekend (10th March) 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.

Calle Ocho street festival ©

For more information and full line-up of events visit

Winter Party Festival

Billed as the ‘Hottest Winter in the World’, Winter Party is one of the largest annual LGBT celebrations on the planet. The six-day festival – now in its 20th 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.

Under One Sun Pool Party at Winter Party 2012 © 2012

Winter Party Festival takes place from 6-11 March. For more information visit

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


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

Categories: Our Places