Holiday Season in South Florida: 6 Ways to Celebrate

By Jennifer Agress


South Floridians celebrate the holidays with cultural festivities, time-honored foods, and, naturally, a healthy dose of sunshine. Here are six activities to give you the quintessential experience—a very merry Miami holiday season—while staying at Acqualina Resort & Spa.


See The Nutcracker

Miami City Ballet's Nutcracker

While this Russian classic has long been a holiday tradition all over the world, the Adrienne Arsht Center and Kravis Center are giving it a Miami twist. In honor of the 27th anniversary of George Balanchine’s famed ballet, The Nutcracker’s Miami sets and costumes are being redesigned by none other than Cuban-American artists Isabel and Ruben Toledo. Performed by the Miami City Ballet, the show will fuse its enchanting new additions with the same, iconic choreography and Tchaikovsky tunes Nutcracker lovers worldwide have come to love.

The show will run through December 30th at both locations. The Adrienne Arsht Center is located at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132. The Kravis Center is located at 701 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

Photo: The Adrienne Arsht Center


Go ice-skating in Palm Beach Gardens

Every November and December, Hoffman’s Chocolate Factory, a chocolate and ice cream shop in Palm Beach Gardens, hosts a Winter Wonderland—now in its 27th year—that comes alive with 125,000 LED lights, jaw-dropping holiday displays, a giant Christmas tree, live music, the 2nd Annual Circle of Celebration Holiday Wreath Display and Contest, and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Thanks to a partnership with the Florida Panthers, this year it’s also adding a 2,400 square-foot “Panthers in The Park” ice-skating rink. Open nightly, it invites everyone to rent some skates and do their best Michelle Kwan impression on the ice. And after a few “figure eights,” they can head inside Hoffman’s for a chocolate-making class and behind-the-scenes factory tour with Santa Claus himself.

Hoffman’s Chocolate is located at 10957 North Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410. The “Panthers in the Park” Ice-Skating Rink will be open Monday through Friday, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 10 p.m. Winter Wonderland and the ice skating rink will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, and will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.


Go to a holiday boat parade

The Miami holiday boat parade

Would you expect anything else from a yacht-friendly city on the water? On Saturday, December 16th, don’t miss The 20th Annual Miami Outboard Club Holiday Parade. Taking place at Bayfront Park, this classic South Florida Christmas event will bring together food stands, a bounce house, a live DJ, fireworks, and, of course, around 60 boats sailing through Biscayne Bay, completely adorned in holiday lights. Throughout the night, toy donations will be collected for children in the Miami community.

Bayfront Park is located at 301 North Biscayne Boulevard. The parade starts at 7 p.m., and the firework show starts at 9 p.m.


Bring the kids to see a Christmas-themed, acrobatic extravaganza

Playing nightly between December 26th and December 30th, Cirque Dreams Holidaze—The Family Holiday Spectacular is a jaw-dropping holiday performance that’s perfect for the whole family. An imaginative, two-hour show, this multi-million-dollar stage production will fuse holiday music with soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats, and elaborate illusions you won’t soon forget. All performances will take place at Fort Lauderdale’s Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

The Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located at 201 SW 5th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312.


Visit historic Deering Estate

Deering Estate in Miami

This holiday season, wander through the lush, elegant grounds of Deering Estate and admire its beautiful “Festival of Trees” holiday decorations. Through January 5th, this historic Miami property, once the home of famed American businessman Charles Deering, will have everything from signature holiday decorating collaborations and a seasonal, expanded museum furnishing collection, to a new holiday gift shop from Alorè Event Firm, and of course, Deering Estate’s unbeatable Biscayne Bay views. Decorations are an annual tradition at Deering Estate, and they’re put up by a combination of local garden clubs and community organizations.

Deering Estate is located at 16701 SW 72 Avenue, Miami, FL 33157. Visitors can enjoy these decorations daily, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gift shop is open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Light up Miami

Fireworks in Miami

South Florida’s over-the-top holiday lights are a sight to see. From Zoo Miami and Fort Lauderdale water taxis, to New Year’s Eve fireworks, historic houses, and, of course, private residences, adopt this Miami tradition and see the Magic City in all its glowing holiday glory.

Photo: Luis Arroyave

About the Contributor

Jennifer Agress is a freelance writer covering food, drink, and culture. When she’s not combing the streets of Miami for a bagel and a latte, she’s likely covering luxury travel and dining for Dining Out MagazinePrivate Air Luxury Homes MagazineHaute Living MiamiUpscale Living Magazine, and Epicurean Charlotte.