By Kayla Louttit and Yours Truly


December is here, which means the holiday season is officially in full swing! From Fort Lauderdale’s Winterfest Boat Parade and the Polar Express Train Ride to Australia’s hit sensation The TEN Tenors singing holiday hits, we’ve curated our top picks for special festivities to enjoy this holiday season in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. First up is Mistletoe and Martinis at Deering Estate December 8.


Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale

Watch the “Venice of America” light up on Saturday, December 9, as the Winterfest Boat Parade sets sail for 12 miles starting in downtown Fort Lauderdale and heading North to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. and features everything from private boats to giant showboats and mega yachts adorned with holiday décor. Free viewing can be found along the parade route – be sure to be situated early as space fills up quickly. There is also organized grandstand viewing, which can be found at places such as The Riverside Hotel, providing one of the best views of the beginning of the parade.

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Winterfest boat parade in Fort Lauderdale


Mistletoe & Martinis at the Deering Estate

16701 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33157

Looking for a special date night idea? Look no further than Mistletoe & Martinis, an evening of holiday cheer to benefit the Deering Estate Foundation. Taking place on Friday, December 8, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Miami’s Deering Estate, a historic mansion right on Biscayne Bay, attendees will enjoy festive music, lavish hors d’oeuvres and desserts from some of South Florida’s finest caterers, along with martini samplings. All proceeds will be used for environmental education, preservation and programming. Tickets are $100 for non-members and $75 for members. Space is limited, and tickets may be purchased online, or by calling (305) 235-1668, ext. 263.

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Deering Estate


The Polar Express Train Ride at Gold Coast Railroad Museum

12450 SW 152nd Street, Miami, Florida 33177

All aboard! The Polar Express Train Ride is departing from Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami throughout the month of December. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as they sing along to the Christmas tunes. Don your PJs (just like in the movie) and kids will have a chance to meet Santa himself as he boards the train along with his elves. The ride is about 50-minutes. Tickets are $40 per person for coach seats or $70 per person for first class. First Class are table seats, which must be purchased in a minimum of 4 or 6. Coach is just a seat (no table). Click HERE to purchase tickets.

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Polar Express Train Ride


Home Alone “Movie in the Park” Night at Park & Ocean

3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304

Grab a blanket and head to Park & Ocean at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park for a holiday-themed “Movie in the Park” night on December 14 at 7:30 p.m. Alongside oceanfront views, the cozy restaurant and garden will be playing none other than the holiday classic ‘Home Alone’. There will be a mobile food station on-site and feel free to bring your pet along (must be on a leash). Parking is available at the park for $6, or there is nearby street parking along A1A. If you’re interested in attending, make sure to register HERE as spacing is limited.


Hit Sensation The TEN Tenors


Home for the Holidays . Join Australia’s rock stars of the opera  with their unique selection of traditional and contemporary seasonal favorites– soaring versions of Joy to the World, Sleigh Ride, White Christmas, Amazing Grace, Winter Wonderland, Feliz Navidad and many more. The TEN Tenors are  one of Australia’s most successful touring entertainment groups of all time, with more than 90 million people worldwide witnessing their charm, camaraderie and vocal power. Following 17 years of sell-out performances across the globe, including more than 2,000 of their own headline concerts, The TEN Tenors have cemented their place as one of the worlds most loved classically based contemporary music groups. The Knight Concert Hall, December 22. For more information and tickets, click here. 

Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, Florida 33177

Head over to Zoo Miami this holiday season for Zoo Lights, a special after-hours holiday event highlighted by animal-shaped light displays, glistening trees and holiday music. Explore the zoo at night while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies, photos with Santa, free Snowman’s River boat rides, and carousel rides. Zoo Lights will take place every Friday and Saturday in December plus the week of December 26-30 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The cost is $9.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free), or purchase the “Zoo Lights” package for $12.95 per person – a 20% savings – including admission, hot chocolate and two cookies. For tickets, click HERE.

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Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami


A Holiday Evening at Vizcaya Village

3250 S Miami Ave, Miami, Florida 33129

This year marks the centennial edition of Vizcaya’s annual “Holiday Evening” event on Wednesday, December 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Built by businessman James Deering as his winter home in 1916, Vizcaya is now a National Historic Landmark and considered a must-see museum in Miami. This extra special “Holiday Evening” will take place in the Village, across the street from the Main House and gardens. Activities and décor will celebrate family winter traditions of the families that lived and worked at Vizcaya 100 years ago including carolers, a mini-tuba concert, art making, tours and holiday treats. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Children five and under are free. For tickets, click HERE.


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Vizcaya Village


The Nutcracker at Parker Playhouse

707 NE 8th St, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304

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The Nutcracker in Fort Lauderdale

The Nutcracker is the ultimate holiday treat for all ages. Catch the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida as they present the classic ballet at one of Fort Lauderdale’s first venues, the neo-classical Playhouse, from December 15-17. The performance is choreographed and directed by renowned Ballet Master Vladimir Issaev. This awarded professional company features their own ballet stars performing the principal roles, as well as a community cast made up of local character artists and children. For more information and tickets, click HERE.


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