7 Best Performing Arts Venues in Miami and Miami Beach, Florida

Art Basel Miami Beach

The most prestigious art show in the United States is held every December, with plenty of fabulous parties to go along with the pricey art. This is a who's who of the art world where collectors, emerging artists, renowned artists, curators, gallerists, and art aficionados convene alongside novices, trendsetters, and glitterati. Although the main exhibition is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, dozens of smaller exhibitions are set up on the beach, Downtown, and in the Wynwood District at galleries and in event spaces and hotel lobbies. The exquisite art and sensational people-watching more than soften the blow of exorbitant hotel prices, heavy traffic, and long waits.

Plan ahead to make the most of Art Basel, which includes purchasing tickets or securing your name on guest lists in advance.

Art Deco Weekend

This annual weekend of all things art deco was started by the Miami Design Preservation League in the 1970s to draw attention to and celebrate Miami Beach's Art Deco Historic District. Tours, lectures, film screenings, and dozens of other 1930s-theme events are on tap over this January weekend. Festivities—many of them free—begin on Friday, followed by a car show and street fair (with over 140 vendors) on Saturday and Sunday. More than a quarter of a million people join in the action, which centers on Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th Streets.

Carnaval Miami

The Caribbean and Latin America know how to celebrate the annual carnival in style, so it's only natural their tropical stepsister does, too! Each year, Miami's pre-Lentan celebrations in February and/or March climax during Carnaval Miami. One of the main celebrations is held every year on Calle 8. The wild and fun street festival in the heart of Little Havana is the last blowout before Lent begins. This Sunday street party attracts over a million people, who dance in the streets and enjoy more than two dozen stages of DJs and live music.

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South Beach Wine & Food Festival

The Food Network and Cooking Channel's star-studded four-day weekend each February showcases the flavors and ingenuity of the country's top chefs and wine and spirits producers. Personalities like Anne Burrell, Guy Fieri, and Bobby Flay headline brunches, cocktail hours, dinners, and seminars—and of course, the coveted large-scale tasting events across Miami Beach. The festival attracts more than 60,000 attendees annually. To avoid disappointment, book your choice events far in advance.

The White Party

The White Party began in 1985 as a pioneering fundraiser for AIDS research and awareness. Nowadays, Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most anticipated weekends of the year in the LGBTQ community thanks to the White Party (and another reason not to have that extra scoop of stuffing). On Saturday evening, thousands of gay men, women, and their friends get decked out in white and party the night away under the stars to the sounds of world-famous DJs and recording artists. The event remains a charitable event to support Care Resource, a nonprofit, community-based AIDS service organization.

Ultra Music Festival

One of the world's best-known electronic music events, massive Ultra Music Festival has been taking place in Miami every spring since 1999 (usually in mid- to late March). The festival has drawn crowds of nearly 200,000 revelers. Until 2011, Ultra Music Festival was part of the Winter Music Conference, but it has since spun off into its own mega-event.

Winter Music Conference

Since 1985, the largest DJ showcase in the world has rocked Miami every March, when South Beach truly turns into one big ol' party with more than 100,000 attendees. The latest and greatest in electronic music (to the tune of 2,000 performers and 400 events) diffuses through the lobbies and pools of Miami's most illustrious hotels, public spaces, and local event arenas.