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Miami Cultural Calendar: 10 Best Art and Culture Events in 2014
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Miami Cultural Calendar: 10 Best Art and Culture Events in 2014

Picture of Chloe Hay
Updated: 25 January 2016
Home to an array of world class art galleries, event spaces and delicious stone crabs; Miami is a brilliant city to visit at any time of the year but even more so when Florida’s biggest arts and culture festivals are in full swing. From film festivals to book fairs, art weeks to jazz performances, here are ten exciting cultural events still to come in Miami this year.

Miami International Jazz Festival

9 – 10 May

Divided between Little Haiti Cultural Arts Centre and South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Centre, the Miami International Jazz Festival will host a variety of jazz performances across the two day event. Expect big names to take to the stage, including six-time Grammy nominee and one of Latin Jazz’s star instrumentalists, Jerry Gonzalez and The Fort Apache Band. Also in the line up: The Spam Allstars with their contemporary blends of latin, funk, hip-hop and dub, acclaimed jazz pianists Mike Orta Trio and Abel Pabon & The Crossroads, and one of the greatest Jazz percussionists ever, Giovanni Hidalgo & Atlanti.

International Mango Festival

12 – 13 July

An unusual yet enticing festival, the International Mango Festival is now in its 22nd year and continues to attract a growing number of curious mango-lovers. Set in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, visitors can purchase their own mango tree, attend a lecture to learn all about mangos, slurp a delicious freshly made mango smoothie, photograph the world’s largest display of mangos and even bid on their favourite juicy fruit at the world’s only mango auction. The festival is inspired by the work of one of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s founders, David Fairchild, who was the horticulturalist to first bring mangos into the USA. A fun day out for all ages, be sure to purchase a mango or two to take home, varieties on sale include Puerto Rican, Mexican and Fairchild’s own grown on site.

Miami Spice Restaurant Month

1 August – 30 September

Over a two month period, visitors can enjoy fine-dining at casual-dining prices with Miami Spice. Participating restaurants offer three course fixed price lunch and dinner menus with a discount ranging between 25-60% off of the normal price. Enjoy a fabulous lunch for under $25 or dinner for less than $40. The number of restaurants that take part increases each year giving diners an unbeatable selection. Some of the most popular participants last year included the luxury steakhouse 15 Steps, the Italian seafood restaurant AltaMare, the oceanfront Mexican Cantina Beach Restaurant with its stunning views, and The River Oyster Bar.

Latin Jazz icon Arturo Sandoval performed at Festival Miami 2013
Latin Jazz icon Arturo Sandoval performed at Festival Miami 2013 | Courtesy of Festival Miami

Festival Miami


Hosted by the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Festival Miami offers a brilliant programme of performances including award winning instrumentalists and the school’s most outstanding students. The festival is divided into four themes: Great Performances, Jazz and Beyond, Music of the Americas and Creative American Music with the majority of shows taking place at the Coral Gable’s Campus at Gusman Hall. Amongst the dazzling performances last year was one entitled Fiddles of Fire featuring violinists Mark O’Connor, Glenn Basham and Federico Britos. As well as the grand selection of ticketed shows, there are also several free concerts and free music master classes led by the visiting artists for guests to enjoy.

Hess Select South Beach Seafood Festival

25 October

Following the success of the inaugural festival last year, the Hess Select South Beach Seafood Festival will be returning for another day of seafood and stone crab celebrations. Kicking off at 1pm there will be live music all day put on by local bands, food demonstrations from top chefs, cocktail bars mixing up unique blends, Gold Coast Beverages beer stalls and ten locally chosen restaurants serving up their best seafood dishes in outdoor gardens. The festival marks the beginning of Miami Beach’s infamous stone crab season and as such collatoral events will be taking place around the city in the days leading up to the day-long festival.

Miami Book Fair International

1 – 2 November

An eight day-long event, Miami Book Fair International celebrates the joy of reading books and comics in both English and Spanish. More than 350 authors will be scattered around the street fair giving readings from their novels and discussing their craft with festival visitors. There is enough to keep children as well as the adults entertained and many a book to buy. Evening events include special readings and talks with highly respected authors from all round the globe and true lovers of collectables can spend hours perusing a selection of signed first editions and original manuscripts, all of which are for sale.

Art Miami

2 – 7 December

The 25th edition of Art Miami, part of Miami Art Week, is a celebration of contemporary art taking place at the Midtown Miami Complex in the Wynwood Arts District. Works on show will include specifically selected pieces from 125 international galleries known for their exhibits of 20th and 21st century art. Coinciding with Art Miami, two other art events will be going on nearby. CONTEXT is located in the pavilion adjacent to Art Miami and will focus on exhibiting the works of emerging and mid-career artists from 75 galleries from around the world. Aqua Art Miami will display exquisite pieces and multimedia installations by new talents across its 47 exhibitions.

Design Miami

3 – 7 December

Along with its sister show, Design Basel each June, Design Miami is the premier go-to exhibition for those interested in modern and contemporary design pieces. Featuring works from the world’s finest galleries, designers represented in the festival last year included Marc Baroud, Marc Dibeh, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Nao Tamura. With intricately designed furniture, lighting and art objects, Design Miami aims to be a global forum for discussing and exhibiting collectible design. Visitors can meander the exhibitions admiring the pieces and attend panels and lectures led by some of the world’s leading design experts.

Art Basel

4 – 7 December

Over 4000 artists from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa are celebrated at Art Basel over the five days. Pieces on show vary from the completely affordable to the multi-million dollar acquisitions in a variety of media including digital art, film, sculpture, photography and paintings. The artworks have been collected from 260 international galleries and include some never before seen pieces. The art work is on display in the Miami Beach Convention Center, in addition, public art will be seen at Collins Park and an outdoor cinema showing art videos will take place at SoundScape Park. A range of the world’s finest art magazines will also be available for enthusiasts to browse in between exploring the shows.

Miami Short Film Festival

5 – 12 December

A festival for the often sadly overlooked short films of just twenty minutes or less, the Miami Short Film Festival aims to show off this art with red carpet premieres, an Oscar-style awards ceremony, a closing night Gala and cocktail receptions. Spread across the Paragon Grove 13, Miami Beach Cinematheque and the North Beach Bandshell, the festival will show over 80 films from more than 39 different countries. Last year’s participants included Alicia Albares from Spain with ‘Al Otro Lado’, Neysan Sobhani from Bermuda with ‘Dimensions’, Phillip Davis from the USA with ‘Ephemeral City’ and Genevieve Clay from Australia with ‘The Interviewer’.

By Chloe Hay

See more of our United States Cultural Guides:

Florida | Guide to Miami’s 10 Must-See Contemporary Art Galleries

Florida | Miami’s Best Cultural Restaurants: Dining out in The Magic City

Tennessee | Nashville’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Tennessee | The Best Cultural Tours in Memphis

California | Guide to San Diego’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Nevada | Las Vegas Gets an Arts and Culture Face-Lift

Louisiana | New Orleans’ Best Cultural Tours

Texas | Historic and Hip: Austin’s Best Cultural Hotels