During the week leading up to February 2 and Super Bowl LIV, visitors will descend upon South Florida like a plague of locusts. A handful will arrive aiming to throw around $100 bills like confetti and down Dom Pérignon as though it were BOGO LaCroix at Publix.
The following tour guide is not for those people.
The inevitable fact that Miami will turn into a giant tailgate party for an entire week-plus doesn’t mean tourists and locals alike won’t lose the ability to avail themselves of all the magic the Magic City offers. So leave the conspicuous consuming and celebrity ballyhoo to the rubes; there’s all sorts of real stuff to do in Miami. The following are some of our suggestions.
For even more things to do, be sure to check out New Times’ Super Bowl weekend 2020 party guide.
Stretch it out at Club Space on Saturday at 4:20 p.m.
Photo by Daniella Mía
Saturday, January 25
420 Yoga at Club Space. Visitors strolling along NE 11th Street past Club Space are unlikely to say to themselves: Hmmmm, I wonder if this nightclub offers free yoga classes. But it does, and it’s great! The weekly classes, held on the terrace Saturday afternoons at 4:20 (see what they did there?), are led by certified yoga instructor Tiffany Levy. She and her fellow instructors set the mood burning sage, essential oils, and yoga unity while a DJ contributes tranquil, languorous sounds conducive to your downward dogs and sun salutations. BYO yoga mat! 4:20 p.m. Saturday at 40 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Admission is free.
Brother Dan continues his Record Sale.
Photo by Nikki Vetsch
The Miami Record Fair, with Brother Dan, at Gramps. The last Saturday of every month, Miami-based DJ and producer Brother Dan and his Terrestrial Funk brand hold a local record fair at Gramps bar in Wynwood. It’s an afternoon affair where locals can browse and buy rare vinyl, munch on pizza and vegan treats, and drink beer. There’s a seemingly unlimited supply of wax on display — 28 tables’ worth, to be exact. And if you play your cards right, you might even be able to spin some yourself: Last month, they passed around a signup sheet for patrons who wanted to strut their new records. Noon Saturday at 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is free.
Catch live music every night at Lagniappe.
Sunday, January 26
Live music at Lagniappe. At first glance, the French-influenced jazz bar might seem a tad chaotic: Inside, there’s a small stage for jazz performers; the outdoor setting is a massive yard with seemingly haphazardly arranged tables and chairs. But once you get into the rhythm (literally and figuratively), you’ll see Lagniappe for what it is: a true Miami haven. Enjoy delicious meats, cheeses, and wines, and bond with your friends and fellow patrons under a clear evening sky. Live music is on tap every night of the week; on Super Bowl Sunday evening, local drummer and composer Rodolfo Zuniga will play a free show inside. 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday at 3425 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-576-0108; lagniappehouse.com. Admission is free.
Roomful of Teeth at Faena Theater. Roomful of Teeth is a group of singers and composers who take contemporary music on an incomparable vocal journey — from yodeling to Broadway belting to throat singing to Korean P’ansori, Sardinian cantu a tenore, and (wait for it) death metal. In the past, the eight-person ensemble has collaborated with (among others) the Seattle Symphony, Kanye West, and tUnE-yArDs; this show is a collaborative effort with Miami-based painter Diego Gutierrez. Admission costs $15, but If you’re of a mind to make the most of it, you can up the ante to $35 and enjoy a lovely brunch beforehand. Brunch at 10:30 a.m., performance at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-8800; faenatheater.com. Tickets cost $15 to $35 via eventbrite.com.
Test your trivia skills at Bar Nancy.
Photo by Brian Powell
Monday, January 27
Trivia Monday at Bar Nancy. The laid-back and chill atmosphere of Bar Nancy in Little Havana is sure to help jog your memory at this weekly Monday-night trivia event hosted by Trivia Miami. The winning team takes home $50 (second place scores $25), and the evening features drink specials as well as other games, such as Connect4, Jumbo Jenga, and backgammon. DJ Asqueroso will spin New Wave sounds to elevate your trivial pursuit. 9 p.m. Monday at 2007 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-397-8971; nancy305.com. Admission is free.
Check out one of the most nostalgic sports in history.
Photo by Aaron Gilbert
Jai alai at Casino Miami. Jai alai originated in the Basque region of Spain and then spread to other Spanish-speaking nations, as well as China, the Philippines, and America. Stateside, the sport’s blend of ultrafast action and parimutuel wagering helped it to soar in popularity from the 1940s through the ’70s, with some Miami jai alai frontons attracting crowds that exceeded 10,000. Then came a steady decline thanks to competition from other gambling options, not to mention greedy, unscrupulous promoters. Nevertheless, jai alai persists at Casino Miami near the airport — and that’s very cool because it’s a spectacle to behold: A player uses an elongated wicker scoop called a cesta to launch an extremely hard, goatskin-covered ball (pilota) toward the court’s front wall at a speed that can approach 200 mph. A loud thump rings throughout the hall when ball meets wall and ricochets back to an opponent. Think of it as racquetball on amphetamines. Matches at 1, 3:30, and 6:30 p.m. Monday at 3500 NW 37th Ave., Miami; 305-633-6400; playcasinomiami.com. Admission is free.
Ball & Chain remains a Miami staple.
Photo courtesy of Ball & Chain
Tuesday, January 28
Noche de Domino at Ball & Chain. The site now occupied by the Little Havana lounge Ball & Chain is a cultural landmark dating back to 1935. Under various names and ownerships, it operated as a saloon and a nightclub, presenting acts such as Chet Baker, Count Basie, and Billie Holiday. In 1967, the venue gave way to a furniture store, Futurama, which endured for 30 years — until a group of investors scooped up the space and returned it to its former booze-slinging, live-music glory. Nowadays, on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m., Ball & Chain offers free games of dominoes, conveniently overlapping with the bar’s 4-to-7 happy hour. The place attracts tourists and locals alike in search of a good time. 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at 1513 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-643-7820; ballandchainmiami.com. Admission is free.
Test your karaoke skills.
Photo by Guillaume Raberin
La Shangrila Karaoke. Way out west, near the main campus of Florida International University and next door to a Sedano’s grocery store, stands La Shangrila Karaoke. Stepping inside is a bit of a shock: You find yourself in a small reception area, with howls of drunken customers coming at you from the big private karaoke rooms on all sides. But rest assured, the place is modeled after real-deal Asian KTV karaoke boxes, with clean, spacious rooms, each equipped with a large flat-screen monitor and a couple of microphones. The menu is cheap and filling — which is to say you can soak up all the liquid courage you’ll require to belt out power ballads in front of your friends. 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday at 10720 W. Flagler St.; 305-640-5217; lashangrila.com.
The Citadel combines live music with a plethora of eats from a wide assortment of restaurants.
Karli Evans @allseeingmedia
Wednesday, January 29
Live Sessions featuring House Savage at the Citadel. An epic food hall is enough of a draw for us, but we’re what your mother might call “good eaters.” More discerning fun-seekers will note the Citadel hosts a tremendous amount of live talent from both Miami and abroad. On this hump day beginning at 7 p.m., House Savage — a local funk-driven combo — will make its live debut. Pair the music with your choice of dishes from 11 local restaurants, along with a handcrafted cocktail or two (or three). 7 p.m. Wednesday at 8300 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-908-3849; thecitadelmiami.com. Admission is free; register via eventbrite.com.
Wetlab beckons with cheap beer and a priceless view.
Drinks at the Wetlab. The Wetlab allows you to relive your college days but with a million-dollar view. Located on the Rickenbacker Causeway directly across from Virginia Key Beach Park, the Wetlab is a favorite of denizens of RSMAS (the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Oceanography and Atmospheric Science), whose campus it occupies. Fortunately, the bar and its attendant restaurant, Salt, are open to one and all. The watering hole offers supercheap local beer and a bar menu — plus a gorgeous view of Biscayne Bay. Stick around long enough and an overzealous grad student will probably tell you about their thesis. 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne; 786-660-6749; miamisalt.com. Admission is free.
Churchill’s Pub has been serving the music community for decades.
Thursday, January 30
No Fraud at Churchill’s Pub. You have not truly experienced Miami until you’ve caught a show at Churchill’s, a Little Haiti mainstay that has played host to locals, megastars, the avant-garde, and the just plain weird since the dive bar opened in 1979. Thursday night before the Super Bowl, Florida’s own hardcore punk band No Fraud will take the stage to get your head banging and your feet stomping on the pub’s ever-so-worn floorboards. 9 p.m. Thursday at 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Tickets cost $10 to $12 via eventbrite.com.
Double Stubble is one of the best drag shows in Miami.
Photo by Christopher Collins
Double Stubble at Gramps. Nothing better embodies Miami’s unique blend of fun and nonchalant wildness than a drag show. Every Thursday, Double Stubble comes to Gramps, one of the pioneering bars that made Wynwood famous. The free event is light on the wallet and heavy on fun, featuring Mx. Mango, Petty Boop, Vex the Thing, and a birthday celebration for King Femme. Enjoy disco-centric tracks spun by resident DJs while you sip a Madras Ball ($8), made with vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice, and hibiscus syrup. Shows start at 10 and 11:30 p.m. Thursday at 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is free.
Don’t miss your last chance to experience Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkins in Miami.
Photo by Michael Campina
Friday, January 31
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Friday before the Super Bowl is the last day to see the ICA’s presentation of Yayoi Kusama’s mesmerizing installation All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins in Miami. Pay $15 in advance to reserve a one-minute visit to the Japanese artist’s “Infinity Mirror Room,” which is located at a special site in the Design District about a block east of the ICA proper. The piece — a room filled with Kusama’s iconic acrylic yellow pumpkins that are adorned with black polka dots and illuminated from within by LEDs — makes for an immersive head trip. To learn more about Kusama and her gourd work, read Douglas Markowitz’s recent feature story; to get a load of how the installation is tangled in an alleged art swindle of multimillion-dollar proportions, read Francisco Alvarado’s page-turning “Where in the World Is Inigo Philbrick?” 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at 112 NE 41st St., Suite 106, Miami; 305-901-5272; icamiami.org. Tickets cost $15 via icamiami.org. (To view the pumpkins gratis, visit Thursday, January 30, and be prepared to wait in line.)
Russian & Turkish Baths. Want to relax like an insider? How about a schvitz in a traditional Russian banya? The Russian & Turkish Baths, located in the Castle Beach Club on Collins Avenue north of 54th Street in Miami Beach, offers your basic banya experience, wherein you sweat out your toxins in a stone-walled room equipped with a 15-ton hot rock. Other amenities include a “polar bear” sauna, swimming pools, high-pressure showers, a “rain room,” a gym, and a Finnish dry sauna. The $52 price of admission entitles you to all of those and more; upgrades such as massages, Dead Sea mud exfoliation, and the famed platza (you haven’t lived till you’ve been beaten about the back and shoulders with a bundle of oak leaves) cost extra. Noon to midnight Friday at 5445 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305- 867-8315; russianandturkishbaths.com. Admission costs $52.
When Seizure Machine is in the house, things are guaranteed to get weird.
Photo by Melody Calmell
Saturday, February 1
Boss Battle: Seizure Machine Video-Release Party at Las Rosas. Seizure Machine is definitely not for the family. Marlon Sinvergüenza’s electro duo likes to take comedic rap and fuse it with glitched-up noises (courtesy of the Machine’s other half, Fxsnowy, who mans the synthesizers), creating a cataclysmic sound that borders on hilarious insanity. Guest performers at Saturday’s celebration include fellow local Ashiyushi, Starve Marve, Mother Juno, and a DJ set by Lamebot. 9 p.m. Saturday at 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-780-2700; lasrosasbar.com. Admission is free; register via eventbrite.com.
The de la Cruz Collection. In the 1980s, Havana natives Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz began collecting art for their home in Miami. They never stopped. Having accumulated enough art to fill a museum, they built one in 2009. The 30,000-square-foot Design District space is a sight to behold for art buffs and novices alike. The current exhibition, “From Day to Day,” presents a plethora of contemporary works by artists such as Ana Mendieta, Gabriel Orozco, Salvador Dalí, Sterling Ruby, Wifredo Lam, Paulina Olowska, and Christopher Wool that will stun you as soon as you enter. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 23 NE 41st St., Miami; 305-576-6112; delacruzcollection.org. Admission is free.
An escape to Homestead is always a wise choice.
Courtesy of Lychee Summer Celebration
Sunday, February 2
Tour and tasting at Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery. Schnebly has been making wine in Homestead for decades. A few years ago, the facility added an adjacent brewery — double your pleasure! On weekends from 1 to 4 p.m., the winery offers tours for $8 per person; spring for another $12.95 and add a tasting. And if you work up an appetite from all the touring and sipping, step over to the Redlander, a farm-to-table restaurant on the premises. 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 30205 SW 217th Ave., Homestead; 305-242-1224; schneblywinery.com. Tours cost $8 per person; tastings cost $12.95 per person.
Get lost at Fairchild Tropical Garden.
Courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. When you’ve had your fill of big-city excitement, it’s time to lose yourself amid the greenery at this gorgeous tropical oasis in Coral Gables. Founded in 1938 by Col. Robert Montgomery, who named it for fellow horticulturist David Fairchild, this 83-acre plant paradise is part conservatory, part museum, part school, and part laboratory — and an all-around terrific way to chill out in a hot town. Hourly guided tours are offered during business hours, augmented by nighttime events and blowouts such as the annual Orchid Festival in March and the International Mango Festival in July. 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables; 305-667-1651; fairchildgarden.org. Admission costs $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $12 for students; discounts are available with a Fairchild membership.