The year is coming to a close and as usual, many of us are reflecting on the past year and how to make the next a better one. Among the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are get fit, save money and enjoy life as much as possible. Those are all well and good, of course, but we thought we’d do you one better. This list of resolutions is strictly for the locals, the 305 lifers.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few that lives on Miami Beach, you probably don’t go to the beach all that often. Out-of-staters think you do, but seriously, few of us are willing to deal with the hassle of driving out east, possibly in heavy traffic, only to have to spend hours driving in circles looking for parking. Still, our beaches are freaking gorgeous and we should all make the time at least once a month to go say hi to the Atlantic. Here a guide to some of our faves.
The Miami International Film Festival happens every March and showcases some incredible films that most of us will never get to watch at our local theater. Support independent film and broaden your horizons by finally buying a ticket to one of the movies or events during MIFF. Even better, make sure to watch one by any of the talented women directors presenting this year.
If you have somehow gone this long without getting a Miami Dade Public Library card, well, shame on you. But it’s okay, it’s a new year! You can start checking out books as soon as you get one of these free bad boys, and if you’re picking up a lot of new reads, you can support the library further by purchasing one of the cool $1 tote bags they sell at the circulation desk.
Miami, your drivers suck. I don’t know why, though I have some theories. Why not try to improve the safety and stress levels of your fellow residents by driving – I don’t know – at the speed limit (or a little faster on the highway because seriously no one is driving 50 mph there)? Or not making left turns from the right lane? Or not honking and sticking your middle finger out at people unnecessarily?
Summertime is rainy season in Miami. It’s also hotter and more humid than usual. So instead of hanging outside, make reservations to a fancy restaurant and try some gourmet cuisine. Miami Spice makes it way more affordable, and if you scan the menus online, you can certainly find some awesome deals.
Undoubtedly one of the coolest events in Miami, the city goes wild with poetry every April thanks to the O, Miami Festival. From poetry “scratch off” tickets, to poems being dropped from the sky, to readings by poets from all over the world, O, Miami always presents innovative ways to share their love for poetry. Do yourself a favor, subscribe to their newsletter to stay in the know, and fall in love with haikus, sonnets, and more in 2017.
There are tons of opportunities available to anyone who wants to give back to the Magic City this upcoming year. Connect with the Miami Rescue Mission to help feed and care for the homeless. Donate goods (or time) to women’s and children’s shelters like Lotus House (if you’re up north) and domestic violence organizations like MUJER (if you’re down south). Be a friend to animals by giving time to Paws 4 You Rescue or the Humane Society. Protect the oceans and environment by volunteering with Surfrider, the Sierra Club, or the Ocean Conservancy. And if you’re still not sure, you can always discover plenty of other volunteer opportunities via Hands On Miami.
Miami isn’t known as a the most loyal community of sports fans. Jokes about the Dolphins and the Marlins are frequent (though hey, the Dolphins are doing pretty good this season so far), and even Heat fandom has died down with the loss of LeBron and now D.Wade and Chris Bosh. Still, our teams are our teams, and wouldn’t it be kind of nice if we could all just rally behind our teams no matter what?
You can live in Miami your entire life and rarely – if ever – leave your own neighborhood. Each little suburb and section of city is, for the most part, self sufficient. Unless you’re commuting out for work, school, or special events, you can just live in your bubble. But this city, this county, it’s huge. You should get out of your area now and again, travel to Shenandoah or Little Havana, to Little Haiti or Surfside, to Key Biscayne or Westchester. Miami is way more interesting and diverse when you really get out and explore.
When I ask people what they’ve been up to, they usually say things like, “Went to the movies,” or “Bar hopped in (insert neighborhood here),” or “Artwalk.” Sometimes they say they went to a party, or just dinner someplace. But museums? It’s like we know that we’ve got them, but yet we don’t go anywhere nearly enough. I mean, museums tend to switch exhibitions every few months. Go, see the art at the Lowe and MOCA, take a stroll inside Vizcaya, do it all. Here’s our definitive guide to Miami museums.
Some folks might think that Winter Music Conference is just for drug-addled EDM fans, and they might be partly right (actually that sounds more like ULTRA than WMC), but there’s so much more to it. Phenomenal DJs from all over the world come to town for this week-long party, and considering how many free events there are, you can probably get down from your high horse and check one out. You’ll have fun. Promise.
The same way we should be supportive of our local sports teams, we need to show love to local artists and musicians. Instead of always spending all your cash on Ticketmaster seats for big name musicians, check out local venues and see when local bands are playing. Stop in at an open mic night and discover something new. Go to the art galleries when it isn’t art walk. And don’t forget to buy some books from local publisher Jai-Alai Books (writers need support, too!)
If you’ve somehow not attended a show at the Arsht Center yet, do yourself a favor and get tickets stat. The place is gorgeous and there really are no bad seats in the house. Take a date, take yourself, just do it.
Hey, y’all, regardless of what the President-Elect thinks, climate change is real, and Miami is gonna be hurting sooner than other places if we aren’t more proactive about reducing our impact on the environment. One way to do this (and also save money in the long run) is by using public transit. I know we don’t have as good a system as New York or Chicago, but trust me, it’s better than most small towns across the U.S. Plus you’re bound to run into some interesting characters or have new experiences by getting out of your car and onto the bus or train, or hell, even a bike share program.
Play Among Friends/Flickr
There’s lots of dancing to be done in Miami, but I feel like some of the best dancing I’ve ever done has been in Little Havana. More specifically, hit up Hoy Como Ayer or the old-but-technically-newer Ball and Chain for some great music and dancing. Really, every Miamian needs to have one wild night en la Pequeña Havana at least once.
Juan Cristobal Zulueta/Flickr
Miamians are not friendly. Okay, that’s not entirely true. We can be really friendly and affectionate and warm with people we know. But try finding friendly service at a CVS or a busy restaurant or at a government office and you’ll be sorely disappointed. It often feels like this town is just looking out for itself, and as such, it can be tough to connect with strangers. So maybe be the person to initiate the conversations, to share a smile, to open a door. Some people won’t appreciate it, but others will.