Free and cheap things to do in Miami – Dec. 26-28

Blowing the year at giant raspberry at the 2006 King Mango Strut. Photo: Roberto Koltun/ staff

The wackiness and off-the-wall romp recounting all the year’s most outlandish events called The King Mango Strut Parade makes its way through Coconut Grove’s main drag Sunday. If you’re done with parades, consider live music Friday night at either North Miami’s Jazz at Moca or Calle Ocho’s Cultural Fridays.

Coral Gables Art Cinema continues its $5 holiday film screenings for the family this weekend or you can visit the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU on South Beach free on Saturday. If you’re in the mood for a road trip down south, try out the free Homestead trolley with rides to national parks all weekend long.

It’s not too late to catch the latest of the Christmas lights. You can find holiday events listed day-by-day at Miami on the Cheap. We also have a list of 27 things to do with kids over the holidays.

Hilarity ensues as King Mango Strut rolls through downtown Grove
The King Mango Strut is without question one of the most comical ways to get a year-in-review of 2014’s most outlandish local and national events. Everything is up for grabs and each year the parade’s themes push the envelope more. You can look forward to Grand Marshall “Governator Rick Scott” on his “In Your Face Victory Tour” leading the marchers and other groups during this year’s theme of “Life is Just Ebola Cherries.” The wackiness starts Sunday at 2 p.m. The event is followed by a post-parade concert on Commodore Plaza with Tobacco Road’s iconic former house band Iko-Iko, along with Roadkill and several others.

Party it up with Hispanic flair at Cultural Fridays   
The Calle Ocho last Friday of the month event Cultural Fridays is still going strong after all these years and shows no signs of letting up. If anything, the list of galleries showcased and the line-up of performers gets more diverse each month. You can still smoke a stogie, sip a mojito and watch the masters of dominos at Domino Park but take time to listen to Allison Cento, the Ana Kohler Band and Los Herederos or listen to author Beatriz Santiago Gonzalez discuss her book at the Futurama Building. A tour of famed Cuban Memorial Boulevard by local historian Dr. Paul George is also part of the event. Viernes Culturales runs from 7-11 p.m.

Things are mellower up north at Jazz at MOCA
The scene in downtown North Miami on the last Friday is mellower than on Calle Ocho but Jazz at Moca is just as popular, being one of the area’s premier free events for more than a decade. The featured artist this month is The Miami Big Sound Orchestra, downtown Miami’s resident Latin jazz band. The group will pay homage to jazz great Wynton Marsalis with a program of his music. Stick around after the concert and head inside the museum to view ther latest exhibitions. The museums is open free until 10 p.m. The concert starts at 8 p.m.

C’mon and take a free ride…on the Homestead Trolley
There’s never a better time than winter to visit South Florida’s national parks. You can get a free ride to visit Biscayne National and Everglades National Parks on the new Homestead Trolley, which runs every weekend through April. Pick it up at the trolley depot at Losner Park on Krome Avenue. The service to the parks is an extension of the already successful local trolley service. There are great free activities at each park including trail walks and Sunday Family Fun Fests.

Gazing on a starry night at Buehler Planetarium
There’s no need to guess when the skies are clear over Davie’s Buehler Planetarium. The website features an up-to-the-minute chart of the skies overhead. Every Friday and Saturday from 8-10 p.m., the planetarium opens its observatory for free so astronomy lovers can spend hours peering through the telescope at the constellations.

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