Free and cheap things to do in Miami – Oct. 16-18

Galas are usually costly events, but the Noches Tropicales Gala at Miami-Dade County Auditorium on Friday night that kick off this year’s series of free concerts costs nothing. Also on Friday, the free Big Night in Little Haiti features live music, art exhibitions and fun kids’ activities.

On South Beach, the Wolfsonian-FIU is hosting a party for the opening of its latest exhibition with free admission and activities on Friday. Then Sunday, go fly a kite, literally, at Haulover Beach Park during the annual Kitetoberfest Festival.

Hot tropical nights

The Noches Tropicales series returns with an opening night gala Friday at 8 p.m. at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. Performing at the series opener is Big Sound Orchestra Latin Jazz. The band is considered downtown Miami’s resident Latin Jazz big band with a sound that combines Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, funk and soul. Members include Carlos Oliva, Andres Buitrago, Chino Nunez, Javier Merino Jr., Jeff Morales, Rafael Valencia and Tom McCormick. Although the event is free, you must reserve tickets. 

Spend a Big Night in Little Haiti

Live music, a DJ behind the decks, kids’ activities and art are all part of the monthly Big Night in Little Haiti cultural event on Friday from 6-10 p.m. Headlining this month’s event is the Haitian konpa group DiSip with opening act Vogge. Between sets, DJ Mack keeps the music flowing behind the decks. Remember to check out the artwork in the gallery and bring your appetite for some of Leela’s Restaurant creole specialties, which will be for sale. Admission is free. 

Wolfsonian-FIU’s flinging its doors open

The Wolfsonian-FIU is throwing something extra behind its free Friday nights with an open house and an entire free Friday to celebrate the opening of the latest exhibition. Come by at 10 a.m. and see the display that showcases how tropical plants transition from the jungle to the home. There will be guided tours at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., a jungle-inspired selfie station, artist interventions in the lobby and happy hour drink and food specials in the café from 4-9 p.m. Admission is free all day. 

Go fly a kite

Practice your kite-flying skills Sunday afternoon at Haulover Beach Park during the annual Kitetoberfest Kite Festival from noon to 5 p.m. You can fly your colorful contraption with the giants, including giant squid kites and a monster Nemo kite. You can make a take-home kite and try food truck goodies from Moty’s Grill, Jefe’s and Top Fries. FM radio’s newest Alt-rock station 104.3FM The Shark provides afternoon jams. Admission is free and parking is $7. Early arrival is recommended. 

Art in a picturesque, historic locale

You’ve got two opportunities to catch what is billed as “one of the top 100 festivals in the nation” when the Las Olas Art Fair takes over downtown Fort Lauderdale Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Set along the picturesque – and most famous – street in the area, the festival will feature more than 150 artists. Admission is free. 

To keep up with latest news on deals, discounts and free events in South Florida, sign up for the daily Miami on the Cheap newsletter or the daily Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap newsletter. For more tips on what to do this weekend, read the frequently updated Miami on the Cheap weekend roundup of free and cheap events and the Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap weekend events and deals roundup. 

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