Presidents’ Day Weekend – traditionally known as Those Three Days You Probably Shouldn’t Leave Your House Or You’ll Spend Them In Your Car – is looming. And we need to be ready.
We’re used to busy periods in Miami. There’s Art Basel. Ultra Music Festival. That week between Christmas and New Year’s Day when every tourist in the world seems to be trying to cram themselves into PAMM, the Frost Science Museum and/or the Aventura Mall.
But that one weekend in mid February, well, that’s a whole different story. For Presidents’ Day, we’ve got the convergence of the mega-events. The Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Art Wynwood. The Gay8 Festival. The Miami International Boat Show and The Miami Yacht Show.
Almost anywhere you drive in Miami, traffic is going to be a mess. Your choices are hiding in Pembroke Pines for the weekend or checking out tips for getting around and parking on the biggest weekend of the year.
Coconut Grove Arts Festival
Feb. 17-19, Coconut Grove
More than 360 artists showcase their work along Biscayne Bay in one of South Florida’s favorite events. The fair draws huge crowds and can generate huge headaches if you’re not prepared.
Getting around: The fair runs along the streets of McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive and Pan American Drive, so you won’t be able to drive on those streets. If you take the I-95 southbound at Exit 1A, beware traffic on the Rickenbacker Causeway (where you’ll hit boat show traffic); a good alternative is taking 836 West and then 27th Avenue south to the festival. You can also take Metrorail to the Coconut Grove Station or ride your bike (there are bike valets on McFarlane Road near Cocowalk).
Here are the parking lots around the fair:
11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Feb. 16-18; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 19, One Herald Plaza, Miami
This year Art Wynwood has moved to Herald Plaza on Biscayne Bay (you may have attended Art Miami and CONTEXT fairs in the same spot during Miami Art Week).
Getting around: There’s valet parking available if you enter Northeast 14th Street from Bayshore Drive. There’s also public parking in the Omni Garage and the lots around the Adrienne Arsht Center.
If you’re coming from Miami Beach, a courtesy shuttle service will run daily during fair hours for ticket holders between Art Wynwood and the 29th Annual Yachts Miami Beach on Collins Avenue, across from the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels, as well as The Official Hotel JW Marriot Marquis Miami.
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 18, Calle Ocho, Miami
This LBGTQ event runs from 14th to 17th avenues on Eighth Street in Miami with live entertainment, films at the Tower Theater and more.
Getting around: There’s a tiny, free city lot behind Domino Park on Southwest Eighth Street and 15th Avenue, but it fills up fast. If you don’t mind a walk, you can park around the neighborhood. If you’re close to Metrorail, ride to the Vizcaya Station and call an Uber or Lyft from there; it’s about a five-minute ride.
Miami International Boat Show
Feb. 15-19, Miami Marine Stadium, 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne
The event that used to cause hardened Miami Beach residents to weep has relocated to Key Biscayne now, taking with it boats, crowds and traffic misery.
Getting around: Because there’s only one way into Key Biscayne, shuttles are the key to survival. The boat show has free shuttles that run from the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Miami Yacht Show on Miami Beach, the Seaquarium and Virginia Key Beach on Key Biscayne and Arthur Lamb Jr. Road on the Rickenbacker. There will be no parking at Marlins Park this year. You can also catch the water taxi behind AAA and 100 Chopin Plaza at Bayfront Park.
You can also book a parking spot in downtown Miami online ahead of time at the website.
Miami Yacht Show
Feb. 15-19, 4601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
This luxury yacht show takes place across across from the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels.
Getting around: Shuttle buses are your best bet. Bus stops 2 and 4 go to and from the 67th Street garage and 42nd Street garage. Bus stops 1, 3 and 5 go to and from the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key.