What to Do When it Rains in Miami

A good rain in Miami is equivalent to a blizzard up north. Exciting for the locals, bummer for the tourists. Official rainy season lasts from June through September. Dark clouds swell to a breaking point and pound the city with short, intense bursts of cooling rain. Showers often hit hard in the late afternoon, lowering the temperature during the brutally hot summer months.

However, rainy days can occur at any time of year, so be prepared. Pack a colorful umbrella and a camera to capture the weather's dramatic effect on the sky. Walk when you can. Miami traffic slows to a near-halt when the roads get glossy.

Here are five ways to make the most of your time when the rain falls in Miami:

1. Catch an indie movie at Miami Beach Cinematheque
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Miami Beach Cinematheque is one of the island's best kept secrets. Step out of the glitz and glam of South Beach and into an intimate, old-fashioned, European style cinema. Small and cozy, the theater seats fewer than 100 people and sells gourmet snacks and Nespresso coffee. A tiny gift shop is open to peruse before and after the flick.

2. Pretend it's winter
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Rainy days are revered in the south like snow days in the north. Snowball fights are far from feasible, but that's okay, because Miami has several options for the next best winter activity - ice skating! If you want to keep it classy, try the newly unveiled Edition Hotel, equipped with an ice skating rink, bowling alley and nightclub to finish off the night. For a more casual affair, try Kendall Ice Arena, Pines Ice Arena or Scott Rakow Youth Center.

3. Get your art on at The Perez Art Museum
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The Perez Art Museum, aka PAMM, is Miami's cultural hub for contemporary art. Exhibits change frequently, and the museum offers a variety of lectures, performances and parties for further entertainment. Entry is free on the second Saturday of every month, and guides are available for deeper insight. Make a day of it and head to Verde, the Stephen Starr restaurant located inside with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay.

4. Treat yourself to a spa day
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Feel like lounging? You are in luck, because this city has some of the best spas in the country. Try a few hours at the affordable Russian Turkish Baths in North Beach, complete with varying degreed aromatherapy pools. Or make a day of it at the upscale Mandarin Oriental and indulge in sea scrubs, a stone massage and a holistic facial with lunch served in between. If you are experiencing a Friday night rain shower, head to The Standard Spa for a two hour yoga class followed by included access to the steamy and sexy Turkish Hammam.

5. It's just water
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Torrential downpours notwithstanding, a light rain doesn't have to stop you from diving into the city's crown jewel: go swimming! It's fun, it's liberating and extra cleansing. Be smart about it, lightening and thunder are obvious red flags. If the lifeguards disappear from the beach, proceed with caution. However, a harmless afternoon sprinkling can enhance your swimming experience. Especially because this is South Florida; the rain likely won't last longer than 15 minutes anyway.

Bethany Platanella is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and obsessive traveler based in Miami Beach.