When to Go to Miami
The best time to go to Miami is during the winter months. The high season lasts December through February, and while more expensive and crowded, it is most pleasant for weather. Warm, breezy days and cool nights draw crowds from all parts of the world. June through October is hurricane season, bringing with it heavy rainstorms. August and September are especially brutal with high humidity and scorching temperatures. Art Basel kicks off the high tourist season in December, and crowds of sophisticated New Yorkers and European families stick around until late February. March is the best time to party, with spring breakers and music festival lovers filling the streets and nightclubs. Memorial Day weekend is a mob scene with police forces on every corner to control the crowds. The best time to experience life as a local is during the summer, when crowds disintegrate and the local scene shines through. Many restaurants offer half-priced bottles of wine and discounts on entrees to keep the the city active.
Best Weather: December, January and February is high season for a reason. Daytime temperatures generally rise high enough to enjoy the beach and cool off for comfortable nighttime activities.
Best Time for Hotel Deals: The cheapest time to go to Miami is during the summer months, when hotel rates drop substantially. For lowest rates, check out June, July, September and October.
Big Must-See Events: Art Basel, the international Art Fair festival, usually falls on the first week of December, kicking off the high season. Foodies will appreciate a visit to Miami in February to catch the Food Network's South Beach Food and Wine Festival. March is the month for music lovers, with Ultra Music Festival and Winter Music Conference bringing in the world's most beloved DJs. The jewel of Miami, its beautiful beaches, are open and free to the public year round.
Best Time to Avoid the Crowds: September and October are low in terms of tourists, but extremely hot. Miami sees a serious drop in tourism the week following Art Basel, usually the second week in December. The week post New Years draws a thin crowd as well, with pleasant weather.
Things to Do in Miami Month by Month
January: High season, great weather. Mostly dry, days hang around high 70s and nights cool to low 70s. Crowds tend to be thick, with the exception of the week following New Years. Art Deco Weekend offers lectures, live music, walking tours, and displays of antique cars.
February: Breezy, sunny days and cool nights continue through the month that brings us two of Miami's most popular events. See the latest designs and technologies in the boating world and the International Boat Show. Or, get to know Miami via your palette by sampling different dishes at the Food Network's four day South Beach Food and Wine Festival.
March: Music lovers unite! Both Ultra Music Festival and the Winter Music Conference take place in March, much to spring breakers' delight. Globally renowned DJs flood the city with EDM beats. If fist-pumping isn't your thing, head to Key Biscayne and check out the world's best tennis players at the Sony Open Tennis Tournament.
April: With one of the most active LBGT communities in the country, Miami's Gay Pride Week is a scene. Watch the colorful parade outside or dance the night away to celebrate. The energy is noticeably higher, as are the daytime temperatures.
May: The heat and humidity levels start to set in. This is the best time to explore water relief activities like boating and paddle boarding. Memorial Day weekend closes out tourist season. Locals head out and a high concentration of visitors head in. Overcrowding has lead to several incidents in recent years. In turn, police forces block off many streets to contain the masses, making this one of the worst times to visit Miami.
June: Hurricane season officially begins and lasts through October. Hotel prices drop. Expect daily afternoon showers to bring relief from high daytime temperatures. If you plan to come at this time, pack your rain gear.
July: Similar to June. Low prices, few tourists, with the exception of South Americans escaping their winter. A sprinkling of shops will close down, but nothing substantial. Be prepared for rain.
August: Temperatures soar, and remain so through September. Tourism picks up as the international world enjoys a month of vacation. European visitors brave the heat and fill the beach.
September: Hot, humid, and rainy on one hand, low prices and priority restaurant seating on the other. Weigh your pros and cons on this one, as September is one of the slowest and cheapest months in Miami.
October: The heat becomes a little more bearable, and the rain subsides. Columbus Day weekend is a celebration of Caribbean culture and traditions. Parades and costume parties take place in the streets. Enjoy live music, food samples, and rum cocktails.
November: Still a quiet month in Miami, events pick up as temperatures drop. Check out Nascar Ford Championship weekend in Homestead, or stimulate your literary genius at Miami's International Book Fair in Downtown.
December: The crowd slowly begins to thicken. Weather is pleasant and mild. Art lovers from all corners of the globe travel to Miami to experience Art Basel. More than art, this special festival showcases musical talent and creative dining. Hotel prices surge, with rooms peaking at $3000 per night. Happy hours and shop sales are non-existent. If crowds aren't your thing and lower prices are, visit Miami the week after it all blows over.
Bethany Platanella is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and obsessive traveler based in Miami Beach.