Carnaval in Miami

Carnaval Miami – the best way to Experience Miami

Discover the savory food, lively music, and festive mood.

September 2023
Latino culture has always played a major role in Miami’s urban landscape. One of the best ways to experience the savory food, lively music, and festive mood is to attend the annual Carnaval Miami festival, which takes place from late-February to early-March.

With its miles of beaches, glittering turquoise water, and spectacular sunsets, Miami is a fantastic travel destination all year round, not the least in March. Thanks to the balmy South Florida climate, not only can you sunbathe and swim in the early spring , you can also take in the sights and sounds of Carnaval Miami. For a couple weeks, the streets of the city come alive with the music, dancing, art, food, sports, and fashion of this exuberant festival. The carnival is one of the biggest Latin culture events in the US, with the celebration attracting an average of around one million visitors from all over the world.

The history of Carnaval Miami dates back almost 50 years. It all started in the 1970s when a group of young people decided they wanted to make a difference in the world. They started what would later come to be known as Carnaval Miami to support the Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation, a charity that helps financially underprivileged Hispanic youths. While the festival has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings, it is still run and organized by the same foundation.

Today, this cultural festival includes a wide variety of events in Miami Beach as well as the Miami-Dade metro area. The festival also hosts golf and dominoes tournaments for sports enthusiasts. Dominoes are very popular among the Cuban population, and the tournament, which attracts players from all over the country, takes place in Domino Park in the Little Havana neighborhood.

While the entire festival is family-friendly, be prepared for big crowds and plenty of commotion. Make sure you bring your sunscreen and stay hydrated – and whatever you do, don’t dress too warmly. In March, the temperature in Miami hovers around 25 degrees.

Carnaval in Miami

Here are some of the largest cultural events

Miss Carnaval Miami

Each year, Carnaval Miami kicks off with the crowning of Miss Carnaval Miami, the festival’s ambassador and hostess. The winner also gets to compete for the title of Miss Florida.

Miss Carnaval Miami, Saturday, February 10

Calle Ocho Music Festival

One of the major highlights of Carnaval Miami is the Calle Ocho Music Festival, which occupies an entire 15-block area along Southwest 8th Street in Little Havana. The various stages feature live concerts, prominent guest DJs, food from all over the world, and spirited Cuban conga dancing. Meet up with your family or friends here and take in the festive atmosphere! The gigantic street party lasts a whole day and is free of charge.

Calle Ocho, Sunday, March 10

Carnaval on the Mile

For just one weekend during Carnaval Miami, Carnaval on the Mile decorates the streets of the posh Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. More than 200 painters, sculptors, and photographers create a mile-long exhibit with their works of art. The celebration also offers live music and food. Remember to bring cash since many of the vendors don’t accept credit cards.

Carnaval on the Mile, Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3

Text by Saga Loxdal