Miami

How to Celebrate the 4th of July in Miami

Because it's your patriotic duty to party

Photo courtesy of The IndepenDANCE festival
Photo courtesy of The IndepenDANCE festival
Photo courtesy of The IndepenDANCE festival

Sure, we can host “spring break” then welcome a full-scale crypto convention. But Fourth of July fireworks? Whoa, you think this is 2019, pal? Not ‘til it’s safe. In Miami, we obviously do everything-like drive, party, and socially distance-with an abundance of caution, so big-time fireworks shows over Biscayne Bay and the Biltmore aren’t on the agenda this year. Them’s the breaks.

That doesn’t mean there won’t still be plenty of places to gather and celebrate Independence Day around South Florida, though. And there’ll still be smaller-scale fireworks shows in places like Hialeah and North Beach. Read on for the best places to toast the red white and blue and catch the lights in the sky, even if the biggest bangs are taking another year off.

Hear orchestral renditions of your favorite July 4th songs

Saturday, July 3
1100 block of  Lincoln Road
If you live for Fourth of July music like some people live for Christmas songs, and started blasting John Philip Sousa as soon as the Memorial Day decorations were down, you’re in for a treat. The Miami Beach Music Festival Orchestra will be performing all your patriotic favorites during a free concert, as well as selections from The Greatest Showman.
Cost: Free

Photo courtesy of Legends Tavern & Grille
Photo courtesy of Legends Tavern & Grille
Photo courtesy of Legends Tavern & Grille

Win free hot dogs for life in a hot dog eating contest

Saturday, July 3
Legends Tavern & Grille
Do you watch Joey Chestnut crush the Nathan’s contest every year, and think, “Boy, I would totally smoke all those people if they had that contest down here?” Well, time to put your mouth where your mouth is, because Legends in Plantation is hosting its own hot dog eating contest, where the winner-who undoubtedly will never want to see a hot dog again-receives free dogs for the rest of their life.
Cost: Free

Joia Beach
Joia Beach
Joia Beach

Chillax on the beach before the big day

Saturday, July 3
Joia Beach
If the abundance of tech bros wasn’t enough to turn Joia Beach into Little California on the Causeway, this Saturday it’ll partner with the Rapture Festival for a weekend of sound healing, tribal body painting, chakra balancing, and chill beats in the sand. There’ll also be an “ethnic musical journey” via Digital Caveman and Guti & Vega, but still no state income tax.
Cost: Free

Party at a pool and watch fireworks from the roof

Saturday, July 3 – Sunday, July 4
Clevelander South Beach
On a normal holiday weekend, locals typically avoid the Clevelander like it’s 95 North after 3:30. But this weekend we might make an exception. Wicked Paradise is taking over the venerable Ocean Drive hotspot with a two-day poolside rager, featuring sets from MADDS, Cruz, No Pants Party, and others. On the 4th, they’ll take the party up to the roof for a perfect panoramic view of any fireworks lighting up the sky.
Cost: Tickets start at $50 per person

Photo courtesy of The IndepenDANCE festival
Photo courtesy of The IndepenDANCE festival
Photo courtesy of The IndepenDANCE festival

Dance on Virginia Key

Saturday, July 3 – Sunday, July 4
Miami Marine Stadium
The IndepenDANCE festival returns for its 17th year, bringing a solid electronic music lineup to Miami Marine Stadium. This weekend’s bill includes The Martinez Brothers, Marco Carola, Damian Lazarus, and Chus, making his first Ceballo-less Miami festival appearance.
Cost: Single day passes start at $45 per person

Hit a kiddie parade and grill out with dinosaurs

Sunday, July 4
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Let the little ones live the dream of marching in a Fourth of July parade when your family joins the Bad Apples Brass Band for a patriotic trot through Fairchild Tropical Gardens. Once that’s over, head to the Glasshouse Café for a barbecue, then wander through the Jurassic Garden where life-sized dinos await.
Cost: Tickets run $24.95 for non-members; food and drink prices vary

North Beach Bandshell
North Beach Bandshell
North Beach Bandshell

Roller skate and catch fireworks over the beach

Sunday, July 4
North Beach Bandshell
Probably the most uninhibited (legal) fun you can have this weekend will go down at the North Beach Bandshell, which turns into a day-long roller disco starting at noon. Spam All Stars, The Wailers, and Inner Circle will perform all day, leading up to the 9 pm fireworks show.
Cost: Free

Photo courtesy of Juvia Group
Photo courtesy of Juvia Group
Photo courtesy of Juvia Group

Pair a prix-fixe supper with elevated views

Sunday, July 4
Juvia
If you’re looking to class up your 4th of July festivities, check out Juvia’s dinner special this Sunday. You’ll get a three-course menu with options like Hamachi sashimi, duck breast, and beef tenderloin, followed by a sparkling panorama of almost every fireworks show in the city.
Cost: Reservations run $160 per person 

Party poolside with Laidback Luke

Sunday, July 4
Hyde Beach
For some, July 4th falling on a Sunday just means their weekly pool party outing will include red and blue champagne sparklers. And for that set, Hyde Beach welcomes renowned DJ Laidback Luke to headline one of the top pool parties in Miami. The fun gets underway before noon and goes until sundown.
Cost: Admission runs $50 per person; food and drink prices vary

Den Miami/Shutterstock
Den Miami/Shutterstock
Den Miami/Shutterstock

Catch fireworks and lasers in Hialeah

Sunday, July 4
Milander Park
It’s not as if the fine citizens of Hialeah aren’t already planning to treat us to approximately 11,000 “unofficial” fireworks shows this weekend, but if you’d like to see one that’s professionally done, head to Milander Park, where Gente de Zona and Amaury Gutierrez perform starting at 4 pm followed by a solid 30 minutes of city-sanctioned explosions (followed yet again by another three hours of unsanctioned ones, probably).
Cost: Free

Head to the drive-in at the Speedway

Sunday, July 4
Homestead-Miami Speedway
If you’d like to watch fireworks from the comfort of your car, motor over to Homestead where they’ll have a full-scale display soaring over the racetrack. The doors open at 7 pm and the show starts at 9 pm.
Cost: Free

Catch fireworks from Calder Casino

Sunday, July 4
Calder Casino
If Vegas has taught us anything, it’s that casino money can pay for some pretty impressive fireworks. See if Calder Casino keeps the bar high during its drive-up show starting at 7 pm. The free event will also have DJs, live bands, and other no-cost fun.
Cost: Free

Revel in the July 4th vibes with a live 50-piece orchestra

Sunday, July 4
Lummus Park
The Miami Beach Music Festival brings a 50-piece orchestra to Lummus Park on Ocean Drive for a live 8 pm show this Sunday. They’ll be joined by Lauren Allred-who you may recall as the voice behind “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman.
Cost: General admission is free; VIP tickets run $50 per person

SEAFAIR Miami
SEAFAIR Miami
SEAFAIR Miami

Booze cruise under the booms

Sunday, July 4
SeaFair Miami
Don’t feel like dealing with post-firework traffic and/or Uber surges? Jump aboard the SeaFair Miami for a four-hour cruise full of American bites, premium liquor, and a fireworks show taken in from the middle of it all.  You’ll also be treated to the carnival-on-a-boat Hora Loca show, a perfect precursor to the after-dark pyrotechnics.
Cost: Tickets run $149 per person

Watch fireworks in style in Miami Lakes

Sunday, July 4
Miami Lakes Picnic Park
The City of Miami Lakes is putting on one of the glitzier parties in the county, complete with an LED wall screen and the Sound Wave Entertainment Vehicle adding some high-tech excitement to the city’s 18th annual Independence Day bash.
Cost: Free

Nikki Beach Miami
Nikki Beach Miami
Nikki Beach Miami

Scarf seafood and watch fireworks from the beach

Sunday, July 4
Nikki Beach
Nothing really feels more like July 4th in Miami than catching a baller fireworks show with your butt in the sand. And if you’d like a front row seat to a private display, head to Nikki Beach where they’ll be hosting a massive seafood boil with crab legs, crawfish, and clams before lighting up the night sky.
Cost: Tickets run $55 per person

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Matt Meltzer is a contributor for Thrillist.

Miami

Bad Bunny and David Grutman's Sexy AF Miami Steakhouse is Finally Here

The rapper does whatever he wants.

Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis

David Grutman is back at it again, and this time the hospitality guru is bringing a new partner into the fold-award-winning recording artist, Bad Bunny. Located in Miami’s trendy Brickell neighbourhood, Gekkō, which translates to “moonlight” is a Japanese-inspired steakhouse that will serve fancy cuts of Wagyu alongside a bevy of sushi offerings. In true Groot Hospitality form, this isn’t your basic steakhouse, it’s also got a lounge that very well may play the sounds of Bad Bunny and the like into the wee hours of the night.

“Gekkō is the result of so many of my obsessions in food,” says David Grutman, Founder of Groot Hospitality. “It’s a steakhouse inspired by Japanese cuisine. There are delicious, innovative sushi rolls. There’s a lounge. I knew I wanted to do something that combined these worlds, and once I started speaking with Bunny, I knew he’d be a great partner. Gekkō is about having an incredible meal while having an equally incredible night.”

Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE

To celebrate the opening of Gekkō (not so coincidentally the same weekend Bad Bunny has two shows scheduled in South Florida), the crew hosted a massive grand opening party that attracted dozens of A-list celebrities and friends of both Grutman and Bad Bunny. Upon arrival, in his white Bugatti, mobs of fans who spent the entire evening swarming the restaurant began chanting “Benito! Benito!” as he exited his car in an all black suit paired with black sunglasses.

The night went something like this. A-list artists of every genre came out to celebrate. Future and Lil Wayne were seen on a couch in deep conversation and catching up with Mack Maine. Bad Bunny and Karol G were spotted running from table to table together, while DJ Khaled was seen embracing Bad Bunny and congratulating him on such a beautiful new restaurant. Timbaland and Andy Garcia were spotted hanging out for a long period, while Sophie Turner and her husband, Joe Jonas, hung with Victoria and David Beckham. Amidst that hundreds of average joes mixed and mingled while attempting to make their way to the bar so they could get a peek at some of the restaurant’s cocktails and sushi bites. It was quite a scene.

Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis

Okay, so back to the restaurant. Gekkō was designed by New York City-based architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, and is made up of three different rooms with seats for up to 185 diners. It’s centred around sultry jewel-toned decor with plush and stylistic elements like a custom gold and red dip-dyed rope installation, graphic wall coverings, and velvet drapery.

Now you might be wondering about the food, because that’s really why we’re going to a restaurant, right? Gekkō’s menu begins with shared plates where diners will find things like a signature Japanese milk bread, “Lava and Ice” Kumamoto Oysters, lobster dumplings, and a wedge salad. When it comes to raw plates there’s sushi and sashimi classics as well as an opulent 24k Otoro, that’s exactly what it sounds like-deliciously tender fatty tuna covered in a layer of 24k gold leaf.

Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision

Then there’s the steaks which include a Tomahawk cut, an olive-fed filet mignon from Kagawa, Japan, and a snow beef strip from Hokkaido, Japan. Specialty preparations include Wagyu skirt steak and a bone-in ribeye. And because Grutman is always sure his restaurants cater to the tastes of everyone, there’s even some plant-based chicken options and more.

“Sitting down with friends to enjoy a good meal is one of the moments I value the most,” says Bad Bunny. “I am thrilled that now I will have a hand in creating this experience for others.”

Gekkō opens tonight at 8 SE 8th Street in Brickell. The dining room and lounge serve customers from 6 to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and 6 pm to 12 am Friday and Saturday. Valet parking is available for $20 or you can attempt to find a street parking on Brickell. Visit gekko.com for reservations.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.