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Afro-Cuban Dance, Big Night in Little Haiti, Umphrey’s McGee: What to Do in Miami This Week

Here are the five coolest things to do in and around Miami this week. We publish a new list every Wednesday, covering Thursday through Wednesday. Stay tuned for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more.

August 21 | Festival
Big Night in Little Haiti
Big Night in Little Haiti has somehow remained a bit under wraps. Every third Friday the Little Haiti Cultural Center opens up for a night of free Caribbean music, art, and culture. This week, the headlining music act is PNP Plezi’n Nap Pran, a group of retired legendary musicians, mostly Haitian American. They got together ten years ago to jam to Spanish and Haitian songs from the good old days of the ’50s–’80s and haven’t stopped playing gigs together since. Food will be provided by Leela’s Restaurant, a local, family-owned Haitian joint. There’s a live stream, too: bignightlittlehaiti.com.
6–10 p.m. | Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami | (305) 960-2969 | Free | website 

August 21 | Music
Umphrey’s McGee at The Fillmore
Umphrey’s McGee will play The Fillmore Miami Beach on Friday night. The six-man improv/jam band usually plays upwards of 100 shows a year, but has never before played this iconic Miami Beach venue. They’ll play a selection of songs from their 180 original tunes, make some up on the fly, and showcase their new album, The London Session, which they recorded live at Abbey Road Studios in one day. A signature Umphrey’s McGee show always includes a colorful light show, too, so look forward to a wild time.
8 p.m. | The Fillmore Miami Beach,1700 Washington Ave. | (305) 673-7300 | From $35 | website

August 21 | Culture
Free Fridays Happy Hour at Wolfsonian-FIU
Free Fridays Happy Hour takes place at Wolfsonian-FIU every third Friday of the month. Starting 4 p.m., mingle in the café with half-price beer, wine, and mixed drinks and then hang around for free gallery admission and free guided tours. Make sure to stay till 7 p.m. to get another glass of wine and watch a screening of 1979 film Norma Rae, starring Sally Field—part of the museum’s ongoing Ladies Leading Film Series.
4–9 p.m. | Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach | (305) 531-1001 | Free | website

August 21–22 | Dance
IFÉ-ILÉ Afro-Cuban Dance Festival Miami
The 17th annual IFÉ-ILÉ Afro-Cuban Dance Festival takes the stage this weekend, with a series of performances, workshops, and lectures at Dade County Auditorium. Sign up for the full schedule of events, or just buy tickets to Friday night’s salsa performance or to Saturday’s Under Heaven and Earth—the world premiere of dancer and choreographer Neri Torres’ new work, which deals with the “Mariel boatlift and its cultural implications to the social tapestry of the U.S.”
Prices & times vary | Dade Country Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami | (305) 547-5414 | website 

Weekend Escape
Key Largo
Late summer is the perfect time to visit Key Largo. Kids are back to school and the busy season is still a few months away, so you’ll have attractions like the giant underwater Jesus statue in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park all to yourself. Hit the water and check out such other sites as Molasses Reef and Spiegel Grove. Popular restaurants like Harriette’s, Buzzard’s Roost Grill & Pub, and The Fish House are a bit quieter, too, so it’s easier to accommodate large groups.

Photo by Knight Foundation/Flickr
Patricia Guarch Wise is a Miami native and blogger behind www.miaminicemag.com. Her interests include paella, paranormal activity, Proenza Schouler and her Pekingese named Bonnaroo. 

Planning a trip? Check out the AFAR guide to Miami.