This weekend in Coral Gables is the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens Chocolate Festival, which means chocolatiers, exhibitions, talks, and more. In a somewhat sadistic twist of fate, this Sunday is also the Miami Marathon—meaning the runners can't enjoy the chocolate, and everyone else feels twice as guilty. Still, it will be worth watching. Also worth watching is 1971 classic The Boy Friend, showing at the New World Center in Miami Beach. Finally, the historic Marlin Hotel has completed its latest round of ongoing renovations—this time of interiors. Check it out.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
January 20 | Outdoor movie
Miami Beach SoundScape Screening of The Boy Friend
Going to the movies has gotten expensive, but the screenings on the 7,000 square foot projection wall outside the New World Center remain free. This week, you can catch a screening of The Boy Friend, the 1971 film with Twiggy, Christopher Gable, and Tommy Tune. The 2.5 acre public park gets full for the monthly Miami Beach SoundScape screenings, so be sure to pack a picnic in advance and don't forget a thermos of hot chocolate and a blanket to keep the chill at bay. Get there early to grab a good patch of grass.
8 p.m. | Miami Beach SoundScape ExoStage, 500 17th St., Miami Beach | (305) 673-3330 | Free | website
January 22–24 | Food festival
Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Gardens
Chocoholics, this is the event for you. This weekend is the 10th annual Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. Artisan chocolatiers set up shop and dozens of other vendors—some chocolate-based, others not—join in the chocolate-fueled fun. There are lectures about chocolate making, an exhibit on the life cycle of the cacao plant, and more. Price of admission gets you access to the festival and the garden’s grounds, so block out the afternoon to explore and walk off the sugar rush.
9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables | (305) 661-1651 | $25 (discounts available) | website
January 23–24 | Escape the city
These first few weeks back at work after the holidays are tough. Take a quick break from city life on Cedar Key, an island in the Gulf west of Ocala. Stay at the Island Hotel. The building was built in 1859 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was once a general store and post office, and a speakeasy during the Depression. It’s now a bed and breakfast—and haunted, too! Popular pastimes in Cedar Key include kayaking, fishing, exploring the many wildlife refuges in the area, drinking along Deck Street, and filling up on as many locally grown clams as possible.
January 24 | Marathon
The Miami Marathon & Half Marathon takes 25,000 runners through some of the the most beautiful and scenic spots in Miami. For those who haven’t been training, get up early and join the thousands of people who pack the streets to cheer on the runners. There are stations set up for spectators at Bayfront Park and the Omni Station, but the whole route, available on the website, is packed with supporters.
Newly renovated | Hotel
First Look at The Marlin Hotel’s Renovation
The Marlin Hotel, a historic art deco hotel turned recording studio, has been in transition, undergoing a multiphase renovation. Bazi, the Asian concept restaurant by the Macchialina team, opened back in September. Now, the first interiors renovation is complete. Come check out the makeovers in the lobby and the rooms where Aerosmith, Jay-X, and Pharrell all recorded albums. Expect a new rooftop pool and a retail concept by the end of 2016.
The Marlin Hotel, 1200 Collins Ave., Miami Beach | (305) 695-3000 | website
Patricia Guarch Wise is a Miami native and the blogger behind Miami Nice. Her interests include paella, paranormal activity, Proenza Schouler, and her Pekingese named Bonnaroo.