2016 in Miami is beginning with flair with the YoungArts Backyard Ball, a chance to catch the next generation of performing arts talent before they become famous. If a low-key life is more your style, hang with the Dude at Virginia Beach as Blue Starlite hosts a screening of The Big Lebowski. Get the kids back on track with a visit to Pérez Art Museum Miami for some interactive arts and crafts sessions with museum staff.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
January 9 | Performing arts fundraiser
YoungArts Backyard Ball
National YoungArts Week ends on Saturday with the organization's largest annual fundraiser, the Backyard Ball Performance and Gala. Held at their campus in the landmark Bacardi Tower and Museum buildings, the event will feature a series of performances by YoungArts alumni across such disciplines as dance, theater, and voice. Honorees this year include Rosie Perez, Robert Wilson, and Tony Yazbeck. The ball will be hosted by award-winning actor, director, and singer Billy Porter, who is himself a YoungArts alumnus from 1987. After the Backyard Ball is over, stick around for the Backyard Bash party, with an open bar and music by DJ Cassidy.
6:30 p.m., Backyard Bash at 10 p.m. | National YoungArts Foundation, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami | (305) 377-1140 | Backyard Ball from $1,000, Backyard Bash from $140 | website
January 9 | Drive-in movie
The Big Lebowski at Virginia Key Beach Park
Mini urban drive-in theater Blue Starlite hosts events all year round, but it’s the combination of the beach setting and Miami’s January weather with the Dude that makes this week’s event our pick. No matter how many times you’ve seen The Big Lebowski, it’s unlikely you’ve seen it from the comfort of your car while on a beach. For those who would rather sit in the fresh air, there are picnicking options available, too.
8:30 p.m. | Virginia Beach, 4020 Virginia Beach Dr., Key Biscayne | From $7 for walk-ups and $30 for cars | (305) 377-1140 | website
January 9–10 | Escape the city
Palm Beach has long been the exception to Florida's low-key seaside towns. This storied beach town is where the rich go to play and the rest of us go to watch, and the time to visit is now. Head to Worth Avenue for the best people watching. After window shopping the who's who array of international designers, pop into Stubbs and Wooten—a local brand made big—for a pair of bespoke velvet slippers. To get out on the water, try the Palm Beach Water Taxi, which is easy and affordable. If you’re looking to stay at the most quintessentially Palm Beach hotel, book a room at The Breakers Palm Beach.
January 11 | Interactive arts and crafts
Made at PAMM
Get your creative juices flowing with this monthly all-ages event at Pérez Art Museum Miami. Free art-making stations are set up in the museum’s galleries, and interactive classes are taught by PAMM Teaching Artists. You’ll have access to the full museum, plus you can take home the art you make that is inspired by the exhibits.
11 a.m.–2 p.m. | PAMM, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami | (305) 375-3000 | Free | website
Through February 21 | Exhibition
Miami Beach: From Mangrove to Tourist Mecca
The city of Miami Beach is 100 years old, and the Wolfsonian-Florida International University has been celebrating by looking back at the city’s early years. At Miami Beach: From Mangrove to Tourist Mecca you can find out who the movers and shakers were that made Miami Beach into what it is today, and discover photo albums of the “lost” hotels of Miami Beach. These luxury resorts lured in elite guests by offering things like elephant rides alongside their impressive facilities. No wonder Miami Beach turned into the circus it is today.
Wolfsonian-Florida International University, 1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach | $7 | 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.