Memorial Day weekend is around the corner and that means thousands of visitors will flock to Miami Beach for a weekend of parties, concerts, and special events.
In addition to the loosely affiliated hip hop concerts and parties known as Urban Beach Week, Miami Beach will be hosting the military-themed Air and Sea Show for the second year in a row as well as a range of new events, all free of charge, including a concert featuring Shaggy, a movie showing at SoundScape park, a gospel concert and poetry readings.
With all the extra visitors, there's bound to be a lot of traffic. Whether you're looking for something to do over Memorial Day weekend, heading to the beach, or trying to avoid the traffic, here's what you need to know:
Traffic and parking
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▪ Ocean Drive will be closed to vehicles from Friday morning through Tuesday morning. The city will also have an evening traffic loop from Saturday evening through Monday morning between Fifth and 16th streets with exits to access parking garages. Collins Avenue will become a one-way street heading north and Washington Avenue will become one-way heading south. Only residents with a photo ID will be able to access east and westbound streets between Fifth and 16th streets.
▪ Traffic on the Julia Tuttle and MacArthur causeways will funnel down to one lane Friday, Saturday and Sunday night so police can scan the license plates of everyone entering the city to keep out stolen vehicles and people with outstanding arrest warrants.
▪ Miami Beach is encouraging visitors to download the free city app ParkMe so they can locate available parking spots instead of circling South Beach in search of an empty spot. The app includes parking rates for lots and garages and real-time occupancy information for some parking facilities. Once in Miami Beach, visitors can use the free Miami Beach trolleys to get around or take county buses. Information on the county's Memorial Day weekend bus schedule can be found here.
"Pack some patience because there will be traffic," said Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez. "Come out, have a good time and enjoy yourself responsibly."
▪ The city is hosting a free showing of the movie "Creed" on Friday at 8 p.m. at SoundScape Park, located at 400 17th St.
▪ For the second year in a row, Miami Beach will host an Air and Sea Show featuring fighter jets and other military equipment, along with demonstrations by police and firefighters. The show will be held on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can watch from the beach between 11th and 14th streets. Event organizers said there may be slight delays in the timing of the show due to weather.
▪ Parents can take their children to a Kids Fun Zone at Lummus Park on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Ocean Drive between 12th and 13th streets. There will be arts and crafts, relay races and face painting, and kids will have the opportunity to write letters to men and women in the military.
▪ The Betsy Hotel at 1440 Ocean Dr. is hosting a poetry reading at 4 p.m. with the writer, lawyer and activist Reginald Dwayne Betts.
▪ Miami-based photographer Johanne Rahaman is displaying her work "Water Rights: An Act of Resistance" from an LED screen on a moving watercraft. The exhibition, which includes photos and video shot during previous Urban Beach Weeks, will be visible between South Pointe and 25th Street from 6 to 8 p.m.
▪ From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a concert on the beach will feature Shaggy, MAX and Kent Jones. Concertgoers can watch the show from the beach near 11th Street.
▪ For visitors who prefer jazz, The Betsy Hotel is hosting the Nicole Yarling Duo from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
▪ From 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., The Betsy Hotel is hosting a youth poetry slam hosted by artist and author Octavia Yearwood with Silent Revolution and Dranoff 2 Pianos.
▪ At 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Eden Roc Hotel, visitors can enjoy a gospel concert featuring Miami Mass Choir and Second Chapter. After the gospel concert, which is presented in partnership with the Adrienne Arsht Center, there will be a Caribbean Junkanoo Parade on Ocean Drive in front of The Victor Hotel.
▪ From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., The Betsy Hotel is hosting a jazz performance featuring LeNard Rutlege.
▪ The Miami Beach Police Department is hosting a 3:15 p.m. Memorial Day ceremony honoring military personnel. The ceremony will be held at police headquarters, located at 1100 Washington Avenue.
More information on the events can be found at www.memorialdaymb.com.
During the crowded holiday weekend, Miami Beach plans to deploy its entire police force. Officers from other police agencies, including the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol, will also be stationed in Miami Beach.
Dozens of "goodwill ambassadors" wearing bright green shirts will roam South Beach to give visitors directors and answer questions. To make sure kids don't get lost in the crowd, parents can register at stations located at Lummus Park and their child will get a wristband with contact information for a parent or guardian. Families can also register adults with special needs.