clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Miami Book Fair: How to Navigate, What to See This Year

A curated way to navigate the fair for our fashion-forward bookworms.

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Alright bookworms of the Magic City, it's that time of year again! The Miami Book Fair returns for it's 32nd run, bringing a slate of notable authors, great book vendors, and events to quench your thirst for literary goodness.

The fair this year begins on November 15th and goes until the 22nd, although the actual street fair (and bulk of the events) are held over the weekend. It's a large event to navigate, so we've gone ahead and put together a highly curated guide for you, from the events you should check out to the vendors you should visit. Plus, we've even included a few tips, like where to park and how to purchase tickets.


Tickets officially went on sale on Wednesday, November 4th. Admission to the street fair is free on Friday, November 20th and is $8 on Saturday and Sunday. You can buy your tickets online or at the fair. If you're interested in hearing a certain author speak, then you'll have to buy individual tickets. "Evenings With" author sessions run from Monday through Thursday and cost $15 each. Weekend Author sessions are free, however you'll have to reserve yourself a seat for each. The big event this year is opening night with punk pioneer Patti Smith, and tickets are $30.

The Venues

The Street Fair– The Street Fair is open from Friday through Sunday and weaves through Downtown's streets from NE 2nd St to NE 5th (south to north) and NE 1st to just past NE 2nd (west to east).

The Swamp– Think of The Swamp as your cultural reprieve from the festival. Here is where you'll find events like Swamp Noir, a curated night of poetry performances, film, and live jazz-fusion or "The World's Smallest Poetry Reading." There are performances here by big acts like Afrobeta and Spam Allstars, and there are plenty of talks that feature a range of topics, from South Beach's history to how Havana and Haiti relate. Beer and food trucks throughout the week starting on Monday, and admission is free and open to the public.

The Porch– When you need a break from all the literary madness, this is where you'll go. The Porch features cool daily events like outdoor games and "Arts and Drafts" with the New Tropic (watch out for their Miami Against Humanity event), customized poetry sessions with The Biscayne Poet, the Urban Oasis Farmer's Market, and DJ sessions with Sweat Records' own Lauren "Lolo" Reskin. Admission is free and open to the public starting on Monday.

The Kitchen– Want to get your Rachel Ray on? Head to The Kitchen for culinary demonstrations and food chats about a variety of cuisines and topics, from Indian to Latin American, and Southern to Soul Food. This venue is open only on Saturday and Sunday.

Children's Alley– This is the perfect cultural fest to bring the kids to as there are stages that host storytelling sessions and fun performances for kids of all ages throughout the weekend.

Building 1– This is where you'll find The Auditorium, Prometeo, and the Centre Gallery.

Building 3– This is where you'll find the Chapman room, plus a few talks on the second and third floors.

Building 6– Expect to find a few of foodie talks at this building on the first floor.

Building 7– Events will be taking place at three rooms on the first floor of this building.

Building 8– A great bulk of the weekend's events are taking place at this building throughout about eight different rooms. It's also where you'll find the Magic Screening Room.

Miami Culinary Institute– This is where you'll find the Wine Theatre and, naturally, plenty of talks on cuisine.

Can't Miss Events, Readings, and Lectures

Note that this is a highly subjective list based on what we think our fashion-forward, fitness-obsessed, and cultured readers would be into. The Miami Book Fair has a wide range of events to attend, so definitely scroll through the site's list to make your own schedule.

Sunday, November 15th

For People Who Have Dreams of Meeting Patti Smith– We mean, does Patti Smith even need an introduction? As one of the early pioneers of New York's punk scene, this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is here in Miami to drop her sacred music and life knowledge bombs on us and talk about her latest book, M Train. Chapman Conference Center (Building 3, 2nd Floor, Room 3210) 300 NE Second Ave; Tickets are $30.

Wednesday, November 18th

For People Who Love Tom Brokaw– So you've been a fan of the award-winning journalist since he covered Watergate back in the 70s, huh? The former anchor of NBC Nightly News is in town for one night only to talk about his latest autobiography, A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope, which chronicles the stages of his cancer diagnoses and his most memorable career moments. Chapman Conference Center (Building 3, 2nd Floor, Room 3210), 300 NE Second Ave; Tickets are $15.

Thursday, November 18th

For People With an "Only in Miami" Story to Tell– If you've ever wanted to take the stage at a poetry reading, now is your chance. On Thursday at 7pm The Moth comes to Miami with an open-mic storytelling competition where you'll bring a five-minute story about life in Miami and things that make Miami so... Miami. The Swamp, 300 NE Second Ave; Head this way for ticket information.

Friday, November 19th

For the Feminists– Rad American Women A-Z highlights the female artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars, rabble-rousers, and agents of change who’ve helped shape our history, and you'll be able to hear the book's author, Kate Schatz, talk about it all on Friday at 10am. Auditorium (Building 1, 2nd Floor, Room 1261), 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

Saturday, November 21st

For 2 Live Crew and Old School Hip-Hop Fans– Can't get enough old school hip-hop on Spotify? Christopher "Fresh Kid Ice" Wong Won, co-founder of 2 Live Crew, will be talking about his life and autobiography at 10am on Saturday. Room 8203 (Building 8, 2nd Floor), 300 NE Second Ave.; This event is free.

For People Who Love Reading About 'A Florida Man'– There's nothing like a good Florida thriller. On Saturday at 11am, there will be a reading of three fictional thrillers about the Sunshine State's not-so-nice side. Tales about airport heists at a Miami airport, a Floridian psycho killer-turned-hero, and scary South Florida legal thrills will all be told. It feels too real. Room 7128 (Building 7, 1st Floor) 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

For South Beach History Buffs– Care to learn a bit more about the Magic City? On Saturday at 11:30am there will be a panel discussion about the history of our now 100-year-old Miami Beach. The panel includes a number of notable local figures, from the co-founder of Guccivuitton to the head of special collections at the University of Miami. The talk is lead by Tom Austin, a 2015 South Florida Knight Arts Challenge finalist for "Beyond Basel: The zine History of South Beach."

For Female Entrepreneurs– This ones for all you female entrepreneurs out there. Miko Branch, CEO of natural hair care beauty brand Miss Jessie's, will be talking about her memoir and business guide, Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch – Naturally. Following, television legal analyst and attorney Lisa Green will be dropping knowledge bombs from her witty and empowering legal guide for women, On Your Case: A Comprehensive, Compassionate (and Only Slightly Bossy) Legal Guide for Every Stage of a Woman’s Life. The event begins at 11:30am. Room 8302 (Building 8, 3rd Floor), 300 NE Second Ave., Miami; This event is free.

For the Fashion Obsessed– Judith Clark, the world-renowned curator behind The Fashion Project at Bal Harbour Shops and author of The Concise Dictionary of Dress and Leanne Shapton, co-editor of Women in Clothes, will be talking about how their books are adding to the conversation about exhibiting, wearing, and writing about clothes. If you're at all into fashion, then this 10am session is a must see. Room 8202 (Building 8, 2nd Floor), 300 NE Second Ave., Miami; This event is free.

For Our Beauty Junkies– The event description puts it best: "Many things in life matter more than hair, but few bring as much pleasure as a really great hairdo." Three contributors to Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession talk follicles and what they mean to women of all races and nationalities on Saturday at 12pm. Room 8503 (Building 8, 5th Floor), 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

For People Obsessed with the Lifestyles of Presidents– Who doesn't like to learn a little bit about the controversial lives of first families? On Saturday at 1pm, there's an event dedicated to this, starting with a talk about Celebrity in Chief: A History of the Presidents and the Culture of Stardom, a book that inspects the history of our presidents as "celebrities in chiefs." Also at this event is a talk with the author of Michele Obama: A Life. Room 2106 (Building 2, 1st Floor), 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

For People Looking to Eat Healthier– ABC News nutrition and wellness correspondent David Zinczenko talks about his book, the Zero Belly Cookbook: 150+ Delicious Recipes to Flatten Your Belly, Turn Off Your Fat Genes, and Help Keep You Lean for Life! Here you'll learn about his recipes to lose weight and get healthier in just a few minutes a day.

For People Who Miss The Real Housewives of Miami– For all you Real Housewives fans out there, Lea Black will be talking about her novel, Red Carpets & White Lies, about Miami's rich and shameless and the scandals that surround them. The event begins at 5pm. Room 8203 (Building 8, 2nd Floor), 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

Sunday, November 22nd

For People Who Live and Breath Music– Ever wonder why Katy Perry and Britney Spears' tunes are so catchy and addictive? Staff writer at the New Yorker John Seabrook gives us an inside look at the making of "a hit," exploring the music making and business behind them. Room 8201 (Building 8, 2nd Floor), 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

For Hip-Hop Heads– Actress Rosie Perez, hip-hop artist Mare 139, graffiti artist and hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, and Bronx-born photographer and cinematographer Lisa Leone talk hip-hop roots: how and where it started and who's behind it. This event takes place at 1:30pm on Sunday. MAGIC Screening Room (Building 8, 1st Floor), 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

For People Who Love Quinceñeras and Drag Shows– Part poetry reading, part performance, local drag performers Juleysi and Karla will be bringing us "A Queer Quinceñera at 5:30pm on Sunday. Expect a Gloria Estefan song (or two), a big birthday cake, and cocktails. The Swamp, 300 NE Second Ave; This event is free.

For People Who Are Dying to See a Cabaret– With a pinch of class and a dash of trash, CircX is bringing us a cabaret performance at 8:30pm on Sunda that fuses mime, street theatre and burlesque. Be on the lookout for CircX’s beautifully bizarre characters strolling through the crowd before the show. The Swamp, 300 NE 2nd Ave; This event is free.

Book Exhibitors

There are over 250 publishers and booksellers exhibiting and selling books and merchandise over the weekend throughout two blocks in Downtown Miami.

Antiquarian Books– Looking for old and rare books and manuscripts? There will be about four vendors selling these sorts of paperbacks and hardcovers on NE 4th St. and NE 2nd Ave. Prices will range from under $100 to well over it, but these vendors– D Glover's Bookery, Out-of-the-Way Books, The Book Cellar, and Kubick Fine Books– are definitely worth a stop for serious literary enthusiasts.
Bargain Books– If you're looking for three for $20 deals or two for $15 scores, then hit up Pennyworth Books and Red Carpet Books in Sections A and B. It's going to be an eclectic mix, but if you're balling on a budget, then it's definitely worth a stop. Also of note is Bookleggers Used Books in Section C.
Florida Books– For our Floridaphiles out there, then the Gainesville-based University Press of Florida in Section A is worth a stop for all things Sunshine State-related. Books about, swamps, Miami, Florida botany, orange groves, and even Cuba will be found here. Another Florida-focused publishing house is Pineapple Press, also in Section A. These will be mostly non-fiction books about Florida art, folklore, traveling, nature, history, and more. Also of note is Jai Alai Books, a Miami-based publisher. Not all its books are about Florida, but there's a pretty good selection of Miami-themed topics.
Miami Book Fair Souvenirs– The Miami Book Fair shop is located in Section C, so make sure to stop by for your mementos from this year's fair and even signed copies of certain books. If you're looking to get your shopping fix on, definitely drop into Bookish Gifts, where you'll find stationary, home goods, fashion apparel and random fun things for yourself or your book-loving family and friends.
New York Times Bestsellers– You more than likely have owned a HarperCollins title at one point in your life, even if you didn't know it. The major publisher will have a booth in Section A, so pop in to find major titles and New York Bestsellers from big-time authors and some of your favorite celebs. Grove Atlantic and Graywolf Press are other big one you can visit, also in Section A.
NSFW Books– Need to fill your Fifty Shades void? Feral House in Section B specializes in "forbidden topics" like sex, drugs, some music, and the occult. It's where you'll find titles like The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People or White House Call Girl, The Real Watergate Story.
Books for Authors Presenting at the Fair– Loved an "Evenings With" session or an author chat? You can purchase his or her books at the Books by Authors Presenting at the Book Fair booth in Section B.


The best way to get to Downtown Miami is via Metrorail, Metromover, and Uber, but if you do have to drive, there's free parking at the MDC Parking Garage at NE 5th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Otherwise, there's a garage on NE 2nd St. between NE 1st Ave and NE 2nd Ave and a garage on SE 2nd St with another entrance on SE 3rd St.