Want the inside scoop on Art Basel Miami 2014, which will be held this year between December 4-7? Read these tips from my friend and colleague Karen Weiner Escalera, producer of MiamiCurated.
Art Basel Miami is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the cultural and social calendar in Miami, attracting A-listers from all over the world with more private jets than at any other time of the year.
I interviewed dyed-in-the-wool fairgoers who are in the know and am sharing their tips on how to “do the Fairs”.
As always, it pays to do your homework. The weekend after Thanksgiving, check the Miami Herald, Miami New Times, local museums, Artzine and SocialMiami to find out what’s happening where and plan out your schedule.
Art Basel Miami: Getting around the fairs
Go to South Beach and the Convention Center at 10 a.m., have a coffee on Lincoln Road (David’s Café, Nespresso, Starbucks are the popular ones), and then go to the main event. Get there after Noon and parking is very challenging to say the least. You can walk to a number of the satellite fairs (The Print Fair is especially good).
To get around the beach do not drive from one place to another. Options include Uber or Lyft, Car2Go (sign up in advance), one of the bicycle jitneys (generally free but tip generously) or public bus. In South Beach there’s a bus that runs along Washington Avenue from 23rd Street to First Street, then back up Alton Road and back toward the Convention Center. On Collins Avenue, there’s a bus that goes up to Bal Harbour. Both are super convenient.
Early arrival holds true of the Design District and Midtown Miami/Wynwood as well. In the Design District especially avoid leaving at 5 p.m. when everyone else leaves. Last year I was stuck in a garage for one hour!
When you have to drive
Find alternative routes to avoid Biscayne Boulevard south of 36th Street, Brickell Avenue, Collins Avenue south of 50th Street and Alton Road south of 25th Street. The Julia Tuttle (I195) exiting Alton Road South is one of the better ways to go to South Beach. Use the WAZE app. It indicates which roads are clogged with traffic, accidents, roadwork, and traffic lights. Get together with friends and rent a limo for the day with a service like Blacklane Limousines. Do this once and you’ll never drive again.
Think about dinner in places away from the main Art Basel Miami events like Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Biscayne Boulevard north of 36th Street, and Bal Harbour– there will be less good people watching, but better service and shorter waits for a table.
Or after spending the afternoon at shows, stay there through dinner rather than coming back; after dinner, there will be less traffic leaving art venues. And for the best restaurants, make your reservations now. Some good, casual, affordable options include Semilla and Cara Mia (about a 10- minute walk from the Convention Center in South Beach) and Kouzina Greek Bistro near the Design District and Midtown Miami with its art shows. Check out my blog’s food archives for other recommendations in all parts of town and at different price points.
It’s obvious, but wear comfortable walking shoes and wear a sunhat or good sunscreen. A great tip from a friend — she keeps a change of clothes (or accessories), makeup and perfume in her car so she can go from day to evening.