North America’s foremost international modern and contemporary art fair has called Miami Beach home for more than a decade, showcasing over 250 galleries from 31 countries inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Through the years, Miami’s own local galleries have made their way into the venerated exhibition space, including Fredric Snitzer Gallery and Spinello Projects, further cementing Miami as a world cultural capital. Widely considered the most important and exciting time of year in Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach brings a certain electricity to the air in early December.
The fair attracts a sophisticated international crowd of gallerists, artists, collectors, and “glitterati” to the sands of South Beach, and beyond. The fair at the convention center is undeniably the main event. However, it’s spawned a slew of satellite fairs, stretching from Midtown to Downtown, as well as its sister fair Design Miami, which explores the global world of design culture and commerce.
For a full list of satellite fairs, check out: The Ultimate Guide to Miami Art Week During Art Basel.
At Art Basel Miami Beach 500,000 square-feet of exhibition space is divided into multiple sectors. These sectors allow visitors to navigate the fair and experience the many dimensions of modern and contemporary art. One of the most engaging sectors is Public. Set at Collins Park in collaboration with the Bass Museum of Art since 2011, outdoor sculptures, site specific installations, and performance art can be found free to the public. The Film sector also presents work in an outdoor venue (in addition to at the convention center) at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center’s SoundScape Park, which features a 7,000 square-foot projection wall to showcase video art
While it’s easy to purchase tickets onsite any day of the fair, you can save time waiting in line by purchasing online ahead of time.
Where to party?
This hipster enclave boasts an open, warehouse-like space in what was formerly a railroad station (it’s actually still situated on the tracks). A state-of-the-artsound system and accompanying light show set the sensory tone for Grand Central’s Friday and Saturday night parties, where you’ll see everything from indie punk bands such as Suicidal Tendencies to progressive rockers UK.
697 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33136
The quintessential beach club, Nikki is an outdoor fantasyland sprawling over a stretch of sand with tiki bars, lounge chairs and torches. Decorated with beautiful people, it’s like the Playboy mansion meets Survivor, where the fittest (as in toned, firm breasts and butts) don’t merely survive, they flourish. Buxom beauties attract well-oiled, deep-pocketed sugar daddies, and the studs also get rewarded for their packaging.
1 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
550 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
The club’s regular roster of A-list party hosts (such as Snoop Dogg and Flo Rida) bring in the club’s highest-priced tickets.
709 NE 79th St, Miami, FL 33138
Every night, a group of gentlemen gather at this cozy lounge to show off their pipes and musical knowledge. My Funny Valentine, The Man That Got Away and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered—all the chestnuts get an airing here, and with great gusto. Far away from the muscles and techno of South Beach, this bar is a time warp—in the best possible way. It’s warm and elegant: under dim lights, the crimson walls, red velvet drapes, oil paintings, gilt mirrors and wooden shutters create a womb-like vibe.
235 23rd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Expect a mix of models, celebs and DJs who spin everything from house to kitsch. The Sexy Bitch party on Wednesdays is buzzing.