Art Basel barreled into Miami Beach nineteen years ago and forever changed the cultural landscape with its mix of high-end art dealing, nonstop parties and a slew of satellite art fairs and events that have turned the city into an art-making and buying mecca. Going to the main convention center is equivalent to experiencing the best contemporary museum in the world, with hundreds of galleries from around the world represented. After a day at the main fair, take time to check out satellite fairs like Scope and Context which feature emerging artists.
But in between all that art-perusing you’ll need to eat, sleep and perhaps even work up a sweat, which is why we’ve put together this survival guide. Just remember – this art-palooza is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself.
The Design District’s swanky food hall will be ground zero for art world insiders and our favorite “stall” serves Mediterranean eats devised by owner Yaniv Cohen aka “The Spice Detective” and his affinity for holistic cooking and Israeli cuisine. Hummus here comes topped with classic chickpeas or turmeric wild mushrooms while the deconstructed babaganoush is a whole-roasted eggplant topped with sumac-spiced tahini. Don’t miss the whole-roasted turmeric cauliflower, served with zaatar-spiced tahini. A craft cocktail bar and artisanal coffee counter inside the market bookend the dining experience. 140 NE 39th St, Design District.
Tucked away on a side street in Wynwood is Miami’s first Asian food hall “hidden” behind a record shop. Stop in for everything from poke bowls to Filipino food from Jeepeney to green tea soft-serve from Instagram darlings Taiyaki NYC. 143 NW 23rd St, Wynwood.
This Sunset Harbour haunt is a hit with local yogis who frequent the studios surrounding it for a reason. Basics like avocado toast topped with roasted tomatoes to ropa vieja lettuce wraps to a smoked turkey Reuben are healthy takes on comfort food. But if you’re really trying to cut calories, avoid the dessert menu at all costs – the place is famous for their multi-layer “icebox” cakes, after all.
For a fancy night out Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio’s downtown Miami outpost occupies a gorgeous waterfront spot at Brickell Key’s Mandarin Oriental. The outdoor terrace offers glittering views of downtown and provides the perfect backdrop to chef Diego Oka’s contemporary Peruvian dishes with colorful tweaks. 500 Brickell Key Dr, Downtown, 305-913-8358
A posh taverna of grilled fish and classic mezze, this spot always generates celebrity sightings from local basketball stars to pop music moguls. The lush waterfront hideaway features an inviting outdoor patio overlooking the river and is outfitted in blooming bougainvillea, whitewashed walls and secluded “cabana” tables. 450 NW North River Dr, Miami
From prolific restaurateur Stephen Starr’s comes this Asian beauty: the secluded, wood-paneled eatery is popular with billionaires and the fashion bunch. The namesake chef worked with Morimoto in Philly before branching off to hone modern Japanese cooking in dishes of robata-grilled short rib, spicy tuna crispy rice and pristine sushi. 9700 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour
Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill
The Standard’s hipster-friendly pool deck is also home to one of South Beach’s best waterfront patios with a menu that emphasizes Mediterranean dishes that please vegetarians and carnivores alike. Stop in for dinner and you’ll probably catch dapper Basel collectors and art world insiders hobnobbing at of the hotel’s many art events by the pool. 40 Island Ave, Miami Beach, South Beach, 305-673-1717
Brickell’s East Miami hotel features this buzzing 40th-floor rooftop bar where Blade Runner-esque views provide a backdrop to cocktails like the Smoked Apple Ol’ Fashioned made with Fuji apple bitters and rum.
Everyone from local industry folk to out-of-towners looking for a good nightcap ends up here in the wee hours. 237 20th St, South Beach, 305-763-8217
Fresh off a $61 million redesign and renovation, this South Beach boutique hotel is ready for the spotlight. The hotel dates back to the 1930’s and counts Ernest Hemmingway among its guests but we are most smitten with its focus on art and culture. The resort has three outdoor murals, including one featuring lyrics by Grateful Dead and another by the Israeli artist Pilpeled, all of which lend an elevated feel to the lush European-style gardens with hidden nooks and walkways, and more than a dozen types of trees, plants and flowers. We also can’t help but stop to snap a shot in front of the Instagram-worthy SOBE is LOVE landmark (first unveiled during Art Basel 2018) that now makes its home in front of the Angler’s at the corner of 6th and Washington Avenue.
The city’s artiest hotel with an emphasis on cultural programming, this boutique gem also just underwent an expansion of their oceanfront property adding a modern new wing and rooftop pool. 1440 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, 305-531-6100
1 Hotel South Beach
An eco-chic resort directly on the beach, amenities here encampass four pools (including one on the roof), three bars and a fine-dining restaurant and Tesla car service within a three-mile radius. 2341 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, 305-604-1000
This is hot yoga with a soul. The Miami outpost of this beloved form of yoga offers three class options: Modo, Modo Flow and Yang/Ying. All in a room heated to 98 degrees, of course. 1935 West Ave., Miami Beach, 786-216-7878
A boot-camp circuit workout consisting of four ten-minute stations, the best part of which is each “class” starts every ten minutes so you’re never late. 1916 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, 919-225-7811
The Perez Art Museum Miami
The PAMM opened in 2013 and quickly established itself as the city’s go-to for contemporary art and stunning architecture. The Herzog & de Meuron-designed building features expansive galleries that display a variety of Latin American works as well as a massive outdoor veranda that houses the restaurant Verde.
Located in the heart of the Art Deco District of South Beach the museum’s exhibits showcase industrial design with a focus on American and European decorative and fine arts produced between 1885 and 1945.
The Bass Museum of Art
Founded in 1963, the museum recently underwent an expansion giving it twice as much exhibit space which allow it to focus on more of-the-moment exhibits as well as continue its family-friendly art activities in the bright and airy Creativity center.