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The world's biggest art party lasts for five amazing days. It is your best opportunity anywhere to see the most art in the shortest amount of time.


Mark Dahle's
tips for visiting
Art Basel Miami Beach,
December 1-4, 2016


If you want to see high end art, the best spot in the United States is Miami Beach during the first few days of December. This year Art Basel opens to the public December 1 at 3 p.m., and that by itself would be a great reason to visit. But there are more than a dozen of other great art fairs in Miami the first weekend of December. This creates the biggest collection of contemporary art anywhere in the world. It's an extraordinary event you don't want to miss.

The main activity is in two locations: South Beach and the Wynwood Art District. Ideally you will also catch the art fairs in Mid and North Beach and, if you have time, Downtown.

What you see depends a little on many and which days you have available.

Arriving by Wednesday is a wise move. If you show up earlier without a VIP pass, you will have to shuttle around town quite a bit, since few events are open. But traffic will still be flowing, unlike later in the week.

Starting on Wednesday, there will be more than you can see in a day. Pick one location and see as much as you can before moving on or you'll be sitting in traffic, wondering why you rejected this advice. (Traffic will get progressively worse every day through Saturday.) See transportation below.

You can jump to the information you're interested in by clicking the following links or just keep scrolling down:
Hotels
Transportation
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday - Sunday

Monday, November 28

Monday is the only day you might not have enough art to see.

The Margulies Collection, at 591 NW 27th St is open 9 to 6.

You can catch graffiti art on the buildings around Wynwood. Start at Wynwood Walls, 252 NW 2nd Ave., and fan out from there. At Wynwood Walls, ask where street artists are painting, and you may be able to watch some in action, although there will be more painting later in the week.

The Everglades are only an hour and a half from Miami. Everglades National Park is well worth the trip (but rent a car and skip the bus tours, which don't go to the park itself).

Tuesday, November 29

Tuesday would be a great day to visit the Perez Art Museum (PAMM) at 1103 Biscayne Blvd. You may not have enough time later in the week. It's open 10-6. Everything else to see is in Wynwood.

De la Cruz at 23 NE 41st St is open 9 to 3.

The Margulies Collection, at 591 NW 27th St is open 9 to 6.

You can catch graffiti art on the buildings around Wynwood. Start at Wynwood Walls, 252 NW 2nd Ave., and fan out from there. At Wynwood Walls, ask where street artists are painting, and you can watch some in action, although there will be more later in the week.

Wednesday, November 30

WYNWOOD Nov 30

Art Miami, 3101 NE 1st Ave, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Context, 118 NE 34th St, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wynwood Walls, 252 NW 2nd Ave., and the galleries on NW Second Avenue from 21th St. NW to 28 St. NW.

Desire, 191 NE 40 St, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

de la Cruz Collection, 23 NE 41st St, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Margulies Collection, 591 NW 27th St, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29th St, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


SOUTH BEACH Nov 30

Scope, 801 Ocean Drive, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Untitled, Ocean Drive and 12th Street, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ink, 1850 Collins Ave, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


MID BEACH Nov 30

X Contemporary, 4525 Collins Ave, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.


DOWNTOWN Nov 30

Art Concept, 301 Biscayne Blvd at Chopin Plaza, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Thursday, December 1

WYNWOOD Dec 1

Art Miami, 3101 NE 1st Ave, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Context, 118 NE 34th St, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pinta, 2217 NW 5th, noon to 8 p.m.

Red Dot / Spectrum, 1700 NE 2nd, noon to 8 p.m.

Desire, 191 NE 40 St, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Superfine!, 56 NE 29th St, 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.

de la Cruz Collection, 23 NE 41st St, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Margulies Collection, 591 NW 27th St, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29th St, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


SOUTH BEACH Dec 1

Art Basel Miami Beach, 1901 Convention Center Drive, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Scope, 801 Ocean Drive, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Untitled, Ocean Drive and 12th Street, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Satellite, 1510 Collins Ave, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Aqua, 1530 Collins Ave, Noon to 9 p.m.

Ink, 1850 Collins Ave, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


MID and NORTH BEACH Dec 1

X Contemporary, 4525 Collins Ave, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Miami Project, 6625 Indian Creek Dr, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

NADA, 6701 Collins Ave, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

PULSE, 4601 Collins Ave, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (entrance closes at 6:40)


DOWNTOWN Dec 1

Art Concept, 301 Biscayne Blvd at Chopin Plaza, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Friday/Saturday/ Sunday, Dec. 2-4

WYNWOOD Dec 2-4

Art Miami, 3101 NE 1st Ave, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 11 - 6.

Context, 118 NE 34th St, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 11 - 6.

Pinta, 2217 NW 5th, noon to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun Noon - 7

Red Dot / Spectrum, 1700 NE 2nd, noon to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun noon - 5.

Desire, 191 NE 40 St, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Superfine!, 56 NE 29th St, 1 p.m. - 11 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 1-8

Conception, 31 NW 23rd, noon to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun noon to 6 p.m.

de la Cruz Collection, 23 NE 41st St, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fri and Sat

Margulies Collection, 591 NW 27th St, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29th St, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


SOUTH BEACH Dec 2-4

Art Basel Miami Beach, 1901 Convention Center Drive, noon to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun noon to 6 p.m.

Scope, 801 Ocean Drive, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Untitled, Ocean Drive and 12th Street, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Satellite, 1510 Collins Ave, noon to 10 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun noon to 6 p.m.

Aqua, 1530 Collins Ave, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ink, 1850 Collins Ave, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sculpture outside Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins


MID and NORTH BEACH Dec 2-4

X Contemporary, 4525 Collins Ave, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri and Sat. Sunday noon to 5 but outdoor gardens only.

Miami Project, 6625 Indian Creek Dr, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

NADA, 6701 Collins Ave, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri and Sat; Sun 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PULSE, 4601 Collins Ave, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (entrance closes at 6:40) Fri and Sat; Sun 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (entrance closes at 4:40)


DOWNTOWN Dec 2-4

Miami River, 400 SE Second Ave, noon to 8 p.m.

Art Concept, 301 Biscayne Blvd at Chopin Plaza, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 

Transportation and Hotels. Still to come in this report: tips on transportation, hotels, and an unforgettable trip to Everglades National Park if you have an extra day.

Hotels. The sooner you book a hotel, the more choice you'll have. I recommend you choose a hotel in Miami Beach to cut down commute time. Prices will be steep around the convention center and South Beach, then drop off as you head north. South Beach hotels have the advantage of being near parties, Lincoln Mall, and more of the action.

By the time you get to 41st St, prices will be reasonable, but watch the reviews and ratings of the hotels. Prices during Art Basel weekend will not necessarily reflect quality.

The less expensive hotels around 41st St are on a clear shot to Wynwood Arts District, via 41st St and 195.

Transportation. The main tip on transportation is to go to a location like the Wynwood Arts District or South Beach and stay there for as long as you can. The traffic jams will affect any transportation you try, whether your own car, limo, shuttle, cab, or bus.

Car
If you have your own car, pre-arrange parking or you may not find a place to park.

Cabs
Traffic will often be clogged, so you may be tempted to leave the main art areas to hail a cab somewhere else. It probably won't work. Empty cabs are difficult to find outside the main art areas during Art Basel Weekend.

Lyft, Uber and limos
If you schedule a ride to pick you up a block away from the areas where traffic is clogged you will save quite a bit of time.

Bus
If you arrive by air and plan to take a regular city bus some or all of the time, stop at the bus shelter in the airport terminal area and get a multi-day pass. Passes are very hard to find once you leave the airport.

One thing you need to know about the Miami bus system: you have to flag the bus like you would a cab. Otherwise they will drive right by.

Use maps.google.com and click the bus/train icon to find the best option for how to get to where you want to go.

If you have an extra day: If you have an extra day or if you just need a break from seeing so much art, there's nothing like Everglade National Park. But forget the bus tours.

Pelican nesting in treeYou can see ten times more if you rent a car and drive. You can be at the park in an hour and a half. Just inside the entrance, turn left at Royal Palm. The Anhinga Trail is a short, flat boardwalk. Within two minutes you'll be looking at birds so big that anyone will be able to spot them.

You won't see as many gators as you would in warmer months. But if you hear the reeds cracking, it's because something big is moving through them. Listen carefully and you may be able to spot a gator.

Gator

(When you rent your car, be sure to get insurance for the vehicle. There are vultures in the parking lot who like to eat the rubber around car doors.)

Vulture

To make your trip really worthwhile, drive another 45 minutes to the Flamingo Visitor Center and rent a kayak for a couple hours. You'll be able to see more wonderful birds up close. If you're already in Miami, there's no reason to miss this great adventure.

Spoonbill

If you want to see manatee in the wild, you might get lucky at with a boat ride out of the Flamino Visitor Center at Everglades State Park. But you'll have far better luck if you're willing to drive or fly north. Three Sister Springs at Crystal River is a 5 1/2 hour drive from Miami Beach, and Blue Spring State Park is just under five hours. From Orlando, Blue Spring is less than an hour away, and Three Sisters is under two hours from Orlando.

Manatee

Other art fairs in Miami the same weekend that you might be interested in:
Art Miami
Scope
NADA

Other pages on art that you might be interested in:
Art Basel in Switzerland
ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI
New York Art Galleries
The Venice Biennale

Lectures on the Contemporary Art Scene

Understanding Abstract Art
Random Topics

Mark Dahle Biography and FAQs

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In 2016, I received VIP passes from Red Dot/Spectrum and from Miami Project. (Thank you!)

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Julia and Liz Nolan at Spectrum Art Fair, Miami

Julia and Liz Nolan from Big Brother 17 at the VIP opening of Spectrum Art Fair, Miami

Julia and Liz Nolan from Big Brother 17 at the VIP opening of Spectrum Miami.

Julia and Liz Nolan from Big Brother 17 at the VIP opening of Spectrum Art Fair, Miami

Concrete two blocks from Art Basel Miami Beach 2010

Concrete, two blocks from Art Basel Miami Beach. © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Girders (after Kline), Basel, Switzerland. Photo copyright Mark Dahle 2011.
Ladder (after Kline), Basel, Switzerland. © Mark Dahle 2011.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Tank, Newport Beach, WA. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Container, Columbus, OH. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Electric wires, Columbus, OH. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Pole with reflector tape, Hawaii. © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Railroad crossing, San Diego, CA. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Gas pump, Hawaii. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Trestle, Columbus, OH. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Trestle, Columbus, OH. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Cruise ship stainless. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Roof vents, Warrenton, OR. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Construction equipment, Redding, CA. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Photograph copyright Mark Dahle.

Dock (300), Warrenton, OR. Photograph © 2010 Mark Dahle.

Egret, Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park. Photo copyright Mark Dahle 2009.

Everglades National Park, an hour and a half from Art Basel Miami Beach. © 2010 Mark Dahle.