Better at the Beach
The key to visiting Miami during Art Basel? Have a few plans, and leave the rest open to chance.
Among the global art scene, there’s nothing quite like Art Basel. Each December since 2002, the Miami Beach edition takes South Florida by storm, drawing 30,000 visitors in its first iteration and more than 83,000 in 2018. This year, the four-day event will take place December 5-8. Whether you’re visiting during that time or escaping to Miami for a getaway before or after, you’re sure to feel the energy and vibrance that Art Basel brings to the city.
Wynwood Walls, the brainchild of real estate developer and visionary Tony Goldman, kicks off its 10th anniversary celebration with a retrospect group show that opens to the public November 28. A hub of events second only to the Miami Beach Convention Center, where the majority of galleries and exhibitions take place, Wynwood is worth a visit to check out Shepard Fairey’s solo show (his most famous work: President Obama’s Hope poster), as well as the Fredric Snitzer and Robert Fontaine galleries, Gary Nader Art Centre and the provocative Spinello Projects gallery. (Insider tip: Visit Wynwood in the weeks leading up to Art Basel to see artists at work.) While you’re in the area, stroll over to Bakan, a hip new Mexican spot with an expansive patio, escamole tacos and one of the largest tequila selections in town.
At the convention center, get a first look at Meridians, a major new sector for large-scale sculptures, paintings, installations, film and video projects. It includes an immersive installation by Belgian artist Laure Prouvost and a video addressing inequality by Chicagoan Theaster Gates. At Brickell City Centre — a mixed-use development spanning three blocks downtown with luxury shops, restaurants and East Miami hotel — visit an immersive, eco-conscious exhibition by Albie Alexander. The artist behind Refinery 29’s popular 29Rooms, Alexander’s Art Basel debut will draw on Mother Nature for inspiration, aiming to create moments of consciousness and connection among visitors.
Art Basel is known as much for the parties as it is for the art. W South Beach is the place to be seen, with celebrities and glamour galore and the swanky, revamped E-Wow penthouse suite. Soak up the sun at W’s redesigned poolside cabanas, saving up energy for the evening at Arlo Beach Club. An installation from Nautilus by Arlo, one of only two hotels approved to activate on the beach, the club will be designed like a jungle and feature a DJ lineup from New York City club Up&Down, celebrity hosts and late-night performance art. Be sure to stop by the Blind Barber, a barbershop-cum-secret cocktail lounge in the Nautilus lobby.
Keeping pace with the buzzy hotel scene are Miami’s world-class culinary offerings. Opened in August near Miami Design District, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon features a 34-seat dining counter and Chef Robuchon’s modern French cuisine — including his famed pommes puree (an upscale take on classic mashed potatoes). One floor below, Le Jardinier’s patio is an ideal spot to relax while enjoying dishes like burrata with kabocha squash, figs and pomegranate.
You may crave some downtime amid all the crowds and festivities. Find a tranquil oasis at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, a 30-minute drive from South Beach that feels worlds away. Relax by the newly redesigned pools by day, pick up oh-so-Miami apparel in the Lilly Pulitzer boutique and try a mojito at the 1940s Havana-style Rumbar.