Take it from us: Our insider tips for Miami musts this Basel week

With so many out of towners pouring into Miami for Art Basel and Art Week, we here at Soundbytes thought it might be a good idea to share some of our insider tips to help you eat, move, and see our city like a local.

So, from our staff to you:

Aaron Gordon: The best kept secret in Miami this week isn’t the latest gallery opening or night club launch. In fact, there’s nothing ostensibly ‘new’ about it at all. With Alton Road rendered impassable due to poorly-timed road construction, or paranormal tidal flooding, or the latest haul by “Mark the Shark” (yes, that’s a real person), Basel-goers should do everything within their power to avoid the MacArthur Causeway. Instead, hop on the Venetian Causeway, which spans the bay between downtown and Sunset Harbor. The $1.75 toll is a bargain compared to the wads of cash you’ll be shelling out to valet your car once you get to South Beach, and the ride is far less-trafficky since so many unassuming tourists opt for the MacArthur or I-195. On second thought, steer clear of the Venetian.

Venetian Causeway

Allie Schwartz Grant: While visual arts dominate Miami during Art Basel for obvious reasons, the week also happens to be one of the best to catch other types of artists— get ready for some of the best music you will hear all year! On Wednesday, December 4th, Kendrick Lamar will be performing in Wynwood, while the Alabama Shakes will be taking over the Fillmore Miami Beach. Chris Cornell has tweaked his grunge sound since his success with Soundgarden in the 1990s, and will be performing some of his hits acoustically on Thursday night at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Meanwhile, De La Soul will be taking to a smaller venue at The Stage stage2with DJs Y Not, Self Born and Heron. Then, kick off your weekend right on Friday with Boy George’s first concert in the US in over 10 years at Mana Wynwood, or with the legendary Ghostface Killah at The Stage. And if you are not exhausted yet, make sure you don’t miss Questlove and the Roots on Saturday night.

Jami Baker: If you are out on the town working up a Basel-buzz, you will want to know where the best gourmet late-night eateries. In Midtown, Gigi’s is the spot, where they serve up brisket buns and steak chow fun until 5am, also happens to be right next to Bardot – one of Miami’s hippest live music venues. In Brickell, La Moon, offers everything from burgers to tacos so no matter what your late night craving there is something for everyone – this location is right next to Blackbird, Brickell’s newest bar. What better way to end your night dancing away on South Beach than with a classic Philly cheese steak from of Miami’s oldest (and grimiest) bars; The Alibi offers just that. Or if you’re not hungry but looking for some good music and a chill spot, the beach’s newest bar, Sofi Public House, is open till 5am with the best brews and a game of pool – added bonus: it’s smoke free so you won’t smell like a cigarette when you get home!

lighthouseJulia Bennet: Traveling to Art Basel with your pooch? Take a break from all the parties to spend some quality time with your dog at South Pointe Park in the South of Fifth area of Miami Beach. The “off-leash” area of the park is open from sunrise to 10 a.m. seven days a week, and 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays. You can even admire art at the same time, as the park surrounds German artist Tobias Rehberger’s $500,000 sculpture Obstinate Lighthouse. 

Kelly Penton: No car to get around Art Basel… no problem! Miami has been experiencing a transportation revolution of sorts and today has more alternative transportation options than ever in its history. Here are two great options for getting around during Art Basel:

1) Miami Trolley connects the Beach to the mainland—The City of Miami in partnership with the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will be offering specialized Art Basel Miami Trolley routes that will both connect the Beach to downtown and also connect some of the key art fairs on the mainland. Best part about the Trolley—it is free to all riders! For more information on the trolley routes, please visit the Miami DDA website.

2) Car2Go makes catching a ride easy—Super-popular car sharing program Car2Go Miami will be out in full force during Art Basel with a hub at Wynwood and cars placed throughout downtown, Design District, and at the Lincoln Road parking lot in Miami Beach. At only 38 cents a minute—it’s a steal for Art Basel goers who prefer to ditch their own cars for a greener, more convenient way to get around (or don’t have a car of their own!). Not a member yet? A member but not sure how to use the program during Basel? Visit the Car2Go Miami website for more information!


Laura Juncadella: What goes better with art than a fine glass of wine? Head over to Wines by the Bay overlooking the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami, where you can buy a bottle on the run, or sit and sip as you enjoy some complimentary cheese. This boutique cellar with an industrial design is home to Miami’s finest wines at the best price, and rumor has it, is frequented by one of the only 4 master sommelier’s in Florida. The owner, Stefano Campanini, is a former gallery owner turned wine connoisseur, and his impressive knowledge of wines from around the world will help you find the perfect bottle to enjoy in this delicious December breeze.

Paola Iuspa-Abbott: If reporters want to have some fun at dinner time, they should visit the Big Pink, where locals eat when all the other eateries are closed. On Thursday, the Big Pink closes at 2 am and from Friday – Sunday at 5:30 am. Are you ready for a retro diner experience? If so, hop on a cab and tell the cab driver to take you South of Fifth and drop you off at the signature pink Volkswagen Beetles parked outside the Big Pink, owned by the same owner of Prime 112. The menu has more than 200 items so you better be a fast reader…

Samantha Ryan: Gallery hopping during Art Basel can be exhausting! For a quick breakfast or a tasty mid-day snack, I recommend a visit to Crumb on Parchment, an amazing hidden gem in Miami’s Design District. The James Beard Award winning chef, Michelle Bernstein, opened the cozy, country shabby chic décor bakery & café inside the atrium of the Melin Building, which is also home to the newly opened Maman Fine Art Gallery featuring modern and contemporary Latin American art. Indulge in delicious comfort food while viewing some of the world’s best art. After all, cooking is an art form, too!

Miami's Cuban Community Talks Politics In Domino ParkStephanie Seriane-Consuegra: Photographers should make their way to Domino Park on 8 Street. It’s a great place to experience Miami’s culture first-hand while watching members of the Little Havana neighborhood play dominoes and chess!

Yudi Fernandez: If you want a break from all the art gallery explorations, I recommend swinging by Miami’s Performing Arts District for a little live art. At 1400 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami’s “Microteatro(Microtheater) comes alive Thursday through Sunday evenings with talented local and Latin American actors who perform 15-min plays inside cargo containers. A few plays are in English but most are en Español. Each play is only $5 and the actors mingle with the audience in between shows, so prepare for an up-close theatrical experience!

We hope you have a great Basel weekend! If you took our tips, let us know how it went in the comments!