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What to Pack for Art Basel Miami Beach

Travel Tips | Jim Werner | November 13, 2019

The first week of December is about to get arty-farty as Art Basel Miami Beach runs December 5 – 8, 2019. This annual collection of modern art attracts 50,000 visitors to do some $500 million in sales. Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as Basel is just as much about the societal buzz of the week as it is about the serious artwork and structured events. To enjoy it all and come out swinging, there’s five things to have on you at all times during Art Basel:

A good guide to the fairs.

Every year brings new satellite fairs to compliment the original Art Basel offering in Miami Beach’s Convention Center. The only issue is that the area has grown, and now Wynwood’s Context and downtown Miami’s River Art Fair are draws of their own. To know what’s on when, for how much, and how to direct your Uber/Lyft there, try the Miami New Times‘ guide.

Good shoes.

In short, this means no flip flops. Even poolside hang-outs are better served by wearing slip-on espadrilles, as Art Basel brings dressier requirements to Miami Beach. Now factor in that you’ll be bouncing around all 80-degree day between art fairs, food, your hotel, and parties, and style-forward, dependable shoes become the best option.

Business cards.

Already packed them? Add extra. Don’t have any? Get them made, on rush, even if it’s just a simple calling card with your name and contact info. As modern and freewheeling as Art Basel seems, even engaging in a little small talk will likely lead to the traditional request for a business card. After all, gallerists and artists are in town to socialize and make new contacts, no matter the industry.

A charged phone and cash on hand.

Because Art Basel is a week of running around to different venues, it’s often very difficult to find a non-occupied cab in peak art districts, at peak hours. So, you’ll need Uber/Lyft a lot – keep that phone charged.

And if you want to go old school and take taxis make sure to program (305) 532-5555 into your phone for Central Cab, which is a large fleet with wait times averaging 15-45 minutes (fast for Miami!).

Pro tip: Have cash on hand. I get it. It’s odd to carry cash around in 2018. But you really do need it for Basel. Bring it from home so you aren’t scrambling for an ATM when you should be socializing.

Stylish sunglasses.

Nope, not just wayfarers or aviators; we’re talking frames you’d only describe as “architectural.” Sometimes a great pair of glasses and the right attitude is all it takes to enter a party without an RSVP.

RELATED LINKS:

Five things to do in South Beach during Art Basel

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.