Updated: May 29, 2020
You can’t call yourself a true art lover if you don’t know about Art Basel Miami Beach, one of three Art Basel events held around the world each year (the other two take place in Switzerland and Hong Kong). This event is the place for artists and all those who love art to converge in the United States every year. This year’s show, Dec. 5–8, takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, welcoming more than 4,000 artists and nearly 300 galleries, but it’s not all about the art. Miami Beach comes alive during the weekend of Art Basel with related events, parties and celeb sightings. Planning to be there or just possibly intrigued at what it might offer you? Here’s everything you need to know about Art Basel Miami 2019.
Art Basel Miami will be open to the public 3–8 p.m., Dec. 5; 12–8 p.m., Dec. 6–7; and 12–6 p.m., Dec. 8. Invitation-only events are held 4–7 p.m., Dec. 3; 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Dec. 4; and 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Dec. 5.
The Miami Beach Convention Center is pretty conveniently located near both Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, so no matter where you live in the United States (or even around the world), you should be able to hop a flight to one or the other airport. From there, you can take a shuttle, ride share service or rental car to the area around the convention center.
When to Start Planning
Since Art Basel Miami is a pretty in-demand event, you’ll want to go ahead and start planning for it now, if you haven’t started already. Tickets are available on the Art Basel Miami website, but if you live in the Miami area, you can purchase tickets at the Miami Beach Convention Center box office starting Dec. 5.
Single-day tickets are $65. Tickets that get you into every day of the event are $145. You can also purchase a combination ticket that gets you into both Art Basel and Design Miami (which takes place Dec. 4–8), for one day each, for $90. For an ultimate VIP experience, you can purchase a Premium+ ticket package for $500, which gives you access to Art Basel for all four days, a gifted book and bag, priority tour bookings, complimentary access to museums in the area and priority seating for event dining.
Now is also a good time to book a guided tour of Art Basel Miami. A knowledgeable art expert will show you around, answer questions and generally give you a more thorough understanding of the art at the show. There are several different types of tours, bookable on the show’s website, to choose from, and they start at $30 for an hour-long experience.
Where to Stay
There are quite a few hotels within walking distance of the convention center. Some of the budget-friendly, yet still luxurious options include the Dorchester Miami Beach Hotel & Suites, The Redbury South Beach and Boulan South Beach. There are some official event hotel partners, too; these include W South Beach, Grand Beach Hotel Miami Beach, Nautilus by Arlo and The Standard Spa Miami Beach.
Think fashion-forward attire. This is a premier event for many in the art, design and fashion worlds, so celebs are plentiful and you’ll want to fit in. Of course, since you’ll be walking the art show floors for potentially hours at a time, comfort matters, too. Go with some shoes that can stand up to the demand, but that still put your best fashion foot forward, so to speak. If your outfit can easily transform from daytime to nighttime attire, to fit the many Miami parties that heat up once the sun goes down, even better.
What to Expect
Expect several days of art, fun, fashion, design and culture. Whether you’re there to buy art, network or just enjoy the art scene, there’s something for you. There are even activities and events for children attending Art Basel.
Look out for VIP parties hosted by fashion brands like Dior, Rolex or Vanity Fair, just to name a few, though these are difficult to get into, especially if you haven’t purchased one of the VIP ticket bundles ahead of time (though those still don’t guarantee entrance into the best parties). Your best bet if you want to make it into the top events and parties coinciding with Art Basel Miami? Network, network, network.