Once again, December is nearly upon us and so is Art Basel Miami, the annual wintertime sister fair to the vaunted Art Basel international art fair held every summer in Basel, Switzerland.
Kicking off on December 3rd this year (or the 2nd if you’ve scored an invite to the exclusive launch parties), Art Basel Miami Beach is the kind of place where parties are thrown to celebrate the launch of a T-shirt; the type of scene that draws a mix of models, musicians, actors and other art-adjacent people. If you’re allergic to this kind of artsy fanfare, let us show you how to enjoy Miami while steering (mostly clear) of the Basel crowds. And if you’re not allergic to such pretension, check out our Art Basel party guide.
| Dive into a Dive Bar |
Miami Beach has cocktails bars and lounges a plenty, but it also has no shortage of dive bars, the most famed ones apparently belonging to men with one-syllable names. We’re talking of course about Ted’s Hideaway and Mac’s Club Deuce, both of whom announce their presence with neon letters splayed across stucco. And yes, at either of them you may have to drink some Miller Lite, but such is the fun of dive bars.
There is an intermediary between full on dive bars and model-infested lounges. A slightly seedy bar considered to be Miami’s CBGB, Midtown’s Churchill’s Pub will be hosting Art Basel events without losing its grimy atmosphere. So you can ditch the stilettoes for a night while still enjoying the art.
| La Hora del Café |
After a night of cheap beer, coffee and hearty grub are in order. And since this is Miami there are plenty of unpretentious Cuban diners where you can get just that without vying with socialites for a table. At Miami Beach’s Las Olas (644 4th St) there are no frills, just absurdly good nosh and a perfect iced coffee. In Miami’s other absurdly hip neighborhood, Wynwood, you can avoid the hipsters and fashionistas (or at least distract yourself from them with a cubano) at Enriqueta’s (186 NE 29th St), where breakfast and other kinds of Cuban comfort food is served all day.
And since you’re avoiding the artsy crowd, you’re under no pressure to skip the cheesy tourist traps, so get the giant frozen daiquiri in a cactus glass and enjoy yourself without irony. Versailles is a Little Havana icon and perhaps Miami’s most famous Cuban diner, with the massive portions and over the top decor to match.
| Off South Beach |
At Miami’s glitziest beaches, the fashion show doesn’t stop just because you’re in the water. Forgot your Michael Kors suit at home, or just sick of the sartorial pretension? Bring your towel – and not much else – to Haulover Beach, a clothing-optional beach.
There is another type of beach where designer bikinis and bedazzled sandals are a rare sight; you may just have to go a bit out of your way to get to them. Get lost in the great outdoors at waterfront parks like Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Oleta River State Park. The former, found on Key Biscayne, has everything from swimming and snorkeling to kayaking and hiking, while the latter on Biscayne Bay has mangrove forest preserves and off-road biking trails.
| All Day Spa Day |
Whether you’ve spent all week fending off the crowds of art lovers or dove a little too hard into the dive bars, chances are you’re in need of a spa day. Fortunately the Zeel Spa, or the Uber of massages, is an app that enables same-day, in-home massage appointments on-the-go launched in Miami today in beta mode. It allows users to select a 60- or 90-minute massage–options varying from Swedish to deep tissue massage–at a preferred location and selected time window of the customer’s choosing.Luxury rentals in Miami, Miami, Miami's Best Art Galleries, What to do in Miami, Where to Stay in Miami