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Here’s Your Trip Guide for Planning Art Basel 2018

Are you interested in trendy art, great food, and awesome parties? Look no further than Art Basel, a several day long event that coincides with Miami Art Week.

I just got back from Art Basel Miami 2017 and have quite the recap for you. Here’s what you can expect from this amazing week of fun, sun and art, and even if you’re not planning to check out Art Basel, this guide covers the best to eat, drink and see in Miami.

One of my favorite stops was the Faena Hotel, which has an amazing art exhibit right before the beach. It’s a mammoth skeleton covered in 24k gold, and it’s simply unbelievable to witness in person.

The timing is great for your visit, because the vast majority of snow bunnies who come to Florida seeking refuge from the snow and cold of their northeast homes have yet to arrive in Miami during Art Basel, which typically runs in the first week of December.

It’s a particularly beautiful time to come even if you aren’t an art fan – Miami seems to look more cultured than ever this week and Art Basel always brings a lively crowd that knows how to have fun.

If you’re at all curious about the event, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know. From my favorite hotels to stay at to the best parties, we’ve got it all covered.

Art Basel 2017 is officially over (Dec 4-10th), but we created this guide to help you prepare for Art Basel 2018, taking place December 6-9, 2018. This guide was created in partnership with SWIMS, and if you’re just catching up on our coverage, make sure to check out our Art Basel party guide and full guide on what to wear to Art Basel.

What is Art Basel Miami?

Art Basel is an annual art show that began in 2002 and is held in Miami Beach, Florida. The main focus is on modern and contemporary art, showcasing over 4,000 artists from all over the world. The art is placed in front of curators and art fans alike and has become a huge deal over the last few years. As Miami is known to do, Art Basel has also turned into a serious party scene, usually providing a ‘who’s who’ of Hollywood’s elite with some of the hottest parties of the entire year. Starting as early as December 4, Miami is turned into an even more culturally diverse, exciting city as artists and art aficionados coming from across the globe all begin to flock in. Art Basel officially concludes on December 10.

Where and how do I get tickets?

We wrote a complete guide to all things Art Basel 2017, including but not limited to the hottest restaurants, bars, and parties to attend right here.

All tickets can be purchased at the venues themselves, but it is significantly easier to buy the tickets online beforehand, so you have one less thing to worry about. Tickets to the art shows themselves can be purchased online right here, through the Art Basel website.

If you are interested in attending a party, I recommend reaching out to the person throwing the party to make sure you can get on the invite list. Better safe than sorry, right?

Where should I stay?

If there is one thing that Miami has no shortage of, it’s quality hotels.

One of my all time favorites is The Betsy, a small 130 room hotel with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. Its bright, fresh interior and exterior will make you feel like you’re in another world completely, which is especially nice when you’re in the midst of an Art Basel party atmosphere.

I’ve stayed at W South Beach several times and each and every single time I do, it’s an awesome pampering experience. The service is helpful and friendly, the rooms are immaculate, and the food is great. It’s a bit pricey – though you’ll be pressed to find an upper class hotel that isn’t costly. It’s well worth every penny.

If you want to be smack dab in the middle of all of the party action, look no further than Washington Park South Beach. This trendy art deco spot will make you feel like you’re living in an art exhibit, which is pretty cool.

If you want another option on where to stay, I would suggest you go to the Faena Hotel, it’s one of South Beach’s first class hotels. I had a chance to dine at Pao, it’s a Vietnamese chef who offers ceviche, fried rice, and an amazing grilled salad. In the backyard of Faena is the famed mammoth drenched in gold you can’t miss.

They also have a fantastic spa, so treat yourself to a massage and recharge from the speed at which Miami travels. Plus, guests get free tickets to the Museum of Ice Cream available at their own Faena Bazaar.

Soho Beach House, a hotel and members’ club in a restored art deco building, is exactly how it sounds: incredibly cool. It’s also the home of Cecconi’s Miami Beach, a great little Italian restaurant where you can grab brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

Where should I eat?

For a complete list of restaurants, I highly recommend that you check out our full guide to Art Basel. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite places that you absolutely need to check out.

Versailles, for one, is a Miami must-see. Every Miami native will tell you all about this casual joint’s delicious milkshakes and fresh baked bread, which are just two of many highlights this casual Cuban restaurant offers.

For something a bit fancier, I suggest Matador Room, a restaurant located at Miami EDITION. The restaurant has an amazing outdoor area that overlooks the pool. You’ll feel like you’re relaxing in Hawaii as opposed to celebrating in Miami.

But if you’re the kind of person who lit up when I mentioned a nightclub that you can both bowl and ice skate at, you definitely need to check out Basement. Not only does this popular night club often attract celebrities, but they throw killer parties year round and are typically a who’s who for famous DJs.

Right in the Wynwood neighborhood, where Art Basel takes place, is Alter. This trendy hipster spot has great food and drinks thanks to chef Brad Kilgore.

If you’re more interested in craft cocktails than trendy food spots, we’ve got you covered.

Some of my favorite bars in the entire country are in Miami, ranging from quiet garden bars to wild nightclubs complete with a bowling alley and ice skating rink.

If you prefer a quiet place to sip a cocktail and forget the world for a little while, there’s nowhere better in all of Miami than The Broken Shaker. Their outdoor garden seating area is what dreams are made of. Customers can sip signature cocktails and bask in the scent of fresh herbs while enjoying the warm Miami weather. It’s absolutely stunning.

What should I wear?

Much like the art being showcased at Art Basel, no one ‘look’ is required. It is recommended that people display their individuality through their outfits, as this is a week to appreciate modern art. Kooky prints and bright colors are always encouraged, as are popular clothing designers.

Keep in mind that, although it’s winter in many other parts of the country, it’s gorgeous in Miami. The sun is shining, the flowers are in full bloom, and the palm trees serve as a constant reminder that you’re in tropical heaven.

Brown, $160


Here are a few items you should definitely bring:



  • White pants: They can be worn casually or in a more formal setting, depending on what you piece them with. Just try not to wear white on white, as it can be a little bit overwhelming.
  • Pants you can roll at the ankle: This may seem strangely specific, but few things scream ‘vacation in Miami’ quite like a nice pair of ankle rolled pants with sockless shoes.
  • Floral Shirts: Nothing says perpetual summer like some time spent in Miami. Because of this, floral shirts never go out of style.
  • Swimming trunks that fall mid-thigh: You are not on Spring Break with your Fraternity. There’s no need for bulky board shorts. Instead, opt for a more sophisticated European style suit that falls somewhere around the mid-thigh. Just remember not to go too short; there is a happy medium.
  • Linen: Not only does it keep you cool, but it looks awesome in the Miami sun. Breathable fabrics like linen are a perfect way to combat the 90 degree temperatures.
  • Loafers: Why bother wearing socks and shoes when you can slip on a great pair of penny loafers to stay cool? Of course we recommend SWIMS that can go from beach to bar.

If you have an outfit that’s been sitting in your closet for a while because you’ve yet to find the perfect time to try it out, Art Basel is that time. Get creative and be shameless – This is your time to shine!
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