Miami Art Week has kicked off, meaning that more than 20 art fairs, seemingly endless parties, and thousands of out-of-towners will be taking over much of the city in the coming days. If you’re not interested in trying to find an overpriced Uber in South Beach or jumping from fair to cocktail to opening to party to after-party, then allow me to introduce you to the anti–Art Basel guide to Art Basel Miami Beach: a culturally stimulating guide on how to neatly avoid the cultural event of the year in South Florida, while still enjoying all the pleasures of Florida’s most vibrant city. Sit back, enjoy the sunshine, and be thankful that you’re not sitting in that awful traffic on Collins Avenue.
Enjoy some eye candy at Books & Books in Coral Gables
Escape the crowds and spend an afternoon at this airy neighborhood gem of a bookstore, where readers can peruse a vast collection of art, architecture, design, and fashion books (they even have an entire wing dedicated to Assouline coffee-table tomes), while sitting in the store’s courtyard and enjoying a cortado. The Miami book chain also regularly hosts a number of author-related events: Just last week, Bill Clinton came to talk about his book with James Patterson, The President Is Missing.
Go on a mind trip while taking in Sleeping Beauty Dreams
What was Sleeping Beauty dreaming about during all those years she was out for the count? That’s the premise of a new contemporary dance show at the Ziff Ballet Opera House which explores what went on in Princess Aurora’s head during 100 years of sleep. Prima ballerina Diana Vishneva plays the titular role in front of a never-before-seen stage displaying head-tripping visual backdrops alongside digital avatars. If you’re having a hard time picturing it, just imagine a Roger Waters concert set against a ballet performance.
Do it for the ’gram at the NightGarden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Forget about the Museum of Ice Cream. If you’re looking to get a good shot for your Instagram feed, head to the Fairchild garden, which from now until January 6 will transform every night into an illuminated playground featuring holographic butterflies, floating orchids, 3-D projection mapping, and video sculptures.
Find your future business partner at The Wing’s Little Cabana
The Wing is going south. Starting on Thursday, American Express Platinum is setting up a house for Platinum Collective members at the 1 Hotel in South Beach, where they can enjoy complimentary food and drinks, Equinox fitness classes, and access to The Wing’s Little Cabana on the beach (Wing members are also allowed entry during Basel weekend). If you’re looking to network and chill, this is the place to do it.
Revisit the city’s history at Miami Motel Stories
Step back in time at Miami Motel Stories, an immersive interactive theater experience where viewers can take in mini-plays—all inspired by true stories and set during a different decade—inside the multiple rooms of a rundown hotel in the MiMo District. Miami Motel Stories allows viewers to interact with a series of “guests” staying at the Gold Dust Motel—one is a teenage hustler at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, another a doomed 1950s couple on their honeymoon. At the beginning of their journeys, viewers choose their own adventure and pick one of three tracks in the motel, leaving their interactions a surprise. Like Miami, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get.
Sit with the real fans at a Miami Heat game
Don’t miss Dwyane Wade’s impressive skills on the court one last time at a Miami Heat game at the American Airlines Arena. The basketball legend, who decided to return to the Heat for his final season in the NBA, will be facing off against the Phoenix Suns on Friday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Now doesn’t that sound more fun than another gallery opening?
Let loose at Calle Ocho’s Ball & Chain
If you’re looking to enjoy an authentic Miami experience, head to Little Havana’s famous Calle Ocho, where you can start off the night by eating a mouthwatering Cuban sandwich at Sanguich or dine at Lung Yai, a Thai eatery with wait times that usually last at least an hour—thankfully, you can enjoy a drink on the sidewalk bar while you wait. Cap off the evening with a wild night of salsa at Ball & Chain, which features live music on most nights and an equally enthusiastic crowd on the dance floor.
Enjoy live music and late-night treats at the Wynwood Yard
If salsa dancing sounds too intimidating, enjoy a three-day soul, funk, and Motown festival at the always fun Wynwood Yard starting on Thursday, December 6. The alfresco garden area will feature a variety of musicians from all over the country playing a number of genres including vintage house, old-school hip-hop, and electric soul; there will be something to appeal to almost any taste in music. Better yet, if you get a little hungry, there are plenty of food trucks open late to satisfy any of your comfort food cravings.