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Art Basel Miami Beach is North America’s most comprehensive international contemporary art fair, with 67 galleries from 31 countries on exhibit this year. Held at the Miami Beach Convention Center from Dec. 4 to 7, 2014, Art Basel Miami Beach will draw more than 70,000 art dealers, artists, collectors and aficionados to Miami. It’s also spawned over 20 satellite fairs, as well as parties and events galore.

Technically, Art Basel refers to the singular fair by that name held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but the spirit of Art Basel lives in venues big and small throughout the city who host satellite fairs and events. The Convention Center space is only the beginning of what goes on during the whirlwind week of art and parties that’s perfectly suited for Miami.

For a full list of satellite fairs and events, check out The Ultimate Guide to Miami Art Week During Art Basel.

The History of Art Basel

A sister fair of the original, founded in Basel, Switzerland in 1970, the Miami Beach edition has been an annual fixture in early December since 2002. The brainchild of a trio of Swiss gallerists, Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt, their vision brought together artists they represented, as well as collectors, curators and critics from all over the globe for the first Art Basel. Their vision was a success and attracted over 16,000 people to the first fair.

Miami was selected as an ideal second destination at the nexus of North America and Latin America. Over the years, with the boon from Art Basel, Miami has become a thriving arts destination in its own right with a vibrant gallery scene in Wynwood and the opening of the landmark Pérez Art Museum Miami. The festival is also held in Hong Kong, a city that sits symbolically at the junction of Eastern and Western culture.

About Art Basel

At Art Basel, the 500,000 square-feet of exhibition space is divided into sectors. Comprising 192 of the world’s leading galleries, the Galleries sector is the centerpiece of the show.

Survey – the new sector dedicated to precise art-historical projects ranging from solo shows to thematic exhibitions – will launch in Miami Beach this year with 13 select galleries.

Editions premieres this year featuring leading publishers of edition works and prints. Works on display include paintings, sculpture, drawings, photography, installation, film, video and digital art.

The sectors divide the fair into separate curatorial spaces. For instance, Nova exhibits new, cutting edge works, while Kabinett focuses on a body of work by a single artist or a themed group exhibition.

While Art Basel Miami Beach opens to the public Thurs. Dec. 4 and runs through Sun. Dec. 7, the social calendar and satellite fair openings start a few days earlier, encapsulating a week that’s come to be known as Miami Art Week.

Fair Highlights

Satellite Art Fairs

In addition to the main event, there are a number of must see satellite fairs. For cutting edge, contemporary works, check out Pulse Miami, NADA and Art Untitled. Scope and Art Miami actually predate Art Basel Miami Beach, and they feature an impressive array of galleries with modern and contemporary works. Other fairs include Aqua, Red Dot Art Fair and Select Fair.

In addition to Art Basel’s Public Sector, the entire city turns into a canvas for ephemeral installations and art happenings. Neighborhood hubs for these works include South Beach, Midtown and Wynwood. It’s also a major bacchanal with VIP parties, dinners and events thrown every night.

Free Art Week Shuttle Service

In an effort to make the numerous art fairs in Miami Beach and Miami more easily accessible, the two cities have joined efforts to operate a free shuttle service that connects to the existing free transportation services and art shows in each city. For complete shuttle details, click here.

Museum Mile Cultural Pass

While you’re here soak up the local culture through Miami’s vast array of world-class museums. The Miami Beach Museum Mile Cultural Pass includes discounted admission to four top museums and other special benefits. The pass includes admission to the Bass Museum of Art, the Wolfsonian, the Jewish Museum of Florida and the World Erotic Art Museums. As an added bonus, visitors with the Museum Mile Cultural Pass will get special discounts of 15 percent or greater at over 20 popular Miami Beach restaurants.

For a full list of all Art Basel events, visit artbasel.com/miami-beach.

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Miami is known for its high-octane nightlife. Whatever your night-owl needs are, there’s an area that caters to your style, beverage choice, music taste and desired atmosphere. There’s the glitz and glam of South Beach’s world famous clubs; the hidden hipster haven of Midtown and Wynwood; the river view bôites of Downtown Miami and some long standing staples sprinkled about the city.

South Beach

Let’s start with South Beach. On South Beach, you can expect the swanky club-feel of well-heeled, international partiers and world-class DJs with swaying fans. It’s all part of the South Beach club vibe that’s made the town famous for partying. The South Beach club scene is still going strong. Currently, there’s an influx of electronic music influence making its way over from the European club scene, but Miami has long been a generator of electronic music influence because of the yearly internationally acclaimed Ultra Music Festival. Clubs here run the gamut from live music hole-in-the-wall to mega structures with rooms and rooms of different music. Check out LIVMansion or Set for a taste of the long-standing staples on the South Beach club scene.

If clubbing isn’t quite your jams, South Beach has more popping late night hangouts of all kinds. Try a low key beer room or a hotel cocktail lounge (The Catalina), a poolside bar, The Standard  or The Raleigh or a hip ping-pong lounge. South Beach is home to night crawlers of all kinds. If you stroll down Collins, Ocean or Washington Avenue, you’re sure to find somewhere to cozy up and pass the hours (and maybe a few cocktails).

Midtown & Wynwood

Midtown and Wynwood―Miami’s blossoming, changing, art-centric neighborhoods― have new nightlife venues popping up all the time. To a visitor, just driving through the streets, you might not peg it as a bustling metropolitan nightlife center, but when the sun goes down and the doors open you’ll find some of the coolest and chicest spots around. Part of the charm of the Midtown/Wynwood area is that the spots are a bit hidden, a little undercover and part speakeasy. Once you uncover them, the venues run from cozy wooden tavern (Wood Tavern) to giant gallery party space (Cafeina) or cozy hidden live music living room (Bardot). For some food and drinks to get the party started, check out Tapas y Tintos or Gigi.

Downtown

Downtown Miami is one of the oldest areas in Miami and you can always count on an after-work crowd for happy hour that bleeds into the wee hours of the morning. Tobacco Road is a stop worth making if you’re a history buff with a taste for beer or cheap cocktails. The proud bearer of Miami liquor license Number One, Tobacco Road is an old haunt with a killer happy hour on Fridays. The Road, as it’s commonly known, is a sure bet for a good time and live jazz, blues and R&B. Other cool spots to check out downtown include the cocktail lounge and outdoor space Blackbird Ordinary, where you can play a board game and sip a craft cocktail. One of Downtown Miami’s mainstays is the legendary, gigantic Club Space. This is the place to head for house, trance and techno dance music – and for partying into the wee, wee hours.

For a selection of beers that’s unrivaled, check out Democratic Republic of Beer (DRB for short) and then head over to The Vagabond for a hipster vibe and cool young crowd of locals. It’s hard to pinpoint a single characteristic for the Downtown area, it’s a large neighborhood full of character and from block to block it might have a whole new feel. Downtown Miami’s night spots are varied, but always fun.

Coconut Grove

 

Don’t forget Coconut Grove. The Grove is crawling with college bars perfect for bar crawls and small local restaurants where you can sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine. Find a parking spot or better yet, take a cab, and walk through these charming little streets popular with locals of all ages. The Sandbar Sports Grill is a longtime favorite for cheap beer and fish tacos, while the rooftop of the Mayfair Hotel offers a swank atmosphere for cocktails and a spectacular view of Biscayne Bay. CocoWalk has long been a nighttime gathering place; this is where you’ll find popular chains like Fat Tuesday. Monty’s Raw Bar is the place to go for music, happy hour and a Miami waterfront atmosphere. Catch the bay breezes at Monty’s, enjoy a cold pitcher of beer with your friends and listen to DJ music while watching locals and tourists relax and have fun.

From South Beach to Coconut Grove, Miami’s nightlife neighborhoods offer something to suit every taste. Whether you want dancing, lounging or relaxing by the bay―there’s a Miami night spot that fits the bill. Miami’s nightlife reputation is well deserved. The Magic City offers a dazzling array of nocturnal hot spots―so get the party started and have fun!

We hope you haven’t shopped till you dropped quite yet, because it’s time to discover those climate-controlled marvels of the malls. Miami shopping malls run the gamut from serene, outdoor shopping centers to massive outlet malls. Before we start, keep two words in mind: comfortable shoes.

Aventura Mall

Ranked as one of the top five highest-grossing malls in the country (in sales per square foot), Aventura Mall in northeastern Miami-Dade County checks in at 2.7 million square feet of retail space, anchored by Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears, along with more than 300 specialty retailers — including the new Louis Vuitton Aventura — as well as a variety of restaurants, a 24-screen movie theater, and the interactive playground Rainbow Valley.

Dadeland Mall

Dadeland Mall near South Miami boasts the largest Macy’s in Florida and the largest The Limited/Express in the United States. Other anchors include Macy’s Home Gallery & Kids, JCPenney, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, while Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Coach, Sephora and Talbots are among the mall’s more than 185 specialty stores.

Bal Harbour Shops

In the stylish village of Bal Harbour, superlative shopping meets tropical sophistication at Bal Harbour Shops whose store directory reads like a Who’s Who of retail royalty — Balenciaga, Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren — the list goes on. Frequent fashion events, including designer appearances and charity functions, keep Bal Harbour on the radar of couture, while its sunny ambience and colorful foliage make it a relaxing place to spend the day.

Dolphin Mall

On the flip side of the designer offerings are the money-saving bargains to be found at Dolphin Mall, home of outlets like Calvin Klein Factory Outlet, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger Company Store and many others. Meanwhile, Dolphin Mall’s dining options reflect multicultural Miami with choices that include Kobe Japanese Steak & Seafood and Texas de Brazil Churrascaria.

Miami International Mall

A mix of upscale and casual shopping defines Miami International Mall, located right near the airport and offering more than 140 shops along with department-store favorites like Macy’s The Women’s and Kid’s Store, Macy’s Men’s and Home, JCPenney and Sears.

Mall Of The Americas

Mall of the Americas is an indoor mall located just 6 miles from Miami International Airport. Many national retailers can be found inside as well as an AMC Theatre with discount matinees Monday to Thursday. The mall’s food court features international cuisine from Cuba, Honduras, Brazil and other countries.

Miami International Airport

If you still haven’t finished shopping before your flight, not to worry — MIA Shops at Miami International Airport include jewelers, bookstores, art retailers and duty-free merchandise.

No matter where you go in the Magic City, whether you’re looking for a bargain or a designer, whether you wear no-nonsense track shoes or take-your-time sandals, whether you’re focused on purchasing or people-watching, Greater Miami has plenty of shopping excitement in store.

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Before getting into the specifics of each neighborhood’s personality and the kind of restaurants you will find there, you should know that all of Miami’s neighborhoods are full of dining options. No matter where and why you choose to stay in Miami, you’ll find everything from comfortable cafes for grabbing a panini or a salad to high-end restaurants where you can indulge in fine cuisine prepared by excellent chefs. It’s all about juxtaposition in eclectic Miami where you’re likely to see a distinguished sushi spot right next to a beachside fish shack.

Miami is an international city. Don’t be surprised when you see neighborhoods that cover all the world’s cuisine in just a matter of blocks. While there are neighborhoods specializing in typical cultural cuisine in places like Little Haiti and Little Havana, each of Miami’s areas hold surprising blends. You’ll find fresh seafood next to restaurants serving classic comfort food, and light bites and bar food alongside white tablecloth restaurants.

To pick the perfect area for a satisfying night out, consider what each popular spot is known for. In Bal Harbour, you’ll find luxury oceanfront dining that mirrors the high-end shopping in the area. Coral Gables is family-friendly with comfortable restaurants and cafes. Laid-back seaside Coconut Grove’s eateries are mostly open-air cafes. Miami Beach has mastered the high-low mix of beachy daytime spots with ultra-chic restaurants come nightfall. Downtown Miami mixes work with play in a blend of places perfect for midday meetings and after-work cocktails.

Miami Beach Dining

If you’re on Miami Beach, you’re likely throwing on a swimsuit and sunscreen, and heading to the beach to pack in as many hours in the warm Atlantic waters as you possibly can. Sitting and splashing in the sun all day, you can work up an appetite. You don’t have to venture far off the sand to grab some grub. There are restaurants on Ocean Dr. and Collins Ave. parallel to the beach catering to the hungry beachgoer.

Take a nap, freshen up, and head out for an exceptional dinner experience on world-famous Miami Beach. The culinary-world’s most celebrated chefs have restaurants at The Fontainebleau, Soho Beach House, Eden Roc Renaissance Miami BeachThe Standard Hotel and Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa.

Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami has recently gone through a renaissance. While the area has always been a major financial hub, earning Miami the nickname “Capital of Latin Americas,” it’s recently become a hugely popular area for eating out, too. Downtown attracts diners looking to seal a business deal or forge new connections over a sophisticated meal. Expect some of Miami’s most high-end eateries serving haute cuisine that spans sushi, steak and more, as well as small trendy spots amongst the skyscrapers.

Coral Gables

Coral Gables has long been a popular area for visitors looking for a luxurious and laidback vacation of golf and boutique shopping while enjoying the history and architecture of Coral Gables, the City Beautiful. Locals love Coral Gables for a filling Italian dinner or an open-air café with friends. This area is full of families, young professionals, and college students from the University of Miami.

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove has a laidback, bohemian vibe that’s obvious in the funky shops and nearby marina full of sailboats. Explore the dining in this area for a taste of seaside charm. Coconut Grove is filled with sidewalk cafes surrounded by lush, green paradise.

Other dining options include Panorama Restaurant and Sky Lounge, a rooftop restaurant. There are also restaurants in CocoWalk, the area’s mall, and chill seaside dining where you can try Caribbean delicacies, like conch fritters and fruity tropical drinks.

Design District, Wynwood and Biscayne Boulevard

Cooking is an art. Let them prove it to you in Miami’s hippest artsy neighborhoods. The Design District, Wynwood, and a burgeoning scene along Biscayne Boulevard prove just how seamlessly food and design can come together.

The Design District is a chic shopper’s playground. The eateries of the Design District are a delicious respite from browsing the luxurious boutiques.

Miami’s art scene has made a name for itself in Wynwood, an area that continues to grow and develop as more artists and gallerists move there to work and live. A hipster coffee shop, restaurants amid street art and concept restaurants make this a distinct neighborhood to dine in.

Biscayne Boulevard spans almost 200 blocks. A pocket from the NE 40th St. to NE 70th has developed into a culinary hotspot for indie chefs working on unique concepts in food. Give Blue Collar Restaurant a try. Chef and owner Daniel Serfer is serving up delicious familiar food with an emphasis on meaty favorites like ribs. He takes his vegetables seriously, too.