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Anything But Flip Flops: What to Pack for Art Basel Miami Beach 2013

December 3, 2013 at 2:08 PM | by | Comments (0)

This week is arty-farty all right, as December 5 - 8 runs Art Basel Miami Beach, an annual collection of modern art fairs that attracts 50,000 visitors to do some $500 million in sales. Of course that's just the tip of the iceberg, as Basel is just as much about the societal buzz of the week as it is about the serious artwork and structured events. To enjoy it all and come out swinging, there's five things to have on you at all times during Art Basel:

· A good guide to the fairs.
Every year brings new satellite fairs to compliment the original Art Basel offering in Miami Beach's Convention Center. The only issue is that the area has grown, and now Wynwood's Context and downtown Miami's River Art Fair are draws of their own. To know what's on when, for how much, and how to direct your taxi there, we like the Miami New Times' .pdf guide, and the HuffPost has broken down some of the better talks and workshops throughout the week.

· Good shoes.
In short, this means no flip flops. Even poolside hang-outs are better served by wearing slip-on espadrilles, as Art Basel brings dressier requirements to Miami Beach. Now factor in that you'll be bouncing around all 80-degree day between art fairs, food, your hotel, and parties, and style-forward, dependable shoes become the best option.

· Business cards.
Already packed them? Add extra. Don't have any? Get them made, on rush, even if it's just a simple calling card with your name and contact info. As modern and freewheeling as Art Basel seems, even engaging in a little small talk will likely lead to the traditional request for a business card. After all, gallerists and artists are in town to socialize and make new contacts, no matter the industry.

· A taxi phone number and cash on hand.
Sadly the Uber car booking app hasn't yet entered Miami (sign a petition to help it along!), so it's regular taxis or town cars you'll need to go between the art fairs in Miami Beach and Wynwood, the parties, the hotels, the shopping, the dining out and the airport.

Because Art Basel is a week of running around to different venues, it's often very difficult to find a non-occupied cab in peak art districts, at peak hours. Program (305) 532-5555 into your phone for Central Cab, which is a large fleet with wait times averaging 15-45 minutes (fast for Miami!).

It's not super conducive to rent a car just for Art Basel, what with limited street parking and the cost and frustration of valeting at parties where everyone and their mamas are also tossing their keys. We'd only consider renting if your plans involve field trips away from Art Basel or if you're flying into/out of a further airport like West Palm Beach.

· Stylish sunglasses.
Nope, not just wayfarers or aviators; we're talking frames you'd only describe as "architectural." This goes for girls and guys. Sometimes a great pair of glasses and the right attitude is all it takes to enter a party without an RSVP.

2013 will be our third year at Art Basel. See you there!

[Photo: Jaunted]

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