What to Do in Miami Besides Art Basel

What to Do in Miami Besides Art Basel

Everything from shopping, to pampering, to museum-going.

Alec Kugler

Prepare yourselves: your Instagram feeds and Snapchat stories are about to be flooded with ~content~ from Basel. And even if you’re not walking the convention centers and attending the parties yourself, we’re all about to become pretty familiar with that must-Insta booth. But beyond the Art Basel frenzy there’s a whole lot going for Miami (besides, even, the glitter of South Beach)—you just need to know where to look. Which is why we asked Sarah Harrelson, the crazy chic editor-in-chief of Cultured magazine and Miami native, to give us the lowdown, which she generously did the last time she visited New York. Here’s to all the new Instagram fodder that’s yours to discover.


As Art Basel approaches its 15th year in Miami, it’s encouraging to see how much the city’s cultural landscape has evolved. First off, the gallery scene is robust, and reflects the young energy that is at the heart of the city. The city really supports and encourages risk-taking, and we have more and more young dealers putting forth interesting programs.



Anthony Spinello of Spinello Projects, which was founded in 2005, shows young artists with forward thinking experimental practices. One of his artists, the talented Agustina Woodgate, has taken part in our Cultured Commission this issue, creating a one-of-a-kind print for us.

Nina Johnson, who has long been a fixture in the Miami landscape, last year opened a larger space in Little Haiti (the most recent epicenter for galleries) and always has her finger on the pulse showing buzzed-about artists, including her upcoming show with the Ethiopian artist Awol Erizku—who we just did a t-shirt collaboration with. Other galleries worth visiting are Michael Jon and Alan Gallery, Diana Lowestein and Pan American Art Projects.


Private Collections


Miami’s private collections are a must-see. The Rubell Collection in the heart of Wynwood is a must any time you’re in Miami, but during Basel they unveil their new exhibition and Jennifer Rubell never fails to impress with her jaw-dropping food installation. Marty Margulies has an enviable collection and this year he is going even deeper with the German artist Anselm Kiefer, whose large-scale works took over the gallery last year in spectacular fashion. In the Design District, the de la Cruz collection shows this year, “You Got to Know the Rules to Break Them” opens December first and includes a wide range of artists from their personal collection.




The museum landscape has gotten a lot more interesting just in the last few years. The Bass Museum will unveil their “Miami Mountain,” an incredible sculpture from Ugo Rondinone. This amazing acquisition is creating a lot of excitement for the reopening this spring with their new $7.5 million expansion by architect Arata Isozaki. PAMM, under the new leadership of the dynamic Franklin Sirmans, will open their much-anticipated Julio Le Parc show with over 100 works for the artist’s first-ever U.S. museum survey. ICA, the newcomer to the scene backed by the Braman family and run by Ellen Salpeter, has already engaged the city with its significant shows like their recent Ida Applebroog exhibition.



My favorite restaurant in Miami is Mandolin. They combine great food with the most charming atmosphere—which you would think would be done a lot more in Miami, but really isn’t. Sitting in their courtyard, you are sure to see a great mix of young creatives as well as the citys power players.

For a quick pick-me-up during the day, Juice Lab in Miami Beach has the best healthy fare. I can’t get through my day without their Mocha Coco, which is a healthy shake with cold-brew. We’re also experiencing a global import moment in Miami, with some of the world’s culinary hot spots opening here. Quinto La Huella, at the just-opened East Hotel on Brickell Avenue—another area of incredible growth—is a familiar spot for those who flock to Jose Ignacio in Uruguay over the holidays. And Le Petite Maison, from the team behind Zuma, is another Brickell destination that’s slated to open this December.



If you’re finding yourself in need of a little pampering, head to Gee Beauty, which recently opened in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour neighborhood. The gorgeous salon has all the best hard-to-find beauty products and they give life-changing facials, I swear! The Gee sisters are also known for their eyebrow shaping and lash extensions—many a Miami-goer’s secret weapon! But make an appointment before dropping in, because they do book up weeks in advance.

And, on the subject of pampering, there’s one destination that never lets me down; Bal Harbour Shops. Whether I’m looking for a reliable reservation (Le Zoo and Makoto are tops) or a last-minute look for Basel week (The Webster always has the best edit from Alexander Wang to Balmain and everything in between, and don’t miss the brand-new Phillip Lim store), it’s the most inviting environment to take care of the sometimes-stressful tasks this time of year—and always!

Harrelson photographed on location at Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York. Top, Rosie Assoulin.

Part of the series:

Art Week

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