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Lifestyle

Art Basel Miami Beach on a Budget

By Shana Beth Mason

December 4, 2012

No need to break the bank during this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. While the event itself, and the surrounding activities are hardly free, here are some helpful hints in navigating one of the most important art world functions of the year.

If you’re flying in to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, a cab is the only sure-fire way to get to Miami quickly. The fare costs anywhere between $50 to $70. From Miami International Airport, taxis usually charge a flat rate of $32 to get to South Beach. For both lodging and transport, it is advisable to be as close to the Miami Beach Convention Center as possible. Hotels fill up at light speed, but some economical options include the South Beach Hostel (with shared rooms starting at $29.95), a double-private room at the Jazz Hostel Miami Beach goes for $75 per night, and mixed rooms at the famous Deco Walk Hostel start at $40 per night. While you’re out and about in Miami Beach: walking is easy (weather permitting), there is a bike sharing/rental system called DecoBike (day passes are $24, visit decobike.com for a map of docking locations), and taxis are becoming more and more prevalent. There are constant shuttles to and from the satellite fairs to the Convention Center.

Finding your way around Downtown Miami is important, as well. A good deal of the satellite fairs and related events are located in the Midtown, Wynwood and Design District areas. Accommodation tends to be more expensive here, with rooms at hotels such as The Intercontinental, Epic, The Viceroy and Casa Moderna all starting at over $150 per night. The Midtown Inn is currently the only acceptable budget choice, located next to the Julia Tuttle Causeway (leading straight into Miami Beach), with rooms starting at $35 a night. Two neat methods of transport are available outside of the inter-fair shuttles. A pay-and-go sharing/rental system called Car2Go uses your mobile phone and credit card to access a blue and white Smart Car parked at any Downtown Miami Parking location. Once a $35 registration fee is paid, the hourly rental rate is capped at $13.99; gas, GPS, and insurance are all covered. The second is a more relaxed route from Brickell (the Financial District) into Downtown (at 19th Street and Biscayne Boulevard) which is absolutely free.

While Miami has its share of haute couture cuisine, eating well on the cheap is still possible. Miami Beach has its share of little gems including Pizza Rustica, Panifiore (for Italian subs, panini and salads), David’s Café (for classic Café Cubano), and Doraku Sushi (all within or within walking distance of the outdoor Lincoln Road Mall). Downtown, there are more eclectic choices including The Corner Bar, Lester’s, Jimmy’z Kitchen, the Buena Vista Deli and NoVe Kitchen and Bar. Scattered about the city (and all throughout the State of Florida) is Publix: think of it as the Wal-Mart of food, with a salad, sub, fruit and hot food bar at most of their locations.

Shana Beth Masonis an art consultant and critic based in Miami. Mason is the Miami editor of Whitehot Magazine and has contributed to HOUSE Magazine, FlashArt (Online), ArtPulse Magazine, ArtVoices Los Angeles, Miami Art Guide, Sculpture and The Art Economist.

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