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Let’s assume that you’ve had your fill of contemporary art: if you never saw another gallery booth or artist installation it would be too soon. Miami has more to offer than exclusive hotel parties and tourist-trap restaurants. Here are some non-art recommendations to help cure art fair fatigue.
For theatre-goers, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts offers music, Broadway, ballet and opera. STOMP will be the Broadway feature kicking off December 4th, with performances of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker by the world-renowned Miami City Ballet and Salute to Vienna later in the month. The New World Symphony (only a block away from the Miami Beach Convention Center) draws music lovers as well as architecture nerds with Frank Gehry’s first concert hall project. Percussion Consort: Sonic Percussion will treat listeners to Wuorinen’s Percussion Symphony and Harrison’s Organ Concerto with Percussion Orchestra, courtesy of the New World School of the Arts’ Percussion Department.
Live music during Basel Week focuses on R&B and rap: Rick Ro$$ (with Meek Mill and Wale) will headline The Fillmore on December 5th (also located next door to the Convention Center) and Kanye West kicks off the UR1 Festival at Bayfront Park on the 8th and 9th alongside Lenny Kravitz, Lou Reed, The Offspring and others. Smaller, more intimate venues such as The Van Dyke Café (on Lincoln Road), Cha Cha Rooster, Waxy O’Connor’s and Churchill’s Pub all qualify as restaurant-bars with their own distinct musical flavors.
To truly get away from the madness, Miami has its share of blissful spas and health clubs. The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental is a five-star oasis on Brickell Key: in-room massage treatments, full-body seaweed wraps and a scented solarium are among its peaceful attributes. Stylish jet-setters and locals alike prefer The Standard Spa is tucked away on the Venetian Causeway. Their eucalyptus steam room, Turkish Hammam (a heated marble rotunda), and massage-strength waterfall are worthwhile treats. For aching, post-Basel feet, the Fetish Pedicure is not to be missed. Yoga outlets Green Monkey Yoga and Bikram Yoga are located throughout the city, as well as free, open-air yoga classes at Bayfront Park every Monday (6pm), Wednesday (6pm) and Saturday (9am).
If you’re a nature lover, with a few hours to spare, Jungle Island (en route to Miami Beach off the MacArthur Causeway) is a great place to see fascinating varieties of parrots, monkeys, panthers and alligators. The Miami Beach Botanical Garden (literally across the street from Hall D of the Convention Center) and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (down in Coral Gables) give new meaning to the term ‘urban jungle.’
Shana Beth Mason is 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.