The Art Basel traffic apocalypse is nigh. Gridlock looms just over the horizon. For locals who plan on staying indoors this weekend, it’s time to buy bread and milk and screw on the hurricane shutters.
For visitors and Basel party-goers, however, the weekend’s horrible, recurring traffic problems are but a minor inconvenience that stands in the way of experiencing world-renowned art, and the sort of parties where one of the lower-rent Baldwin brothers might guest-DJ.
Basel remains the most event-packed weekend in Miami — but the quickest and easiest way to ruin your Art Week experience is to attempt to drive and/or park in Miami Beach during the major weekend crowd-rush. Here’s how to navigate the city while leaving your car behind.
Art Week shuttles. Miami-Dade County Transit is not running its free Art Express shuttle service as in past years, when it carried tourists and visitors around Miami and Miami Beach — and even ferried people over the Biscayne Bay causeways for free.
But, thankfully, there are still other shuttle options in Miami Beach. The cities of Miami and Miami Beach are still running their own free Venetian Shuttles over the causeways, which will run from Wednesday, December 6 through Saturday, December 9 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday, December 10 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The free shuttle will depart every 15 minutes from various spots on the mainland, including NE 29th Street and Midtown Boulevard near Wynwood and NE 36th Street and Buena Vista Avenue in the Design District. The trolley will then stop in Miami Beach at both 41st Street and Royal Palm Avenue and the Miami Beach Convention Center.
From there, you can connect to extra shuttles running north/south along the barrier island, as well as the free Miami Beach trolley service: The Beach compiled a list of trolley stops located near the city’s various art fairs, which can be found here.
Likewise, many of the major art exhibitions operate their own shuttles: Art Miami in downtown, for example, is running its own free shuttle between Aqua Art Miami, Miami Beach Convention Center, the JW Marriott Marquis and the Perez Art Museum Miami.
Uber, Lyft, and the Lyft “ArtHop” bus route for fancy people. We don’t need to explain how to Uber around town in 2017. If you’re heading to or from one of the major art fairs like Pulse or the main Art Basel fair, your ride will likely be directed to a designated pick-up or drop-off point near the fair. Otherwise, Uber, at least, doesn’t seem to be changing much this week.
Lyft, however, will be offering an optional “ArtHop” service, which will send various cars on predetermined, glorified bus routes between the city’s major art exhibitions, including Pulse, Spectrum, Art Basel, and others.
The Water Taxi. If you’re here on vacation, Water Taxi Miami is definitely the most scenic way to cross Biscayne Bay. It’s also the most expensive: An adult, one-way ticket along the special “blue route” service for Basel costs $15. From Friday through Sunday, the water taxi will run between the Sea Isle Marina, Bayside Marketplace, Purdy Avenue Dock, and South Beach Marinas sporadically throughout the day. If you’d like to take the water taxi after roughly 3 p.m., you’ll likely need to call ahead to reserve a seat
Miami-Dade County buses and the City of Miami’s free trolley. As always, Dade County’s S, M, and 120 buses head over the MacArthur Causeway, the 101 crosses the Venetian, and the J, 62, and 150 “Airport Express” buses travel over the Tuttle for a $2.25 fare.
If you don’t have to cross the causeways, the cities of Miami and Coral Gables operate their own, free trolley services through Wynwood, Allapattah, Little Havana, and the rest of the mainland. Most trolleys run from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day except Sunday.
The Metrorail and Metromover. Does the Metrorail work? Sometimes. Can it carry you between Miami and Miami Beach? No. But if you’re staying on the mainland in cowntown Miami and didn’t rent a car, the Metrorail and Metromover can at least carry you between tourist destinationswithin Miami pretty easily. The smaller Metromover hits spots such as the Perez Art Museum Miami, Bayfront Park, and Adrienne Arsht Center, while you can brave the oft-maligned Metrofail for a car-free trip from Miami International Airport down the coast to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Coconut Grove, or Dadeland Mall.
If you absolutely need a parking garage, there are options. On Miami Beach, limited parking is available at the Convention Center garage. However, you’ll likely have a way less stressful experience if you park on the mainland at, say, the Omni Garage and take the free Venetian Shuttle to the convention center, or park somewhere on North Beach and take a free trolley downtown.
Also, some streets are getting shut down. Be warned: Wynwood’s main drag along NW Second Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic all weekend to help make the area safer for pedestrians (and prevent anyone from driving a car through a crowd of people). The city of Miami Beach likewise announced this week that Convention Center Drive will be closed to pedestrian access from Tuesday through Sunday, and eastbound traffic on 18th Street will be blocked. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the shutdown.
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