MIAGuide

The Best Miami Art Week Fairs & Where To Eat Around Them

These are the fairs to prioritize during Miami Art Week—plus some places to eat within walking distance.
The Best Miami Art Week Fairs & Where To Eat Around Them  image

photo credit: CLEVELAND JENNINGS / @EATTHECANVASLLC

This year, the calendar gods have blessed us: Miami Art Week 2023 falls a bit later, giving a merciful week of in between Thanksgiving and the joyful chaos of the fairs. Plus, Art Basel has taken the lead (and other fairs followed suit) to shift the schedule to run through Sunday, which provides ample opportunity to check out lots of art. This guide has some of our favorite fairs happening during Miami Art Week. And we’ve also thrown in some restaurant suggestions within walking distance to these fairs—both some quick, casual spots as well as more formal options. Now go eat something great and nod thoughtfully at a painting you can’t afford.

And if you're looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, check out our guide to the free Miami Art Week events that might be worth the traffic.

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THE SOUTH BEACH FAIRS

Art Basel Miami Beach image

Art Basel Miami Beach

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Art Basel. Ever heard of it? The quintessential fair and headliner of the week happens at the Miami Beach Convention Center. You could spend hours here, get lost several times, and still not see every single artwork. Another reason to come check it out: a lot of the art here will be bought by private collectors and not seen on the public market again for years. Also, you don’t want to be the person who misses out on seeing a banana taped to a wall that sold for $120,000, or the MSCHF ATM leaderboard which was also exhibited at the Perrotin booth. The fair is also stepping up its dining program onsite this year—we’ve heard rumors of a Wabi Sabi pop-up.


Design Miami

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Right across the street from Art Basel is Design Miami, a contemporary design-focused fair featuring the best of furniture, lighting, books, artist collaborations, and even some fashion displays. We know “furniture” may not be what comes to mind when you think of exciting Art Basel shows, but this is seriously our favorite fair of the week, and you are guaranteed to see a couch or chair you’ll briefly consider spending your entire life savings to purchase. It’s also a good place to take a seat in a slightly more relaxed space than the bustle of the Convention Center. Note that you can now purchase a combination ticket for Art Basel and Design Miami/ for a full day of art viewing without having to leave the same two block radius.


Presented by the International Print Dealers Association, the INK Art Fair takes over different rooms in the Suites of Dorchester, a hotel right next door to the Convention Center. There are mainly works on paper sold in limited editions here, which creates a slightly more approachable opportunity to acquire a piece of work from one of your favorite 20th century or contemporary artists. Or, you know, you can just have a glass of wine and look at them. That’s fun too.

Scope is a fair hosted in a tent on the beach at 8th St. and Ocean Drive. It's fun and has a more casual environment than most. We’ve also been seeing a lot more digital art exhibited at this one in recent years, in case that's what you're into. It’s easy to meet some of the art dealers here and ask them questions about their booths, too. Sometimes, the artists are hanging around as well.

Untitled also takes place in a tent on the beach a few blocks north of Scope (at Ocean Drive and 12th St.). This fair features a mix of established galleries focused on showcasing international contemporary art. So expect lots of cool modern pieces that will both confuse and intrigue the 47 people who still watch your Instagram stories. They also host some interesting events, performances, and talks throughout the week, which will likely be announced on their website or Instagram.

This fair takes place in a small hotel on South Beach, where different galleries take over each room. It’s a good place to find works by young, emerging, and mid-career artists. If you just want a taste of Art Week without feeling lost in the convention center or inside a massive tent, then this is the fair you should visit. You can also see everything in less than an hour.


FOR SOMETHING QUICK & CASUAL NEARBY:

American

Miami Beach

$$$$Perfect For:BrunchEating At The BarFirst/Early in the Game DatesLate Night EatsSee And Be Seen

Sweet Liberty, which opens at 4pm, is only about a block away from the Convention Center and should be your go-to spot for Happy Hour drinks and food. This place is more of a bar (the cocktails are fantastic) than a restaurant, but the food is good, and they make our favorite pina colada in the world.

Las Olas Cafe is always a quick, filling, and reliably good hangover meal in South Beach. The Cuban spot serves juice, coffee, platters, and lots of sandwiches, including one of our favorite Cuban sandwiches in town. There are a few tables inside the cafeteria, but we usually just order from the ventanita and eat while people-watching on the sidewalk.

photo credit: Rami Sabban

This small bakery has great pastries, including one of the best almond croissants in town. They also sell sandwiches that are easy to eat on the go. But this is a spot to prioritize if you have a sweet tooth (they go hard on dulce de leche). True Loaf can get crowded on the weekends, and there’s not much seating, but there’s also a lovely little waterfront park (Maurice Gibb Memorial Park) just a block away if you want to start the day with a picnic.

This classic sandwich shop is a lifesaver if you’re starving and don’t have time to wait 30 minutes for a table. Although the South Beach spot can be wild during late-night hours, it’s usually easy to place an order during the day. If you want something huge and meaty, get the Napoli on a baguette, and then locate the squeeze bottle of vinaigrette and apply liberally.


La Leggenda is a pizzeria and even though it’s in a touristy area, it still feels secluded and quiet enough to have a conversation. It’s also only about a half-mile from the Convention Center. It’s a good place to relax over a glass of wine and one of their great Neapolitan pies—which is some of the best pizza in Miami.


FOR MORE OF A SIT-DOWN MEAL:

Miami has its own Lucali, and—like the original in NYC—it makes very, very good pizza. Unlike the original in NYC, it's actually possible to get a table here without waiting 17 hours. There will probably still be a substantial wait during dinner. But you might have better luck during lunch.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Macchialina is the best Italian restaurant in Miami. Will you be able to get a table here without a reservation? That might be tough. But you can always try to sit at the bar, which is small but first come, first served. If and when you get a table, order any and all of the pasta, which is just incredible. And get dessert too.


You’re probably not getting a table at 27 without a reservation. But, if you come very early or manage to snag a last-minute reservation, this is another great option about a mile north of the convention center. They’re only open for dinner, but it’s always a great dinner. The menu is an ode to some of Miami’s great cultural influences. Also, Broken Shaker, one of Miami Beach’s best cocktail bars, is right next door.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

RESERVE A TABLE

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Tropezón is a gin and tapas bar on Española Way. And not only is it worth weaving through the street’s omnipresent crowd of tourists, but it’s one of our favorite spots in South Beach for a fun meal involving gin. The space—a 50/50 split between a bar and dining room—is exactly the kind of spot where you can spend a couple hours grazing on small plates and sipping cocktails.


Orilla is one of the more chill steakhouse options in South Beach. It's pretty casual but you can still dress fancy without feeling stupid. This is an Argentinian restaurant, so prioritize meat. We like the mollejas, and the $52 16-ounce ribeye is a pretty good deal considering this is the same neighborhood where you can order a $1,000 steak (don't, by the way).


THE DOWNTOWN FAIRS

NADA is a great place to discover your next favorite artist because there are always lots of exciting new installations featuring works you won’t see on repeat elsewhere. And in case you’re trying to buy something, there are also booths dedicated to NADA Projects, where you’ll find limited edition works from emerging and established artists, many of which support non-profit and charitable organizations. We’ve been really impressed with NADA’s programming every year. Just know that this fair is only running through Saturday, so make sure to visit this one earlier in the week.


Art Miami & Context Art Miami

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Be careful that your GPS isn’t accidentally taking you to Art Basel Miami Beach. These fairs—while also quite expansive—are located next to each other in a vacant lot Downtown, right next to Biscayne Bay. This makes it a bit easier to visit while avoiding some of the heavier Basel traffic. If you’re actually trying to collect some art, this is a good place to start since you’ll find so many of the same artists you’ll see at the biggest galleries (and maybe at a more approachable price point, if you’re really lucky). But we also always have fun here just strolling around without ever taking out our credit card. 


FOR SOMETHING QUICK & CASUAL NEARBY:

Over Under is a cocktail bar and restaurant in Downtown that makes one of Miami's best burgers, an oyster shell-infused martini, and more great Florida-focused bar food. It's always fun, and it's a good choice if you're in need of a drink—or if you just want to sit at the bar alone and inhale a fried chicken sandwich.


Motek, a very good kosher Mediterranean restaurant, isn’t visible from the street. It’s located inside an office building, and you really have to know where to look to find it. That means you (hopefully) will not have to compete for a table with the wandering Art Basel crowd. Once inside, order away, because everything—shakshuka, schnitzel, hummus—is really good.

Tacos El Porky specializes in al pastor tacos shaved right off a trompo. Those are good, but our favorite taco here is the cochi taco with chunks of chicharrones, pickled onions, and a green chili sauce. Things move very fast here, and it's a perfect option if you're running a little late.


Are you just looking for a great slice of pizza in a restaurant with no dress code? Then walk over to Eleventh Street Pizza. They make some of the best pizza in Miami—foldable slices with a delicious sourdough crust. Our favorite is the pepperoni and hot honey, which comes topped with Calabrian chili paste, caramelized onions, and little pepperoni cups. The huge Sicilian square slices are great too.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

This wooden dining room with lighting that flashes like an ambulance is where you’ll find the near-flawless bowl of ramen you were pretty sure Miami didn’t have. There’s other good stuff on the menu, like creamy blue crab rangoons with a kimchi lime butter dipping sauce. But don’t let the name fool you: this is a ramen destination—and the very best one in Miami.


FOR MORE OF A SIT-DOWN MEAL:

You should really try to make dinner plans at Jaguar Sun. Everything (both in liquid and solid form) is delicious, and the staff is a small team of extroverts hell-bent on making sure your glass is never empty. You're coming here for outstanding pasta, oysters, a cold martini, and because you need a dinner that'll make you forget about all that traffic outside.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Tam Tam was not around this time last year. This is the best new restaurant of 2023. The rotating Vietnamese menu is amazing, the colorful interior is more interesting to us than a lot of the Basel installations, and one bathroom is a disco karaoke hallucination. This is the most fun dinner in Miami right now, and where you want to be during Art Week.

This Catalan spot is one of the best restaurants in Miami. It’s also a great place to relax after a long day with a bottle of wine and some of the most interesting food in the city. Make sure the cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream and the ous—a bowl of poached eggs and truffled potato foam—are on the table too. And know that they have an excellent (but tiny) wine bar just down the street.


Mignonette is one of our favorite spots for all things seafood. They always have a great selection of oysters as well as seafood towers, popcorn conch, and one of the best lobster rolls in town. It’s a nice restaurant, but not so fancy that you’ll feel self-conscious when you sit down and realize you haven’t showered in 48 hours.

Bunbury is an Argentinian restaurant on the Northern edge of Downtown, and it has all the stuff you’d expect at a good Argentinian restaurant. There’s lots of wine (including some good wine cocktails), solid empanadas, and a variety of tasty red meat—like a perfectly grilled vacio. But the space also has a fun secret lair vibe—the dining room is located behind a sliding bookshelf—and there’s occasional live music, too.

OTHER FAIRS TO KNOW ABOUT

Prizm, a fair that celebrates and showcases Global African contemporary art, keeps building on its presence during Miami Art Week. Prizm has a few different aspects, including panels, film screenings, and more. The main fair has moved to a Downtown location this year, and they’re also still running a virtual program too. For more details about the fair and how to get tickets, head to Prizm's website

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