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 partygoers, however, the weekend's horrible, recurring traffic problems are but a minor inconvenience that stands in the way of experiencing world-renowned art,
cocaine, 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 crush. 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 visitors around Miami and Miami Beach — and even ferried people over the 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 Wednesday, December 6, through Saturday, December 9, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 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 at Midtown Boulevard near Wynwood and NE 36th Street at Buena Vista Avenue in the Design District. The trolley will stop in Miami Beach on Arthur Godfrey Road at Royal Palm Avenue and at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
From there, you can connect to other 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 service with stops at Aqua Art Miami, the Miami Beach Convention Center, the JW Marriott Marquis, and Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Uber, Lyft, and the Lyft ArtHop bus route for fancy people. We don't need to explain how to use ridesharing services in 2017. If you're heading to or from one of the major art fairs, such as Pulse or Art Basel, your driver will likely be directed to a designated pickup or drop-off point near the fair. Otherwise, Uber, at least, doesn't seem to be changing much this week.
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. Friday through Sunday, the water taxi will run among the Sea Isle Marina, Bayside Marketplace, Purdy Avenue dock, and South Beach Marina 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.
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Miami-Dade County buses and the City of Miami's free trolley. As always, Miami-Dade'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 $2.25.
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 other parts of the mainland. Most trolleys operate from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily except Sunday.
Metrofail Metrorail and Metromover. Is Metrorail a viable option? Sometimes. Can it carry you between Miami and Miami Beach? No. But if you're staying on the mainland in downtown Miami and didn't rent a car, Metrorail and Metromover can at least carry you between tourist
If you absolutely need a parking garage, there are options. In Miami Beach, limited parking is available in the Miami Beach Convention Center garage. However, you'll probably have a 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 in North Beach and hop on a free trolley downtown.
Also, some streets will be closed. Be warned: Wynwood's main drag, NW Second Avenue, will be closed to vehicular traffic this weekend to help make the area safer for pedestrians and prevent terror attacks. The City of Miami Beach announced this week that Convention Center Drive will be closed to pedestrians Tuesday through Sunday, and eastbound traffic on 18th Street will be blocked. Here's a more detailed explanation of the shutdown.