Wonder why half-naked people in neon tights are wandering the streets of downtown Miami? Welcome! You are obviously new here.
Every March, Ultra Music Festival and its satellite events, both official and unofficial — the whole mess is dubbed Miami Music Week — take over Miami and, to some extent, Miami Beach. Beyond the rattling bass that won't let up, plenty of tourists and locals look to participate in the events. That means there will be a lot of traffic.
Besides Uber surge pricing, the biggest traffic headache will come courtesty of Ultra's three-day bacchanal at Bayfront Park. Because the festival spills into the northbound lanes of Biscayne Boulevard, road closures and detours will be in effect this weekend.
Traffic rerouting begins today, Thursday, March 23, at 9 p.m. and continues through Monday, March 27. According to the Miami Police Department, southbound traffic on Biscayne will be detoured west at NE Fourth Street to NE Second Avenue and will continue south from there. All northbound traffic along Biscayne will be reduced to two lanes and shifted to the southbound lanes at SE First Street until NE Fourth Street, where it will be shifted back to the regular northbound lanes.
Needless to say, if you have no business being in downtown this weekend, it's best to avoid the area.
If you plan to attend Ultra, leave your car at home and instead take any of the myriad transportation options available. If you are heading in from Broward or Palm Beach Counties, Tri-Rail will offer late-night service all weekend. Just take the train to the Miami Airport station, transfer to Metrorail, and exit at the Government Center station. From there, you can walk to Bayfront Park or take the free Metromover to the College/Bayside station. The late-night service will depart from the Miami Airport station at 1:35 a.m. Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, and 12:35 a.m. Sunday, March 26.
If you are lucky enough to have easy access to Metrorail — so few people in Miami-Dade do — the trains will run until 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Metromover will follow the same schedule.
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The popular Miami Trolley's Biscayne and Coral Way routes will detour around the area of Ultra to North Miami Avenue southbound and NE First Avenue northbound. The detour is in effect today, Thursday, March 23, at 9 p.m. till Monday, March 27, at 6 a.m. Both routes are still good options if you are traveling from the Design District, Wynwood, and Edgewater or Coral Gables and Coral Way.
As far as ride-sharing services, Uber's Ultra Lounge returns this year. Located at 520 Biscayne Blvd., it will be the drop-off and pick-up location during the festival. Lyft is also available, but the service isn't a festival partner like Uber, so it's unclear where drivers will leave you.
Finally, if you want to get a workout before raving, Citi Bike racks are available in Miami and Miami Beach. There are 12 racks around downtown and near the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover station. You could very well grab a bicycle in South Beach and pedal across the Venetian Causeway. However, if you are inebriated, skip the bike and find another way to move around the city; in Florida, you can still get a DUI while riding a bicycle.
Ultra Music Festival 2017
Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26, at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; bayfrontparkmiami.com. General-admission and VIP tickets are sold out.