Art Basel Miami Beach

How to Get Around Without a Car During Art Basel

Depending upon your income bracket, Art Basel either conjures images of yacht cruises from Martha's Vineyard to Biscayne Bay or standstill traffic full of wailing babies on the MacArthur Causeway. Driving in Miami sucks all year, but the hordes of wealthy tourists who arrive for Basel take congestion to hellish levels.

There's good news: You don't have to drive this week! This year's grand Basel transportation plan, cooked up by Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami Beach, and the City of Miami, includes so many free trolleys and buses that, for one glorious December week, public transportation actually feels like a viable option in this car-choked city.

Whether you're a weeklong visitor in a rented Nissan Versa, a wealthy condo owner in a 2017 Tesla, or Michael Bay himself, please, please stay off the road during the art fairs, which begin tomorrow and run through Sunday. If you want to get to any Basel events without driving, here's how:

The (Free) Art Shuttle

If you're just here for the shows and nothing else, stick to the Art Shuttle. Miami-Dade County will run four lines at 15-minute intervals: The "Art Express" will travel across the Julia Tuttle Causeway from midtown Miami to the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Even better, the buses are authorized to cut long traffic lines by driving on the shoulder of the highway. Unlike last year, the Venetian Causeway will stay open during Art Week, so a "Venetian Loop" will connect the Omni Parking Garage at NE 15th Street and Biscayne Boulevard to the Convention Center. Elsewhere, the "Inner Loop" will circle through all the art fairs in South Beach and around Ocean Drive, and the "Outer Loop" will connect the convention center to Haulover Park. You can also track the shuttle's locations using either the Miami Beach Trolley Tracker or Miami-Dade County Transit Tracker mobile apps.

The shuttles will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. November 30 through December 3 and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 4.

Here's a map:

The Regular Ol' Trolleys, Same Old Metromover, and Regular Buses

Miami and Miami Beach will continue to run free trolleys, and the county's normal bus service will continue unabated. In fact, Miami-Dade Transit is extending service hours: According to the Miami Herald, Metromover and Metrorail hours will be extended to 2 a.m. Thursday, December 1, and Sunday, December 4. (The services already run until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.)

Likewise: The C, S, M, and 120 buses head over the MacArthur Causeway, and the 150, 62, and J buses travel over the Tuttle for just $2.25.

Fair Shuttles

Many of the fairs offer their own shuttles to ferry visitors around town. Art Miami, the behemoth fair dominating midtown Miami, has a pair of free routes from its tent to the JW Marriott downtown and across the bay to the convention center and Aqua Art Miami on Collins Avenue.

The UberBOAT is back

Last year, Uber unveiled UberBOAT, a service in which Uber drivers drop you at a luxury yacht, which ferries you across Biscayne Bay to another Uber car waiting for you. Well, the UberBOAT is back this year, in partnership with Effen Vodka, the alcohol brand that 50 Cent promotes at bars around the country. This year, the ride is free.

If you feel like taking a low-rent yacht cruise during Basel (who doesn't?), the ship travels between the Sea Isle Marina dock in Miami and the Sunset Harbour Marine dock in Miami Beach.

If you're not feeling quite that upmarket, there's also a water taxi service that travels regularly between Sea Isle Marina or Bayside Marketplace across the bay to Miami Beach Marina; tickets run $14 to $40 depending upon route and whether you need a round-trip.

Uber and Lyft:

Regular Uber and Lyft remain the easiest, if not cheapest, ways to get around Miami without a car of your own. This year, Uber cars will wait to pick up folks in Miami Beach on the east side of Convention Center Drive, while Lyft drivers will stage on the west side.


Of course, you can also bike across the causeways and from fair to fair. CitiBike runs a bike-share program with stations on both sides of the bay (though many more stations are located in South Beach than elsewhere). There's a map of where to find bikes on CitiBike's site. Or you can always just walk around South Beach or midtown, both of which are dense and easily accessible on foot. But we told you that last year.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.