Narrowing down your list of Art Basel Miami events is intimidating. Where to start? It seems like every building with electricity is hosting some secret, immersive installation where Diplo may or may not show up. How many Diplos even are there? But, here’s the thing you learn after a couple years worth of Art Basel: you don’t have to do it all. The people having the most fun at Miami Art Week aren’t the ones attending every party at the best clubs in Miami or showing face at every music venue in Miami. Those people have lost their minds by Tuesday. No, the folks having the best time are the ones who’ve picked the right Art Basel parties and events. Quality over quantity. You know the deal. So we are not suggesting you visit every one of these events—unless you, like, own a helicopter. We want you to use this list to help guide you through Art Basel Miami 2019’s best things to do outside of the art fairs. Choose wisely and check back frequently, since we’ll be adding to this list throughout the month.
RECOMMENDED: Your guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2019
Art Basel Miami 2019 events
Grimes, Nina Kraviz and Sophie headline what’s sure to be one of the buzziest Art Basel events of the year. The three powerhouses of left-field electronic pop music have joined forces with Miami’s edgy festival producer III Points to throw a mysterious warehouse party toting the “well-proven anti-aging properties of raving.” Expect a rejuvenating dose of dancing plus a few wild surprises—this is Art Basel, after all.
CODE returns to Wynwood for a second year, this time moving from its original home in the 200-person capacity speakeasy bar at Coyo Taco to the expansive garden patio at 1-800-Lucky. Masterminded by Dubfire, the hardworking techno DJ who recently played a record-breaking 26.5-hour set at Romania’s Sunwaves Festival, CODE brings together DJs from across the dance music spectrum for a nonstop, back-to-back musical journey that will start deep and left-field and end in a banging techno rave.
Sultry and haunting indie-electronic project Rhye is helmed by Canadian vocalist Mike Milosh, whose yearning, Sade-inspired vocals and organic-synthetic hybrid R&B sound only intensify his hyper-mysterious public persona. Presented by Poplife, Rhye comes to Miami this Art Basel for an intimate performance under the stars.
For those who like their art with a side of chilled-out, exceptionally danceable disco and house music: Crew Love’s sixth annual Art Basel soiree brings the gang back to Miami with sets from Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb and Morgan, plus live performances by Life on Planets and Pony. Location TBA
Back for its seventh edition, Basel House fuses art, nightlife and fun activations over the course of a weekend. Check out 30 thousand square-feet of large-scale murals and projection-mapped installations, shop a series of local pop-ups and get your b-boy on at the Monster Compound featuring a BMX vert team, breakdancers, live graffiti and more. Expect plenty of music, cocktails and food to keep you fueled.
Local underground house and techno promoters Un_Mute take over FunDimension, a sprawling arcade and bar in the heart of Wynwood, for their annual Art Basel showcase. Tickets to the party include two rooms of music where DJs tINI, Francesco Del Garda and Unai Trotti will take turns setting the vibe as you level up on unlimited games, climb the rock wall, navigate the Pac Man maze, smash bumper cars—and of course, dance your butt off.
Helmed by a team of professional ravers from coast to coast including LA-based Future Primitive, Burning Man’s La Grange and local selectors Soundtuary, this year’s Rumors Art Basel party with Israeli DJ Guy Gerber kicks off during sunset at the waterfront bar The Deck at Island Gardens and continues until midnight for seven hours of dancing under the stars.
Heart Nightclub—a fleeting bastion of live techno, house and electronic performances in Downtown Miami—closed its doors Spring 2018. This December, just in time for Art Basel, Heart rises from the ashes in its evolved form, as a two-day, 63-act, genre-bending festival housed in the expansive Wynwood Factory. Techno stars the Martinez Brothers, Sasha & John Digweed, Damian Lazarus, Cassy and Bedouin top the bill, but expect emerging underground talent as well, from house DJs to live electronic performances, playing across four stages.
Mysteriously masked German DJ duo Claptone hosts an outdoor, sunset masquerade party at RC Cola Plant in Wynwood. Expect their signature crisp, infectiously danceable tech-house tunes in addition to special guest DJs Duke Dumont and Todd Terry at this 18 and up event.
Any true dance music fan should be drooling over any sort of collaboration between the wonderful labels Life and Death and Innervisions. The two dance music powerhouses take over Virginia Key Beach Park once again this year for their Rakastella party. The roster of DJs includes Ben UFO, Aurora Halal, John Talabot, Dixon, Âme and more. Pace yourself, though. The party doesn’t stop until 7am the next day.
Designed as a multi-sensory, interactive installation promoting joyful and relaxing relief from fatiguing systems of inequality, “Black Power Naps/Siestas Negras” invites visitors to lounge on a variety of embellished beds replete with gauzy canopies, serene lighting, therapeutic sound vibrations and other restorative props. The exhibition, running through January 12, will also serve as a platform for several special live events throughout Art Basel week, including live DJ soundscapes performed from bed, guided nap meditations and platonic play workshops led by the artists Navild and Sosa.
Brace for another immersive art experience this Basel—one that’s built for adults and probably NSFW (some parts of it at least). The Art Plug Power House spans eight indoor and outdoor attractions, where you’ll encounter 25 art installations, over 50 artists, live extreme sports performances, concerts by Atlantic Records artists, plus 14 food vendors and four bars all in the heart of the burgeoning Little River district.
Is it hot in here, or is it just Best Life Festival closing out Art Basel week? The annual R&B rager returns to Wynwood on Sunday with smooth and sensual headliners DVSN, Kiana Lede, Emotional Oranges and SiR doing their damndest to make partiers feel some type of way.
One of the best things to come out of Art Basel 2018 was a video of Kanye West talking to a tree. It wasn’t another psychotic break, thankfully. The rapper was spitting it back to Archimedes, the creepily captivating talking tree at NightGarden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s psychedelic neon playground. The pop-up exhibit returns for its second year, taking over a portion of the 80-acre property and turning it into an illuminated wonderland. Think technicolor mazes, scavenger hunts led by virtual fairies, an enchanting snowfall experience, glowing dandelion fields and, yes, the infamous talking tree.
When it comes time to blow the top off of Art Basel week, look for whatever Ibiza’s legendary Circoloco crew is getting into. This year, they’ve brought on DJs Seth Troxler, the Black Madonna and Damian Lazarus to top the bill at a massive Art Basel closing party on the open air terrace at Club Space.
At this official Art Basel event, guests enjoy gratis breakfast and an enlightening presentation from internationally acclaimed sculptor and photographer Petah Coyne. Known for creating elaborately detailed wax, silk and taxidermy assemblages that hang from ceilings and erupt from the floor, Coyne’s lecture is followed by guided tours of Frost Art’s Sculpture Park and exhibitions.
What do memories look like? Los-Angeles-based, Turkish-born artist Refik Anadol poses they resemble the trippy, kaleidoscopic world he’s created for his first major retrospective, “Infinite Space.” The immersive exhibition takes data from landscapes, space topography and cultural archives and turns it into billions of lights and flashes that envelope and interact with visitors, challenging the depths of perception. Every room in this place begs to be Instagrammed.