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Art Basel 2017: How to get around without a car on the cheap

Art Basel Miami Beach will be, to no one’s surprise, the epicenter of tourists, fairgoers and seriously loaded art collectors when the granddaddy contemporary-art fair returns for its 16th edition Dec. 7-10.

Which all means a December traffic frenzy awaits anyone planning on driving, biking, shuttling, walking and water-taxi-ing between Miami Beach and the mainland next week. Much of this traffic will tangle up the Wynwood art district, where many white-tented art fairs hold court. Other hubs of activity: Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami, home to Perez Art Museum Miami, Art Miami and the Context art fairs, and Miami Beach’s Collins Avenue, home to beachfront fairs Scope, Pulse and countless rooftop shindigs.

The best way to conquer Art Basel week is early preparation, so here are several tips for parking and navigating the art fairs.

Before Basel

Pack supplies: Bring the obvious rations (bottled water, bananas, trail mix), but also survival gear (portable power bank for your smartphone, garbage bags, a jacket for possible chilly weather).

Download ride-share and Pay-by-Phone apps: For painless metered parking in Wynwood, Miami Beach and beyond, download the Miami Parking Authority's Pay by Phone app for Android, Blackberry and iPhone. After parking, launch the app, punch in the location number and duration, and you're done.

Getting around

By ride share: Avoid parking woes altogether with Uber and Lyft. (First-time Lyft riders save $5 off first four rides with promo code PAMM.) This year at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Ubers will wait on the east side of Convention Center Drive. Lyft has seven designated dropoff and pickup spots, including at PAMM, Pulse and Basel House. 

By shuttle: Miami and Miami Beach will operate free trolleys throughout the week. Art Miami, located downtown this year, will offer its own shuttle from its tent to the convention center across the bay. Here’s a link to the Miami Beach Trolley full schedule, offering multiple pickups downtown to the barrier island. Also, Lyft will debut a new shared ride service, called ArtHop, which will make fixed stops along three routes between Miami and Miami Beach. It runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, through Saturday, Dec. 9, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.

By MetroMover: Big art fairs Art Miami, Context and Aqua’s move this year from Midtown to the Miami Herald’s former site in downtown Miami is good for MetroMover riders. Exit the loop at the Arsht Center for easiest access to fairs and museums (Perez Art Museum, Frost Museum of Science). Hours will be extended to 2 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 4, since services already run until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

By bus: The county’s normal bus service will continue uninterrupted with regular hours. The C, S, M, and 120 routes take the MacArthur Causeway to Miami Beach, while the 150, 62, and J buses take the Julia Tuttle Causeway for $2.25. Plan your trip here.

By car: Avoid this if you can, since navigating and parking can be tricky when half of known civilization has descended on South Florida. Parking downtown? Try the Omni Center garage (1645 Biscayne Blvd.; $20 all day) or the Perez Art Museum Miami garage (1103 Biscayne Blvd.; $8 per hour, $40 all day). Parking near the Convention Center? Try the 17th Street Garage ($10 for eight hours, $20 all day) or park on the street. Don’t forget to arrive early.

By water taxi or boat: A water taxi service will operate Dec. 7-10 ($15 one way) from the marina behind the Marriott north of Art Miami to the island, and from Purdy Avenue. New this year: Travel in extravagance using UberBoat, in which a luxury yacht rushes you across the bay to another Uber car expecting your arrival, for free 2-10 p.m. Dec. 1-3. There’s a six-rider limit.

pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

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