How to experience Art Basel 2019 like a broke VIP

The actual experience of attending Art Basel, by hitting up the fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center or going to fairs like Art Miami and Design Miami, can be pretty costly and it’s usually something you have to plan for months in advance. And those costs don’t even include things like exploring other galleries and fairs, paying for parking, rideshares (or a scooter if that’s your speed), and the cost of staying hydrated at parties and openings or well fed between your browsing.

So if you’re like a lot of us, and running on Miami time with your planning, we decided to help y’all do Basel on a budget, and to live your VIP dreams while living on a less-than-VIP paycheck. And if you have any other tips, hit us at [email protected] or let us know in the comments. We’d be happy to update this story and share your advice! And check out our full guide here.

Don’t be afraid to hit up Groupon. If you search “art basel” on Groupon you’ll see a few options for discounted tickets including access to a VIP tour, called The Art Experience, and the Spectrum Miami & Red Dot art fairs.

Keep your ID handy. If you’re committed to heading to South Beach, and hitting up the official fair at the convention center, you can get discounted day passes if you’re a college student or you’re 62 and older. You have to provide legit proof though, so don’t try to pull a fast one for a cheaper admission price.

Work those connections. If you’ve lived in Miami long enough there’s a decent chance that a friend of a friend of a person you met at a mixer in Brickell has some kind of connection to an after party at a hotel bar, or someone working in public relations who can get you a hookup this week. If you really want to experience the best of the art world, or at least convincingly wander into an acquaintance’s entourage, now’s the time to milk those relationships and double check those LinkedIn messages you left on read.

Be a social media sleuth. Your favorite influencer’s probably going to hit every party and major event, or at least post about it in their Instagram stories. So use that information as another sort of guide, and slide into those DMs (when appropriate and in a non-creepy way, of course). Even if you can’t make it into the main party, you could find your way to the kickback at a gallery or vacant warehouse pop-up later that night.

Leave your car at home. Not only will you get a chance to make the slightest dent in your carbon footprint, you’ll also save on gas, potential parking fees, and likely surge pricing by avoiding cars altogether and maybe hopping on a bike or scooter to get around to the fairs. And if you can’t find one of those, then try checking out the city of Miami or Miami Beach trolleys and Basel shuttles. Head here for all the deets on those special Miami Art Week routes.