Mr. Rodgers, the director of the Wolfsonian-Florida International University Museum, an eclectic Miami Beach art and design showcase with about 180,000 objects dating from 1850 to 1950, likes to catch his breath in the solitude of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, just across the street from the Convention Center. “It’s small, but really charming,” Mr. Rodgers said.
The Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial and its centerpiece, a bronze sculpture of a curled hand and tattooed forearm reaching high into the sky, are right next to the botanical garden.
Franklin Sirmans, the director of the Perez Art Museum Miami, said he was planning to step away from Art Basel for some tennis with friends at the municipal courts in the Morningside neighborhood of Miami, north of downtown. The nearest tennis to the Convention Center is Flamingo Park at 1200 Meridian Avenue.
Miami Beach is famous for its Art Deco buildings. The hotels overlooking Lummus Park and the sea along 10 blocks of Ocean Drive, from Fifth to 15th Street, are good examples. For a glimpse of other cultures in Miami, there’s Little Haiti, north of downtown Miami, and Little Havana on Southwest 8th Street or Calle Ocho, especially around 15th Avenue.
One of the gems on the Miami side of Biscayne Bay, the Viscaya Museum and Gardens is a Medieval Renaissance style villa with 10 acres of gardens. It’s not far from the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, a luxurious Mediterranean Revival tower that opened in 1926, with an enormous swimming pool and an 18-hole golf course. “It’s a beautiful spot,” Mr. Rodgers said. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami’s biggest botanical garden, is perhaps 45 minutes farther south on Old Cutler Road.
Christopher Bedford, the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, has been going to Art Basel Miami Beach for years. This year, he said, he plans to bring 15 to 20 of his trustees. He loves the intensity of the event. “But,” he said, “I think you have to force yourself into a moment of contemplative pleasure.”
He jogs on the boardwalk. He wiggles his toes in the sand. “You look out at that big ocean and reflect on the things you’ve seen,” he said. “There’s something really lovely about the tumult of all things Basel, and the setting in Miami Beach, the sublime ocean and the light, the intensity and clarity of the light.”