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Miami This Week: Countdown to Art Basel

Here are the five best things to do in and around Miami this week.

Despite the holidays, Miami is gearing up for Art Basel Miami Beach, which kicks off next week and runs December 3–6 (see next week's AFAR Local for detailed coverage). There are a bunch of new openings ahead of the iconic art fair, including part of Miami Beach's new Faena development, clean-eating restaurant Dirt, and an art collaboration between Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch. Also check out X Contemporary, Miami's newest art fair, which begins a day before Art Basel and then runs in tandem with it. But with all this artsy foreshadowing, don't forget this week is Thanksgiving—so, happy holidays!

 December 1 | Art collaboration
Unrealism opening reception
One of the best things about Art Basel, besides the parties and free booze, is the mega-event’s ability to bring people together in Miami; this year Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian, art dealers and competitors, will come together in a collaborative exhibition at the Moore Building in the Design District. The Zaha Hadid–designed building will showcase Unrealism, a look at figurative art, including work by John Currin, Urs Fischer, Elizabeth Peyton, and more. The opening reception is December 1, and the exhibition runs December 2–6. 
5–8 p.m. | The Moore Building, 3841 NE 2nd Ave., Miami | (212) 744-2313 | Free | website

December 2–6 | Art fair
X Contemporary
Miami’s newest art fair is X Contemporary. For its inaugural year, X promises to be a space for crossover in fashion, visual and performing arts, and brand collaboration. The midtown art fair will focus on mid-career and emerging artists and has a full schedule of live events, meet and greets, and panel discussions. Notable exhibitions include Keith Haring: Pop Shop, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Hush, and Timebag: Colombia Now. There will be music by The Misshapes on kick-off night.
Times vary | X Contemporary, 227-247 NW 24th St., Miami | (212) 858-0068 | From $10 | website

Hotel & restaurant | New opening
Faena Hotel Miami Beach and Los Fuegos 
Faena, the Miami Beach district under development by Argentine developer Alan Faena, is opening the hotel and its first restaurant just in time for Art Basel. The full district will include an arts complex, residential towers, a retail element, and additional restaurants, but for now Faena Hotel Miami Beach and Los Fuegos are open. Faena has brought in big-name collaborators: Los Fuegos is an outdoor BBQ restaurant by chef Francis Mallman, and the hotel was designed by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. Don’t expect a reservation at either until after the Basel madness has passed, but go ahead and make them now.
3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach | website

AFAR Local is published every Wednesday, so check back for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more. Planning a trip? The AFAR guide to Miami has you covered.

Restaurant | New opening
Dirt
The latest addition to the South of Fifth food scene in Miami Beach is a plant-based, farm-to-table, seasonal restaurant called Dirt, which is dedicated to clean eating—get it? The fast-casual concept has been much anticipated by health conscious Miami Beach residents with paleo and gluten-free diets. The menu is split into vegan, vegetarian, paleo-friendly, and gluten-sensitive sections, and features breakfast, grab-and-go dishes, seasonal items, sandwiches, salads, juices, and more.
232 5th St., Miami Beach | (305) 770-6468 | website

Weekend escape
Pine Island & Matlacha
If you’re going against traffic and heading away from Miami as Art Basel and the surrounding madness takes over, consider Pine Island, home to small beach towns and cutesy art communities. The island, about three hours northwest of Miami, is home to Matlacha, a lovely town with Old Florida charm. (It's technically on its own island, not Pine Island.) Visit some of the area’s colorful galleries, housed in little wooden cottages and bungalows, and then unwind at one of the local seafood joints, such as Bert's Bar. The best way to spend your time here is kayaking and exploring the mangroves, so make time for art but leave room for adventure.

Patricia Guarch Wise is a Miami native and the blogger behind Miami Nice. Her interests include paella, paranormal activity, Proenza Schouler, and her Pekingese named Bonnaroo.