"Three Kings" by Bisa Butler at Art Basel Miami Beach 2018.
Sean Drakes | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
CNBC Travel

Art Basel Miami Beach: 5 things to know before you go

Art aficionados will flock to Florida next month as the country's premier art fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, once again opens its doors to visitors.

The extravaganza, which this year runs December 5 through 8, will bring together more than 4,000 artists and 269 leading international galleries at Miami Beach Convention Center to showcase some of the greatest new works the contemporary art scene has to offer.

From modern masterpieces and immersive installations to rooftop parties and shopping opportunities, there's something for all tastes. CNBC's Global Traveler explores 5 things to know before this year's event.

What is Art Basel

Art Basel is an international art fair hosted annually in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, and Hong Kong.

Launched in 1970 by Basel gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner and Balz Hilt, the event was originally designed to showcase the work of emerging contemporary artists by bringing together galleries, collectors and members of the public.

Visitor looking at "The Bond 2016" by Patricia Piccinini at Art Basel Hong Kong.
South China Morning Post | Getty Images

The event has evolved into a highlight of the annual arts calendar and a place to spot the who's who of the art world. In 2002, it expanded to Miami and, in 2013, to Hong Kong, in a bid to better spotlight those regions' artists.

What's new this year at Miami Beach

Now in its 18th edition, Art Basel Miami Beach will this year showcase more U.S. and Latin American exhibitors than ever.

More than half of the 269 exhibitors have bases in North and South America, providing what the organizers call a "unique overview" of the hemisphere's art scene. Meanwhile, a dozen of this year's 20 newcomers are from the region, including Buenos Aires' Barro Arte Contemporaneo and Los Angeles' Parker Gallery.

"The Safety Patrol" by Bisa Butler at Art Basel Miami Beach 2018.
Sean Drakes | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

This year, for the first time, the event will also host a new "sector," dedicated to large-scale works. Curated by Magalí Arriola, director of Mexico City's Museo Tamayo, the Meridians sector will feature some 30 oversized pieces.

How to get tickets

Tickets for this year's event are available to purchase online via the Art Basel website.

Day tickets cost $65 per person, or $45 for students and seniors. Meanwhile, permanent tickets, which grant access for all four days, are available for $145.

Artist Olga Kosheleva poses during the VIP preview of Art Basel Miami Beach 2018.
Sean Drakes | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Tickets can also be purchased in person at the box office of the Miami Beach Convention Center when the event opens on 5 December.

Where to stay

Art Basel has this year partnered with a number of leading hotels in the Miami Beach area to offer discounted rates for visitors.

The W South Beach, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach and Nautilus by Arlo are among the hotels offering partner rates, with starting prices ranging from $422 to $1,650 per night.

A patron walks past "President Trump Becomes a Wonder Woman, Unifies the Country and Fights Rocketman" by American artist Peter Saul during Art Basel Miami Beach 2017.
RHONA WISE | AFP | Getty Images

Meanwhile, Pestana South Beach, Marseilles Hotel and Lennox Hotel are some of a host of other nearby accommodations providing nightly rates from $349.

How to buy

Collectors looking to bag the latest experiment in modern art will, as ever, be out in force this year. But visitors can also take home a piece of the event.

For the most sought-after pieces, expect to part with some serious cash: At this year's Art Basel in Switzerland, an anonymous collector paid $20 million for Gerhard Richter's Versammlung. Meanwhile, works from up-and-coming artists can start from a more palatable four figures.

Interested buyers can make requests directly with the exhibiting galleries.