The Gray Area Guide to Miami Music Week
One of the most iconic gatherings in dance music culture is back in full effect this week. Miami Music Week has returned for its first proper edition since 2019, and everybody’s celebrating. Whether you’re chilling out poolside and leaving your plans up to chance or mapping out your itinerary down to the hour day by day, Gray Area has got you covered on the coolest places and parties that can be found in Miami this week…
It wouldn’t be Miami Music Week without some pool-adjacent beats and bangers. That’s why Gray Area is teaming up with top-tier talent to offer five days’ worth of dance music madness at The National Hotel. Between Wednesday, March 23 and Sunday, March 27, this oceanfront Miami Beach getaway will host everyone from melodic techno titans like CamelPhat and Magdalena to electro misfit Tiga and house music legends Green Velvet and MK to San Francisco staple Justin Martin. You can get a full rundown on the Gray Area goodness and details on each party by checking out the complete list of events right here.
Yes, Miami Music Week orbits around the dance floor and the magic of the crowd uniting under a groove. But like it or not, it’s also about serving up the looks, and there’s no shortage of places in Miami where you can score some sweet apparel.
Upper Buena Vista and the Miami Design District are among the 305’s many shopping hubs. Both areas also include an array of sights to see and savory spaces to grab a bite. Don’t skip out on the incredible creativity displayed at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) or the delicious nibbles and immaculate atmosphere emanating from Palapa Miami.
Assuming you’ll have enough energy left over from your daytime shenanigans, these are the places you’ll likely be spending most of your Miami Music Week nights.
Club Space is a mecca for Miami’s after-hours landscape, and revelers passing through its hallowed dance floor will have the treat of being among the first to see its newly colorful halls redesigned by Miami-based artist Francisca Oyhanarte.
If you’re going to be in the downtown area and would like a more intimate experience, you can’t go wrong with Floyd — a sub-venue of Club Space that caters to more underground acts — or ATV Records, which boasts the best disco ball in Miami.
If your Miami Music Week is planned largely in the area you’re staying, get familiar with each neighborhood’s venues. If you’re sticking to Miami Beach, get familiar with Do Not Sit on the Furniture and Treehouse.
Wynwood’s got a lot going on too, with 1-800-Lucky and Oasis Wynwood bringing the heat courtesy of selectors like Skream and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs as well as A-Trak and friends.
There’s more to the art of party producing than just what’s immediately visible on the surface. Booking top-notch DJs and securing fancy light setups get you far. Still, a stellar get-together needs that extra something to make it truly special. It requires finesse, vision, and a holistic consideration for aesthetics. In other words, you need to curate a vibe.
Fortunately, Where Are My Keys? has plenty of vibes to go around. Although this long-running party has taken place at multiple locations over the years, it’s found a comfortable home in recent editions at 94th Aero Squadron, an old-timey restaurant and event space situated right next to Miami International Airport.
Where Are My Keys? is usually a seasonal affair reserved for long weekends and special occasions, but it’s pulling out all the stops for Miami Music Week 2022 by staging three parties spread across three days. Move D will control the decks with an extended set on Thursday, March 24. Friday will be a Life and Death & House of EFUNK showcase featuring respective label masterminds DJ Tennis and Soul Clap along with AceMoMA, DJ Holographic, and more.
On Sunday, March 27, the closing party is poised to be one for the books. Palms Trax and Omar S will join Miami’s own Danny Daze on the ones and twos — if you’ve never had the privilege of raving until sunrise as planes land and take off mere feet away from you, circle these dates on your calendars.
Record Store Recommendations
If you’re planning on crate-digging during your Miami stay, you can’t go wrong with these record stores. Sweat Records and Technique Records have become foundational to Miami’s musical community through their impressive selections as well as their frequent in-store events. If you’re looking for more specialized wax, T Bag Records has an ample supply of dance music deep cuts, while The Miami Record Fair, staged by local label Terrestrial Funk, will feature a little bit of everything.
Although South Beach is the obvious choice for where to bask in Miami’s sands, locals know that it’s actually all about Haulover Park Beach. This northern alternative is much less crowded than the international tourist trap, but you also enjoy the beach without the fleet of airplanes and boats advertising club nights you’ll never actually go to. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also actually be able to find parking. Oh, and there’s a clothing-optional section of the beach… y’know if you’re into that sort of thing.
Wherever you’re staying in Miami, find your closest Panther Coffee. You’ll need caffeine if you’re going to survive the week, and this local chain offers some of the best brews you’ll find in the 305. And should you stumble out of Club Space, ATV Records, or any downtown spot at an unreasonable hour of the morning, All Day is right around the corner to provide one last brain boost for the day.
No visit to Miami is complete without a dive into its local watering holes. Dante’s HiFi has quickly become one of the city’s most essential musical hubs with its bespoke sound system, intimate atmosphere, and consistently excellent programming curated by musical director Rich Medina. And yes, the cocktails and Miami Music Week offerings are delicious as well — be sure to swing by the Wynwood hangout on Wednesday, March 23, for a cozy listening session with house music master Louie Vega, who’ll be guiding guests through his new LP, Expansions In The NYC.
While you’re in the neighborhood, grab a drink at Gramps, a Wynwood institution that’s stood strong while its surrounding area has changed several times over. As for darker and lovably seedier dens, you can’t go wrong with Mac’s Club Deuce on Miami Beach, Las Rosas, or The Corner.
Rest & Relaxation
Miami Music Week is a marathon, and you better carve out some time to recharge if you hope to make it through with your brain cells intact. If you’re winding down from an early morning of partying and could use a relaxing rendezvous, there are several spots promising just that. The Vagabond Hotel in the MiMo Historic District and The Standard both provide sunshine and refreshing pools far away from the hustle and bustle of South Beach. Just make sure to coordinate with your crew or be prepared to fork over some cash for passes: luxury doesn’t come cheap, and neither does seeing everything Miami has to offer.
The abundance of art adorning Wynwood’s walls has become a world-famous sight. Although the neighborhood’s changed a lot since it first became a popular hang for Miami’s culturally inclined scenesters, it’s still worth seeing for anyone visiting the 305 for the first time. Whether you’re in the area to grab some food — don’t sleep on the delicious Mexican cuisine being served up by Coyo Taco — or trying to check out the myriad parties happening over the next few days, odds are you’ll spot something that catches your eye in Wynwood.
Words by: Zach Schlein