Heading to Ultra Miami for the first time? Wondering what to expect? Look no further, we’ve got you covered. As grizzled veterans of Ultra (4 years and counting) we’ve got all the essential tips you’ll need to have a great time at your first Ultra!
1. Get the Ultra Miami app
The Ultra app includes set times, festival ground maps, bathroom locations, and a bunch of other useful stuff. We highly recommend getting the app beforehand – downloading it at the festival might be tough given the number of people. You can find the iOS version here, and the Android version here.
2. Bring a portable battery / charger
There are a few charging stations available in the venue, but we highly recommend bringing your own. Alternatively, you can get a battery case for your phone. There’s nothing worse than running out of juice at the end of the festival when you’re trying to call an Uber or look for your friends!
3. Set up a meeting place / time with your friends
If you’re going to Ultra with a group, there’s a good chance you’ll get separated. People will want to go to different stages, people will need to go to the bathroom, etc. Set up times and a meeting point for people to check in every few hours. Or maybe at the end of the night.
4. Dress appropriately
Be sure to check the weather forecast. Miami is usually pretty sunny around Ultra, but there have definitely been years where it’s rained. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes.
5. Eat and Hydrate
Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, especially if it’s hot and you’re dancing hard. Eating is also important to fuel the dance!
6. Arrive early or later
Ultra opens at 4 PM on Friday, but people usually start lining up earlier. If you’re trying to get in without as much waiting, we recommend arriving at 5 or 6 Friday. If you want to be first to get in, you may need to start lining up as early as noon on Friday. On Sat and Sun, doors open at noon. Lines usually aren’t as bad on these days because people gradually trickle in throughout the day.
7. Leaving Ultra
In general leaving a bit before the festival ends makes it way easier to catch a ride share / taxi / drive without dealing with traffic. In general it’s usually going to be a lot more pleasant to leave earlier or hang back and wait until the crowd thin out. There will be a lot of taxis lined up by American Airlines Arena. The bus also runs 24 hours a day, for those of you heading to South Beach.
Ultra will check your ID at the gate, so make sure everyone has it before leaving the hotel – or else you’ll have to run back and get it.
10. Pace yourself
Like all 3 day festivals, Ultra is a marathon not a sprint!
If you’re planning on going to after parties, it’s usually much smoother if you buy your afterparty tickets in advance. You’ll end up paying less than you will at the door, and in some cases a ticket is required to get in.
Lastly, don’t over plan your day!
Enjoy the sights and sounds, go with the flow, explore the festival, and meet new friends – Ultra Miami is one of the best EDM music festivals and you’re going to have a great time!
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If you’ve been to Ultra (or any other festival) you’re well aware that there are number of simple things to bring that can greatly enhance your festival experience. Most of these items are fairly cheap yet they can go a long way towards helping you enjoy Ultra. These are the top items we’d recommend bringing to Ultra Miami:
Ultra starts during the day (doors open at noon on Sat and Sun) – and it can definitely get pretty hot. Staying hydrated is essential to having a good time. There are free water refill stations throughout the festival grounds, so bringing a large Camelbak is a great way to avoid paying for bottled water and avoid waiting in the water refill lines.
Sunblock / Chapstick
As mentioned above – Ultra is more of a day time festival and you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun. Keep applying that sunscreen and chapstick to make sure you don’t get burned! There are a few shaded areas but most of the grounds are pretty exposed.
Sensing a theme here? : ) Spending a lot of time in the sun means you’ll want to bring some shades with you. There’s a good chance you might lose or destroy them, so we’d avoid bringing your designer shades.
Portable Phone Charger / Extended Battery Case
There’s nothing worse than running out of battery and losing your friends. As with all festivals, cell phones tend to struggle to find service, draining your precious battery. Having a working phone is critical especially at the end of the night when you need to call that Uber or meet up with your friends. There are a few charging stations in the festival but having your own is definitely worth the peace of mind.
Spending 3 days dancing can take a toll on even the most hardy feet. Between walking to the festival, walking between stages, waiting in bathroom lines, and dancing, you’re going to put a lot of miles on those shoes. Do not go in a new pair of shoes unless you’re interested in returning with blisters. Additionally, your shoes will probably be in rough shape after 3 days of Ultra.
Especially essential if you’re planning on getting up close and personal at the stages. Long term ear damage is no joke.
Toilet Paper / Kleenex
Essential for the ladies especially. The last thing you want is to reach over for the TP after doing your business and realizing that the roll is empty…
Hand Sanitizer / Wet Wipes
Your hands will definitely be pretty grimy after a day at the festival. Porta-potties can get really nasty. Bring some wet wipes to clean the seat or to wipe your butt. Or to clean your hands before eating.
Duh! Though if you do forget this – it’s not the end of the world, as long as you have the credit card you used to purchase the ticket as well as your ID. Expect to wait in a very long line and to pay a replacement fee.
Kandi / Costumes / Flags
These are fun items to bring, but not essential. Ultra has a very relaxed dress code, and there’s definitely a PLUR atmosphere. If you’re into the rave scene, feel free to bring some Kandi to trade with others. Ultra is also a very international festival – people from all over the world rep their flags at Ultra!
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With over 150,000 attendees over the course of a three-day weekend at the tail end of Winter Music Conference, Ultra Miami is truly a Mecca for EDM lovers. In addition to the festival itself, there are also countless Miami pool parties and nighttime events during the week leading up to Ultra.
Anyone who is going to Ultra Miami knows there’s a lot of planning to do – flights, hotels, tickets, rave gear etc. Of course, all of this adds up and can do some serious damage to your wallet. If you’ve attended a multi day festival before, you should be well aware that the cost of the ticket is just the beginning. In this post we’ll go over an approximation of how much you should have budgeted for a trip to Ultra Miami.
Ultra Miami Ticket – $350 per person
Ultra Miami releases their tickets in a tiered system. They release tickets in batches (or tiers) at a certain price, and when those tickets sell out that tier is over and they go to the next tier where tickets are more expensive. The cheapest tickets are the early bird tier 1 tickets which typically go for $300 plus fees, which ends up being around $350. This is the cheapest price for official Ultra Tickets. Of course it’s possible that you may be able to get cheaper tickets on the resale market but that comes with it’s own risks and headaches. VIP tickets start around $1350 including fees. For more information on Ultra tickets check our FAQ page.
Ultra Miami Hotel / Airbnb – $75-500 per person per night
A few general rules of thumb when it comes to housing at Ultra Miami:
The further out you book, the cheaper your prices will be. If you book your hotels a year in advance, you’ll typically be able to get the best prices – and you’ll often also find some points award availability as well with Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton, etc. The closer to the event, the higher the prices will be.
The closer the hotel is to Bayfront Park, the more expensive it’s going to be. “Nicer” hotels within 2 miles of Ultra will average around $500 a night, which could run as much as $2000 for the whole weekend if you arrive on Thursday night.
If you’re trying to save money, we recommend looking for hotels along the Metromover or Metrorail. Bayfront Park is easily accessible from both of these public transit options, and you can save some money by staying at a hotel thats further away from Bayfront but still within walking distance of a Metro stop.
The other factor is the # of people in your hotel room. There are many hotels with two queens or doubles, which means that you can fit 4 people comfortably in the room. This can obviously make things much cheaper per person if you have twice the number of people in a hotel room. For the budget conscious, you’ll probably want to look for these options first, but keep in mind that these rooms are also in higher demand and will be booked out earlier.
Many hotels and booking platforms allow you to cancel your booking before a certain date with no additional fees – we recommend booking the hotel early to lock in the room / rate and cancelling if later if you need to.
The same rules generally apply to Airbnbs, except that you generally won’t be able to cancel without fees. There are a wide range of Airbnb options in Miami, from cheap places in bad neighborhoods to penthouse suites. Expect to pay more for proximity to the festival. We also recommend booking with superhosts, as regular hosts can (and sometimes will) cancel on you, which can definitely throw a wrench into your plans.
Food & Drinks – $60-100 per day
This obviously can vary wildly depending on where you decide to eat, and how much / where you drink. In the festival itself, expect to pay $10 per drink, $15-20 per meal. You can obviously save some money by going to Chipotle and pregaming at your hotel before heading to the festival. Alternatively, if you’re hanging out in South Beach, you can expect to pay $20 per drink and more for food. We recommend budgeting $60-100 for food / drink per day.
Miami runs most of their public transportation additional hours and/or more frequently during Ultra Miami, which is nice for festivalgoers. There are three main forms of public transportation within Miami – Metro Mover, MetroRail and MetroBus.
The Metro Mover is a free, elevated railway that runs around downtown Miami. This railway runs on a 4.4 mile loop around downtown Miami, and again it is free. If you are near any of these stops it is a great option for getting to Ultra Miami.
The MetroRail is a good option if you are staying outside of downtown Miami as it has a train that runs both north and south of Miami. The traffic for Ultra Miami is always awful so if you can park at a MetroRail station and take that in it will be both inexpensive and stress free. MetroRail will run you $2.25 each way.
The final option for getting to Ultra Miami is the MetroBus is also $2.25 and runs throughout the greater Miami area. If you stay in South Beach you will want the 119 bus, which will be about a 30 minute ride to Ultra Miami. Let’s assume you use a combination of these options and end up spending $30 to get to Ultra Miami throughout the weekend. If you are smart and take advantage of public transportation this should be quite reasonable.
If you don’t take public transit, you can expect your costs to go up. Ubers and Lyfts will definitely be surging when the festival ends (though of course you can split it between multiple people). Alternatively you can also take a free Metro Mover away from the festival a few stops and then call and Uber/Lyft to avoid the surge.
Airfare to Miami – Varies
Airfare to Miami is obviously going to be a big portion of expenses, but can vary depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re trying to save some money we recommend flying into Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – this is about 25 miles or 40 minutes – 1 hour away from downtown Miami, but flight prices are generally cheaper than flying directly into downtown Miami. Most of the discount carriers will fly into FLL instead of MIA. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of your Uber / Lyft though – so this option is best if you’re traveling with friends.
The Miami airport is definitely much closer (10 miles) and more convenient than FLL, but flight prices for the weekend will also be much more expensive.
We recommend setting up a google flight alert for the dates / flights times that you’re looking at. The google alert will send you an email when the prices increase or drops, and it also gives you an indication of whether the current fares are expensive or cheap.
Traveling from Airport to Hotel – $4.50 to $100
Again, this will depend on where you are staying in Miami. When travelling to Miami I generally just Uber to wherever my hotel is located. You can take the MetroBus, but this will be slower and carrying all your luggage across multiple bus stations isn’t exactly fun. If you are going to downtown Miami the Uber will be around $15 and to South Beach it will be about $25. If you take the MetroBus you can save some money and will only spend $2.25 each way.
If you’re Ubering from FLL, it will probably be at least $40-50 to downtown Miami.
Total Costs for Ultra Miami Weekend
An Ultra Miami trip can be pulled off for as low as $800, assuming you book flights early, split a hotel with friends, and don’t spend too much on food / drinks. But realistically we’d expect to budget around $1000-1500 for the whole weekend, especially if you plan on going to after parties, staying more than just 3 nights, and splurging a bit on your accomodations. As they say – you can’t put a price on fun!
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