I always used to spend my Miami days hanging around South Beach. Staying at the Soho Beach House. Eating at Byblos or 27 Restaurant. And only heading through downtown on my way to and from the airport.
Don’t get me wrong. South Beach is pretty damn cool. But I’ve come to learn the error of my ways. I now know that no trip to Miami is complete without a foray into Wynwood.
This old industrial neighbourhood turned art district is hipper than hip. Secret bars, live music, warehouse galleries and more graffiti art than you can shake a stick at.
Here are the five reasons I love Wynwood, Miami. And why you should definitely add this neighbourhood to your list next time you’re in town.
Wynwood is basically an open air art gallery. It’s low-rise buildings have become a canvas for both big name and new-to-the-scene artists. You can easily spend a whole day discovering them. And topping up the ‘gram, if that’s your thing.
You can ogle a collection of murals at Wynwood Walls. But if you’d rather not jostle with the tourists, just wander the streets. There’s ever-changing graffiti art around pretty much every corner.
If you happen to be in Miami on the second Saturday of the month, you’re in luck. Because that’s the day of Wynwood’s famous Art Walk.
Peeps take to the streets for after-hours events at galleries, boutiques and eateries all around the neighbourhood. There are pop up markets and food trucks. And then some banging nightlife to finish the day off with a boom, boom, boom.
Wynwood has a long list of artisanal and independent foodie options. Bakan is a cool little restaurant that does grown-up Mexican cuisine. Pink Pie is my go-to for takeaway sugary treats.
And, as you’d expect from an on-it-like-a-car-bonnet neighbourhood like Wynwood, there’s plenty of feel-good, veg-based cuisine as well as carb-filled feasts to be found.
Another little Wynwood surprise is the number of breweries setting up in the area. Craft beer lovers can head out on their own mini brewery tour to sample Wynwood’s finest.
There is no shortage of guided tours in Wynwood. Food tours. Graffiti tours. Tours on foot or on a bicycle.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a big fan of guided tours. Yep, I probably miss out on tons of great insider info. And I probably walk right places of humungous local significance.
But I like discovering a new neighbourhood at my own pace. Popping into a café I like the look of. Taking the time to get that perfect shot. Hanging around a bar until I’ve tried a reasonable selection of their cocktails.
Another of the things I love about Wynwood is that it’s really easy to show yourself around. The neighbourhood isn’t that big. And the district has its own website – which includes things like this useful list of Wynwood street art – to help you to find the sights you want to see.
Miami Design District sits right next door to Wynwood. And it’s beautiful. With some of the most amazing architecture and design, I’ve ever seen.
But you can tell that it’s been very carefully put together. Wynwood has a more organic, authentic feel. It’s cutting-edge. It’s original. And it’s still evolving.
Unfortunately – as is the way of the world – sooner or later big money will move in and commercialise the heck out it. That’s when the artists and designers will ship out and set up shop somewhere new. (Sorry to get all grumpy old man on you there.)
What I’m saying is, get there while you can! Get a taste of the raw creativity at work here. And experience Wynwood Miami in all of its glorious, artsy edginess. I love Wynwood Miami. And I guarantee you will too.