If you’d visited the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami less than a decade ago, you would see a very different place altogether. Originally a Puerto Rican neighborhood, it was known mostly for its warehouses and import/export businesses. Some still stand, surrounded by graffitied nightclubs. In the late 1990s, artists began to move in. Today, it’s the city’s biggest, and perhaps one of the most notable examples, of gentrification. But that doesn’t mean that crime no longer exists in Wynwood.
I visited back in 2013, on a particularly rainy day, and had to take two buses from Miami Beach to get there. I quickly got lost and got asked by a man in a car if I needed a ride. I stubbornly found my way to the Wynwood Walls and had lunch at Jimmy’z Kitchen to escape the rain. I didn’t see many shops at the time but knew I’d come back on a better day.
After my cruise with Fathom, I had some time to kill until my flight the next day so as soon as I saw a flier for street art tours of Wynwood on the wall of my hotel, I added it to my itinerary. I wanted to do things differently this time around. I would consult the experts. So I hopped in a Lyft from Circa 39 Hotel to the neighborhood to see what was different since three years ago. I grabbed a sneaky beer at one of the nearby breweries and a coffee before meeting Ryan, the owner of Wynwood Mural Tours. He runs free tours by bike every Sunday as a fellow artist and friend of the notable muralists featured in the neighborhood. I borrowed a CitiBike from the adjacent kiosk and reminded myself how to stay upright. And with that, we were off.
Over the course of a few hours, he showed us different artists’ work (including his own!), taught us about the history of the area and showcased many different types of work. It was the perfect introduction to the neighborhood, especially if it’s your first time visiting Miami. I learned more about Wynwood in the course of an afternoon than I had years prior. It was fascinating to see which big brands had opened up shop here since my last visit and it makes me curious to see what’s next for the district. If it’s your first time visiting Wynwood, here are a few places I recommend checking out:
Jimmy’z Kitchen Wynwood– Caribbean flavors are brought to Wynwood at Jimmy’z, which is known for its mofongo. Other favorites at this fast casual spot are salads and sandwiches.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar– This restaurant features as many of the artists on the walls inside as you’ll see around the neighborhood outside. The menu features globally influenced cuisine to compliment the artwork.
Beaker & Gray– For a combination of craft cocktails and thoughtful cuisine, head to this restaurant, which is named for the tools used by chefs and bartenders. Share small plates with friends or go big with the whole fish, among other entrees.
Coyo Taco– Get your Mexican fix here with tacos and bocadillos, best paired with a drink on the outdoor patio or in the secret bar.
Wynwood Brewing Company– As the original brewery in the neighborhood, you might walk past this mural-covered building without even realizing what it is. The dark inside space is full of board games while the outside space usually hosts food trucks.
Concrete Beach Brewery– Just down the road, you can experience another brewery, which has a massive outdoor patio. Play a round of cornhole while you sip your sour beer.
Panther Coffee– An icon in this city, Panther makes some of the strongest coffee around. It’s always full of people, no matter what time of day. Grab a cold brew to cool off.
jugofresh wynwood walls– Another delicious option is the refreshing, but pricey, pressed juices at the Wynwood outpost of Jugofresh.
Nomad Tribe Wynwood– The name drew me in, but it was the globally inspired products and the living airplant wall that kept me at this Wynwood boutique. Their motto is “fashion and social impact.”
MVM Miami– If the word normcore means anything to you, you’ll enjoy shopping at MVM, which sells basic pieces in their boutique and online. It’s a mix of designer and affordable pieces.
Warby Parker Annex– The glasses company’s outpost in Wynwood has become a flagship for the brand. Try on a few pairs of spectacles or pick out sunglasses for your visit to South Beach.
Wynwood Letterpress– Send a note home from this paper and gift shop, which sells cards, desktop accessories, and jewelry.
Wynwood Walls– Visit the place where it all began and where there’s not just murals, but also sculptures and other installations.
Art walks– Held on the second Saturday of every month, the Wynwood Art Walks bring in both locals and visitors.
Street art tours– The one I went on is just one of many, but I highly recommend it because it’s run by an actual artist and it’s free, apart from the cost of bike rental! If you’re not visiting on a Sunday, you can also check out the one run by Urban Adventures.
- Wynwood Bar Owners Say There’s a Conspiracy to Kill the Neighborhood, Miami New Times– This 2013 story is what I read the day I visited, which introduced me to the neighborhood’s nightlife scene that mainstay downtown and Miami Beach clubs aren’t thrilled about.
- What will Wynwood look like in 30 years? This plan shows the change, Miami Herald– Developer plans show what they have in mind for the funky neighborhood in the coming decades, but locals want to know if it will lose its uniqueness.