On a visit to Miami, don’t miss the trendy Wynwood Neighborhood. Talk about an exploding scene. Only a few years ago, this one-time warehouse district just north of downtown Miami was a somewhat sketchy area, although there were a few important arts destinations. The Bakehouse Art Complex opened in 1986 in an abandoned bakery, serving as a creative center for artists and the community, while the Rubell Family Collection, a former DEA facility, housing one of the world’s largest privately owned contemporary art collections, debuted in 1993. In 1999 the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse was inaugurated, showcasing contemporary art and culture.
When Tony Goldman, the late entrepreneur who revived blighted urban neighborhoods, entered the scene in 2009, he saw in Wynwood’s drab warehouses canvases for giant street art. He came up with the Wynwood Walls, a complex where artists have covered the walls with works by some of the world’s best graffiti and street artists. Since then, galleries and studios have sprung up. Every December during Miami Art Week, which includes Art Basel, events like Art Miami and Context come to Wynwood.
Art Walks, held each second Saturday of the month, are a popular night out. In April, Wynwood Life is a three-day street festival of music, art, fashion, food and drink. Mana Wynwood is a huge multi-use space that housed the wildly popular SEED Food and Wine Festival, a plant-based event held in November.
The latest place for street fun is the Wynwood Farmers Market on Saturdays, more about artisans and street food than farmers, and an entertaining way to eat, shop and drink. The Wynwood Yard is another new hangout, where visitors can eat from a rotating selection of food trucks, drink at the open-air bar and listen to live music, play outdoor games and find healthy fare. GastroPod Miami, which started as an Airstream food truck, is now a modular shipping container set up in a lot with picnic tables, serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch and hosting ticketed themed events like PIG (Pork Is Good).
Eating out ranges from smart street food to hip contemporary cuisine. Fireman Derek’s Pies, a tiny cafe, serves up slices of old-school pies and modern confections. Zak the Baker, who got his start selling rustic artisan breads at area farmers markets, opened up his bakery and cafe to instant popularity and is expanding soon. Panther Coffee, one of Miami’s first artisan roasters, debuted in Wynwood before branching out elsewhere. At the Salty Donut, lines stretch at their trailer, their temporary spot until their brick-and-mortar opens. Other homegrown food and drink spots here include JugoFresh, serving cold-pressed juices, smoothies and organic meals; and Jimmy’Z Kitchen for fast-casual American/Latin food (their mofongo, a Puerto Rican dish of mashed fried
green plantains, is a must).
Sit-down dining includes Joey’s, the Italian place that was Wynwood’s first dining hot spot, and the art-filled Wynwood Kitchen and Bar at the Wynwood Walls. Newer entries include Beaker & Gray and the Wynwood Diner, both with lively cocktail scenes; and the vegan Plant Food + Wine from celeb chef Matthew Kenney. Getting the most foodie attention are Kyu, Asian grilled and smoked foods; and Alter, whose minimalist concrete decor lets culinary artistry from chef Brad Kilgore sparkle.
If craft beer’s your thing, Wynwood’s the place to go. Concrete Beach Brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company and J Wakefield Brewing are all a few blocks from each other, offering tap rooms where visitors can sample local specialties and seasonal brews, often made from tropical fruits.
When you visit, expect plenty of hipsters and, now, tourists. The pulse of Wynwood beats loudest at NW 2nd Avenue and 24th Street; from here, you can walk around easily. Street parking is generally easy to find, and the pay-by-phone service is handy. But navigate the narrow streets carefully because of heavy pedestrian, bike and longboard traffic. And do be aware of your surroundings late at night here.