Wynwood Art District, Miami’s Coolest Neighborhood

One of Wynwood Walls’ colorful murals

photography by: Omri Westmark

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For the average vacationist, Miami is first and foremost synonymous with its world-renowned beaches and hotels. Curiously though, this couldn't be further from the truth as this coastal metropolis also boasts a myriad of authentic places to explore. High on this bucket list is the neighborhood of Wynwood, where a glut of colorful murals and trendy restaurants offers visitors a refreshing respite from the city’s tourist-infested beaches.

In a city whose reputation revolves almost entirely around its ample beach culture, most visitors opt to stick to a narrow sliver of coastal land, replete with hotels, art-deco architecture and golden sand, aka Miami Beach. For the intrepid travelers, however, a single district north of Downtown Miami offers a rather different experience, centered on art, fashion and upscale eats.


During the late 1990’s, Wynwood was nothing more than a medley of derelict warehouses, remnants of its time as a garment manufacturing hub. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s, when an ambitious entrepreneur by the name of Tony Goldman embarked on a lifetime mission to transform this unsightly place into Miami’s trendiest neighborhood.


By 2008, Goldman has purchased multiple properties across the neighborhood, including a cluster of 6 buildings, whose façades became a canvas for world-renowned muralists. No sooner said than done, the once nondescript place was metamorphosed into an open-air museum, replete with vividly colorful murals and galleries.


Inaugurated during 2009 Art Basel Miami Beach art fair, Goldman’s Wynwood Walls soon became the centerpiece of the entire neighborhood, attracting curious gawkers from all over the world. In fact, in the years that followed, the small-scale beautification extended far beyond the confines of the artsy complex when a series of eye-catching murals popped up throughout the surrounding streets and blocks.


Concurrently, the district also evolved into an urban oasis, packed with incalculable number of contemporary fashion boutiques, art galleries, cafés, eateries and even breweries. Conspicuous by their popularity are the Wynwood Brewing Company, Coyo Taco and Zak the Baker.


As of today, Wynwood keeps rejuvenating with every day that passes, as old wall-paintings are regularly replaced by new ones, often echoing a political or cultural topic which happens to be under the spotlight. Wedged between NW 20th Street in the south, I-195 in the north, Edgewater in the east and I-95 in the west, the neighborhood can be explored independently or with one of Wynwood Walls’ guided tours.


In 2012, Tony Goldman passed away, yet over a decade later, his legacy is livelier than ever, with Instagrammers and art lovers incessantly swarming the ever-changing streets of Wynwood Art District.