Since I moved to Miami more than a year ago, I’ve been longing to find a more artsy-bohemian-multicultural neighborhood, something beyond the flashy hotels and restaurant chains typical of Miami Beach. One day I was driving my car into Miami downtown, on I-95 South, and a flash of colorful edgy graffiti caught my eye. This is how I found Wynwood.
Wynwood is north of Downtown Miami and Overtown, and adjacent to Edgewater. It has two major sub-districts: the Wynwood Art District in northern Wynwood, and the Wynwood Fashion District along West 5th Avenue.
Wynwood was originally known as El Barrio when Puerto Ricans began migrating to this Miami neighborhood from the island and northeastern cities in the 1950s. Recently, however, the neighborhood has seen a push towards gentrification with increased investments and developments. The Midtown Miami development built in the mid-2000s brought renewed attention to the area, and previously abandoned warehouses have begun to be occupied by artists, restaurants, cafés, and lounges. The Wynwood Arts District is now home to over 70 art galleries, retail stores, antique shops, eclectic bars, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world.
Not everybody knows about Miami’s Fashion District. But 20 years ago, it already existed almost exactly as it is today in the eyes of Korean entrepreneurs. 70% of Korean immigrants here work or has worked in retail. All the way down to Northwest 24th Street, every store is now owned by Korean Americans. Once a bustling hub for Jewish garment manufacturers, it was scarred and staggered by the riots and decline of the 1980s. The area was full of vacant warehouses, boarded-up buildings and crime. Expressions of resentment against the entrepreneurial and politically conservative Cubans, who made up 42% of the city’s population back then, were common among the youths on Wynwood streets during the disturbance. In Miami’s black neighborhoods, it is also commonly complained that Cubans have gotten more than their share of economic advantages.
Today, the area is an art & fashion neighborhood that gained traction along with the rise of Art Basel Miami Beach, with further private collections and aggressively contemporary galleries opening in the area. It’s a great place for Art Basel novices to chat up gallery owners. Most of my favorite restaurants are also located here. They are mostly small, intimate, warm and have a special multicultural vibe. Wynwood is also home to Miami’s first craft production brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company.
Wynwood: A Multicultural Art & Food Mecca in the heart of Miami
Where To Go
N.W. Second Avenue
These days, N.W. Second Avenue (between 29th Street and 20th Street) is the main strip of gentrified Wynwood where most of the area’s popular galleries and trendy boutiques and restaurants are located. It’s also the site of the wildly popular Second Saturdays Art Walk (aka Miami Art Walk and Wynwood Art Walk) in the Wynwood Arts District. On the second Saturday of every month, the galleries open their doors in the evenings to host special events, performances, and cocktail parties. You can also taste different ethnic foods offered by 25 different food trucks. This has become a hugely popular event in Miami. For more info, visit www.wynwoodartwalk.com
Major Galleries and Art Spaces in Wynwood
Bernice Steinbaum Gallery
David Castillo Gallery
Diana Lowenstein Fine Art
Fredric Snitzer Gallery
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse
Miguel Paredes Fine Art Gallery
Pan-American Art Projects
The Rubell Family Collection
World-Class Boxing — the Scholl Collection
The Wynwood Walls
Restaurants & Lounges in Wynwood
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