Miami is surprisingly spread out and hides some interesting neighborhoods you'd never suspect to find there. Hip cafés, independent designers shop, art galeries, street art everywhere... Who knew Miami was hiding such a cool district than Wynwood?
When we decided to travel to Miami, as usual, I've done my researches on what to do in Miami. Wynwood immediately caught my attention -an old industrial neighborhood now transformed into a street art heaven? I'm in! To not only see it but also understand it, I've decided to explore this district with Miami Off Road, a French tour guide company built by true passionates... Enough talk, let's discover the best of Wynwood!
A complete guide to Wynwood, Miami's street art district
In the 80s, Wynwood was one of these crime-ridden neighborhoods of Miami, mainly made of abandoned factories and dangerous drug dealers. In 2009, people were still advised not to stop in Wynwood. That was until street artists decided to make it their territory, expressing their art on the deserted buildings' walls. Street art started to boom, and soon a dark neighborhood slowly mutated into the most colorful, trendy district in Miami -and one of the most incredible street art scene in the world.
street art: Discover what's behind the walls with miami off road
Even before coming, I knew Wynwood would be part of these things that would make me love Miami, so during my one week in Miami, I went there twice. A first time by myself to get an idea of the place and to get lost -because that's my favorite thing when discovering a new place. Then a few days later, I met Héloise from Miami Off Road, with a small group of other travelers. She started by telling us all about Miami and Wynwood's history -in a much more complete way that I did above obviously, we got it with all the anecdotes and little secrets! I'm normally not a big fan of guided tour, but with Miami Off Road, I felt more like I was walking with a friend than following someone reciting her speech. She knows about Wynwood because she's a total street art nerd :) , she obviously fell in love with Miami and we can feel it!
Miami Off Road organises walking tours of Wynwood and other districts of Miami. It's mainly in French, but they can also do 'à la carte' if you choose a private tour, they are really friendly and flexible, so don't hesitate if to ask them if one of you speaks French and the other doesn't. They can mix English/French. Their blog is a great source of informations if you plan on traveling to Miami!
10 places to discover in Wynwood
- DRINKS & FOOD
Panther's Cafe: The most popular café in Miami. They brew their own café and are known as the best in town.
The Salty Donut: So many flavors, so delicious -although for me, the best donuts are in New York ;-)
Freshii: Excellent fresh salads and juice. Perfect for a refreshing break when it's too hot outside!
Zak The Baker: Our favorite! DELICIOUS pastries in a beautiful industrial building, our best breakfast in Miami. +great vibes!
The Wynwood Yard: Lively hangout space with food, drinks, music and great people
Nomad Tribe: Ethical fashion store with colorful and unique collection of clothes and accessories, designers from Colombia
Marine Layer: Ridiculously light fabric for a gorgeous beach collection. Relaxed vibes, nice style.
Frangipani: Beautiful ethical lifestyle shop with stationery, clothes, decoration and great gift ideas.
Plant the Future: Fun shop with animal sculptures as vases (!!) and gorgeous tropical plants.
Glottman: Hip concept store with souvenirs, travel books, stationery and gadgets.
how to get to Wynwood?
Miami isn't big on public transport, but there are a few buses coming to Wynwood (from Miami Beach bus 110). Even better, the trolley comes to Wynwood -it's cute, it runs from 6:30am to 11pm and it's free (from Adrienne Arsht Metromover station). If you don't want to bother, you can also take a Uber or a Lyft, there are plenty in Miami, and you'll always manage to get a wifi connection on a restaurant or a cafe. You can also come with you own car of course.
Most important: don't EVER think you can make it by foot. I love walking, and I'd naturally think I'd just walk from one place to the other. You're in the US here, and this is not the way to do it. Go like the locals, and take a car/bus.
Smart tips on exploring wynwood
- Give yourself time
Wynwood is quite spread out, with many art pieces hidden all over the district. Plan at least half a day to explore the area. Our tour with Miami Off Road took us two hours, after which we all enjoyed going back to our favorite places, shops and restaurants and explore deeper for the rest of the day.
- Get lost and keep your eyes open !
Don't just stay on the major axes, go further, the area is full of tiny alleys, street art masterpieces on parkings, on the floor, everywhere. Take it like a game, and try to discover some hidden treasures.
- Avoid weekends and go early in the morning
I've seen Wynwood on a Sunday afternoon and on a Wednesday early morning: the difference is considerable ! Avoid the crowds, you'll feel like you're alone in a beautiful open museum, and you'll have better photo opportunities.
- Get the know Wynwood like the locals
I wouldn't have enjoyed the discovery of Wynwood the way I did if it wasn't for Miami Off Road. The guide always has a story to tell about the art pieces, she often knows the artists, the meaning of the illustration, and the little anecdotes that go with it. There's a lot of history in this district, but also and mostly a lot of politics on the walls. Stuff you won't get by yourself. I can only recommend them, plus they're really friendly -and last but not the least, they always know the best places to eat! :-)
This post has been written in collaboration with Miami Off Road, however all above written expresses my own opinion and has not been influenced. Heloise is an awesome French tour guide in Miami, Wynwood is from far my best discovery in Miami, Zak the Baker really does make incredible breakfasts and street art does RULE !