How to explore Wynwood, Miami’s coolest neighbourhood

Colourful murals on the side of Arlo Wynwood in Miami (Arlo Wynwood)
Colourful murals on the side of Arlo Wynwood in Miami (Arlo Wynwood)

This inner-city district used to be a mere day-trip, a cab’s ride from the beachside suburbs of Florida’s most glamorous city to see eight-foot walls streaked with street art. Now, it’s becoming fully fleshed out, with apartment buildings, brunch spots, huge outdoor bar terraces and cult food trucks. Many of the small businesses you’ll eat, drink and shop at here are woman-and minority-owned, with a big nod to the Latinx population of Magic City. As of November 2022, Wynwood also has its own colourful boutique hotel, the Arlo, complete with swanky rooftop pool to lounge on between art fixes.

A 30-minute bus from tourist magnet Miami Beach, and close to the airport, this artsy district is great as a base for a wider city break, or a night or two of a longer stay – perhaps your last stop before catching your flight home. Stay here and you’ll be first out onto a cutting-edge art and dining scene, the one locals flock to from more residential neighbourhoods all around. Best of all is simply strolling around, camera in hand, photographing the street life and dazzlingly bright urban art.


Wynwood Walls

The colourful hues of Wynwood Walls (Lucy Thackray)
The colourful hues of Wynwood Walls (Lucy Thackray)

This is the venue that put Wynwood on the map – an outdoor art gallery made up of 40-foot murals, hand-sprayed by some of the best street artists from all over the globe. Stand back to appreciate Brit Dan Kitchener (aka DanK)’s Tokyo streetscape, all shimmering wet pavements and clashing umbrellas. Pick out the artist behind Obama’s iconic “Hope” campaign poster, and learn about the gang culture that inspired Florida native Michael Vasquez – QR codes on each mural link you to background info and behind-the-scenes videos of walls being painted. Don’t miss the gift shops with its coffee table books, graffiti-inspired merch and cute tote bags.

Museum of Graffiti

Don’t assume this covers more of the same ground (or walls) as the above – the world’s first Museum of Graffiti is dedicated to the down-to-earth roots of urban graffiti artists; meanwhile, the Walls are dedicated to the most ambitious and creative of street artists, showing how spray paint can be elevated. The MoG namechecks some of the punk artists who fell foul of the law or even lost lives in the pursuit of the perfect spray-can creation – check out the visitor toilets for an immersive experience surrounded by tags. Look to the wall nearest the exit for a large-scale visual representation of Wynwood over the years, showing how it went from thriving textiles production quarter to abandoned ghost town, to street-art central.

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Paradox Museum

Kids will love this madcap exhibition, dedicated to optical illusions with a strong Instagram slant. Here you can “hang upside down” from a seemingly floating purple house, be suspended in mid-air above an endless drop and even raise a cocktail with four clones of yourself, thanks to neatly placed mirrors and carefully crafted stages. In between are genuinely unsettling mirror mazes and the science behind every eye-tricking illusion you can think of – a sneaky bit of education along with your hilarious holiday photos.


Back Door Monkey

Wynwood specialises in odd, themed and downright edgy dining joints – and BDM is no exception, with a light guerrilla-warfare theme and a full-sized tank, plus model monkeys, at its centre. Tuck into great sushi rolls and sticky pork belly bites along with Far-East-inspired cocktails in a blacked-out, nightclubby dining room – try the brandy-infused It Was All A Dream cocktail for a good hit of peach and citrus.


This down-to-earth brunch spot is housed in a 1930s house on a residential street, giving it the vibe of being hosted by a local family. And in a way, you are: owner Barclay Grabner is a local mother of six, who named the restaurant after her eldest daughter and her mother’s maiden name. Join the locals who drive for miles to park up here at weekends, sitting out on its fan-cooled veranda to tuck into southern fried chicken and biscuits, the house “voluptuous cheese toastie” and inventive smoothies.


This elegant Mediterranean hangout is the one that summons Miamians from their apartments in posher Brickell or the Arts District, booking big tables to share plates of hot and cold mezze inspired by Greek and Turkish kitchens. Piquant muhammara dip, charcoal-grilled octopus, truffle-slicked pide flatbreads – the order of the day here is peppery, smoky, zingy and zesty fare you’ll be dying to squeeze a lemon over. It’s also eminently veggie-friendly.


Cerveceria La Tropical

Wynwood has more than one craft brewery, but we loved the fresh, citrussy lagers at this petite maker, which has its own small bar and terrace. You can book a brewery tour or simply sit down for your own impromptu tasting – La Original is a light amber lager full of fizz and a hint of pineapple, while fans of a maltier brew should go for the Tropilina. Look out for cans with pretty designs created by local artists.

The Deck at Wynwood Marketplace

Faux-grass-lined outdoor venue Wynwood Marketplace turns into a raucous street party by night, with food trucks, pop-up bars and stages headlined by local DJs. At its centre is The Deck, serving punchy cocktails with names such as “The Floor is Guava”. It’s a young crowd, but welcoming of all ages, so take a shot, wear your brightest neons, and join in.

Higher Ground

This mellow cocktail bar is hidden on the third floor of the Arlo Wynwood hotel, so there’s an exclusive, if-you-know-you-know feel to it – but it’s open to all. Sit under criss-crossing festoon lights on the balmy outdoor deck, the benches and bars of which are painted with bright motifs to reflect the murals of the wider district. Inventive cocktails are based upon unusual Latin American finds such as the corn juice chicha morada, homemade on site, with lashings of mezcal and tequila. Open Thursday to Sunday.

Read more: How to experience Cuba in Miami

Where to shop

NW 2nd Avenue is the main drag for both shopping and bars – designer sunglasses, swimwear boutiques and streetwear stores dominate, but there are some alternative jewellery and crystal stores to keep things independent. Go from early afternoon at the weekend to find it buzzing with locals.


The pastel and neon-toned beachwear in this boutique’s window will catch your eye, if the candy-pink facade and white car in the window don’t do it first. It’s a local and female-owned business which employs artisans in India and Peru to tailor its distinctive kaftans, sundresses, T-shirts and knitwear. Beading, fringing and crochet bring a hippie-chic feel to bright Miami shades – you’ll feel right at home wearing these to the beach.


This slickly curated, homegrown menswear shop – with a name that stands for Oh F**k Yeah – has a pared-back selection of sunglasses, satchels and shirts for the modern man. Its clothes are ethically produced in the US, and the shop has a cool, earthy look with unvarnished pine and houseplants as you slip into its cool confines from the city heat.

Wynwood Kollective

This tiny indie store is equal parts artist-makers and hippie-dippy – expect to find crystal talismans, beaded jewellery, handmade soaps, locally-woven bags, essential oil blends and everything in between. Great for supporting small businesses in one souvenir-shopping spree.


Arlo Wynwood

The rooftop pool at Arlo Wynwood, Miami (Arlo Wynwood)
The rooftop pool at Arlo Wynwood, Miami (Arlo Wynwood)

This newcomer to the neighbourhood isn’t just the final seal of approval on Wynwood – declaring don’t just pop in, stay over! – it also fits right into the district, with its storeys-high murals in vivid, ravey colours. There’s a sceney rooftop pool with candy-striped umbrellas and a tequila-pouring bar, a grab-and-go coffee shop for busy mornings, and even a swanky restaurant in MaryGold’s, garnering buzz with its must-try brioche with honey butter and French onion burger loaded with melting comte cheese. Thought-provoking art catches your eye on every wall and your key card gets you free entry or money off to a series of local galleries and attractions. Daily yoga sessions on the outdoor terrace are worth an early alarm.

Hampton Inn Design District

The Arlo is the first hotel to open in Wynwood proper, but you could also stay in the developing residential area of Midtown Miami, a walk away. With an LA vibe courtesy of a shopping complex, brunch restaurants and plenty of locals jogging or walking tiny dogs, it has a Hampton Inn with basic but smart business-travel rooms, a 25-minute walk from Wynwood Walls.

Getting there

Trying to fly less?

It’s a lengthy journey to get to the US from Europe flight-free, but not impossible. Look into cargo ship routes from Le Havre (France) and Rotterdam (Netherlands).

Fine with flying?

Virgin Atlantic flies to Miami daily from London Heathrow, with fares from £421 return.

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