Where we’re at: I’m recapping my summer of 2018, which included this trip to Florida in July. In other news: we’ve added new Wander Women Retreats — don’t miss them!
While I was checking off dream neighborhoods, I certainly couldn’t pass up the chance to finally visit Wynwood, the street art-swirled Brooklyn of Miami.
As our Uber from South Beach drew closer, we noticed an increasing concentration of colorful murals until there was nary a bare wall in sight. Also spotted? Unique local restaurants, a DJI drone store, offbeat dive bars, craft breweries and one-of-a-kind boutiques. I had a feeling I was going to like this place.
After much careful deliberation, we’d signed up for the Best of Wynwood: Street Art and Gallery Tour, which appealed to us because it is led by an actual Miami native Wynwood artist, and because it takes in not just the ubiquitous street art of the area, but also some funky local galleries.
But first, fuel! We settled on lunch at the Wynwood Kitchen + Bar, one of a dozen places we were seriously tempted by. If you sit outside, you’re literally overlooking the official Wynwood Walls (the term is used casually for all the murals in the area, but also refers to an “official” sanctioned area called Wynwood Walls where there are curated works by top artists).
While it feels like we kind of couldn’t have gone wrong in Wynwood, this was an excellent choice — great service, a fun menu, and tasty cocktails to kick off the day.
Of course, you guys know by now I always leave room for desert, right? One of my top travel habits — and I can hear my real life travel companions laughing as I write this, ha — is immediately searching “name of destination + artisanal donut shop” when traveling somewhere. Sugar industry, you got me good!
Miami didn’t disappoint in this department! The Salty Donut was just the creative frosted fix we needed before setting off on our tour. And if you’re not headed to Wynwood (in which case, reconsider) they also have a South Beach location.
Our tour meeting location was Wynwood Shop, a chic little boutique with works from all kinds of local makers and shakers. Our guide found us mid-browse, and let us know we’d lucked into a private tour.
Together we set off on our ninety minute walking tour of arguably one of the most vibrant destinations in Miami.
I was quickly reminded why I love street art tours and have taken them everywhere from Saint Pete to São Paulo — not only are you taken down alleys and to hidden corners of creativity you’d likely miss otherwise, you also get to hear the stories behind the artists and their work, which just adds a whole new layer of meaning. We learned the techniques and inspirations behind the works we were admiring, as well as which we were from established artists and which were gambles by up-and-coming talent.
And of course, our conversation wasn’t just contained to art. We peppered our guide with questions about what it was like growing up in Miami, what it’s been like watching the area change as it went from derelict warehouse district to up-and-coming area to hip, happening, and having very much arrived. Our guide was a bit jaded but it kind of went with the whole tortured artist in a once counter-cutural, now gentrifying area thing, so we got it.
Our colorful route brought us down many side streets, under overpasses, through parking lots, and into cutting edge galleries. Can you believe there are over seventy galleries and museums here?
We ended at the most famous walls of them all, the Wynwood Walls, in which purposely sanctioned walls have become official outdoor canvases. They were incredible and of course I’m glad we saw them, but they were far from my favorite works of art. All of Wynwood is like an open-air museum.
After bidding out guide goodbye, Ian and I took some of his suggestions for the best boutiques to window shop in and wandered around a bit more. It was the middle of the summer heat and we had much of the streets to ourselves — our guide had told us it was the slowest time of the year for tours.
No better time for ice cream, right? Wynwood is lousy with cute little scoop shops. We randomly wandered into Dasher and Crank, but there are several that are tempting me back for next time.
I don’t know if it was the heat or the pressures of Insta-tography, but Ian suddenly seemed to kick up his modeling game. Aaaand, that’s when I knew it was time for a drink.
Luckily, our guide had pointed out Gramps, which hit the perfect blend of dive bar vibes, lounge cocktail list, and brewery level craft beers. At night, there’s pizza served in the garden outside, and a rotating calendar of bands, DJs, karaoke, trivia, bingo, and comedy. Don’t miss their happy hour weekdays from 4-7PM — this would definitely be our local if we lived here!
Considering how “made for me” status it is, it’s kind of wild it took me three trips to Miami to get to Wynwood. Now that I finally made it here though? I can’t imagine ever coming back to the city without at least popping by here — or maybe even making it home base.
Read next: My Ultimate Weekend Guide to Miami!
Have you been to Wynwood? Are you into street art tours?
I took this tour as part of a compensated photography assignment with Viator. I was not asked to write a review on my blog but had a great time and wanted to share it with you!