A Miami Must-See

This is the first time I’ve written since the new year so a very happy 2016 to you all! My fingers are a little cold, as it’s freezing in St. Louis, but hoping they’ll warm up with the subject matter at hand.

We were in Miami for the holidays visiting family and explored the coolest area… the Wynwood Art District, just north of downtown Miami and a stones throw from the much-hyped Design District. It’s park meets art gallery meets town square, the center of which are the Wynwood Walls- huge walls painted in colorful, crazy ways that surround a faux grass green. There’s a cafe in the center, The Wynwood Kitchen and Bar and a ton of people taking in the sights. The walls were erected in 2009, in a then-downtrodden warehouse district of Miami, where many artists had studios because rents were cheap. Graffiti littered the buildings, many were vacant…not a place you’d want to be found alone at night. You get the idea.

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Enter Goldman Properties led by Tony Goldman, a real estate developer and visionary with a penchant for the arts. He decided those empty warehouse buildings with little windows would make wonderful canvases for street and graffiti artists. He invited Shepherd Fairy, Tristan Eaton, Peter Tunney, Retna and other street artists from around the globe to decorate his walls. What was originally about a 1 square block section has grown exponentially in the last six years. It now includes the Wynwood Doors (smaller paintings done on garage-like doors) and spawned what they call Outside Wynwood, the murals that flank virtually every building for a roughly 5 block radius.Β  Goldman single handed-ly transformed this area that is now known as the Wynwood Arts District.Β  Thanks to these walls, businesses, restaurants and retail have flocked to the area, making what was once a seedy neighborhood a very hip, trendy part of town.

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A view from the gates.

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My kids, imitating the Walls.

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Above, one of the Wynwood Doors.

I was totally smitten and went back twice to make sure I saw everything. If you are headed to Miami, add it to your itinerary. Don’t have a trip planned? Maybe think about going in early December for Art Basel— that’s when the walls transform with new art and galleries from around the country stage pop up shops in Wynwood, showcasing the latest and greatest art from around the globe.

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Inside the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar.

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“Outside Wynwood,” the name given to the murals that adorn nearby businesses.

Where to eat: The Wynwood Diner. The atmosphere is better than the food, but worth it nonetheless. Ask for a table in the back and try one of their fun cocktails.

Where to drink: The Wynwood Brewery. A few blocks away from the Walls, but a good place to try a flight of beers and grab a growler as souvenir.

Where to shop: Plant the Future, a greenhouse like you’ve never seen before, they create living art and plant arrangements. Illesteva, the trendy eyewear brand has a million options to try on. Can’t do that online…

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