Miami Art Walks & Design District

Wynwood’s Art Walk. The decaying warehouses within a devastated neighborhood make you begin to wonder if your night-time trek may have been a mistake. But as you find your destination and step from your ride, you take a peek into one of the doors to find vivid colors splashing on the walls bright lights, music, and the chatter of voices confirming you are indeed in the right place.

The History of Wynwood hasn’t always been the center of the innovative art that pulses today. Past years saw it as a warehouse and apparel district. What is now a gigantic Mid-Town complex used to be a train yard. When shipping by rail disappeared, the area became blighted and an attempt at walking through Wynwood invited at worst, grave danger and the very least…total boredom.

The resurgence of the arts began in Miami Beach, but because of increasing real estate pricing, the majority of artists and their galleries moved toward the mainland near 40th Street and North Miami Avenue. It was here the Miami Design District was born. But as this area became over-priced as well, the cost of supporting most galleries could not be sustained. The “bleeding edge” art community migrated to the old and worn warehouses of Wynwood where ceilings were vaulted and high and the rents were low and reasonable.

The Origin of Art Walk

In the years before Wynwood became popular, one of the local investors and the principal of Lombardi properties, David Lombardi developed the idea of having art parties within his Wynwood properties and called them Roving Fridays. Increasing the value of his buildings, his inspiration soon became what would eventually be called Wynwood Art Walks. Although it had slowed down, the Design District had been doing an art walk for a few years.

But with the development of Wynwood by several art galleries, Wynwood began its Art walk that was originally set for the first Saturday of the month. It was eventually decided that both Wynwood and the Design District should combine their art walks on the same night. And so, Second Saturdays were born.

Only a few brave souls made it to the Wynwood walk in the early days.

Maybe a dozen people on the street might rush from one gallery to the next. The streets were dark and the police presence was nonexistent. But even under those conditions, people began realizing the potential of Wynwood. While at that time it was a bit unnerving to venture from one gallery to the next, today, not so much.

The Galleries Changing and innumerable galleries line the streets of the Wynwood district today. Many come and go faster than nightclubs in South Beach but some are flourishing. They present an interesting array of art. Hundreds of art connoisseurs squeeze into the galleries to enjoy the creations that are flowing through the area. Of course, some come to enjoy the complementary alcohol offered by some of the galleries.

It’s so difficult to make a specific recommendation of who to visit during the Wynwood Art Walk since each is representative of a broad array of artistic statements and styles. One person might find something that is completely bourgeois while the person standing next to them will find the same piece intellectually stimulating Two of the oldest galleries in Wynwood are Damien B Art Center and Bernice Steinbaum. However, Frederic Snitzer is also well-established. And, all have spent the last several years presenting incredible thought-provoking art to Miami.

If your passion is in Pop ArtThe Harold Golen Gallery is the place to go. Pan-American Art Projects and the MAC Art Group are pushing the northern boundary of the District. While simultaneously, Artformz Alternatives and Hardcore Art Contemporary Space prefer to push aesthetic rather than geographical boundaries. Edge Zones is off the beaten path but always serves plenty of food and beverages. Seeming to cater to the young and upcoming artists, it’s worth the trek across Miami Avenue to see what they have today.

During Art Walk, most of the galleries provide complimentary alcohol and occasionally snacks to enhance your experience. If you wish to partake you should get there early because with the volume of crowds lately, the goodies run out quickly.

Miami’s Design District
IN SHORT: Embracing the essence of the Miami Design District, let’s dial in on that unmistakable blend of creativity, luxury, and vibrant street life. Picture this: you’re not just visiting a neighborhood; you’re stepping into the very heartbeat of Miami’s cultural resurgence. It’s where art, fashion, and gastronomy don’t just meet—they tango in the streets, under the watchful eyes of historic Buena Vista’s palm trees. Imagine wandering down those bustling avenues, from North 36th to North 43rd Street, with every turn presenting a kaleidoscope of Michelin-star-worthy eats, boutiques that redefine luxury, and galleries that captivate your soul. This place? It’s not just about the visual feast for the eyes; it’s about sinking your teeth into the rich, cultural fabric of Miami. And let’s talk about those gems tucked in every corner. We’re diving into a world where every meal could lead to a story worth telling, where the architecture isn’t just buildings but landmarks of a thriving artistic movement, and where every antique shop holds a treasure waiting to be discovered. The Design District isn’t merely a spot on the map; it’s a journey through creativity and luxury, with the Craig Robins Collection and ICA Miami adding that intellectual zest to your adventure. This is your open invite to the Miami Design District, a call to immerse yourself in a narrative that’s constantly unfolding. Here, the essence of Miami’s culture, style, and architectural beauty isn’t just seen; it’s experienced. So, if you’re all about embracing that creative and luxurious lifestyle, the Design District is where you need to be. It’s where Miami’s heart beats the loudest, and believe me, you want to be right there, feeling its rhythm.

More staid and stodgy, The Design District is older than Wynwood. Greatly renovated and far less “sketchy“, most businesses within the Design District are for interior design, but a lot of them do dabble in the arts. The most notable of these is Art Fusion Galleries where they host a wonderful supply of wine and live music while you peruse their art.

AE District is a newcomer with a lot of enthusiasm. Their display of some truly amazing and delightful works of art, while live music plays in the background, is sheltered in a large open space. New to the area and specializing in high-end fine art, Wolfgang Roth hosts a more sedate crowd. CityLoftArt and Luminaire Lab are two galleries you simply must see during your visit to the walk.

Additionally, within the design district are two galleries called Locust Projects and Spinello Gallery.

the sparkling miami design district
The sparkling Miami Design District

Locust Projects is not-for-profit and presents avant-garde installations. Moving up to the design district from Wynwood is Locust Projects. Spinello is a genius gallerist whose exhibits always generate good sales and great excitement. While originally also located in Wynwood, Spinello’s Locust Projects don’t seem to fit in with the sober sensibility of the Design District. While there, Cabana Cachaca lounge is a requirement for all the free alcohol you can stand in line for.

Catering to the younger crowds, step off the routine paths to visit O. H.W. O.W. (Our House West Of Wynwood) and the brand-new Stash Gallery. Both are recommended.

Art Walk’s Dining and Nightlife

Only a few years ago, the art walks were relatively short lasting only two or three hours. Today they start as early as 6 PM and can, for some galleries, go as late as midnight. To be able to see a substantial portion of what’s available, you’re going to need all that time. And, of course, with all that walking you’re bound to get hungry.

If you’re not able to snag any of the free snacks or drinks, when you reach the north end of Wynwood, on 36th Street, stop in at Lost and Found Saloon for some reasonably priced and really good, fresh food. From the restaurant, you can go to Damien B and Bernice Steinbaum. On 32nd St., you should consider stopping by the Bakehouse Art Complex where, occasionally, they do a cookout to support a deserving cause. A restaurant that has made a bold move into the heart of the Wynwood district is Joey’s.

The Fly's Eye Dome between the 38st and 39st
The Fly’s Eye Dome between the 38th and 39th

On the higher end of casual dining, the food and service are excellent. If, after visiting more galleries you get hungry but don’t want to stop your art walk, visit the Fifi Gallery, where they’ve opened their little café in the backyard of their gallery. The food is prepared by the owners and their friends, it’s inexpensive and fun.

Michael’s Genuine always is an excellent place for food quality, but it is pricey.

If you’re in the mood to part with a little more case, the place for that is Michael’s Genuine which always gets high marks for food quality, but you do pay for it. Still ready to party after hours of traipsing all over the barrio? There are a few places that claim to have after-parties for the art walks.

None are official, but a new scene is called Warehouse. Part art gallery, part performance space, part empty, the evenings there are hit or miss so far, but eventually they will establish themselves and things will begin to look up.

With interesting acts, free alcohol, and a smoke-free environment, they are a great place to party.

The closest actual nightclub Electric Pickle usually has several live artsy bands and DJ music after Art Walk. It’s a great place to go for an after-party vibe. Currently making its transition to artistic innovation from a blighted area, you can see Wynwood’s progression on the second Saturday of every month during the Art Walk.

Where to Stay at the Miami Design District

Exploring the vibrant heart of Miami’s artistic and architectural innovation, the Miami Design District emerges as a must-visit destination, seamlessly blending the allure of Michelin-starred dining, luxury shopping, and a rich tapestry of contemporary art and culture. This enclave, reminiscent of European cityscapes, invites you to wander its streets, where the fusion of high fashion and groundbreaking design creates an experience unlike any other in Miami.

Though the Miami Design District itself is known more for its residential charm than its hotel offerings, those in search of an authentic local experience will find themselves at home in one of the many exquisite private residences available for short-term rental. These unique stays allow visitors to immerse themselves in the district’s vibrant lifestyle, living as locals amongst the art and elegance. For those preferring a more conventional stay, nearby Downtown Miami and the Miami Mid Beach offer a range of accommodations (suggested if you are luxury fans), with convenient transport links bringing the Design District within easy reach.

Suite in the Miami Design District

Hyde Suites Midtown Miami

Nestled in the heart of the Design District, Hyde Suites Midtown Miami offers a blend of luxury and convenience with its tennis court, outdoor pool, and poolside bar. Just a stone’s throw from major art centers and museums, it’s an ideal base for those looking to explore the artistic heart of Miami.

Art Deco Villa Heated Pool Jacuzzi in the Miami Design District

Art Deco Villa with Heated Pool and Jacuzzi

For a more private experience, this Art Deco villa offers a serene oasis with its heated pool, jacuzzi, and lush garden, providing a peaceful retreat just minutes from the bustling streets of the Design District and the sandy beaches of Miami.


Amazing 2 Bed in Midtown with Rooftop Pool

This modern holiday home boasts not only a rooftop pool but also a prime location within the Design District, offering panoramic city views, a fully equipped kitchen, and the convenience of free parking – a perfect choice for families or small groups.

Journeying to the Design District

Navigating from Miami Beach to the Design District is straightforward, offering a blend of convenience, efficiency, and affordability. Here’s everything you need to know to make your journey smooth: By Bus: For a budget-friendly option, take the Line 36 bus via Lincoln Rd & Washington Ave. This route not only offers a scenic glimpse of the area but also gets you to the Design District in about 30 minutes for roughly $3. Buses are frequent, with around 480 services weekly, but do check the schedule as weekends and holidays might see variations. By Taxi: If you’re looking for a quicker option, a taxi will whisk you to the Design District in about 10 minutes. This convenience comes at a higher cost, around $20, but it’s a direct route without the waits.

For guests staying along Collins Avenue, particularly in the hotels located in the mid-beach area, the Design District is remarkably accessible. You’re just a short drive away via the 41st Street to the Julia Tuttle Causeway (I195). This route makes it incredibly easy to combine the luxury of beachfront accommodation with the upscale shopping, dining, and cultural experiences of the Design District. Opting for a cab can streamline your day, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds without the hassle of parking or navigating through traffic.

As you plan your visit to the Miami Design District, remember that it’s more than just a destination; it’s an immersion into a lifestyle where art, architecture, and fashion converge. Whether staying in luxurious hotels on Collins Avenue, or a private villa right to the design district or exploring the seamless blend of outdoor and indoor spaces, your time in the Design District promises to be an unforgettable chapter in your Miami adventure.

Inside Miami Beach


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