Wynwood, Miami is famous for one very big reason: art! Between the largest art festival in the world and the hundreds of murals around the neighborhood, it’s easy to see why. Wynwood has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit – especially to see the newest street art. But, there’s more to Wynwood than the art. So I’m here to share with you what to do in Wynwood and neighboring Little Havana. There’s something for everyone!
Where to Find Street Art in Wynwood
The obvious answer? EVERYWHERE! Seriously. Walk or drive down any street in the heart of Wynwood and you’ll be surrounded by artwork. Look up, look down, look around… it’s everywhere. From the expected building murals to the unexpected sidewalk messages and telephone pole stickers, there’s artwork in every spot.
The center of it all is Wynwood Walls – a place specifically dedicated to art. Wynwood Walls and its neighboring counterparts, Wynwood Garden & Wynwood Doors, are basically outdoor art museums for murals. Many of the pieces have interactive spots for you to sit or stand and make yourself a piece of the mural – perfect for those photo opps! This is also where you’ll find art by some of the most well-known international street artists, like Kobra, Okuda, and Inti.
An important thing to know about Wynwood Walls: check the hours! Unlike typical street murals, these ones are gated and only open on certain days at certain times. I was highly disappointed to show up on New Year’s Day without checking their hours…. and got stuck outside the gates without several other disappointed visitors. It should go without saying that the gates are closed after dark, but check for holiday schedules as well. One thing you don’t have to worry about? Money. It’s FREE to visit Wynwood Walls.
Inside Wynwood Walls you’ll also find art galleries where you can buy artwork for the artists on display. Hungry? Grab a bite at the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. Want a souvenir? There’s a shop for that too – you can get yourself some more affordable works by the artists like stickers or notebooks. Lastly, if you’re looking for a more in-depth experience, be sure to book a tour with one of the guides. You’ll get background information and stories about the artists and their work.
Every December, Wynwood is host to Art Basel, one of the biggest art fairs in the world. The event showcases hundreds of art galleries, featuring thousands of international artists. During the few days, Wynwood is booming more than you can even imagine. Tens of thousands of visitors come to see the artists and their work. Many of the most notable murals are painted during the festival. Streets are closed off for parties. It’s incredible.
Fun fact – the first time I visited Wynwood was during Art Basel and I didn’t even realize it. I was just driving around in my rental car, admiring the murals, when a cop stopped me. Luckily, I wasn’t in trouble or anything – he was just letting me know that I looked lost and the streets around me were closing. Oops!
While not terrible, parking can be a challenge – particularly during Art Basel. For the most part, you should be able to find street parking – without going too far from the walls. But, you’ll need to download the PayByPhone app or use the website. If you plan on being there for multiple days, it’s worth downloading the app and making an account. When you park on the street, make note of the zone you are in – you’ll need to enter it on the site. The good thing? You will get a text reminder when your paid time is almost up, and you can add more time remotely.
Wandering the streets looking at art all day is bound to make you hungry. Luckily, there are several great food options in town. Wynwood Diner always seems to draw me in, with its all-day breakfast that’s no surprise. The place has an eclectic vibe; we sat at a distressed poker table. The large windows are open, letting in a breeze to relieve you from the Miami heat.
The Salty Donut has some of the best donuts I’ve ever had – super creative flavors! Coyo Taco is great for street tacos and Mexican food. For drinks, check out Panther Coffee during the day and Shots for drinks in the evening.
As with any thriving city, Wynwood is home to several craft breweries. Two of them stand out – Wynwood Brewing and J. Wakefield Brewing.
Wynwood Brewing Company
Wynwood Brewing Company is Miami’s oldest craft brewery, and I dare say one of the best. Located in one of the side alleys of Wynwood, I was immediately drawn to the brewery because of the blaring latin music echoing down the street. I had to find out what was going on. Come to find out – it’s the place we didn’t know we were looking for! My husband had found his home, signified by the larger-than-life mural of a beer pint.
While the brewery is small, the flavors are large! The tap room has a bit of a retro vibe, and the space next door is filled with rotating food trucks/vendors. And the beer? Well, the beer is pretty great. I fell in love with the Arroz con Leche, representing the Cuban and Latin flavors that are so authentically Miami.
J. Wakefield Brewing
J. Wakefield Brewing is the beer geek haven. Truly. Why do I say that? Well, when you arrive at J. Wakefield, you’ll be in awe at the Star Wars mural decorating the front patio. Storm Troopers. Darth Vader. I knew we were in the right spot.
Inside, it only gets better. The biggest table in the taproom is a high-top with a carbonite Han Solo under the glass. Seriously! Another Star Wars mural covers the right wall – Luke, Leia, Yoda, Chewy, and others – drinking beers like they were right beside you.
Comic book fans will find some memorabilia to love as well – like Thor’s hammer behind the tap handles. Geeks and nerds alike can enjoy the beer names – Epirus Bow, Live and Let Brew, I Believe in a Thing Called Stout… My favorite? The El Jefe hefeweizen.
More Things to Do in Wynwood
If you have the time – and money – to see some attractions while you’re in Wynwood, here are a few worth visiting: The Museum of Graffiti, The Museum of Fashion, Unicorn Factory (for kids), and Paranoia Horror Maze (not for the faint of heart). Another must see: Wynwood Market Place – it’s full of arts & craft vendors and food pop-ups!
Not far from Wynwood – a short car drive – you’ll find Little Havana. What is Little Havana? Exactly what you think it is, it’s a piece of Cuba in the heart of Miami. That means it’s where you’ll find the most authentic Cuban food, drinks, and culture. Definitely worth a visit!
Walking down Calle Ocho (8th Street – the center of Little Havana), you’ll be surrounded by the smell of great food. Every restaurant in town boasts that they have the “best mojito” and the “best Cuban sandwich” – there’s only one way to find out! So make sure that you go hungry.
Make sure that you take note of the Cuban murals on the buildings, the stars of famous Latin celebrities on the sidewalk, and the music flowing out of the restaurants. Visit the shops for Cuban cigars, clothing, and souvenirs. If you’re there in the daytime, check out Domino Park and watch the old men play. That’s a piece I’m sad I missed!
Ball & Chain
Without a doubt, the most famous restaurant in Little Havana is Ball & Chain. And it’s easy to see why. The front of the entire place is open to the street. When you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the Caribbean, back in the early 1900s. The flowing drapes and wide fans accentuate the feeling.
The main bar takes up the center of the restaurant, but if you walk around and go to the back, you’ll find an outdoor patio. This is the place to be. The back patio has outdoor furniture, a second bar, and the best part – a stage with live music. If you’re visiting at night, you may see some salsa dancing!
While every place in Little Havana says that it has the best mojito in town, there was no way I could try them all. What I can tell you is that the mojito I had at Ball & Chain is the best one I’ve ever had. Try it for yourself!
When I told my friends we were going to Little Havana, they had one important recommendation – Azucar. The name comes from the Spanish word for sugar, and it is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! Azucar serves a long list of flavors of traditional Cuban ice cream. (While the wall shows dozens of options, they rotate flavors every day, so check the coolers to see what they have to serve.)
It would be a shame to visit Little Havana and not get some ice cream here. Do yourself a favor and get a unique flavor that you can’t find somewhere else. Try the mantecado (Cuban vanilla), mulatica (cinnamon oatmeal cookie), or platano maduro (sweet plantain) and lick it up before it melts!
Is Little Havana safe?
When I was researching things to do in Little Havana, I kept seeing questions about whether or not it was safe to visit. While not the perfect town of Pleasantville, there’s no need to be overly concerned. Practice your typical safety measures just like you would in any place you’re not familiar with. Be aware of your surrounding, especially at night, and travel with a friend whenever possible. Other than that, enjoy yourself!
Miami’s neighborhoods are bursting with culture
Wynwood and Little Havana are just two of several unique neighborhoods in Miami – each with their own cultures. Be sure to explore others! Plus, Wynwood is a place to visit often. Remember, street art doesn’t last forever! Between weather, construction, and new artwork, most of the murals only live for a short time. The silver lining? Each trip to Wynwood is unique and there is always something new to see – like the brand new Mandalorian and Baby Yoda mural! For now, check out these murals from 2017 that are no longer…
Now that you know what to do in Wynwood and Little Havana, you’re ready to plan your next trip to Miami! Now’s the time to check for deals on hotels and flights to Miami.