Last updated: 8th January 2022
Whilst we were staying in South Beach, Miami we spent a day in the Wynwood neighbourhood. Located a short hop from downtown Miami, Wynwood is considered the best place in the world to see street art. We can tell you it sure is! Garth being a graphic designer has wanted to visit for years, so he was super excited to explore the Miami graffiti art scene. In this post we’ll show you how to see the best of Miami’s street art with a graffiti golf cart tour around the Wynwood walls neighbourhood and warehouses.
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Wynwood Street Art Miami – The World’s Capital of Urban Art
Street art has transformed this once no-go area of Miami from a neglected industrial district into a vibrant and colourful neighbourhood. It was the idea of Tony Goldman an American property developer who saw the potential of using warehouse’s white walls as canvases. In 2009 Goldman brought together 12 artists to paint the ‘Wynwood Walls’ – the street art in Miami movement was born.
Wynwood now attracts the world’s top graffiti and street artists, especially in December for the annual Art Basel – a modern arts festival. Every year the murals constantly change and evolve into new works of art.
The best place to start is at the Wynwood Walls. It’s a museum and an outdoor street art gallery created by Tony Goldman. The Wynwood Walls is gated and has free admission. This is not a boring museum, it’s full of colourful graffiti with murals on doors and the walls of 6 buildings. The artworks and exhibitions change each year, if you’re into Instagram you’ll be in heaven as there’s no shortage of cool backdrops.
We loved the Wynwood Walls, the murals, art and sculptures are so creative and vibrant. The quality is outstanding, these really are masterpieces of urban art.
We especially liked the exhibition on Eduardo Kobra his work is so striking. His portraits focus on famous historical figures like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Anne Frank which are brought to colourful life with his signature geometric patterns. Most of the Kobra exhibit was in the indoor gallery which has air conditioning – a welcome relief from the Florida heat!
If you want to learn more about the artists and the meanings behind the artwork then book and pay for an official tour on their website. Wynwood Walls also closes late at 11.30pm so you can always visit in the evenings. The restaurant here is nice too and their shop has lots of great arty gifts and books.
Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Tour
Outside the Wynwood Walls the surrounding streets offer even more amazing street art to discover. This is the best way to see the graffiti and street art is to take a small group tour like we did. The Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Tour cost us £30 each and it was awesome, worth every penny (the buggy seats 5 paying customers).
Our guide Sara Molano was just amazing, she’s so passionate and knowledgable about Wynwood’s street art. Sara is an artist and partner of street artist Luis Valle. She gave us a much deeper understanding of the murals and the gentrification of Wynwood.
Sara whizzed us around various streets and alleyways, it was so much fun! We just kept saying ‘WOW’ it’s so hard not to. We had no idea just how impressive these urban artworks would be. They are incredible to look at because every piece is so bold, dramatic and creative. Garth was really inspired by the kaleidoscope of colour everywhere. Phil was surprised how many pieces were thought provoking.
It’s a shame that some pieces of art only last a few weeks, whilst others might last years but that’s the nature of street art. Sara told us the murals that have a strong environmental message tend to stay around longer.
Sara explained how artists create huge pieces of work by using either projections to trace over, large stencils or simply go freehand. We learnt about the signature styles of certain artists from around the world and how most are respected and others less so. It’s interesting how every inch of a wall is covered. Doorways, air-conditioning units are painted, nothing is left bare. There’s also a real sense of community in Wynwood – artists help each other out with materials and equipment.
Turning another corner we saw what looked like a music video being filmed with some gorgeous Thunderbird cars, very cool.
The golf buggy was an excellent way to cover some distance in a relatively short amount of time. We were gutted it was all over after an hour, we could easily have done it for longer. We’ll just have to come back and do it again and see all the new murals.
We’ve been to other cities that have street art scenes like Berlin, Manchester or Shoreditch in London, but Wynwood is an another level. Wynwood has one serious amount of street art, just incredible and beautiful too.
List Famous Miami Graffiti Artists
Here’s all the artists that feature in the photographs on this page:
- Martin Whatson – from Norway.
- Ron English – from Illinois, USA.
- Sipros Naberezny – from São Paulo, Brazil.
- Tristan Eaton – from Los Angeles, USA.
- My Dog Sighs – from the UK.
- Felipe Pantone – from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Arlin Graff – from Brazil.
- Bikismo – from Puerto Rico.
- David Walker – from London, UK.
- Dasic Fernández – from Santiago, Chile.
- Queen Andrea – New York City, USA.
- David Choe – from Los Angeles, USA.
- Alec Monopoly – from the USA.
- Adrian Avila – from Los Angeles, USA.
- Nick Napoletano – from the USA.
- Shepard Fairey – from Charleston, USA.
- Retna – from Los Angeles, USA.
- Alexis Diaz – from Puerto Rico.
- Vhils – from Lisbon, Portugal.
- Tavar Zawacki – from California, USA.
- Ruben Ubiera – from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
- WhatIsADam – from Montreal, Canada.
- Tats Cru – group of artists from New York City, USA.
- D*Face – from London, UK.
- AEC Interesni Kazki – from the Ukraine.
- Tomokazu Matsuyama – from Japan.
- Kenny Scharf – from Los Angeles, USA.
When you’re ready for a break Wynwood also offers an array of nice cafes, craft breweries with bars, bakeries, boutique shops and small art galleries. This is where Miami’s hip crowd hang out. We loved the coffee at Panther Coffee and the sweet craft beers in the Star Wars themed J Wakefield Brewing. We ended our day with mojito cocktails at the casual Miami Mojito Company tiki bar.
Wynwood Practical Information & Useful Advice
Phil and Garth’s Top 5 Wynwood Tips
- Tip #1: Give yourself about 3-4 hours to leisurely explore the area or more if you’re into art and design.
- Tip #2: Wear bright colours for taking photographs, not neutral coloured clothes like we did!
- Tip #3: Some streets further away from the Wynwood Walls aren’t safe. A tour is the safest way to see all the streets.
- Tip #4: Take sunscreen and water with you, the Florida sun is scorching hot.
- Tip #5: Visit during the week for less crowds. Weekends are busy.
How We Did It
- We paid $39 each for the Wynwood Golf Cart Buggy Tour, you can book it on their website or Tripadvisor.
- Full list of all available street art tours, including walking tours are on Wynwood’s official website.
- We used Uber to get around from South Beach to Wynwood.
- We stayed at The Avalon, Miami Beach on Ocean Boulevard.