By Sharon Stello
Once a run-down set of shuttered factories—reminders of its former life as a manufacturing district—Wynwood has gained attention for its artful reinvention, transforming these neglected buildings into dozens of galleries, performance spaces and eclectic eateries. This neighborhood, together with nearby Edgewater, a rapidly emerging community with million-dollar views along Biscayne Bay, is worth more than just a passing glance.
Nestled between the Design District’s upscale shops to the north and downtown Miami to the south, Edgewater skirts the water on one side and Wynwood on the other; a railroad track cuts a diagonal border between the two communities. The west side of the tracks is home to arts and fashion districts and the famous Wynwood Walls. These massive murals started as a project in 2009, sparking the area’s revitalization, while Art Basel Miami Beach, which returns Dec. 3-6, has helped encourage the neighborhood’s development as a creative center.
Moving toward the coast, high-rise luxury condo buildings are popping up in previously blighted Edgewater, which also features a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard, a major thoroughfare filled with restaurants and shops. Along this corridor, Miami Modern—MiMo, for short—architecture is represented by landmarks such as the Bacardi Building (the rum company’s former headquarters) at 21st Street. Meanwhile, thriving Latin American and Puerto Rican communities can be found in Edgewater and Wynwood, weaving a rich tapestry of culture and history amid the growth and development, making this area of the city a multilayered region ready for exploration. Here are the top 10 sights to see when visiting:
1. “Lagniappe is a very laid-back restaurant with a wonderful wine and craft beer selection,” says Jorge Rocha, chef concierge at Viceroy Miami. “The place looks like they pulled it right out of New Orleans. This is one place to go with a group of friends or a romantic date.” (3425 N.E. Second Ave.; 305-576-0108; lagniappehouse.com)
2. “Make sure to stop by Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop & Cafe,” says Fernando Pochulu, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Miami. This firefighter learned to bake at the age of 15 and decided to open his own shop. Baked to perfection (as expected from a man that controls fire as a part-time job), Derek has some of the best cheesecake and Key lime pies in Miami.” (2818 N. Miami Ave.; 786-449-2517; firemanderekspies.com)
3. R House fuses an art gallery, music venue, restaurant and lounge, according to Pochulu. It’s the perfect spot for those looking for local disc jockeys and a drink menu that includes fruit-infused vodka martinis. American, Mediterranean, Asian and Latin influences combine for a menu with everything from yellowfin tuna tartare to Brazilian seafood moqueca. (2727 N.W. Second Ave.; 305-576-0201; rhousewynwood.com)
4. All are welcome at Wood Tavern, which seems right at home in free-spirited Wynwood. “Craft brews and cocktails are a fixture of the outdoor picnic tables and won’t break the bank,” says Tatsiana Dubrouskaya, head concierge at Sagamore, The Art Hotel. (2531 N.W. Second Ave; 305-748-2828; woodtavernmiami.com)
5. Wynwood Walls began in 2009 as a venture to transform the district’s windowless warehouses into a canvas for underappreciated graffiti and street art. “This street art center defines Miami’s creative community and has established the city as a mecca for artists and art lovers alike,” Dubrouskaya says. (2520 N.W. Second Ave.; thewynwoodwalls.com)
6. “Centrally located in the … Edgewater area of Miami, Core Fitness Miami uses … innovative methods,” says Felipe Toro, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami. “From personal training [to] athlete training and group training, Core Fitness has separated themselves from this competitive market. Test your body and energy levels with personalized or boot camp-type training to give you the extra motivation needed.” (162 N.E. 25th St.; 305-428-2642; corefitnessmiami.com)
7. “Bunbury in Wynwood … [is a] small and charming little shop,” says Melany Ramsay, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. “[It offers] a wide variety of wines you can pick straight from the shelf and accompany with great tapas [and] cheese platters.” (2200 N.E. Second Ave.; 305-333-6929)
8. “An art gallery that is definitely worth visiting is the Diana Lowenstein Gallery,” Ramsay says. “… We are very fortunate to have some beautiful pieces displayed in The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. … But in order to get a true eye-opening experience, it is necessary to go to the gallery and explore the incredible works firsthand.” (2043 N. Miami Ave.; 305-576-1804; dianalowensteingallery.com)
9. “City Hall the Restaurant offers great American comfort food,” Rocha says. “It is a great option before an event at the Arsht Center. You can have light appetizers and drinks, or a full meal.” (2004 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-764-3130; cityhalltherestaurant.com)
10. Bin No. 18 Bistro & Wine Bar is a popular place to stop before and after art gallery walks and shows in Miami Beach,” says Mariana Malek, chef concierge at Trump International Beach Resort. “In addition to a wide variety of beer and wine, Bin No. 18 presents what it calls market-fresh “roadside European cuisine” including handmade pasta as well as cheese and charcuterie boards. (1800 Biscayne Blvd.; 786-235-7575; bin18miami.com)