Miami Design District and Wynwood neighborhood guide

Get to know the Miami Design District and Wynwood with our neighborhood guide to the area’s best blocks and attractions

Photograph: Dan Forer
Miami Light Project at the Light Box Theatre in Wynwood, Miami

The Miami Design District
While South Beach is still a destination with a capital D, coolhunters are now also venturing into once-forbidden neighborhoods across the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Formerly best avoided, the Design District and Wynwood (along with Little Haiti and now the Upper East Side) are enjoying a renaissance.

Filling a grid of a mere five streets (NE 36th to NE 41st Street) by two (NE 2nd Avenue to N Miami Avenue), the Design District is vastly out of proportion with its influence on the arts and culture scene.

The area started as a pineapple grove, and evolved into what became known as Decorators' Row during the building boom of the early 1920s, when home-design stores lined its streets. The neighborhood fell on hard times in the late '80s, when crime drove many businesses north. It's not yet perfectly polished, but it's getting there. As its name attests, the area still attracts the type of tenants it enjoyed during its heyday: Fine furnishings and kitchen and bathroom showrooms.

Where there's design, there's usually art, and galleries occupy many premises here. Thanks to developer and art collector Craig Robins, a South Beach pioneer who also owns about 40 percent of the Design District's property, a good deal of public art (most of it created by locals) is also on display. Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar's zany open-air Living Room, complete with couch, lamps and curtains, is on the corner of NE 40th Street and N Miami Avenue.

The majestic 1921 Moore Building (4040 NE 2nd Avenue, at NE 40th Street) is the historical heart of the district. Originally a furniture showroom, it's now the retail home to interior designer and potter extraordinaire Jonathan Adler (305 576 0200) and a rentable space for special events and parties (many of which happen during Art Basel). Complementing the art and design are food and drink. Pick of the bunch is sleek foodie favorite Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.

South of the Design District is Wynwood (which is more clunkily known as the Wynwood Arts District). Running all the way to the northern fringes of Downtown, it's an area roughly bounded by NE 2nd Avenue to the east, I-95 to the west, I-395 to the south and NE 36th to the north.

Formerly a working-class area with a large Puerto Rican population, Wynwood is one of the city's newest trendy neighborhoods. Many of its erstwhile factories and warehouses are now inhabited by creative types—more than 50 galleries, artist's studios, art complexes, private collections and museums call the district home. The proximity of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts can only help to hasten the gentrification process.

Area pioneers include the Rubell Family Collection and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, home to photography, video, sculpture and installations. But for many, the area’s centerpiece is the stunning Wynwood Walls, the city's only outdoor street art park. Located on NW 2nd Avenue between NW 25th and 26th Streets, the Walls are home to more than 40 murals from a roster of world-renowned artists, including Shepard Fairey, Ryan McGuinness, Kenny Scharf, How and Nosm, Faile, Retna, the Date Farmers and Liqen.