Wynwood Walls: History, Art, & Visitor Info

Wynwood Walls is an outdoor museum of graffiti and street art in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami, Florida. Encompassing half a dozen distinct storage facilities, the outer facades function as colossal murals showcasing an unparalleled collection of urban artistry. As a bona fide sanctuary for street culture, Wynwood Walls has hosted contributions from more than 70 creators hailing from 16 different nations, adorning an expansive area exceeding 80,000 square feet of walls.

Founded in 2009 by Tony Goldman, Wynwood Walls has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Miami, drawing visitors from all over the world. The museum features over 70 murals by some of the world’s most renowned street artists, including Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring, and Os Gemeos. In addition to its murals, Wynwood Walls also hosts a variety of cultural events, such as art shows, concerts, and festivals. All while being home to several cultural shops and surrounded by a rich food culture.

Our knowledgeable guide has deep roots in this area and some of the best historical knowledge of how this district has developed from a warehouse district into one of the most well-known art districts in the US. Let’s explore the many facets of Wynwood Walls.

The History of Wynwood Walls Art District

Wynwood is a rather young American neighborhood having been founded in 1917, just over 2 decades after the incorporation of Miami in 1896. Wynwood runs from the Florida East Coast Railway on the east to I-95 on the west, and Northwest 20th Street on the south, to I-195 on the north.

1917-1970

In the 1920s, the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami established itself as a warehouse district and became a major garment district, at one point second to only New York City. Wynwood also became home to an American Bakeries Company factory producing then-popular Merita Bread, and a Coca-Cola bottling plant in the 1920s.

In the 1950s, there was a large wave of Puerto Rican migration into the Wynwood neighborhood. It became known interchangeably as “Little San Juan” or “El Barrio.” In the 1960s and 70s, the Wynwood neighborhood diversified and added Cuban, Dominican, Haitian, and Columbian inhabitants; many of the Cubans had fled Cuba after Fidel Castro’s 1959 victory in Cuba’s Communist Revolution.

1970-1990

In the late 1970s, Wynwood was a lower middle-class neighborhood. Unemployment was very high, as was the amount of drug trafficking. Wynwood was a place for new immigrants to start a life in Miami, and to try to quickly improve their economic standing so they could leave Wynwood as soon as possible.

In 1980, while Wynwood was considered the third largest garment district in the United States, the neighborhood experienced a sudden surge in real estate values, sending the price of commercial space through the roof. Many of the clothing retailers and manufacturers moved out, leaving neighborhood buildings empty and neglected, and causing the neighborhood to decline.

In 1985, a group of artists purchased the vacant American Bakeries building and created the Bakehouse Art Complex, providing studios for artists in a large, communal setting. This is considered to be the turning point when the Wynwood neighborhood started to grow as an art district. Today, the Bakehouse Art Complex remains the largest and oldest, organized art center in Miami. More than one hundred artists inhabit the studios at Bakehouse Art Complex, where they create and exhibit art year-round.

1990-2005

The late 1990s and early 2000s brought a wave of redevelopment and transformation to the Wynwood neighborhood. Former factories and industrial buildings were renovated and turned into studios, galleries, restaurants, bars, and office spaces for creatives.

In 2002, the popular Second Saturday Wynwood Art Walk was launched. In that same year, the Swiss art festival Art Basel held its premiere Miami Beach event at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Art Basel has returned to the Miami Beach Convention Center every year since, besides a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These cultural innovations created incredible growth in Wynwood and brought heightened attention and traffic to this budding art district, making it the go-to neighborhood for a fresh and authentic cultural experience in Miami.

2005-2015

In the mid-2000-2010 decade, as Art Basel was making a footprint in Miami, and Wynwood was becoming more established as Miami’s artsy neighborhood, Tony Goldman came to Wynwood and noticed a bunch of windowless warehouses. Having an eye for architecture, and how that can shape the character of a neighborhood, Goldman had a vision. He imagined buying up some of those warehouses and creating an area that would be an open canvas for street artists. From 2004-2006, Goldman snapped up 25 properties in Wynwood. In 2009, he invited some of the world’s most talented street artists to paint the outer walls of those warehouses with awe-inspiring murals.

In December of 2009, while Art Basel was enjoying its 7th year of success in Miami Beach, Goldman unveiled Wynwood Walls. The rest is history. The hype around Wynwood Walls sparked a frenzy of street art activity in the Wynwood neighborhood at large. Native graffiti writers, as well as street artists from all over the world, flocked to Wynwood to bedeck the walls with art. Wynwood is now recognized as the most graffiti-dense neighborhood in the world.

2010 also saw the first expansion of Wynwood Walls with the opening of Wynwood Doors, an area where many of the murals are painted on warehouse garage doors. A second expansion, Wynwood Garden, opened in 2015 and is home to the Goldman Global Arts Gallery.

Tony Goldman’s Influence on Wynwood Walls

Enigmatic and visionary real estate developer, Tony Goldman, somehow managed to stay relatively unknown to the general public while he was the driving force revitalizing neglected neighborhoods along the east coast of the United States, and turning them into cultural meccas. He is known to be primarily (or at least largely) responsible for popularizing the Soho neighborhood of New York City in the 1970s, the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach in the 1980s, and 13th Street in Center City, Philadelphia in the late 1990s, before setting his sights on Wynwood.

Tony Goldman passed away in 2012 from heart failure, leaving his daughter, Jessica Goldman Srebnick, to run Goldman Properties. Goldman Srebnick also runs the art subdivision Goldman Global Arts in partnership with New York artist Peter Tunney whose Peter Tunney Experience opened at Wynwood Walls in 2010. Tunney has the distinction of being the only artist to ever have his own gallery at Wynwood Walls.

2015-Present

Wynwood Walls has continued to grow in popularity and serve as a testament to the power of art to revitalize culture and bring significance to a neighborhood all the way to the present day. The curated graffiti works and street art serves as iconic examples of artistic expression that pull millions of visitors to the area each year. Perhaps you’re one of the many tourists seeking more information about this amazing neighborhood!

In 2020, Wynwood Walls celebrated its 10-year anniversary, featuring special exhibits from some of its most well-known and influential artists. The exhibition was a celebration of the museum’s rich history and its impact on the street art world. The walls stand as a pillar of the local community, acting as a global hub for street art culture.

Art Basel’s Popularity

Art Basel has become so popular in Miami, that the week it is held in December is now designated “Miami Art Week” to distinguish the incredible number of unofficial and satellite events from the official festival in Miami Beach. Every year, when Art Basel returns, Goldman Global Arts, the subdivision of Goldman’s real estate company, Goldman Properties, invites artists to paint new murals over several of the existing murals at Wynwood Walls. In 2022, 9 walls were refreshed with new murals.

The Artists of Wynwood Walls

During its now almost 14-year run, Wynwood Art District has hosted works by many world-renowned artists.

Shepard Fairey

We should probably start with Shepard Fairey whose Obey wall has been held continuously by Fairey since Wynwood Walls opened in 2009. Shepard Fairey first gained acclaim in the late 1980s with his Andre the Giant stickers, and is well-known for his Obey art campaign, Obey Clothing company, and his 2008 Barack Obama “Hope” campaign poster. The Obey wall currently features Fairey’s 2022 Tony Goldman tribute mural, which replaces another Tony Goldman tribute mural that he created in 2012, the year of Tony Goldman’s death. Both tribute murals have featured the likenesses of several personalities considered to be influential to both Goldman and Fairey. Currently, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, and Keith Haring adorn the wall amongst other greats. Fairey has a multimedia approach to his art, including the use of cut-out templates to keep the works clean.

Kenny Scharf

Another notable artist with ties to Wynwood Walls since 2009 is Kenny Scharf. Hailing from LA, Scharf first gained notoriety in New York City’s 1980s art scene. Scharf’s pop art style features surreal, stylized alien-looking creatures in wispy, colorful patterns. Scharf says, “Part of what I do and what I want to do is I want to bring art into everyday life.” At Wynwood Walls, Scharf’s art graces the wall of the former Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, which closed during the COVID lockdown, and never reopened. Scharf had his first go at that wall in 2009, and has been back twice to make additions, and also was given additional wall space to expand his work. The current version was completed in 2019. When you walk into Wynwood Walls from the admission area, you are staring straight at Scharf’s wall, and it certainly catches the eye of first-timers.

Hebru Brantley

Wynwood Walls is not only for murals. Currently featured are the sculptures of Hebru Brantley, one of the few artists honored with a temporary installation at Wynwood Walls in 2023. Brantley’s sculptures are all kinds of sizes, the most notable being an 18-foot tall one looming over you as you enter the area right outside Peter Tunney’s “Peter Tunney Experience.” As Brantley does in many of his sculptures, this giant child’s eyes are covered by a pair of aviator goggles in homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of heroic African-American fighter pilots from World War II.

Ashop Crew

A collective of avant-garde muralists, Ashop Crew has left an indelible imprint on Wynwood Walls with their intricate designs that blend surrealism and hyper-realism. Their work serves as a visual symphony, harmonizing the gritty ethos of street art with high-art sensibilities. Known for their large-scale installations, Ashop Crew’s Wynwood masterpiece is a vivid tableau that challenges conventional perspectives on urban decay and renewal.

Bicicleta

Bicicleta, an artist collective, has transformed the Wynwood Walls into a kaleidoscopic dreamscape. Their signature style—vibrant hues juxtaposed with intricate geometric patterns—creates an optical feast that captivates and confounds. The crew’s Wynwood installation is a labyrinthine explosion of color, a visual narrative that invites viewers to lose themselves in a world of abstract thought and emotional resonance.

DULK

DULK’s work at Wynwood Walls is a vivid tapestry of wildlife and fantasy, a sanctuary of biodiversity amidst the concrete jungle. His murals are a poignant reminder of the fragile balance between urbanization and nature. With a palette rich in earthy tones and meticulous attention to detail, DULK’s Wynwood oeuvre is a compelling call to environmental consciousness.

Martin Whatson

Martin Whatson’s work at Wynwood Walls is a study in contrasts. His murals blend monochromatic stencils with bursts of vibrant graffiti, creating a dynamic tension between formality and rebellion. This duality is a hallmark of Whatson’s style, and his Wynwood installation serves as a visual metaphor for the complex interplay between structure and spontaneity that defines street art.

Tristan Eaton

Tristan Eaton’s murals at Wynwood Walls are a visual lexicon of pop culture, a collage of iconic images that resonate with a broad audience. His work is a celebration of the eclectic and the familiar, a vibrant amalgamation of styles that pays homage to the history of art while pushing its boundaries. Eaton’s Wynwood portfolio is a testament to the transformative power of art to engage, entertain, and enlighten.

Famous Works of Wynwood Walls

Newest Works

The newest 2023 works at Wynwood Walls are by Dutch artist Leon Keer. Keer’s temporary installation, “Seeing Things” just recently closed to make way for the new “Into The Mist” installation by Deih. For “Seeing Things,” Leon Keer painted two works in his trademark 3D style in the Wynwood Doors section of Wynwood Walls. He first painted a giant, 3D reset button on an asphalt area on the ground. A master of optical illusion, Keer painted the button in such a way that a subject can be photographed with the appearance that they are pressing the button, and that button appears upright in the photograph. His other 3D work in Wynwood Doors is a depiction of a storage closet full of toys. Keer created a gap where subjects can insert themselves, and appear in photographs to be sitting in the closet with the toys. Keer is such a natural genius at what he does, he was once disqualified from an art contest because nobody believed he actually made the drawings he submitted.

The Goldman Global Arts Gallery (GGA) is currently running an installation called “Future Starts Now.” Exhibited works include smaller pieces for sale by many of the muralists and sculptors featured outside the gallery, and also artists who are not currently featured on the walls. When a temporary installation ends, pieces that were displayed get moved to the GGA. Pieces by Leon Keer and Hebru Brantley from the prior two temporary installations are currently on display in the GGA.

Famous Street Art

Wynwood Walls has become a model of potential for the global street art movement. Being granted a wall at Wynwood Walls is a feat that few artists have accomplished, due to spatial limitations and the number of talented street artists around the world who would love to be invited. Part of the allure is that the works in Wynwood Walls are protected, as opposed to the mass of street art around the world that is subject to easy access to vandals, so they have the potential to be observed in their original glory longer. Street art is ephemeral, anyway. The elements are always at work, slowly wearing away at any piece that is painted on an outdoor wall. Also, even at Wynwood Walls, every work is eventually replaced. Wynwood Walls is a dynamic place, where new art is always sought to refresh the expertly-curated environment.

A Love Supreme

One of Wynwood’s largest and most powerful murals just outside of Wynwood Walls is “A Love Supreme,” by El Mac. El Mac is an LA artist with a very unique style. He was commissioned by the Related Group which owns Wynwood 25, the building on which “A Love Supreme” is displayed at the corner of NW 2nd Avenue and NW 25th Street. “A Love Supreme” features 3 characters modeled after young locals, all of whom El Mac stated that he considered everyday saints. They are Mandolina, a young lady who helped run a community garden; Jamaii, a young ballet dancer; and Kyle, a local Seminole boy. El Mac was very dismayed at the level of gentrification in Wynwood in 2019, when he started the mural. The neighborhood had changed dramatically since his last visit in 2009. when it was still a mostly, blue-collar neighborhood, and Wynwood Walls had just opened. Also, accepting this assignment forced him to spend a lot of time away from his newborn child. El Mac had all kinds of difficulties completing the work, which he did entirely himself over the course of 6 months. That is largely a function of his unique style, which utilizes repeating contour patterns, and which very few artists could duplicate. All of those heavy emotions El Mac experienced may have played out well for the work – the saintly figures peering down upon Wynwood with loving-kindness in their eyes, the center figure extending open palms, while the others clutch roses gently between their fingers, casting a sense of saintly protection over the art district. This piece is awe-inspiring, and a must-see.

Free Lolita

“Free Lolita” by married duo Clandestinos graces a much smaller wall on a much humbler building on NW 23rd St. across from popular eatery, La Sandwicherie. The mural, painted in 2015, is dedicated to a 22-foot, 7000 lb, performance killer whale or “orca” that spent over 50 years of her life living in a 35-foot tank at Miami Seaquarium. Early in 2023, a wealthy philanthropist pledged $15-20 million dollars to move Lolita, who was retired from performing to a netted, ocean sanctuary near the area in the Pacific from where she was taken in 1970. Miami Seaquarium agreed to cooperate. Members of her pod, including her mother, are known to still inhabit the waters where Lolita was intended to be returned. Unfortunately, Lolita succumbed to renal failure in the Summer of 2023, before she was released. Who knows if the mural had anything to do with securing the promise of Lolita’s release? At least Clandestinos had that intention.

Wynwood Walls Tourist & Visitor Information

There is an incredible amount to see and do in Wynwood Walls, and with the large influx of tourists to the area it can be difficult to find all the best spots and see all the iconic works. That’s where tour guides and being fully informed can help enrich your experience at the museum and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Guided Tours

Wynwood Walls offers its own guided tours for visitors, many visitors find Bobby’s Bike Hike to be the best experience for guided tours of Wynwood Walls.

Wynwood Walls Food & Art Tour Feature: If you want to get the best of the Wynwood neighborhood in a low-impact walk of about a mile over the course of 3 fun hours while tasting some of the best bites Miami has to offer, we would love to host you on our Wynwood Walls Food & Art Walking Tour! You will learn a lot more about how the neighborhood grew up from one of our expert, local guides. You’ll learn not only about the street art at Wynwood Walls but also many of the amazing works that bedeck the walls all over Wynwood.

Wynwood Walls “Inside the Walls” Official Tour: $20, free for kids ages 0-12 (at least one member of your party must be 18 or older, minors must be accompanied by an adult), 50-minute guided tour by an accredited tour guide starting

10 Years, The Wynwood Walls Deep Dive: $50, 90 minutes (offered Sundays at 5pm only), exclusive History Tour with award winning, internationally renowned tour guide and pioneering Wynwood artist Ryan the Wheelbarrow, includes admission to Wynwood Walls.

Spray Freestyle: $37, $30 student, $25 child under age 12 (at least one member of your party must be 18 or older, minors must be accompanied by an adult), 30 minutes, a spray painting demo in which participants enjoy a hands-on experience, includes admission to Wynwood Walls.

Self-Guided Tours

Wynwood Walls does not offer self-guided tours. Several outside vendors do. As we are not familiar with these vendors we recommend an internet search to find an appropriate provider.

Hours of Operation & Ticket Information

Wynwood Walls Hours of Operation:

  • Mon-Thu: 11am-7pm
  • Fri: 11am-8pm
  • Sat: 10am-8pm
  • Sun: 10am-7pm

Tickets for admission to Wynwood Walls can be pre-purchased online or bought in person at Wynwood Walls Welcome Center at 266 NW 26th Street.

Wynwood Walls Ticket Prices:

  • Adult $12
  • Senior (age 65+) $10
  • First Responder (ID required) $10
  • Military (ID required) $10
  • Teacher (ID required) $10
  • Miami-Dade Resident (ID required) $8
  • Student (ID required) $5
  • Child (under age 12) Free (ticket is required for free entry)

Things to Do at Wynwood Walls

Community

If you’d like to engage with the local community, we recommend getting off the beaten path. Wynwood is home to more street art per square mile than any other neighborhood in the world. If you stick to NW 2nd Avenue (aka “Tony Goldman Way”) you’ll miss some fabulous art by world-renowned artists.

Take a walk down to NW 5th Avenue, and you can spy works by street art greats like Ron English and Buff Monster, both who have been featured muralists at Wynwood Walls (Buff Monster having a current mural, at the time of writing). Both of these artists are featured on the corner of NW 24th Street and NW 5th Avenue. Unfortunately, vandals have painted over the bottom half of the Buff Monster mural, but there is so much other great art in this part of Wynwood.

If you want a fun, local experience, check out one of Wynwood’s amazing craft breweries. Wynwood’s first craft brewery, Wynwood Brewing Co. at 565 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127, brews the popular La Rubia blonde ale, along with many other yeasty potions brewed in their special vats in the brew room behind the tap room counter. Just go west down NW 24th Street from NW 5th Avenue, and the entrance will be on the right, right before their gated parking lot.

Interactive Exhibits

The interactive Paradox Museum at 2301 N Miami Avenue is a relative newcomer to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. In their own words, “The Paradox Museum is all about creating engaging, fun, and educational experiences that touch the hearts and minds of our visitors. Everything we do is infused with a unique desire to create thrilling moments of discovery. Our mind-twisting, eye-tricking experiences challenge the mind and leave their mark!” One example of the fun and outlandish exhibits at the Paradox Museum is the Paradox Reversed Room where everything appears to defy gravity.

Miami Art Week & Other Events

The best time of year to be in Wynwood is, of course, Miami Art Week in December, which is the week when Art Basel Miami Beach comes to the Miami Beach Convention Center. In 2023, Art Basel will take place December 8-10, but the plentiful unofficial and satellite events of Miami Art Week will start a few days before, and sometimes extend after the official event. Major satellite shows like Scope, Pulse, and Art Miami are full of mind-blowing art and engaging activities,

Photo Opportunities

The Wynwood neighborhood is an Instagrammers heaven. Jaw-dropping art graces just about every block of this world-class art district. We’ve already mentioned several murals that would make great backdrops for social media posts.

Wynwood Marketplace at 2250 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127 is filled with shipping containers loaded with great street art. They also have food vendors, bars, craft vendors and musical entertainment, from DJs spinning festive music to jamming live bands. Definitely some great photo opportunities here! They are open 4pm-2am Thu, 4pm-3am Fri, 12pm-3am Sat, and 12pm-2am Sun. Even when they are closed, you can snap some great shots in front of the outer shipping containers, as well as some top-notch murals on nearby walls.

The TYPOE mural in the driveway of Wynwood 25 at 240 NW 25th St, Miami, FL 33127 is a favorite of many visiting photographers aiming to chronicle their time in Miami with the word “Miami” spelled out in large letters under a neon rainbow.

Best Restaurants Near Wynwood Walls

The Wynwood neighborhood of Miami is home to many award-winning restaurants that represent the melting pot of ethnicities represented in Miami. Whether you want Michelin-rated Japanese omakase, an authentic New York-style slice of pizza, mind-blowing ceviche, or a world-class taco, you can find them all here in the space of a few blocks.

Trendy Cafes

Panther Coffee

Wynwood boasts the original location of Panther Coffee at 2390 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127, known to many as Miami’s finest place to grab a cup of fresh-roasted java. They roast and grind the beans right there onsite. Panther features a spacious front yard with lots of room to sit and relax, while you sip on your fresh brew, and features a massive tree that provides shade for those sitting outside on a typically balmy Miami day.

Food Trucks

Smorgasburg

The newest place to get your food truck fix in Wynwood is Smorgasburg Miami at 2600 NW 2nd Avenue. It’s open Saturdays & Sundays 1-9pm and features a pretty wide assortment of food trucks and stands offering diverse options from Brazilian-style grilled meats to gourmet donuts.

Upscale Restaurants

Pastis

Pastis is the hot, new, upscale restaurant in Wynwood at 380 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33121. It’s the Miami version of James Beard Award-winning restaurateurs Keith McNally and Stephen Starr’s Parisian-style brasserie in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and serves a tasty selection of French classics. Unique to the Miami outpost is a charming, outdoor garden and courtyard where guests enjoy Miami’s great weather from underneath an archway covered in black locust.

Ben B Coco

Being a haven for both food and art, one unique place to experience a fusion of those worlds in the Wynwood neighborhood is Ben B. Coco at 170 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127. Ben B. Coco offers an artistic take on chocolate and also happens to be certified Kosher. Owner Benjamin Fogel takes his chocolate seriously and sources his chocolate from ethical farmers in places as far apart as Peru and Vietnam. If you make an appointment or catch him when he’s not busy, he will educate you on the nuances of the different chocolates, including nibble-sized samples. On top of offering high-quality chocolates, Ben’s artistic way of presenting the chocolates is just as striking as some of the street art.

Explore Wynwood Walls’ Culinary Scene

Bobby’s Bike Hike has done all the legwork for you and has chosen some of the best bites in Miami for the enjoyment of our guests. Join us on one of our fun, educational, and tasty tours, and let us show you the best food tour of Wynwood Walls as we enjoy this art-saturated neighborhood at a relaxed pace. We truly believe our tours are one of the best values in travel.

Where to Stay Near the Wynwood Walls

Boutique Hotels

The Arlo Hotel

The Arlo Hotel at 2217 NW Miami Ct, Miami, FL 33127 opened in November 2022 as Wynwood’s first hotel. Being in Wynwood, the lobby features several pieces of modern art. The hotel boasts both a rooftop garden and bar, Higher Ground, on the 3rd floor, and a rooftop pool and bar on the 9th floor, so you can be entertained without even having to leave the property. The Arlo is also home to a well-reviewed restaurant, MaryGold’s, in the lobby. The Arlo has a great location right off of Miami Avenue, and minutes away from anything you’d want to see in Wynwood. You may even want to walk the nearby, quiet side streets to see some excellent street art that most visitors miss.

Sentral Wynwood

While more of a residence than a hotel, you may also want to check out the comfy vacation rentals at Sentral Wynwood at 51 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127. Sentral Wynwood is very highly rated by visitors and is well-located near Wynwood Walls and other attractions. You can book rooms on sites like Hotels.com and Orbitz.com.

The Wynwood neighborhood should definitely be high on the list of curious travelers. If you are not a street art fan, Wynwood may make you one. The evolution of Wynwood since the 2009 opening of Wynwood Walls is remarkable, and a testament to the transformational nature of art. Join Bobby’s Bike Hike and one of our expert, local guides to learn how this once-neglected, working-class neighborhood grew into the arts and cultural hub of Miami.

Book a tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike today!

In a city as culturally rich as Miami, Wynwood Walls is one of the most historical neighborhoods and key things to do in Miami. Bobby’s Bike Hike offers you a front-row seat to this world, providing a lens through which you can see Miami’s street art and incredible restaurants. If you’re looking to truly understand what makes Miami an art lover’s destination, a tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike is the adventure for you!