A Mecca for art junkies

Nestled near the Design District downtown lies Wynwood, a Mecca for hip art junkies and young eccentrics.

What may seem like a windowless concrete wasteland is actually home to more than 70 premier galleries and the brand new Midtown shopping center. What is truly unique about this neighborhood is its eye-catching, visionary graffiti walls, and we’re not talking about gang-affiliated scribbles here. Located on Northwest Second Avenue are the Wynwood Walls, a collection of breath-taking murals painted by famous international artists that are the focal point of the Wynwood district. For Art Basel 2010, the outdoor exhibit unleashed a fusion of six new wall murals, nightly video art screenings and the Wynwood Doors, 176 feet of rolling steel gates decorated by legendary street artists from the early ’70s.

Wynwood garners most of its buzz from the Second Saturdays Wynwood art walk, where notable galleries open their doors to the public from 7 to 10 p.m., offering complimentary food and beverages. Most galleries such as the David Castillo Gallery, The Bakehouse Art Complex, and Gallery ID expose works from local and international artists whose pieces range from mixed media to photography.

Aside from inspired art works, Wynwood also has an assortment of restaurants that satisfy every palate. From guacamole dishes and chorizo tacos at Mercadito Midtown to BBQ Ribs at The Lost and Found Saloon on 36th Street, you will surely find a cuisine that pleases your belly. Trying to stick to your college budget? Head to Mercadito Taqueria or Lime, which are quick and casual venues where you can get some typical Mexican street grub for under $10.

One cool concept in the Midtown area is the Cheese Course, a café that specializes in, well, cheese. After, grab some fro-yo at Angelina’s Coffee and Yogurt, whose cake batter and raspberry flavors give My Yogurt Bliss a run for its money.

If you happen to be visiting the Wynwood Walls, you must eat at Joey’s. This quaint yet modern Italian gem offers customers’ impeccable service and quality dishes for reasonable prices.

The most buzzed-about restaurant at the moment, however, is Sugarcane Rawbar Grill. The restaurant’s inviting décor is reminiscent of a laid-back vintage Spanish town and houses three unique kitchens: robata, hot and raw bar. Magazines such as Ocean Drive, 944, Latina and the Miami New Times are all raving about it.

Another main attraction in Wynwood is The Electric Pickle. On any given night from Wednesday through Saturday, listen to the sounds of live bands playing, from reggae to funk and hip-hop to electro.

The Wynwood District also caters to the fashion forward. Nowhere else in Miami can you find unique, charming, and affordable non-profit thrift stores, such as Give Good Works and The Lotus House. The money you spend on that Pat Benitar record or that vintage Pucci scarf goes straight to charity.

While the neighborhood is not yet in its prime, Wynwood is rapidly becoming Miami’s trendiest neighborhood.