What are some of the first things that come to mind when you hear Miami mentioned? Words like tropical, big city, South Beach maybe some of the first things that pop into your head. If you’re a little older, maybe the show Miami Vice or if you spend a lot of time on Instagram, the popular Wynwood Walls and neighborhood might also come to mind.
Guess what?! Miami has so much more to offer travelers than just SOBE and Wynwood. For example, how about exploring the beautiful and ever so artsy Miami Design District! In this article, I share some history and tips for exploring Miami’s Design District.
Miami Design District
It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that what is now known as the Miami Design District was just another example of urban decay. Before Craig Robins, the man b0ehind the plan and co-owner of Design Miami, this 18-square block neighborhood was actually known as Buena Vista.
You can still see proof of this throughout the neighborhood, for example, on the charming and vacant (for the moment) Buena Vista Post Office building.
The Design District is home to luxury fashion stores like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Tory Burch, and Fendi just to name a few. It has an array of many art galleries, showrooms, creative services, and restaurants. What drew me in, however, was exploring the eye-catching public art!
Perhaps the most popular piece is Buckminster Fuller’s ‘Fly’s Eye Dome’, which was originally a dome designed with the future in mind. This is a futuristic structure designed to be an affordable and portable home with windows and openings to hold solar panels and water features making this dwelling self-sufficient. It really does resemble the eye of a fly and has an out of this world appeal!
It covers the entrance to and from the parking garage, which is another piece of art altogether, seriously, the most beautiful parking garage I have ever laid eyes on!
Travel Tip: Parking is only 3$ for up to 4 hours
Public Art In The Miami Design District
The Fly’s Eye Dome is just the start of the many permanent art installations Miami Design District has to offer. Plan a day to explore, or at the very least, a long morning or afternoon.
Maybe start out on the first floor of Palm Court then venture up the escalator to see ‘Le Corbusier’ sculpture by Xavier Veilhan, a larger than life blue man in a bow tie-wearing sunnies and writing something cool, obviously!
Then peek down to get a bird’s eye view of amazing street art of a brightly vivid and massive jungle mural by 2 X 4 Company. Next, walk around to the other side of the second floor of the Palm Court to swing (yes, you heard correct, SWING) until your inner ten-year-old self is content at the ‘Netscape’ Installation by designer Konstantin Grcic.
You can even gaze on a little eye candy (literally) while embracing said inner child by looking at Laurence Jenkell’s ‘Big Bonbon USA’ piece, just adjacent to the swing installation.
Continue up a few more stairs to see how the tops of roofs should be painted, by taking a quick peek at ‘After Light’, a work of art that literally spreads across the entire roof of the Buena Vista Building done by British artist, Matthew Ritchie.
More Miami Design District Art Installations
Once you leave Palm Court, head straight for Fendi Colonnade to see the fluorescent orange walkway done by Architect Johanna Grawunder. It is a must-gram while visiting! I’m a little embarrassed to say how many photos my iPhone is storing this walkway at this present time!
I also can’t wait to check out the Moore Building next time I visit, a 1921 historic venue that now has ‘Elastika’ on permanent display inside created by architect, Zaha Hadid.
Miami Design District Eateries & Future Projects
All that exploring and shopping can work up an appetite, right? Might I suggest getting a quick bite at the yummy Ella Pop Up Café located in Palm Court. All the avocados in the world wish they made it onto one of their delicious avocado toast creations!
Just opening in January 2017, another great place to grab a healthy meal on the go or if you’re looking for space to hang for a bit is OTL.
If your sweet tooth is looking for a fix, don’t forget to pop in Ladurée for a macaron; some say it’s the supermodel of dessert. Wine tasting, anyone?
Located on the second floor of Palm Court is Abaco, a luxury wine shop and tasting room. Click here to view upcoming events and tastings (reservation required). If you are interested in a full list of dining options in Miami Design District visit Abaco Wine.
In 2017, Miami Design District will add top brands such as Gucci, Alexander Wang, Dolce & Gabbana, and others. Also, more dining options, a 119-room luxury hotel, and yet another parking structure will be gracing the neighborhood soon.
There is no better time to taste, explore, and see what Miami Design District, or what I like to call the Champs-Élysées of Miami, has to offer!
Where To Stay Near Miami’s Design District
When in Miami, I stay within a short walking distance away at an Airbnb in the Midtown Miami neighborhood; a perfect location if you are looking to explore both Wynwood and Miami Design District on foot!
This location is also only a short drive to South Beach. Also, be sure to check later this year to see when the new ten-story boutique hotel by Dacra Development will open its doors! I’ve also read that another hotel by Hilton will be joining the neighborhood as well.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Miami’s Design District. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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