Category Archives: Florida

Wynwood Walls – Mural painting transforms a Miami neighborhood

Wynwood Walls murals are full of color.


Elephant mural, Wynwood Walls

Only a well-heeled visionary could get excited by a mostly abandoned industrial district hemmed in by freeways. Since 2005 in the Miami Wynwood District, the Goldman family have used mural painting to revitalize windowless warehouses, coaxed international artists with the lure of vast walls as their canvas, and offered backing to provide an audience. A community has been brought back to life through art and accolades have been rolling in. Vogue magazine calls it one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. It’s become a destination highlight for the city. Easy to find and navigate my family caught our first glimpse from a freeway overpass not far from the airport.

Some artists have multiple murals in the district

Mural Mosaic: Some artists have multiple murals in the district

Originally the 20 block project was a pretty rough area. It’s still a touch dangerous after dark, although if you know the right people, late night, underground parties will open their doors to you. The Wynwood Building houses studio and event space, an art school, and cafe.

Wynwood Building, Miami

As happens world over when neighborhoods gentrify, the original residents are often left wanting. Rents are sky-rocketing for once cheap studio space and there’s a huge variation in housing. Drug dealers still prowl the outskirts but are taking their business further out. Nightclubs are proliferating as the under 27 year old crowd moves in to party.

DJ studio, Wynwood district

Sidewalk art Wynwood District

Sidewalk art Wynwood District

On the afternoon I visited, it was steamy and traffic was light. I walked the circumference of the district, taking in the mural painting, watching others take pictures and marveling at the bright mix.

street mural painting wynwood district

street corner wynwood murals

Finally, I stepped into the core, the Wynwood Walls project, the heart of the transformation. The Wynwood Doors art space with its garage door canvases, opened to one side.

wynwood doors

mural painting wynwood walls

IMG_2814 IMG_2813 Murals Wynwood District, mural painting

A loose network of lawns and walkways led between two story walls which hemmed the space. In one gallery the Peter Tunney project featured his paintings that are echoed on walls in the area.

Peter Tunney mural painting wynwood district

Peter Tunney murals in the Wynwood District

Peter Tunney murals.

Wynwood Kitchen, wynwood walls project

Wynwood Kitchen inside the Walls Project

After leaving the district, the world seemed pale and wanting. I hope the momentum keeps building and more visitors witness the transformative power of mural painting at the Wynwood Walls.

More info about the walls and artists, events and installations on the official site.

Eat at:

Wynwood Kitchen and Bar:

Inside Wynwood Walls, at Wynwood Kitchen, Chef Miguel Aguilar has carved a menu of Latin-influenced global cuisine.

2550 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33127,


Opened in 2008 by Joey Goldman, one of the principals in the company that developed the area, Joeys is a modern Italian cafe with menu full of traditional flavors by Chef Evo Mazzon. Food and Wine magazine calls the pizza exceptional. The interior also echoes traditional elegance with marble tables over a polished concrete floor. The garden and terrace feature bistro lighting.

2506 NW 2nd Avenue, Wynwood, Florida 33127,

Don’t miss: Discover more about mural painting at Monthly art walks on the second Saturday of the month.

Take a tour of the area with Wynwood Art Walk Tours on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Wynwood Mural Painting Pin

Linking up this week with these other great blogs:

Mosaic MondaysPhoto Friday 


Secret’s out – Fort Lauderdale restaurant scene is hopping

Blue Moon Oyster Bar, Fort Lauderdale
Blue Moon Oyster Bar, Fort Lauderdale

Blue Moon Oyster Bar, Fort Lauderdale

Banish visions of bikini and beer-boosted bacchanals. The rowdy crowds have moved on and today Fort Lauderdale is a fun, foodie town. I discovered this over three, brief days while being led to a whiskey den, a hidden craft coffee spot, and dining at chic waterfront tables. Meeting a charming sommelier, passionate chocolate vendor, cheese connoisseur and a mom who founded a craft brew cartel were some of the highlights along with bonding with fellow foodies. It was one discovery after another.

Here’s some of the highlights among the Fort Lauderdale restaurant and drink purveyors:

Beauty and the Feast, Fort Lauderdale

Beauty and the Feast, Fort Lauderdale

Beauty and the Feast Bar and Kitchen is tucked inside the Atlantic Hotel with sweeping views of the ocean. The menu is full of innovation, fresh ingredients and local flare. It’s a comfy spot to share small plates or a big one (our full fish platter filled us up.)

O-B Breakfast in Fort Lauderdale historic district

Lump Crab Benedict at O-B House

O-B House sits on a corner in the historic Fort Lauderdale district. Our breakfast overflowed with options – mango mimosas, platters of moist, tasty muffins and even a plate-size, baked pancake.

Chelsea, founder of Marando Farms in Fort Lauderdale.

Chelsea, founder of Marando Farms.

Marando Farms is an urban farmers market and an educational center for hundreds of visiting students each year. The small urban farm on a small plot has grown into overflowing acres. A snack bar serves energizing smoothies and the wine shop is well stocked with curated choices.

Brew Urban Cafe in the Arts District of Fort Lauderdale.

Brew Urban Cafe in the Arts District of Fort Lauderdale.

Brew Urban Cafe hides within the offices of C & I Studios and Lounge. Down the hall and to the left of the office entrance there’s an alternative universe where cold brew and about any other coffee or tea is available. It’s well worth hunting out and testing the overstuffed upholstery.

Blue Moon Fish Company with dining at the dock in Fort Lauderdale.

Blue Moon Fish Company offers award-winning waterfront dining. We enjoyed refreshing breezes from a table just across from the drawbridge entrance to Fort Lauderdale. Arriving by foot and an impressive display of fresh seafood greeted us inside the front door.

Mixology class in the Stache Whiskey Den, Fort Lauderdale

Mixology class in the Stache Whiskey Den, Fort Lauderdale

Whiskey Den is upstairs at Stache, Fort Lauderdale’s premiere cocktail lounge, coffee bar, nightclub and concert hall. We had a blast tasting Rye, Whiskey, Rum and Gin, then creating our own cocktails.

Louie Bossi, Fort Lauderdale

Louie Bossi, Fort Lauderdale

Louie Bossi is a recent addition to the Las Olas Street shopping and dining experience. Chef Bossi may have grown up cooking in NYC but he’s also a Master Pizza maker. The flat breads were inspired, our sommelier very attentive and the courtyard Bocce ball course was tempting.

Even a dedicated foodie enjoys a simple breakfast.

Even a dedicated foodie enjoys a simple breakfast.

Luxury, ocean front steak house, Steak 954, is open morning to late night inside the W Hotel. Inside a giant, mesmerizing aquarium shelters over 200 Moon Jelly fish!

A cheese and wine stop on the Las Olas Street Food Tour, Fort Lauderdale

A cheese and wine stop on the Las Olas Street Food Tour.

After breakfast we headed over to Las Olas Street for a packed historical and culinary advenure with Las Olas Food Tours. Walking and talking our way along the street, in and out of hotels, and along the canal was the perfect way to burn calories (OK, a few.)

Beer ingredients and tasting at the Craft Beer Cartel.

Beer ingredients and tasting at the Craft Beer Cartel.

Set on a suburban neighborhood corner is the surprising mecca of Floridian brews. The Craft Beer Cartel shared how beer is made and we sipped several of the Native Beer labels best brews. When you visit don’t miss checking out the floor. It’s ’tiled’ with bottle caps in elaborate patterns.

Pelican Grand Veranda, Fort Lauderdale

Pelican Grand Veranda, Fort Lauderdale

If you’re lucky enough to visit Fort Lauderdale on a full moon night, find out if the Pelican Grand is hosting one of their veranda dinners. At Ocean 2000 you’ll dine on local seafood specialties while listening to the waves and watching the moon rise over the sea. The plantation style hotel is set as close to the water as possible. The upstairs rooms, spa and wedding/event space feel like they’re floating with views to the horizon.

Pelican Grand Spa, Fort Lauderdale

Inside the couple’s room, Pelican Grand Spa, Fort Lauderdale

I only wish that these delights were spread out over a week or two! The Fort Lauderdale restaurant and bar scenes deserve to be savored.

There's always room for chocolate and ice cream from Kilwins, Fort Lauderdale.

There’s always room for chocolate and ice cream

If you go:

  • Beauty and the Feast Bar and Kitchen inside the Atlantic Hotel
  • O-B Breakfast House in the Fort Lauderdale historic district
  • Maranado Farms features organic and sustainable produce and local artist’s crafts
  • Brew Urban Cafe hides in the FAT Arts District and within the C&I Studio offices.
  • Blue Moon Fish Company is nothing like a processor’s plant. Enjoy white table cloth dining and impressive presentations.
  • Whiskey Den at Stache, lounge and concert hall.
  • Louie Bossi, an Italian eatery with distinctive traditional and newly crafted delicacies.
  • Steak 954, a boutique steakhouse, inside the W Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
  • Las Olas Food Tours introduces visitors (and locals) to the people and places that make the area so delicious.
  • Craft Beer Cartel is packed with Floridian brews and is the home to the Native Beer label.
  • Pelican Grand Hotel, is a luxury, plantation-style oasis on the water with gracious dining options and rocking chairs on the long deck, the better to let the wave song hypnotize you.

The Fort Lauderdale restaurant tour was part of the TBEX FAM trips and arranged by the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. Thanks for including me! #HelloSunny




Bicycle Miami – Rides, rentals and Critical Mass

Bicycle on pier. Bicycle Miami. Trip wellness
Bicycle on pier. Bicycle Miami. Trip wellness

Photo:Ashley Fontaine via Trover

Miami’s flat terrain and balmy temperatures are perfect for biking. With such great weather, it’s no wonder so many locals step out of the gym and onto bikes for their two-wheeled exercise. Bike and beach paths make it easy to bicycle Miami.

Even if you’re new to the city, you don’t have to bike alone. Depending on your level of expertise you can join any one of several group rides a week, attend bicycling events and make the sport part of your vacation. If a long bike ride is a bit much, rent a Segway and bring the family along on a self-guided ride or sign up for a tour and follow the leader as you take in the sights. Wherever you stay in Miami bike paths are never far away.

Rent a bike or Segway

Bike Miami has a full event calendar, tours and programs. Whether you rent a bicycle or a Segway you can roll through South Beach’s oceanfront path or bike across the Venetian Islands. Stop and go at your leisure in the Miami Design District. It’s great exercise,you avoid traffic jams and reduce your carbon footprint. Choose from Miami River Tour, tours for early risers or sunset lovers and an Art Deco Tour. They also have an interactive Miami Bicycle Map showing some of the best routes.
Bicycle on the beach. Trip Wellness. Bicycle Miami.

Photo: J Vargas via Trover

Bike Share Stations

Bike share stations are popping up at locations across the Dayton Miami area. The program has 225 bikes available at stations in the downtown core. Visitors can get a $5 daily pass and memberships cost $30 a month. Pay with a credit card and track your course to pick up and drop off the bike at different points in the city.

Bike for the Arts

Composer, cornet player and band leader, Taylor Ho Bynum travels throughout Miami solely on bicycle. He performs solo concerts or with ensembles of area musicians, riding through Miami with his message about alternative creative expressions and modes of transportation. Follow his journey or scoot along with his peddling poets society when they present site-specific performances at parks and various spots around Downtown Miami and Miami Beach.

Critical Mass Rides in Miami

If you’ve been out on the last Friday of the month and a crazed cloud of bicyclists raced by you’ve likely witnessed a Critical Mass ride. Critical Mass been taking off all over the world as ‘municipally unsanctioned’ bike rides. In Miami celebrities have clicked on their helmets too. LeBron James of the Miami Kings has joined the CMass rides, telling a team mate, “This is bananas, critical mass, I love it.” Not for the squeamish, the groups tend to be large and rowdy, so it’s important to follow the guidelines if you decide to participate.

Be sure to follow the rules of the road whenever you bike Miami

  • Wear a helmet – Non-negotiable!
  • Be visible – Wear bright, reflective clothing
  • Be predictable – Stay alert and avoid swerving
  • Ride defensively and anticipate conflicts
Written as part of the Hipmunk City Love Project.