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Where the art knocks down all walls

From a train yard and a cluster of warehouses sprang up the thriving hub of artistic innovation now called the Wynwood Arts District, located a few blocks north of downtown Miami.

Second Saturdays, the mutually agreed-upon time of the month when galleries fling open their doors to the public, is these days closer to a frat house kegger than a wine-and-nosh affair. Stroll down Wynwood’s main drag – Northwest Second Avenue – and you’ll find thousands cramming into pop-art repository Harold Golen Gallery. You might also see a crowd flanking a street performer as he gives an impromptu, nonironic break-dance. Craft beer flows in abundance here, from the taps of Wynwood Brewing Company and J. Wakefield Brewing, both on Northwest 24th Street, and from hipster havens Wood Tavern and Gramps Bar.

But graffiti art is Wynwood’s true allure. Spend a half-hour walking the district, and be greeted with endless rows of galleries and warehouses covered in spray-painted tags and massive murals -- the hypnotic sleepy eyes from Ahol Sniffs Glue, the grinning mug of Wynwood pioneer Tony Goldman from Shepard Fairey. That last one is found at Wynwood Walls, a walkable outdoor gallery covered in astroturf, 40-plus murals and bordered by Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, a marvel filled with floor-to-ceiling Fairey art and Latin dishes.

Parking is, naturally, the biggest aggravator here, and locals will try bilking you for $20 to park in their front yard. On Second Saturdays, arrive two hours early, park near North Miami Avenue (free) and dine before you walk. Those who tire early can perk up at Panther Coffee.

Wynwood Arts District

Northwest Second Avenue between 25th Street and 26th Street, Miami; wynwoodmiami.com; thewynwoodwalls.com, 305-531-4411

Wynwood Walls hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Second Saturday art walks, 6-10 p.m.

Admission: Free

Parking: Metered street parking

Size: More than 70 galleries, stores and bars. Wynwood Walls is a complex of six buildings and an outdoor art installation.

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