Design District

Miami’s Design District proper refers to a small neighborhood with distinct borders. It is bounded on the east by US-1/Biscayne Boulevard, on the west by North Miami Avenue, on the north by N.E. 42nd Street, and on the south by N.E. 38th Street.

In casual conversation, “Design District” refers to adjacent micro-neighborhoods with a similarly artsy feel, including the edges of Buena Vista and the gentrifying southeastern fringes of Little Haiti. Still, the official 18-block area of the Design District was initially revitalized by developer Craig Robins with a specific purpose in mind: to bring a walkable, upscale bohemian center for art and design to mainland Miami.

Originally, the blocks comprising the Design District were also part of Buena Vista, a historic neighborhood of mostly single-family homes built during the local land boom of the 1920s. However, by the ’80s and ’90s, the neighborhood’s commercial center had largely fallen to urban blight.

In the early 2000s, Robins and his company DACRA had enjoyed monumental success in turning around a similarly blighted area, Lincoln Road on South Beach. There was already a seed of creativity in the area in Design and Architecture High School, or DASH, a much-acclaimed magnet school founded in 1990.

Robins and his colleagues saw great potential in the Design District’s relatively dense streets and vacant loft buildings, and convinced designers like Alison Spear and Holly Hunt to relocate there. At the same time, Robins also used unoccupied space to publicly display his large contemporary art collection and subsidized studio space throughout his buildings for rising young local artists.

As galleries and design businesses moved in, so did cafes, restaurants, and nightlife venues. In fact, the Design District was one of the first mainland areas to offer entertainment options in central Miami-Dade County, and the neighborhood can take much of the credit for making mainland Miami the second major node of Miami nightlife (after South Beach).

At the same time, it also became an important area of activity during the rise of Art Basel Miami Beach. Although, as the name indicates, the official installment of Art Basel takes place back across Biscayne Bay, the Design District long hosted the important satellite fair Design Miami, as well as other pop-up gallery events.

In more recent years, the neighborhood has become a hub for fine dining and for upscale retail in general. New York Times-lauded Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink sits in the middle of the main drag on N.E. 40th Street, and a number of chef-driven competitors have sprung up nearby in its wake (notably Michelle Bernstein’s Sra. Martinez). And though the design showrooms and creative services offices remain, new designer clothing boutiques like Marni and Y-3 now call the Design District home. A Louis Vuitton store and others from the LVMH empire, including Sephora, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, and Fendi, are all expected to open soon.

The Design District remains one of the most equally accessible mainland neighborhoods for both tourists and locals alike. It can be reached by car via the Biscayne Boulevard and North Miami exists of I-195, which serves both Miami Beach and neighborhoods further west via a connection to I-95.

It is a short taxi ride from South Beach, and though local public transportation is generally spotty during off-peak hours, the neighborhood can also be reached by most bus routes traveling up and down Biscayne Boulevard and North Miami Avenue. The lack of fast traffic on its through streets also makes it relatively safe to explore by bicycle, and signs and painted arrows remind drivers to share the road on NE 2nd Avenue.

Tip

Wynwood’s Second Saturdays Art Walk draws a bigger crowd these days, but the Design District’s own gallery night came first. Its Art + Design Night also takes place the second Saturday of every month and is worth a visit before or after the Wynwood crawl.

Design Showrooms

– Abitare
– Adriana Hoyos
– Advanced Trading Inct.
– Always Flowers & Events
– AM Profile
– Amir Rug Gallery
– Ann Sacks
– Arravanti
– Artisan Antiques
– Avant Gallery
– Baltus
– Bisazza
– Bobby Berk Home
– Bulthaup
– Campaniello
– Cappellini
– Carpet Boutique
– Carpet Creations
– Casa
– casAmbienti studio MisuraEmme
– Ceramix Matrix
– Clear Company
– Clima Outdoor Collections
– Costa Window Treatments
– Coverings Etc.
– Crea France US Inc.
– Deco One Interiors Group
– Decorator’s Plumbing
– Dileto
– Driade
– Drimmers Appliances
– E.G. Cody
– Emilio Robba
– Encore Textiles
– Eurokitchen
– Fendi Casa
– Genius Jones
– Granite Transformations
– hausScape
– Haveli
– Holly Hunt
– Inside Out 2
– Italian Pavilion
– Janus et Cie
– JBL International Antiques
– Jonathan Adler
– Kartell
– Laura de Mazieres
– Ligne Roset
– Luminaire Lab
– LUXE Cable + Light
– Marrakesh Decor
– Mitchel Gold + Bob Williams
– Monica James & Co.
– now, A Style Store
– Nu House Futniture
– Oceanview Shades and Drapery
– Oggetti
– One of a Kind
– Oriental Decor
– Ornare
– Pampaloni
– The Perfect Shade
– Poliform
– Poltrona Frau
– Raul Carrasco
– Rothman Associates
– Susane R. Lifestyle Boutique
– Team 7
– The Rug Company
– ThreadCount
– Turchin Love and Light Collection
– Vitra
– Waterworks

Art Galleries and Artist Studios

– 101/Exhibit
– Adamar Fine Arts
– AE District
– Art Fusion Gallery
– Bas Fisher Invitational
– Bernice Steinbaum
– de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space
– Dimensions Variable
– Etra Fine Art
– FriendsWithYou
– godonAmerica
– the Haitian Heritage Museum
– Iran Issa– Khan
– Locust Projects
– Primary Projects
– Ricart Gallery
– Spinello Projects

Restaurants, Clubs, and Bars

– Andalus
– The Blue Piano
– Buena Vista Bistro
– Buena Vista Deli
– Crumb on Parchment
– Fratelli Lyon
– Lemoni Cafe
– Maitardi
– Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
– Orange Cafe Art
– Pasha’s
– Sra. Martinez
– The Stage
– Wine Bistro

Clothing Boutiques and Personal Services

– Adidas Y-3
– Brownes & Co.
– Christian Loubotin
– Duncan Quinn
– Emena Spa
– En Avance
– I on the District
– Kiliwatch
– Maison Martin Margiela
– Marni
– NDS / Nektar de Stagni Shop
– Sauvage
– Sebastien James
– Shampology Salon & Supply
– Tomas Maier


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