The aerodynamic behavior of a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is analyzed by means of 2D particle image velocimetry (PIV), focusing on the development of dynamic stall at different tip speed ratios. The VAWT has an unsteady aerodynamic behavior due to the variation with the azimuth angle θ of the blade’s sections’ angle of attack, perceived velocity and Reynolds number. The phenomenon of dynamic stall is then an inherent effect of the operation of a VAWT at low tip speed ratios, impacting both loads and power. The present work is driven by the need to understand this phenomenon, by visualizing and quantifying it, and to create a database for model validation. The experimental method uses PIV to visualize the development of the flow over the suction side of the airfoil for two different reference Reynolds numbers and three tip speed ratios in the operational regime of a small urban wind turbine. The field-of-view of the experiment covers the entire rotation of the blade and almost the entire rotor area. The analysis describes the evolution of the flow around the airfoil and in the rotor area, with special focus on the leading edge separation vortex and trailing edge shed vorticity development. The method also allows the quantification of the flow, both the velocity field and the vorticity/circulation (only the results of the vorticity/circulation distribution are presented), in terms of the phase locked average and the random component.