Best of Miami®

Best Of 2007

Neighborhoods

  • + Aventura/North Miami Beach
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  • + Coral Gables/South Miami
  • + Coral Springs/Margate
  • + Cutler Bay/Palmetto Bay
  • + Dania Beach
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  • + Doral
  • + Downtown/Overtown
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  • + Florida Keys
  • + Fort Lauderdale
  • + Hallandale Beach
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  • + Homestead/Florida City
  • + Key Biscayne
  • + Lauderhill
  • + Little Haiti/Liberty City
  • + Little Havana
  • + Miami Gardens
  • + Miami Lakes
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  • + Midtown/Wynwood/Design District
  • + Miramar
  • + North Dade
  • + North Miami
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  • + Out of Town
  • + Outside South Florida
  • + Palm Beach County
  • + Palm Beach Gardens
  • + Pembroke Pines
  • + Plantation
  • + Plantation/Sunrise/Tamarac
  • + Pompano Beach
  • + Pompano Beach/Deerfield Beach/Coconut Creek
  • + Riviera Beach
  • + Sea Ranch Lakes
  • + South Beach
  • + South Dade
  • + Sunrise
  • + Sunrise/Plantation
  • + Surfside/Bal Harbor/Bay Harbor Islands
  • + Sweetwater/Westchester/West Miami
  • + Tamiami
  • + Unknown
  • + Upper Eastside/Miami Shores/Biscayne Park
  • + Wellington
  • + West Dade
  • + West Kendall
  • + West Palm Beach
  • + Weston
  • + Wilton Manors
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Best Of :: People & Places

Best Bus Ride
Julia Garcia Transit Bus to the Keys

Fate has chewed you up, spit you out, and left you battered and bruised in the parking lot of the Florida City Wal-Mart Supercenter. You've lost your job, your girl, your car, and your reason to live. You have $3.85 to your name. And then, like an angel out of a Jimmy Buffett song, you see the faint bright silhouette of the Julia Garcia Transit (JGT) bus roll into view. This is your chance to hightail it to the Keys and make a brand-new start, full of cheap beer and shellfish. Sure it'll take four-and-a-half hours to get to Key West, because the bus makes every conceivable stop along the way, but it's all you've got left in the world. And, man, are they dependable. JGTs leave seven times daily, seven days a week, beginning at 5:15 a.m. and ending at 11:15 p.m. Ask the person next to you to wake you up to catch the Keys shuttle, which you can catch at the end of the JGT line in Marathon, in the parking lot of the Brass Monkey Liquor Store. Everything's gonna be all right.

33501 S. Dixie Highway, Homestead, 33034
MAP
Best Escape from Reality
Elliott Key

Ever sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic, laying on the horn because the ding-dong in front is not moving, and you're in a hurry because you're late for work, and you still have to drop off the kids and get to the bank to deposit some money so your checks don't bounce, but you're almost out of gas and you're not sure if you're going to make it, but if you stop then you'll be even later, and if you're late again you'll get fired, and then you won't have money for anything, so should you chance it and risk getting stuck and getting fired because you don't show up at all, or stop and risk getting fired because you're lateç Dude, if this even remotely resembles your brain, you seriously need to take a break before it melts. And the best spot for escaping from the daily grind without spending a small fortune (provided you have a rich friend who owns a boat, that is) is right here in our back yard: Elliott Key. Located about nine miles from Homestead in the aquamarine waters of Biscayne National Park, this is the largest of three keys in the park's 172,000 acres, and is only accessible by water. Once harboring a thriving community of pioneers, today this idyllic island offers camping — complete with barbecue grills — picnicking, swimming, wildlife watching, and a hiking trail, along with showers, toilets, and even fresh drinking water. The coastline is predominantly rocky, but the clear waters make it ideal for snorkeling. And there are some small areas of sand if you feel the urge to bronze. What's more the place is large enough to never get overcrowded, yet small enough to feel like your own private paradise (especially if you head there on a weekday). Best of all, it's free. So grab some grub, anchor offshore (low tide is less than three feet high), and chill. Sleep under the stars and bathe in crystal clear ocean waters ... you deserve it. It sure beats waking up to reality.

Biscayne National Park: 9700 SW 328th St., Homestead, 33033
MAP
305-230-7275
Best Reason to Stay in Miami for the Summer

Last year's summertime calendar brought us 6/6/6, the apocalyptic number of the beast. Some predicted the Antichrist would appear on that hot as hell June afternoon, but it didn't happen.This summer will bring 7/7/7, which is sacred and mystical, according to various traditions. On that day Miami will host the Sacred Sevens Selebration. (In case you haven't checked, July 7, 9007, will fall on a Saturday; of course, the town will be either underwater or nuked by then.) It's all organized by the people at MysticalFlorida.com, who put on the Tropical Fairy Festival at Coral Castle every October. "This festival will raise positive energies and provide an outlet for people to experiment with their spirituality," says Atina Komar, the festival's organizer, "and honestly, days that don't appear very often give us an excuse to throw a party."The festivities will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in South Miami. There will be drum circles, live bands, magicians, spiritual workshops on well-being and self-healing, as well as performances by jugglers, dancers, and singers. There will also be games and a costume contest for children.

Best Moon Over Miami
Bike ride at Shark Valley

Want the moon to yourselfç Haul your bike out to Shark Valley after sunset and have at it. There's nowhere better to check out that massive cheese wheel in the sky than the River of Grass. Cruise around the fifteen-mile paved loop with wind in your hair, bird songs in your ear, and mysterious water splashes every few feet, as the glowing disk makes its way across the evening sky. It's beautiful — especially the view from the observation tower halfway into the ride — and it's free after 5:15 p.m (the gate closes at 6:00).

36000 SW Eighth St., West Dade, 33194
MAP
305-221-8776
Best Sanctuary from the Fast Track
Wat Buddharangsi Temple

You make the 45-minute trek to work every day. And every day at least two jerks cut you off or give you the finger. At work your micromanaging boss breathes down your neck because he's a sadistic maniac. The kids fight, your visiting in-laws are annoying, and you're behind on your bills again. Does the Mobius bandlike cycle of stress ever endç Sure you can plop yourself down on the couch and wish your life was copacetic as Shaq's, but that's a poor excuse for relaxation. What you need is mental and spiritual rejuvenation, both of which can be found at the Wat Buddharangsi, a Thai Buddhist temple in Homestead. Wat's Eastern-influenced architecture is striking; ascending steeples are adorned with red tile and gold decoration. The same color scheme can be found inside, with a large Buddha as an inspiring centerpiece. An aura of serenity permeates the inside of the temple as bright sun rays fill the quiet, open spaces. Patrons are encouraged to forget material possessions and control their lives during the temple's many ceremonies and prayers. Some rules for visitors: dress conservatively, remove shoes upon entering, and avoid making loud noises. The temple is open to the public every day from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and hosts special events at least once a month.

15200 Southwest 240th St., Homestead, 33032
MAP
305-245-2702
Best Beach
Third Street Beach

It's not that the sand is whiter or the sea greener. Nor do those few feet of ocean boast more waves or fewer pesky sea critters. It's just that Third Street — not Second Street, not Fourth Street, but either side of the lifeguard stand on Third — is where the cool kids hang. Week in, week out. It's where the hot Brazilians can be spotted in their pseudo-Speedo trunks, flexing taut muscles as they battle through endless games of foot-volleyball. It's where the Latinas and the Euros throw caution to the wind and discard bikini tops without so much as a flinch. Coolers stacked full of beach essentials (i.e. beer), lithe bodies, and paddleball games abound. In all its skin-baring, sweaty glory, Third Street beach epitomizes this city we call home.

Third Street and Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 33139
MAP
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Best Bus Ride: Julia Garcia Transit Bus to the Keys

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