Best Of Shopping & Services
Best Musical Instrument Store
Miami Vintage Guitars
Rows and rows of Gibsons, Fenders, Ovations, and metal James Trussarts line the walls of Miami Vintage Guitars. Wide-eyed music junkies roam the shop's seven rooms, making their way upstairs to the electric and archtop room where they can get their hands on a red PRS signed by Carlos Santana...
Best Vinyl Store
Uncle Sam's Music
Hawking records is a rough game in these post-digital days. The average independent shop is barely making rent. Or already inflating its "Bankruptcy Sale!" balloons. Or even worse, slated to be demolished to make space for yet another neighborhood bank branch. But thankfully, there are still some indies that have...
Best Recording Studio
The Hit Factory Criteria Miami
Welcome to the big leagues. As far as making music in Miami goes, there is absolutely nowhere with the kind of pedigree the Hit Factory has accrued over the past 56 years in business. To run through the entirety of Criteria Studio's history of artists would be a ridiculously lengthy...
Best Parking in Miami Beach
After Achilles was shot in the tendon and Perseus was turning folks to stone, Zeus lowered a flock of parking gods to Earth. From Washington Avenue street parking to spending your kid's college fund on valets, Miami Beach is a God-forsaken place for the four-wheel set. But there's a piece...
Mondrian South Beach
You'll always be greeted by a slightly unsettling face at the Mondrian South Beach. No, that's not an insult to the great service. We mean there's seriously a weird Bratz Doll-looking, computer-generated portrait of a lady's head in each and every room. The official story is that they're "sirens" meant...
Pridelines Youth Services
In the big picture of gay rights, things have actually improved. But the sad truth is that many queer youths don't live a life right out of Glee. Perhaps 40 percent of LGBT youth attempt suicide in their teens, and about 40 percent of homeless youth in America identify somewhere...
Best Public Restroom
Ah, Virginia Key at sunset. There's nothing more Miami than heading out on a buddy's sailboat and drifting toward Brickell while sipping champagne from the bottle. What could be more relaxing? Hanging out with your bros, listening to the soporific sounds of the gently lapping waves, drinking a liter of...
Best Hair Removal
Laser Center of Miami
We know the story: You've tried a half-dozen Groupons, you've scouted out the neighborhood options, and maybe you've driven all the way to some far-flung suburb. And in the end, you've decided that laser hair removal just isn't worth the hassle. It's OK! Laser Center of Miami will restore your...
Some people go to the dermatologist for cosmetic reasons: Botox, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, fillers. Don't worry — Barba Dermatology has all of that good stuff. But Dr. Alicia Barba is also there for true medical skin emergencies, like a nasty case of tinea versicolor, when the yeast...
Gloss Nail Bar
A wooden communal table adorned with a silver vase and ivory hydrangeas divides the manicure and pedicure sections of Gloss Nail Bar, but there's no strong scent of acetone. Instead, the room is filled with a whiff of lavender and eucalyptus oils. Though fresh flowers, earthy decor, and natural aromas...
Cleanskin by Isa
Facials might seem like a Real Housewives of Miami-esque splurge best suited for the rich, famous, and heavily Botoxed. But in a city where tropical heat combines with makeup to spawn blackheads that border on tar pits and eye bags reach Dame Maggie Smith levels of realness, professional assistance is...
Stop whatever you're doing. Put down the newspaper. Close your web browser. Breathe. Relax. OK, now you can read again. Don't you feel better? Now imagine that feeling times 1,000. All you need to do is make some time in your packed schedule to leave the real world and visit...
The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach
You've had a long workweek — hell, it's been a long month. A relaxing cup of chamomile tea with honey won't cut it. It's time for the nuclear option for tense muscles. Pull out that red telephone and dial the emergency code. At the other end is the Spa at...
Despite the fact that our grandparents still call it that "hippie human-porcupine stuff," Miami has bought into acupuncture big time. But even for true believers, steady hands and expertise are all-important when it comes to letting a stranger stick a bunch of needles in our skin. That's why it's so...
Vodou, the native religion of Haiti, has gotten quite a bad rap in popular culture thanks to Hollywood movies. But pay a visit to a legit Little Haiti botanica — Toute Division — and you just might find you like this religious practice. Vodou, built at the nexus of ancient...
Psychic Readings by Nicole
Love hurts — but that doesn't mean it has to remain painful. Just ask psychic Nicole, who for the past 25 years has built a practice on helping customers suffering from heartache. Her spiritual counseling and love spells are designed to strengthen relationships and ease weary souls. From her charming...
There's only so much time on the same old treadmill a human being can take. At some point, the soul must rebel and head to Legacy Fit in Wynwood, where owner Manning Sumner will get you looking and feeling your best with a holistic approach. Sumner's core philosophy, "No Days...
Best Tanning Salon
You. This is a short story about you. You stand before the mirror and look at yourself in the buff. Where once a pale-skinned sack the color of aged notebook paper stood, now you find a glowing being bronzed for the gods. Your skin is the hue of the buttery...
Girl, I was straight tripping. I thought my man was cheating on me. His clothes always smelled fresh as hell — like springtime or something. His shirts were actually ironed. He wasn't wearing his socks three days in a row anymore. I'd go over to his place on a Wednesday,...
Daddy's Cash LLC
Past the Cannondales and the cameras and the single Vespa that's for sale at this Wynwood pawnshop, you'll spot an object you can't find anywhere else in Miami. Actually, you probably won't notice it. "No one's asked about this since we got it a year ago," sales specialist Jonathan explains...
Best Gun Shop
Lock & Load Miami Machine Gun Experience & Range
If you are between the ages of 10 and 110 and are not pregnant, drunk, high, or chewing gum, you'll be welcome at Lock & Load, where both beginning and experienced shooters can giddily squeeze off rounds from a fine selection of 25 firearms, including fully automatic assault rifles such...
Best Adult Video Store
Adult Video World
The floors are tiled. The walls are wood-paneled. And there are many maroon doors, all numbered, from 1 to 10. These could be the basement offices of part-time faculty members at some community college. But what's up with all that moaning? Is it the audible expression of higher minds at...
Best Liquor Store
El Gato Tuerto
In any neighborhood, there's always that one badass cat that's either missing a tail, has a sixth claw, or rocks some gnarly battle scar that attests to a defining life experience. That cat — everyone knows — owns the hood. So on Calle Ocho, it's best to afford the same...
Best Wine Store
Old Vines Wine & Spirits
The most common modus operandi for intoxication in Miami may be molly and hard liquor, but there are still those who'd rather take their time and enjoy their drink. There's scarcely a brew or barreled concoction better suited for the task than a nice bottle of vino. If you're the...
Best Cigar Shop
Little Havana Cigar Factory
Little Havana Cigar Factory is a good place not only to buy a cigar but also to smoke one. Sure, the cigar might technically be imported from the Dominican Republic thanks to that pesky embargo. But considering it's rolled in-house by a Cuban expert and situated across the street from...
Best Costume Store
Have any friends worth having? Chances are a costume party invitation is headed your way soon — and not necessarily around Halloween. Of course if it's off season, you might have to get crafty with your getup. No, put away the bad pun generator. No one wants to see you...
Best Gas Station
Valero Station Connected to Taqueria Morelia
OK, there's technically another station about half a block south, but for the sake of all things sacred and guacamole (this nomination comes with an appetizer of nacho cheese), consider this the real last stop before entering Everglades National Park. You'll need to gas up anyway before heading down the...
Book Barn Book Exchange
Picture shelves with books upon books upon even more books. Imagine books covering every inch of the walls, from piles on the ground to piles atop the shelves. Inhale deeply and you'll smell the richness of parchment — an aroma that would make even Hermione swoon with delight. There's a...
Bookstore in the Grove
Hemingway did some stuff, sure. But imagine what he could have accomplished if he'd had access to the internet. Add Wi-Fi to your writerly dreams and you've got access to a wellspring of inspiration, from Ayn Rand to Pablo Neruda to F. Scott Fitzgerald. At the Bookstore in the Grove,...
Best Comic-Book Store
Villains Comics and Games
From Magneto to the Joker to Lex Luthor, the bad guys never get enough credit even though they're the real stars of most great comics. So it is on Miami's comics scene, where the underappreciated star is none other than Villains Comics and Games. OK, so there's no dark, malign...
Vice City Barber Shop
When Gloria and Emilio Estefan's son Nayib needs his hair trimmed and his face shaved, he heads to the good people of Vice City. Why? Because they offer the kind of community-based, high-quality professional services that a hard-working man deserves, whether or not he's the scion of Miami royalty. Owned...
The scene opens on a woman alone in a coffee shop. She sips slowly. Her face is concealed with sunglasses, and her hair is hidden in one of those hipster beanies. She's waiting for someone. Finally, another woman sits across from her. Nervous coffee drinker: "Cassie, what are you doing...
Best Hair Salon
In a city where 80 percent humidity can transform the perfect coif into a Sideshow Bob 'do in seconds, having a master stylist on speed dial is a must. Sam is the man. The refreshingly candid coiffeur is the one-man hairdo dynamo behind Johari, a quaint, shaded cottage that channels...
Best Piercing Parlor
Balinese Tattoo Miami
Once upon a time at an unnamed shop inside a suburban Central Florida mall, a hatchet job was performed on a girl who wanted nothing more than pierced ears. The inexperienced piercer kept making the holes uneven, and eventually the girl had about six punctures dotting her lobes. Blood stained...
Best Shoe Store
Del Toro Boutique
There are a few areas of human achievement that Italians have on lockdown. Pasta. Chianti. Dysfunctional democracy. And shoes. Any doubts that the last category belongs to the Italians will be banished with a quick trip to Del Toro, a Wynwood-based boutique that focuses on bespoke footwear from the land...
Best Sneaker Store
Miami is a city that lives and dies by trends. Luckily, shops such as Soles Inc. make living in the heart of trendy nation great. From exclusive action figures to superbly fresh snapbacks, this place has its finger on the pulse of what's cool, so its inventory is constantly showcasing...
The Palms at Town & Country
Once upon a time, there was a bit of land with a tiny lake and a fountain surrounded by shops meant to sell things. Archival records indicate such places were commonly referred to as "malls." This mall in particular was once plainly named Town & Country, but as the years...
Best Flea Market
Northside Shopping Centre
Unroll the map. Maybe it floated ashore in a cloudy glass bottle or was buried in a rotting chest on a deserted beach. Follow the directions, even if the remote locale seems dubious: northeast of the Northside Metrorail station, just east of the Hialeah city limits, just off NW 79th...
Best Antique Shop
Conch Hill Market
Everything about Conch Hill Market is vintage, even the building. It's located on the former site of Casa Capó Muebles, the first furniture boutique opened by the Capó family in Miami in the '60s, prior to the grand opening of giant El Dorado Furniture. The same white, red, and blue...
Best Furniture Store
With everyone suddenly priced out of Edgewater — thank you, Florida housing bubble! — the new hipster neighborhood ripe for gentrification is Miami's Upper Eastside, made up of Belle Meade, Bayside, Morningside, Shorecrest, and Bay Point to the east of Biscayne Boulevard, and Lemon City, Little Haiti, Buena Vista, and...
Best Used Furniture
As you stroll through vintage designer furniture and clothes, imagining yourself smack in the middle of the 1940s, maybe starring in some noir adventure alongside Humphrey Bogart, suddenly you're wrenched back to the present: Little Dragon is thumping on the radio. You're not in war years, and you're not even...
Best Thrift Store
Face it — hunting for an affordable retro sofa or swank '60s swag lamp to spruce up your den can be a tiresome, hit-or-miss chore. Expect to be fleeced at some of the vintage or antique shops, where Eames-era couches are priced like museum pieces. But that's not the case...
Best Surf Shop
Liquid Tube Surf Shop
It's easy to get a surfing inferiority complex in Miami. Thanks to the Bahamas choking off the wildest surf blazing across the Atlantic, the waters off South Beach often look more like a bathtub than a roaring Hawaiian fantasy. But all it takes to wipe away that surfing depression is...
Best Dive Shop
Tarpoon Lagoon Diving Center
It's 1952. Harry Truman announces he won't seek re-election. Mr. T is born. The Brits detonate their first nuclear bomb. And in Miami, a dive master named Mike Kevorkian opens the Tarpoon Lagoon Diving Center. Sixty-two years later, Truman's regime is long gone and Mr. T's career has come and...
Best Bike Shop
Diego Pinzon and Thomas Korray can fix just about anything related to a bike. They are decent guys who don't charge outlandish prices and provide a much-needed service in an area where many people ride two-wheelers. Since opening in June 2013, they've seen business balloon. The two will fix a...
Best Scooter Rental
Sick of your car and want to try something a little different? In town for a few days and feel like jetting around without worrying about the South Beach parking morass? Try Beach Scooter, where you can rent scooters by the hour, day, or longer. The shop is open 10...
Before Wynwood became the land of 10,000 bad Banksy imitations (AKA Janksies), there was the blue-and-yellow façade of King Automotive. This auto repair shop has been providing "miles of smiles" since 1967, according to its slogan, and whoever sets the prices doesn't seem to be familiar with the concept of...
Best Car Wash
Supershine Car Wash
The queue stretches for half a block around the tent pitched on the side of the road. What could be inside, drivers must wonder, to inspire such a line? Grossly discounted fireworks? Eye-popping circus sideshow freaks? Free cake?! Nope. This is Supershine Car Wash, and it's well worth the wait...
Best Auto Dealership
Living in Miami's urban core has its perks: walkability, decent public transit, a nice selection of local stores, and, of course, proximity to the highways that can whisk you away to Key West or New England if you're up for the road trip. But you'll need a decent set of...
Best Dry Cleaners
Coconut Grove Laundry & Cleaners
Miami is obsessed with image, which means locals have more than a closet or two of meticulously created fashion gems. But therein lies the Catch-22: Between the big nights out, expensive dinners, and pricey drinks, there's no money left to clean the ensembles that make those nights out possible. That's...
Best Clothing Boutique
You buy your produce from a Redland farmer. You pick up your coffee from the roaster down the block. Why would you get your new threads from a soulless national superchain? You can't get more local than the homegrown group of women's stores called Blush. With five shops from Miami...
Best Men's Clothing Store
Supply & Advise
Americans are the masters of casual style, but it's not uncommon to see Miamians walking around with Gucci belt buckles the size of hubcaps. That's because Miami is not in America and instead exists in a place where modesty is a four-letter word. Thankfully for the low-key set, there's Supply...
Nic del Mar
How important is the perfect swimsuit for the Miami woman? The English language lacks severe enough adverbs, so let's go with supercrazivitalally. Much like the little black dress, the perfect swimsuit can make a woman feel confident and sexy. And whether it's a one-piece or a bikini, Coral Gables shop...
Best Hat Shop
Hats & Hats
Long gone are the days of sharply dressed men topped in carefully crafted fedoras. Women no longer don flowing gowns and little ornamental hats full of jewels and feathers and filigree pinned over tightly wrapped buns. And though now it might seem like there's nothing to put on your pate...
Best Jewelry Store
They say it's the thought that counts, and yes, everyone appreciates a thoughtful gift that shows how much you care for a loved one, family member, or friend. But when it comes time to really impress that special someone — or maybe just to prove to your parents that you...
Best Bridal Shop
So he (or she) finally got down on one knee and popped the question. You're getting married. Let that sink in for a moment as the classic Spice Girls anthem plays in your head and you sing along to "2 Become 1." Now that the euphoric moment is over, reality...
Whether it's a wedding, baby shower, baptism, party, or corporate event, ask a simple question: What always seems to make the essential must-buy list? The answer is flowers, and the reason is because that bit of Mother Nature has the power to charm any situation. But big-deal events call for...
Maria Oliveira, DVM
Ever since she was a little girl in the Dominican Republic, Maria Oliveira only wanted to heal animals and be a mother. So when she was diagnosed with Stage 3B breast cancer in 2007 and doctors explained her chances of survival were slim, she accepted that her life was complete...
Best Pet Supply Store
Miamians have gone all in with juicing, cleansing, and organic everything, from toothpaste to body wash. So why do so many Magic City pet owners still tromp through the big chain pet stores, where garish cat and dog costumes and flimsy feather toys share space with the equivalent of McDonald's...
Furry Paws Pet Resort
There once were two dogs named Daisy and Bean, the cutest, most lovable pooches you've seen. They lived with their people, who loved them so much; together they always ate breakfast and lunch. But one day their people decided to go on a two-week vacation to Acapulco. The people were...