Shopping & Services

  • Best Gun Shop

    Ace's Indoor Shooting Range and Pro Gun Shop

    So you want to buy a pistol, but you're not sure which one will satisfy your trigger finger? Can't find a shop where you can try the firearms before you buy them? Check out Ace's, tucked safely away in the grid of corporate parks and warehouses north of Sweetwater. By the time you get off the highway and find your… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    C. Madeleine's

    So you're in the mood for a pair of stacked heels from the Fifties. A gold brocade dress from the Sixties. A paisley velvet coat from the Seventies. And you'd like to complete the ensemble with some rhinestone jewelry from the early Eighties. Relax -- C. Madeleine's is the place for one-stop, all-decade vintage shopping. Open only a few months,… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Tio's Liquors

    Whatever Tio's lacks in selection, it makes up for with a knowledgeable staff. Walk in and ask for a moderately priced champagne, and they'll direct you to the Domaine St. Michelle, on sale for seven bucks. Sure they've got all your old favorites -- Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, and Stoli. The wine and beer choices are decent, and there are… More >>
  • Best Indoor Nursery

    Elva's Nursery

    Standing in the midst of Elva's Nursery, the plants seem to go on forever. Both inside and outside, the rows stretch from bougainvillea to bonsai to baby roses to staghorn ferns and coffee trees. Well over 100 species can be found on about twenty acres of land. The selection also extends to garden accessories, the tremendous assortment of which is… More >>
  • Best Junk

    Stone Age Antiques

    In the midst of the marine industries on the Miami River lies the junker's mother lode. Weird and unusual salvage from the land and sea is stuffed, stacked, and crammed into every nook, shelf, and cranny of Stone Age Antiques. What didn't fit there is hung from rafters and walls. Among the booty: rusty cannons that date from the 1700s;… More >>
  • Best Wine Selection In A Convenience Store

    Amoco food store and station

    The small towns dotting the Tuscan countryside are renowned for many reasons: their medieval cityscapes framed by hilly terrain; the Renaissance art found in their churches; their truffles and olives; and last but not least, their wines. The vintages from Montereggiano differ from those of Montepulciano, not to mention those of San Gimignano, make no mistake. But enough geography --… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Dadeland Mall

    Your granite horse fountain no longer reaches toward the heavens, but your obelisk with a capital D beckons huddling masses to spend, spend, spend. You put Kendall on the map when you first opened more than 40 years ago and set the standard for frivolous buying sprees long before ATMs and credit cards made spending convenient. You survived recessions, a… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    Miami Fantasias

    Almost hidden in the downtown maul of electronics and shoe stores is a sportinggoods retailer that caters to South American visitors -- like everyone else downtown -- but also remains attractive to locals with an athletically active bent. A family-owned business, Miami Fantasias sells everything the weekend warrior might need, from fishing poles to Ping-Pong paddles, tennis rackets to heart… More >>
  • Best Costume Jewelry

    24 Collection

    The modifier "costume" implies that the jewelry either is gaudy or blatantly fake. And true enough, in many cases it is one or the other. But this high-end Lincoln Road boutique, which carries everything from children's toys to silver platters, features an extensive jewelry department where neither is true. In other words you can buy jewelry with real pearls but… More >>
  • Best Maternity Boutique

    M & M Maternity Shop

    Why does the miracle of new life have to leave you feeling like you won the egg-eating contest in Cool Hand Luke? Take comfort in sheathing your gravid form in snappy capri pants in any shade you like. Shirts, skirts, and dress styles in this spacious Miracle Mile shop run the gamut from fun, flowery, and slightly retro-Sixties to understated… More >>
  • Best Butterflies

    Butterfly Mystique of Miami

    Your best friend is getting married, and you want to do your part to make it a special and memorable occasion. How about paying for beautiful multicolor butterflies to be released at just the right moment? At Butterfly Mystique, located deep in the Redland, a dozen individually packaged butterflies that arrive by one-day FedEx can be as cheap as $75.… More >>
  • Best Purse Emporium

    Mr. Pocketbook

    Next to a building painted in eye-battering yellow and green, Mr. Pocketbook's bright yellow sign lures you in: "Bags $2.99 & up." Inside, a sea of vinyl, leather, and fabric awaits -- everything from the stylish leather handbags that would set you back $60 in the mall, to more affordable knockoffs of high-end brand names like Fendi and Coach, to… More >>
  • Best Oriental Grocery

    Chung Hing Oriental Mart

    With more than 2000 products in stock, Chung Hing Oriental Mart boasts everything imaginable from the East. The store's owner, Chung Peng, a native of Hong Kong, even supplies local Thai, Chinese, and Japanese restaurants. The impressive inventory includes live tilapia and eels crammed together in a fish tank; hefty pork thighs hanging from steel hooks; and a range of… More >>
  • Best-Looking Shoppers

    Publix at Brickell Village

    "I swear sometimes I come here just for the scenery," says a man to his blissed-out friend as they exit the Brickell Village Publix. Anyone who's shopped at this particular grocery store on a weeknight knows what he's talking about: The aisles are clogged with more quaffed heads and tight outfits than an entire season of Sex and the City.… More >>
  • Best Mexican Market

    Bargain Town Flea Market

    In his book La Ciudad Mercado, Mexican anthropologist Alejandro Morroquín proposes specific elements that define the authentic mercados of his native country. The author's Mexican markets of wooden stalls, Indian campesinos carrying heavy loads on their backs, merchants peddling medicines and magical charms, and prostitutes working the throngs of buyers is not exactly what you'll experience at Bargain Town. This… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Bookstore

    Librería Alpha

    This is the Latin new-age headquarters of Miami. Librería Alpha is on this planet at this time not to offer the widest selection -- that would be the mission of frequent choices Librería Universal and La Moderna Poesia further down the street -- but to assist in the Spanish-speaking soul's evolvement. Just about every metaphysical and self-help book you have… More >>
  • Best Blades

    Tool Shed

    These people will sharpen everything from chain saws to steak knives. And when they are done, owner Dennis Hollinger promises you will be able to shave a hair on either edge. At $1.50 per knife, this kind of kitchen convenience is a bargain. Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the Tool Shed also features an excellent… More >>
  • Best French Fix

    Pierre International Bookstore

    One would hardly expect to find a little piece of Paris in a strip mall, even a relatively upscale one like the Biscayne Harbour Shops, but that's exactly the place to go when you're feeling trés français. Pierre Books contains everything the frenzied Francophile might crave: books in French, movies in French (for sale and rental), French tapes and CDs,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Hardware Store

    Paradise Hardware Store

    "Friend or Home Depot spy?" joked the young man behind the counter when he thought we were being a little too inquisitive about Paradise Hardware's holdings. The hardware-store wars must be more intense than anyone has imagined. In any event this neighborhood do-it-yourself fix-it shop need not fear the corporate giant. There are bigger stores for hard-core building projects, but… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Latin Music, Videos, Relics, Whathaveyou

    Marakka 2000

    Waldo Fernandez is a man of many missions. Nearly all of them have to do with rescuing Cuban music, television, and film from the ravages of censorship and decay. In his office he proudly displays an original still from the 1949 movie Sandra, The Woman of Fire, starring Rosa Carmen, but he needs more than a sheet of glass to… More >>
  • Best Smoke Shop


    First let's get the semantics out of the way: They haven't called them head shops since the Seventies. The preferred moniker these days is smoke shop, though if all you're after is a good stogie, turn around and head for a cigar store. However, if your smoking urges -- nudge, nudge, wink, wink -- require some preparation, Sativa is the… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    Blue Note Records

    When critics examine the infrastructure of a city's musical "scene," they usually focus on clubs, recording studios, even radio stations. Too often record stores -- the places where folks actually get their hands on a physical slice of all that musical activity -- are ignored. Blue Note Records, however, has never flown under the radar. It has had a lock… More >>
  • Best Florist


    Richard Interian could have become just another lawyer. Instead he went into the family business: flowers. A swell idea. Since he stepped in, the twelve-year-old shop has expanded from 700 to 3500 square feet, taken on a slew of corporate clients, designed blooms for various parties, and offered gourmet gift baskets. Open daily and promising worldwide delivery, their Bird Road… More >>
  • Best Used-CD Store

    Uncle Sam's Music

    Long before Napster reared its head, there was a simple way to beat the high price of new CDs: Buy 'em used. And considering the constant stream of folks digging through the mounds of used CDs inside Uncle Sam's, it's a safe bet that regardless of the Internet's future role in how we listen to music, used CD shops aren't… More >>
  • Best Botánica

    Botánica Bega

    Tucked in a tree-lined corner of Allapattah, this stucco garage painted with frescoes of San Lazaro and Santa Barbara is the real deal. Pigeons, doves, and roosters coo in cages in the back, ready to give it up for the orishas. Antlers hang overhead, and the shelves are stuffed with boxes of twigs, roots, and herbs. Everything you'd ever need… More >>
  • Best Place For DJs To Buy Vinyl

    Yesterday and Today Dance Music

    Yesterday and Today is showing definite signs of achieving institution status. In a music scene where the beats from the early Nineties now qualify as old-school, some of the grooves contained in this shop are practically stone age. There are other joints around town that stock the latest club hits (both Grooveman and Uncle Sam's have more than respectable selections),… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Super Skates 7

    Of all the South Florida Super Skates locations, it comes as no surprise that the Beach store is the most fun -- and the most musical. Sales reps Nick, Pedro, and Merly not only skate, they all DJ as well. The turntables come out on the weekends, dropping big beats on the customers as they glide across the store, marking… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Books & Books

    Mitchell Kaplan has lotsa books. Books and books. He has books on photography, architecture, film, and music. Books of poetry and works of literature. Books by great authors. Books by obscure writers. Books on Cuba. Books on boxing. Books carried by no other bookstore in town. Kaplan has so many books, he moved to a new Coral Gables location this… More >>
  • Best Juice Bar

    The Caribbean Juice Bar

    Leroy Robinson, owner of this Jamaican pulp bar and take-out joint, likes to add ginger to most of his freshly squeezed juices. In his island home the pleasantly pungent spice is used as a remedy for all types of ailments. Try it with tamarind juice to give it a slightly piquant twist or with the sour-tasting sorrel concoction, a good… More >>
  • Best Used Bookstore


    As any serious bibliophile will tell you, the first mark of a good used bookstore is the presence of dust: The more you feel like running home for a shower after digging through its stacks, the greater your chances of scoring a true find there. So try not to hold Eutopia's well-lit and neatly scrubbed interior against it -- plenty… More >>
  • Best Doggy Day Camp

    Totally Dog

    There is a school of thought that it's cruel to keep a dog in the city where it will be locked up during the day in a small apartment or house. If Fido has too much energy and the twice-daily walk is not doing the job, finally there is an answer. You can send the little hound to day camp!… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Worldwide News

    Everything's on the Internet now, you say. No reason to go digging for obscure magazines in something as old-fashioned as a newsstand. You'll just read it all online, right? Wrong. Take a stroll up and down Worldwide's browser-friendly aisles, and you'll find title after title that has declined to join the, ahem, new-media revolution. How about everyone's favorite chronicler of… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Flagler Flea Market

    The weekend bazaar at the Flagler Dog Track features the same sprawling grid of junk and gems that could be found at most other flea markets. But no other pulguero in town has the sonic boom of the jetliners that land at the airport nearby. And the rows of goods are treasure troves of the cheap and cheesy. To be… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    New Concept Video

    If you're serious about movies, there're really only two choices in town for renting a video. Coral Gablers head for Lion Video, while South Beach-ites opting for a night spent curled in front of the VCR swing by New Concept Video. Both feature a wide array of foreign flicks and indie offerings (many notably absent from your local Blockbuster), but… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy A Whole Roast Pig

    Diaz Supermarket

    John Diaz takes incredible pride in the roast pig his supermarket provides on special order. Each one is fresh. Each is seasoned in bitter orange and garlic and then cooked for about five hours. Diaz charges by the pound for the pig and $35 to cook it. A 60-pound pig will run you about $125. If you are throwing a… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Toy Town

    If you've ever stepped on a Lego block in the middle of the night, you probably have little desire to see one of the knubby little bastards again -- unless, of course, you're buying them for someone else's kid. If that's the case, wouldn't you like to patronize an independent local shop rather than some huge chain with an overgrown… More >>
  • Best Dive Shop

    Divers Direct Outlet

    Volume means choice. Divers Direct Outlet has both. The 5000-square-foot Florida City showroom is thick with masks, fins, wetsuits, buoyancy compensators, tanks, regulators, spear guns, underwater cameras, and diving computers. This is important because one needs to compare and contrast. Finding the right piece of equipment is absolutely essential with dive gear. No one can afford a leaky mask or… More >>
  • Best Golf Shop

    Don's Golf Shop

    We were getting our tennis racket strung here, and while we were waiting we talked to a young sales guy about buying some golf clubs. He had an excellent grasp on the equipment. He also had a good handle on its recent history, to wit, how leading manufacturers in the Eighties lost their grip on the market when new companies… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    The Broken Spoke

    This bike shop has been around since 1944; the oldest bike it carries -- a rare Packard found nowhere else in Florida, so they say -- dates to 1902. Yes, Broken Spoke specializes in antique bikes. For instance there's the toddler bike, circa 1920, that belonged to one of the Rickenbacker children. Chris Marshall, Broken Spoke's owner, says he purchased… More >>
  • Best Costume Shop

    ABC Costume Shop

    Franco Carretti did costume design for the Italian film director Sergio Leone and a raft of others, including John Huston, before moving to Miami in 1980. His collection of guises, vintage clothing, and meticulously rendered period pieces fills the upper stories of a four-story shop in the Design District. ABC caters to professionals. Designers from movies, television, and commercial shoots… More >>
  • Best Custom Cycle Shop

    Too Much Concept USA

    "We design motorcycles that the client chooses from his dreams," Steven Baroukh says in a lilting French accent. Baroukh, along with his wife, Beatrice Ummels, and partner Yves Blanco, take standard-issue motorcycles and turn them into swooping constructs of steel and chrome. To review the designers' work is to transcend the conventional idea of what wheels, fenders, and engines do.… More >>
  • Best Place To Meet a Cowboy

    Sunset Feed & Supply, Inc.

    The first thing that hits your snout when you walk in the door is the intoxicating scent of hundreds of pairs of new leather boots. Then you notice the studded dog collars, horse whips, chaps in assorted primary colors, tubes of "ultrafine horse glitter." A South Beach fetish shop you haven't heard of? Nah, just a one-stop shop for horse… More >>
  • Best Sex Toys Shop

    Pleasure Emporium III

    A big chain can be a turn-on. Sometimes choosing is hard: There's the airport Pleasure Emporium's humongous selection. There's the South Beach location where infamous murderer Andrew Cunanan reportedly shopped. And there's the Pleasure that delivers. The Miami River store, however (the newest carnal incarnation in the local porn proprietor's dynasty), tops our list again, mainly for its proximity to… More >>
  • Best Baseball Store

    Hitter's House

    Folks in South Miami-Dade take their baseball seriously, and so does Hitter's House. The store features four batting cages where a practicing slugger can get twenty pitches for just $1.25. Special hourly team rates are another indication that Hitter's House understands that the nation's favorite pastime is not just another sport. Autographed photos and baseball cards are available for collectors.… More >>
  • Best Secondhand Store

    Red White & Blue Thrift Store

    Need a set of dishes? Looking for just the right lamp to put in that corner of the den? On the prowl for the Ferrante and Teicher LP that will complete your collection of Sixties lounge music? This is the place for you. Red White & Blue is a veritable department store of used wares, containing not simply aisle upon… More >>
  • Best Pawnshop

    Cash Inn Pawn Shop

    The man locked safely in his cage of yellow metal bars has to press the buzzer to open the first layer of metal bars to let you in. This time it's two young men, who carry a thirteen-inch television set to the pawning counter for quick cash. A family slumped in plastic chairs in the corner waits for the more… More >>
  • Best Fly-Fishing Shop

    Charlie Richter's Fly Shop

    An angler walked into Richter's shop. He thought he needed to replace some gear. He picked out some $65 fly line and plunked it down on the counter. Richter had other thoughts on the matter after examining the angler's old line. "There's nothing wrong with this," he said, adding that it just needed to be cleaned. "I could sell some… More >>