Sports & Recreation

  • Best Day Trip

    Shark Valley

    Pack up the bikes and head west to Shark Valley, where there are no sharks but plenty of sunbathing gators lounging around the 15-mile looping path. It's a nature-filled workout with ample views of pristine saw grass and loads of migratory birds from January to March. What's that, you say? Pedal-pushing your way past gators and birds is sooooo touristy?… More >>
  • Best Kayaking

    West Lake Park

    Two minutes in West Lake Park is it all it takes to get away from the asphalt hell of South Florida sprawl. The trip begins with a light paddle down a serene mangrove tunnel — keep your eyes peeled for always-awesome manatees and some nice birds. When the trail empties out onto the lake, it's your choice. Let the boat… More >>
  • Best Tour Boat

    The Thriller

    The next time you have guests from the Midwest crashing at your pad, there's a sure-fire way to show them Miami like an undercover narcotics detective with an affinity for fine Versace suits. Head to Bayside Marketplace and board the Thriller SuperCat 55, a cigarette boat with room for more than two dozen people that takes riders on a high-speed… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Super Wheels Skating Center

    Sure, you can take the youngsters to the latest mega-arcade or crowded water park, or trudge three hours in traffic to the beach. Or you can introduce them to the kind of place you once hung out before the days of Xbox 360 Kinect and Twitter. Take 'em skating! OK, strapping on a pair of skates and rolling around in… More >>
  • Best Go-Karts

    Miami GP Raceway

    Your foot pushes the pedal until the rumbling metal below stops you. Your hands grip the steering wheel. Your heart beats more times per minute than the wheels beneath you rotate. There's only one driver in front of you. You hate her. You love her. You want to beat her. Your eyes involuntarily twitch for a second toward the youngsters… More >>
  • Best Arcade

    Arcade Odyssey

    Rick Medina had amassed one of the largest private videogames collections in the area. The collection included hundreds of rare items, including hard-to-find consoles and arcade games. But videogames — like DVDs, guitars, and the gullible — are meant to be played. So he set out to open an old-school arcade. The result is Arcade Odyssey. There you'll find tons… More >>
  • Best Pool

    The Raleigh Hotel Pool

    You know the Raleigh Hotel's pool even if you've never been by the art deco classic on Collins Avenue. You know its iconic yet indescribable shape — Is it a fleur de lis? A heraldic crest? — because it has starred in movies, on television, and in countless ads and magazine spreads ever since bathing beauty Esther Williams made it… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Cape Canaveral and Cocoa

    Far too many Miamians limit their weekend getaways to two categories: south to the Keys for drinking and debauchery or north to Orlando for rides and G-rated fun. Why not consider a weekend that combines the two? Just hop north on I-95 about 200 miles and you'll land in the quaint artsy village of Cocoa. Filled with art galleries, restaurants,… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

    The Redland

    When Aunt Hazel and Uncle Joe visit, the last thing they want to do is hit trendy SoBe clubs. Since when does paying 20 bucks for a rum and Coke equal Miami fun? We have a better suggestion: Take them to the Redland. Start at Coral Castle. This strange moonscape of a structure on South Dixie Highway in Homestead was… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Feeding the monkeys at Monkey Jungle

    Everyone loves monkeys. Not those giant chimpanzees that come at you with teeth bared and rip your face off. We're talking those little squirrel monkeys with the tiny people hands and long fluffy tails. Sadly, between flinging feces and climbing on drapes, they don't make the best pets. Enter Monkey Jungle, where you're caged and the monkeys roam free. Really!… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Renting a tiger at Zoological Wildlife Foundation

    There's only one reason we admire drug dealers, Saudi princes, and Russian Internet billionaires: their choice of pets. While we're out walking the Chihuahua, they're hanging out with lions, tigers, and ligers. Sure, cleaning up after a 400-pound carnivore that could kill you with a swipe of its paw poses some unique challenges, but admit it: Hanging out with a… More >>
  • Best People-Watching Spot

    Dadeland Mall

    Watching people is cool. Everyone does it, but because it's a mildly creepy activity, most do it in silence. That's why Dadeland Mall is perfect for the peepers. You can watch a flood of humanity to your heart's content with nearly perfect anonymity. At almost 1.5 million square feet, it's not the largest mall in Miami, but the sheer numbers… More >>
  • Best Relic of a Bygone Era

    Fort Jefferson

    Before drone strikes, cyber attacks, long-range missiles, and nuclear annihilation, wars were fought with cannonballs and other solid orbs of destruction. That mode of attack might help explain why more than 16 million bricks were used to build Fort Jefferson, and why the behemoth has never been completed. Construction of the "Guardian of the Gulf of Mexico" began in 1846;… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Margaret Pace Park

    Just north of the east-bound entrance to the Venetian Causeway is a living, lush example of urban planning at its finest. In the midst of towering condo high-rises, Margaret Pace Park is an eight-acre haven whose volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts; soccer fields; outdoor gym; running paths; covered playground; and eye-catching artistic elements stretch right out to an expanse of… More >>
  • Best Park

    Pinetree Park

    In general, Florida's disdain for law and order can lead to some pretty scary chaos. (Just check out the assault weapon arsenal in the trunk of our Buick.) But sometimes Miami's libertarian tilt is refreshing. With few exceptions, you can pretty much let your dogs roam free in parks around the Magic City, even if it's technically illegal. And there… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Haulover Dog Park

    'Sup, humans. Princess the Chihuahua on the mike, here to represent the Haulover Dog Park. Yeah, you heard me. My name is Princess, mofos. You probably think that's real funny. But let me assure you that beneath the bling'ed-out collar and bows my caretakers insist I wear, I am one tough Miami bitch. Disrespect, and I'll cut you. Humans seem… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Crandon Park Golf Course at Key Biscayne

    Greens, fairways, sand traps, blah, blah, blah. The exact dips, bunkers, and hills vary from course to course, but for the most part, many golf courses look like pretty standard seas of grass. Of course you can get your club on at any of these spots, but for a golf course that's an experience all its own, you owe it… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Miami Beach Golf Club

    What's clean and green and makes you wanna club things really hard? No, it's not a wheatgrass shot infused with anabolic steroids. It's a great driving range, and the Miami Beach Golf Club has the best in the county. Conveniently located just a few blocks north of all the sunning, drinking, and dining that South Beach has to offer, this… More >>
  • Best Free Yoga Class

    YOGiiZA Karma Yoga

    Take a cleansing breath, young disciple; you are among friends. Yogis and newbies alike will find a warm mat and a warmer welcome at YOGiiZA's Karma Yoga Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Each week, gracious hosts Dawn and Mark Oliver invite tuned-in members of the community to their organic-clothing headquarters. There, open-hearted students benefit from a local instructor's karmic investment. A… More >>
  • Best Escape From Reality

    Lucky's Place

    Lucky's Place is the Jimbo's of the Everglades — or technically, of the Big Cypress National Preserve. And proprietor Lucky Cole loves it when you stop in, browse the general store, grab a beer, take a seat under an umbrella, eat some barbecue, and peruse the hundreds of nude female portraits the 60-something-year-old has been photographing most of his life.… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    NW 71st Street between Biscayne Boulevard and 15th Avenue

    In the earliest days of civilized Miami, this area north of downtown and west of Biscayne Bay was all citrus agriculture and pineapple plantation. Today it doesn't get more urban. Along NW 71st Street, there's no bike lane to speak of, and you'll be riding between the Upper East Side and Liberty City, so this isn't a bike ride to… More >>
  • Best Jog

    The boardwalk in Miami Beach between 23rd and 46th streets

    What makes the perfect run? A beautiful course that's free of cars, rabid dogs, and bicycles is a good start. A great, ever-changing view helps, as do plenty of friendly fellow runners and walkers. Throw in good lighting for evening runs and a forgivable surface that's easy on the knees. There's at least one route that matches all of those… More >>
  • Best Road to Avoid

    Florida's Turnpike

    OK, so forget the two cops who recently tried to render aid to a stopped car and instead got shot by a crazed bandit on Florida's Turnpike. Pay no attention to the fact that the state legislature renamed it in honor of Ronald Reagan, the president who changed the tax structure and really caused the lasting economic mess we are… More >>
  • Best Mile of Miami

    NE Tenth Avenue between 82nd and 96th streets

    This narrow two-lane road cutting through the heart of Miami's Shorecrest neighborhood is like a living, breathing time capsule. It's a place where you find yourself slowing down to take in the rich history of one of Miami's oldest residential communities. A hard run becomes a light jog. An intense bicycle ride turns into an easy-going journey. A stressful auto… More >>
  • Best Place for Urban Exploration

    Aerojet Dade Rocket Facility

    Miami is a fast-developing city, where old buildings are quickly demolished and replaced with shiny new ones. But the 25,000-acre Aerojet Dade Rocket Facility, an industrial relic of Miami's past, has remained virtually untouched for decades. In the 1960s, Aerojet manufactured rocket boosters here, but the plant was shut down in 1986 after the company lost its contract with NASA.… More >>
  • Best-Kept Secret

    Sunset at Gilbert's Resort Tiki Bar

    True story: The sun sets every day over all of South Florida. But that doesn't mean all sunsets are created equal. You call that wan, pinkish glow you glimpsed through your office window at 7:45 last Tuesday a sunset? Hell, no. Give this a shot: Late in the afternoon, hop into your car and point it south. After you hit… More >>
  • Best Reason to Stay for the Summer

    Grilling on an island in Biscayne Bay

    If you are an intrepid boater, you load your fishing pole, kids, and GPS and head out to sea Saturday mornings in search of wahoo. If you are more like us, you stow your Weber grill, some burgers, and maybe a few dogs and putter around Biscayne Bay for five minutes before pushing up on a spit of island, jumping… More >>
  • Best Panthers Player

    Tomas Fleischmann

    In the mysterious alchemy of professional sports, it's often damn near impossible to determine what turns a losing streak into a glittering championship run. But in the case of South Florida's suddenly successful hockey team, the special ingredient is clear. When the Florida Panthers signed Tomás Fleischmann last summer, the left winger's career was in jeopardy. He had shown flashes… More >>
  • Best Marlins Player

    Jose Reyes

    The most disorienting, kinetic, eye-searing installment in the new Marlins Park isn't that neon-colored home-run sculpture. It's José Reyes legging out triples. Have you seen the Miami Marlins' new shortstop round three bases? The dude smiles and pants like a lab chasing a tennis ball. The stealthy Dominican kid — poached from the smoldering ruins of the New York Mets… More >>
  • Best Dolphins Player

    Reggie Bush

    When the Miami Dolphins signed Reggie Bush last spring, Fins fans feared the running back would be more TMZ than, you know, good. Bush came out of the University of Southern California with promises of being the next Gale Sayers. Even though he helped the Saints win a Super Bowl, Bush became better known for his game with the ladies… More >>
  • Best Heat Player

    Udonis Haslem

    Broadcasters love when Udonis Haslem comes off the bench because it gives them an excuse to use words like hustle, heart, and power player. Another upside of Haslem checking in is the chance to glimpse the tremendous, retina-scorching tattoo of Florida carved across the big man's back. Yes, he has an outline of the entire state drawn in ink on… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

    Admit it: You think you can coach the Miami Heat. After all, how hard can it be? Three of the greatest players in the NBA suit up for the team every night. All you really need to do is kick back, grab a beer, and turn 'em loose so they can do that thing where they blast everyone else in… More >>
  • Best FIU Golden Panthers Football Player

    T.Y. Hilton

    From the moment he began his college career as an all-purpose offensive threat for Mario Cristobal's Florida International University Golden Panthers football squad, T.Y. Hilton has taken the ball to the house. The very first time the Miami Springs native touched the ball, in his 2008 debut against Kansas, he returned a punt for a touchdown. He finished his freshman… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Shenise Johnson

    Brace yourself, boys, because the best college athlete in Miami is hands-down a woman. This season, Shenise Johnson wasn't just the best player on a damn-good University of Miami women's basketball team. She was one of the best players in women's b-ball history. Leading the Hurricanes in scoring (17 points per game), rebounding (8), and assists (4.4), the guard became… More >>
  • Best High School Athlete

    Randy "Duke" Johnson

    At Miami Norland Senior High School, running back Randy "Duke" Johnson was so good he was bad. So good that his corkscrew sprints through opposing defenses led entire stadiums to chant his nickname — "Duuuke!" — as if booing bums off the field. So good that he ran for 2,087 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior season, including five… More >>
  • Best MMA Fighter

    Yoislandy Izquierdo

    Before fleeing in 2008 from his native Cuba — a country famous for producing Olympic-caliber wrestlers and boxers — 28-year-old Yoislandy "Cuba" Izquierdo spent his childhood training in karate and sanshou. After serving in the Cuban military, Izquierdo set off on a precarious journey, first to Spain, then to Guatemala, and finally to Mexico, where he was detained for a… More >>
  • Best Boxer

    Yuriorkis Gamboa

    Dubbed the "Guantánamo Cyclone," Yuriorkis Gamboa has earned his nickname in and out of the ring. The headstrong 30-year-old Cuban boxer could become one of the elite pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He has a chance to become the next Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, even if he marches to the beat of his own timbales. He caused a stir… More >>
  • Best Soccer Field

    Soccer Town

    Every Saturday morning, Colombian carnival takes over a narrow lane just off NE Second Avenue. Street vendors set up shop selling hamburguesas and ceviche. Cumbia and reggaeton pour from overhead speakers. And the beer flows in equal proportion to the sun's powerful rays. But the center of festivities isn't a dance floor or even a bar. It's a soccer field.… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Mike Inglis

    These days, every sportscaster on the planet has a catch phrase handy when an extra-amazing play happens on the court, field, or ice. So one would think the guy who does the play-by-play for the Miami Heat would be full of catch phrases, because the Big Three are a highlight reel come to life. But the beauty of Mike Inglis,… More >>
  • Best Batting Cages

    Extreme Baseball Indoor Hitting Cages

    When strange and elusive slugger Manny Ramirez worked last winter toward a major-league comeback from a steroid-related suspension and an impulsive retirement, he kept it local. ESPN cameras caught him doing aqua aerobics with a pool full of Miami abuelitas and taking swings in a Hialeah batting cage. ManRam will soon be working his peculiar magic in Oakland, upon the… More >>