What's hidden past Miami's sunny, slice-of-paradise shores is a city full of emotionally strained people. This place has been ranked the fifth-most stressful city in America. Locals spend their days on the lookout for face-eating zombies and battling terrorizing traffic for hours on end, so what do you expect? Being stressed blows. Here are ten ways to chill the hell out in Miami.
1. Ditch your car and take Metrorail. Driving the streets of Miami can only be described as Hell on Earth. It's so bad that this town is home to the second-most stressed-out drivers in America. De-stress from traffic warfare by ditching your car and taking Metrorail whenever possible, especially if you can ride it to work. Sure, public transit in this town has issues, but it's an alternative to pulling your hair out on I-95. Taking a break from the gridlock gives you a chance to sit back, relax, and mentally prepare for the day. You can hop onto Metrorail every day from 5 a.m. to midnight, according to miamidade.gov. A one-month pass and parking costs $123.75 (plus tax). Visit miamidade.gov/transit/metrorail.asp or call 305-891-3131.
2. Order a "Snuggle Delivery." According to a study from Virginia Commonwealth University, having a dog at work has been proven to reduce stress. So why not ease your workday anxiety with some cuddles and wet kisses from adoptable puppies and kittens? The Humane Society of Broward County offers Snuggle Deliveries to your office for an hourlong visit with a minimum donation of $500 to the shelter. (If you're outside of Broward County, they'll tack on an additional $100 for extra staff time and mileage.) The amount of joy these four-legged pals bring to your life is priceless, plus we all know your boss can afford the donation. Visit humanebroward.com/snuggles or call 954-989-3977.
3. Book a treatment at the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Miami. Don't settle for a strip-mall budget massage. You deserve a day of legit pampering. In the words of Parks and Recreation's Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, treat yo'self. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Miami, named best spa in Miami by New Times, is an oasis of relaxation offering topnotch service and a variety of treatments, from Thai massages ($295) to illuminating oxygen facials ($250). It's safe to say we could all use a little R&R at this luxurious Brickell Key spa. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami; 305-913-8332; mandarinoriental.com/miami/spa.
4. Do yoga at Green Monkey. Sometimes it feels like there isn't a breath deep enough to help you recover from the pressures of life. Though doing yoga outside made New Times' list as one of the best outdoor activities in Miami, a special trip to this indoor studio is necessary when finding your Zen. From power yoga to vinyasa flow to sound meditation, the Miami Beach studio offers a variety of refreshing classes for all levels, and some will even make you break out in a serious sweat. But new yogis, don't fret. Green Monkey offers classes for beginners too. The welcoming and accommodating nature of this standout studio is a serious breath of fresh air. Namaste. 1800 Bay Rd., Miami Beach; 305-397-8566; greenmonkey.com.
5. Spend a day at Virginia Key Beach Park. Catching rays and relaxing on South Beach seems like a cute idea until you find yourself wasting half the day on the hunt for parking. By the time you finally find a spot, your highly anticipated chill day is ruined, and all you're left with is anger and a sweaty back. For an easier day beachside, head across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Virginia Key Beach Park. At this mile-long beach, you'll find plenty of parking onsite, picnic benches, and, most important, free shade under the tiki umbrellas. New Times recently dubbed this beach one of the best in town. 4020 Virginia Beach Dr., Key Biscayne; 305-960-4600. Admission costs $5 per vehicle or $10 per bus weekdays and $8 per vehicle and $20 per bus on weekends.
6. Imbibe at the Broken Shaker. There's no better place to unwind with a handcrafted cocktail than the Broken Shaker, the painfully hip bar at the Freehand. The North beach hotel bar was named one of the World's 50 Best Bars and was also voted as Miami's best cocktails in New Times' Best of Miami 2017. The award-winning bar's lush patio boasts great vibes and is the perfect spot to hang with locals and visitors after a long week. Grab a bite, play a game of table tennis, and relax in the garden or kick it poolside. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727; thefreehand.com.
7. Visit a local park. Getting a breath of fresh air does the soul a world of good. From Coral Gables to South Beach, explore the various corners of the city and get to know parts of the 305 you might not be familiar with. From kayaking in Oleta River State Park, to renting a quad bike at Bill Baggs Cape Florida, to picnicking at David T. Kennedy Park, Miami offers a ton of fun outdoor activities that'll help relieve some stress.
8. Shop at Sweat Records. Miami is home to several high-quality record stores. And though they all have a variety of specialties and are spread across the 305, Little Haiti's Sweat Records is special. A pillar of the local music scene, the independent shop has been home to vinyl lovers for more than 12 years and is the town's only record store with a coffee shop. Grab a cup, blow off steam, and indulge in retail therapy. Listening to music is a surefire way to chill, hard. 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com.
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9. Take a Road Trip to Disney World. Planning a trip is half the fun and gives you something to look forward to when the grind gets you down. Miami is just a few short hours' drive from the Happiest Place on Earth, so take advantage and skip town for a pleasant weekend getaway. Being a Florida resident has its perks when it comes to saving some coin at the theme park. For a limited time, Disney World is offering a Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket, which gives you three days at any one of the four parks for $159 per person plus tax. To purchase tickets, visit disneyworld.disney.go.com.
10. Get crafty at the Knitting Garden. According to the Craft Yarn Council, "85 percent of people who knit or crochet experience stress reduction," and "68 percent of people claim that their mood improves after they knit or crochet." So this month, awaken your inner Martha Stewart and get crafty. The Knitting Garden in Coral Gables offers a variety of affordable crochet and knitting classes for various skill levels. Prices vary per class. Pick up a new skill and stay terminally chill. 1923 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables; 305-774-1060; theknittinggarden.org.