This is one of those old washes in Westchester where your car changes hands between rag-wielding immigrants stationed on either side of a tunnel, where the lathering takes place. The quality of the wash is top-notch, as it should be for a business that's been operating continuously for 30 years. The basic scrub plus a thorough vacuum is just $8.95; a full-throttle wash, wax, and interior deodorizing is a steal at $17. But Sun Glo's real value is the entertainment. It's neat to watch your ride pushed along a track through what seems a menacing, dark vortex. But if the mysterious mechanisms of a car wash don't hold your interest, those wacky wash guys also spend the day ragging on each other with hilarious jokes. If you understand Spanish, listen for the ones about Argentines. The last couple of years has seen an unprecedented number of them hired at Sun Glo, to the smirking amusement of the other Latin employees.

Unaffected, in every way, by retro hype, Shoppie Seconds prices its wares, displayed in jumbled, Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse-scene infinity, as if it realizes that some of this stuff is actually not very valuable. You can, nonetheless, snag authentic Atomic Age plastics, mad housewife shifts from the Fifties, and nearly-new mod furniture at u-carry bargain basement prices. A recent expedition yielded four minimalist-yet-chunky dining room chairs for $105, an authentic Joan Jett and the Blackhearts tour T-shirt for $5, and a vintage orange chiffon maxi cocktail dress of indeterminate (Forties? Sixties?) decade origin for $15. And the proprietors -- fun to visit with even if you're not in the buying mood and always generous to the neighborhood's many ne'er-do-wells -- are decent, honest, and willing to make a deal.

Unaffected, in every way, by retro hype, Shoppie Seconds prices its wares, displayed in jumbled, Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse-scene infinity, as if it realizes that some of this stuff is actually not very valuable. You can, nonetheless, snag authentic Atomic Age plastics, mad housewife shifts from the Fifties, and nearly-new mod furniture at u-carry bargain basement prices. A recent expedition yielded four minimalist-yet-chunky dining room chairs for $105, an authentic Joan Jett and the Blackhearts tour T-shirt for $5, and a vintage orange chiffon maxi cocktail dress of indeterminate (Forties? Sixties?) decade origin for $15. And the proprietors -- fun to visit with even if you're not in the buying mood and always generous to the neighborhood's many ne'er-do-wells -- are decent, honest, and willing to make a deal.

Books & Books
Courtesy of Books & Books
Special bookstores are few and far between. If you merely wanted an infinite selection of books or endless browsing you could just go online or to the library, but then you'd miss out on what continues to make Books & Books the literary draw in South Florida: There's a sense of community -- of belonging to Miami and its own internal neighborhood of book lovers. The seemingly endless parade of special events and readings has produced cherished memories for patrons. Most important, the warm, knowledgeable staff makes the shops feel more like personal libraries chock-full of friends. Here, you get a lot more than just books and books.

Special bookstores are few and far between. If you merely wanted an infinite selection of books or endless browsing you could just go online or to the library, but then you'd miss out on what continues to make Books & Books the literary draw in South Florida: There's a sense of community -- of belonging to Miami and its own internal neighborhood of book lovers. The seemingly endless parade of special events and readings has produced cherished memories for patrons. Most important, the warm, knowledgeable staff makes the shops feel more like personal libraries chock-full of friends. Here, you get a lot more than just books and books.

In 1984 Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesized the existence of biophilia, an "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms." Parks and wilderness areas make people happy because of the abundance of life, according to Wilson's theory, and this holds true of a trip to Santa Barbara Nursery as well. Joe Oves's nursery is home to seven sprawling acres of every type of plant South Florida has to offer, and some it doesn't. Oves has owned this gem for five years, and if you're looking for bargains along with the scenery ($3.50 anthuriums for instance) take a stroll around the nursery. "We don't really specialize in any one thing," Oves says. "But we have a little bit of everything."

In 1984 Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesized the existence of biophilia, an "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms." Parks and wilderness areas make people happy because of the abundance of life, according to Wilson's theory, and this holds true of a trip to Santa Barbara Nursery as well. Joe Oves's nursery is home to seven sprawling acres of every type of plant South Florida has to offer, and some it doesn't. Oves has owned this gem for five years, and if you're looking for bargains along with the scenery ($3.50 anthuriums for instance) take a stroll around the nursery. "We don't really specialize in any one thing," Oves says. "But we have a little bit of everything."

Ay, Shangó! The business card for this metaphysical shop says it all. It depicts a cute little sand-colored kitten with a red handkerchief around his neck accenting two innocent green eyes. In big, bold Spanish letters the card says the shop has all types of animals for religious services, and proclaims in even bigger print, "Free delivery with fifty dollar purchase." What better service for the on-the-go high priest? A stroll inside the store will make non-Santerós feel like they are in the dark parts of a Harry Potter book. Iguanas, rats, roosters, pigeons, and the like are stacked up in cages that fill most of the store. Incense, religious shrines, and other "tools of the saints" can be bought here, and what they lack in stellar stock the proprietors will be more than happy to find for their clients.

Ay, Shangó! The business card for this metaphysical shop says it all. It depicts a cute little sand-colored kitten with a red handkerchief around his neck accenting two innocent green eyes. In big, bold Spanish letters the card says the shop has all types of animals for religious services, and proclaims in even bigger print, "Free delivery with fifty dollar purchase." What better service for the on-the-go high priest? A stroll inside the store will make non-Santerós feel like they are in the dark parts of a Harry Potter book. Iguanas, rats, roosters, pigeons, and the like are stacked up in cages that fill most of the store. Incense, religious shrines, and other "tools of the saints" can be bought here, and what they lack in stellar stock the proprietors will be more than happy to find for their clients.

You can't miss Sinbad's when driving down Bird Road thanks to its colorful mural of a rain forest on the side wall, but if it's a squawking, feathered friend you're looking for, you'd probably find your way to Sinbad's anyway. It's simply the biggest and best bird shop around. Not only is almost every species of parrot for sale, but Sinbad's takes the time to educate and prepare each customer on the rewarding responsibility they'll undertake when adopting a bird. In the showroom, talkative blue and yellow macaws, green Amazons (those smart-aleck pirate parrots), red-collared African greys, fluffy Triton cockatoos, and the Rolls Royce of birds, the royal blue hyacinth, are on display, but you can't just have any one of them. See, store owner Alfredo Sinbad, an avid bird breeder for more than two decades, insists on matching suitable companions. Sinbad's only sells baby and young birds, housed in the bird house adjacent to the shop, so they can easily get acclimated to the people buying them. That's because a parrot is a finicky pet that requires plenty of care and attention. Parrot Jungle recently closed its bird shop in response to criticism over the kind of impulsive buying Sinbad's is careful to guard against. So when the customer and bird are finally ready to live together, they ride off into the sunset cheek to beak. And if the owner needs to leave town and has nobody to bird-sit? Leave it at Sinbad's bird hotel in back of the store for about five to twelve dollars a night, depending on the bird's size. There's cage service and everything. As for the appropriate parrot supplies, they're all at Sinbad's, truly a one-stop parrot shop with enough toys and bulk foods to satisfy even the most demanding bird.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®