During the Eighties, Miami was littered with record shops. There were no fewer than six independent and a couple of chain stores along North Miami Beach Boulevard alone. Maybe it was the changeover to the higher wholesale prices of CDs or the explosion of the Internet, but now there's just one real player in North Miami-Dade. Not that Blue Note is a bad record store. It's great by any standard, and what would've been at a half-dozen locations is now conveniently collected at two spots. (Though some audiophiles legitimately complain about the ghettoization of jazz -- which was Blue Note's raison d'être in the golden Eighties -- to a warehouse a mile away from the main store.)

A bizarre bazaar -- structurally Middle Eastern, culturally Latin American -- this supersize movable market in the greyhound track's parking lot smacks of Toffler: a futuristic mall that appears each Saturday and each Sunday, then vanishes. The dealers (Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans, Mexicans, Guatemalans, you name it) arrive at the break of day and, within an hour, erect pipe-rope-canvas kiosks stocked with clothes, sundries such as toothpaste and perfume, jewelry, party favors, shoes, hats, tools, pet supplies, xylography, statuary, paintings, seafood, produce, hubcaps, plants both potted and in hanging baskets, toilet seats, batteries, furniture, even electronics such as stereo and computer components. Buyers who need only, say, five T-shirts (cost: ten dollars, total) can still enjoy eight or nine hours of browsing by pondering unusual items or by overhearing a young couple -- studying gilt necklaces priced at five dollars -- ask, "Sir, is this real gold?" With food and drink, merchandise unbound, and bargains unbeatable, pop-up malls might be the way of retail for Generation Z, or whatever tomorrow's children become. Future schlock? Not if you have only five bucks and need a watch or a bottle of new cologne.

A bizarre bazaar -- structurally Middle Eastern, culturally Latin American -- this supersize movable market in the greyhound track's parking lot smacks of Toffler: a futuristic mall that appears each Saturday and each Sunday, then vanishes. The dealers (Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans, Mexicans, Guatemalans, you name it) arrive at the break of day and, within an hour, erect pipe-rope-canvas kiosks stocked with clothes, sundries such as toothpaste and perfume, jewelry, party favors, shoes, hats, tools, pet supplies, xylography, statuary, paintings, seafood, produce, hubcaps, plants both potted and in hanging baskets, toilet seats, batteries, furniture, even electronics such as stereo and computer components. Buyers who need only, say, five T-shirts (cost: ten dollars, total) can still enjoy eight or nine hours of browsing by pondering unusual items or by overhearing a young couple -- studying gilt necklaces priced at five dollars -- ask, "Sir, is this real gold?" With food and drink, merchandise unbound, and bargains unbeatable, pop-up malls might be the way of retail for Generation Z, or whatever tomorrow's children become. Future schlock? Not if you have only five bucks and need a watch or a bottle of new cologne.

Even if it were just another bombed-out shell of a strip center at an indeterminate point of the overused, Hummer-thronged dead leaves highway memorialized by the Allman Brothers, the Dadeland Mall would still win the battle of the big boxes for the singular virtue of housing Italianate design store and Miami original Arango. Owner and Arango Design Foundation founder Judith Arango Henderson died in the summer of 2003, but the store, a south county fixture since the Sixties, continues. At Arango you can purchase a $4000 bed with a hydraulically hoisted mattress under which to store your valuables, or a $5 napkin ring to make place settings sparkle, both, along with everything in between, splashed with the unmistakable élan of the Capitoline Wolf. Dadeland has lots of other reasons to shout Ciao Bella! The mall is easily accessed by bus and Metrorail (it has its own stop) and offers plenty of free parking. All the comforting chains -- the Gap, Forever XXI, Foot Locker, and Victoria's Secret -- are present, along with the more esoteric L'Occitane and Sephora. There are even touches of architectural whimsy (Burdines-Macy's is unavoidably a central thoroughfare) and cleverness (an alcoved food court prevents eau de Chick-fil-A from permeating your purchases).

Even if it were just another bombed-out shell of a strip center at an indeterminate point of the overused, Hummer-thronged dead leaves highway memorialized by the Allman Brothers, the Dadeland Mall would still win the battle of the big boxes for the singular virtue of housing Italianate design store and Miami original Arango. Owner and Arango Design Foundation founder Judith Arango Henderson died in the summer of 2003, but the store, a south county fixture since the Sixties, continues. At Arango you can purchase a $4000 bed with a hydraulically hoisted mattress under which to store your valuables, or a $5 napkin ring to make place settings sparkle, both, along with everything in between, splashed with the unmistakable élan of the Capitoline Wolf. Dadeland has lots of other reasons to shout Ciao Bella! The mall is easily accessed by bus and Metrorail (it has its own stop) and offers plenty of free parking. All the comforting chains -- the Gap, Forever XXI, Foot Locker, and Victoria's Secret -- are present, along with the more esoteric L'Occitane and Sephora. There are even touches of architectural whimsy (Burdines-Macy's is unavoidably a central thoroughfare) and cleverness (an alcoved food court prevents eau de Chick-fil-A from permeating your purchases).

The decision to put down beloved pets who are suffering is hard enough without having to remove your fuzzy buddies from their home to spend their last moments traumatized on an examining table. When the time comes for Fang or Fido to pass on, Aussie's compassionate all-female medical staff makes house calls. They are equally compassionate when dealing with less dire crises or with routine checkups. Personnel have been known to stay up all night with injured animals. They open up the office on vacation days for clients who've run out of dog food. This past year one staffer answered the after-hours phone in the middle of running the Toyota Half Marathon, and had the problem solved before crossing the finish line. And in addition to usual services, they can provide at-home pet sitting for concerned vacationers as well as homeopathic treatments or acupuncture if Fido has arthritis or needs to lose a few pounds. What if Fido is a turtle? No prob. Along with dogs and cats, Aussie handles exotics, including "hamsters, ferrets, even the odd wallaby," according to manager Cathy Schliefret. "We're totally client service-oriented." And they truly care.

The decision to put down beloved pets who are suffering is hard enough without having to remove your fuzzy buddies from their home to spend their last moments traumatized on an examining table. When the time comes for Fang or Fido to pass on, Aussie's compassionate all-female medical staff makes house calls. They are equally compassionate when dealing with less dire crises or with routine checkups. Personnel have been known to stay up all night with injured animals. They open up the office on vacation days for clients who've run out of dog food. This past year one staffer answered the after-hours phone in the middle of running the Toyota Half Marathon, and had the problem solved before crossing the finish line. And in addition to usual services, they can provide at-home pet sitting for concerned vacationers as well as homeopathic treatments or acupuncture if Fido has arthritis or needs to lose a few pounds. What if Fido is a turtle? No prob. Along with dogs and cats, Aussie handles exotics, including "hamsters, ferrets, even the odd wallaby," according to manager Cathy Schliefret. "We're totally client service-oriented." And they truly care.

Welcome to South Florida's premier weapon world, where you can find killer toys to fit your bang-bang needs that will also match with brown or black Timberlands. For more than fifteen years, Pantera has provided infinite infantry, space-age banana clips, intelligent laser beams (for direction, distance, information), Velcro holsters that clasp on your hips, STI Trojan .40s, small-ammo semiautomatics (when the little .223 caliber bullets fire, they sound like Pop Rocks candy), night vision goggles (you can see them), camouflaged apparel (but they can't see you), titanium strikers, aluminum mag-wells, reduced trigger pull systems, and Vihtavuori reloading powder to anybody who qualifies for a firearm license, which they can assist in acquiring. There are also loads of manuals and applications for classes for beginners. And if you happen to come from a country in political upheaval, they can export arms home within 30-60 days; coincidentally Pantera focuses on Latin business. Now if you're wondering whether this gun shop is politically inclined, well, aren't they all? But it's worth noting that this shop's Website has links to the National Rifle Association, Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party of Florida, and of course Fox News.

Welcome to South Florida's premier weapon world, where you can find killer toys to fit your bang-bang needs that will also match with brown or black Timberlands. For more than fifteen years, Pantera has provided infinite infantry, space-age banana clips, intelligent laser beams (for direction, distance, information), Velcro holsters that clasp on your hips, STI Trojan .40s, small-ammo semiautomatics (when the little .223 caliber bullets fire, they sound like Pop Rocks candy), night vision goggles (you can see them), camouflaged apparel (but they can't see you), titanium strikers, aluminum mag-wells, reduced trigger pull systems, and Vihtavuori reloading powder to anybody who qualifies for a firearm license, which they can assist in acquiring. There are also loads of manuals and applications for classes for beginners. And if you happen to come from a country in political upheaval, they can export arms home within 30-60 days; coincidentally Pantera focuses on Latin business. Now if you're wondering whether this gun shop is politically inclined, well, aren't they all? But it's worth noting that this shop's Website has links to the National Rifle Association, Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party of Florida, and of course Fox News.

Tucked away behind a nondescript storefront in North Beach is a gem of a bike store. The employees are friendly and knowledgeable. From outside, the store appears tiny, but walk in and it's much larger than expected. It's well stocked with not only bicycles but parts, accessories, and even a small array of clothing for the enthusiast. If your bicycle is ailing, there's an excellent repair shop in the back. Tired of pedaling? You can ditch your bike for one of their motor scooters or skateboards.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®