Island Water Sports
Island Water Sports is not just a place to buy wave-riding gear. It is a way station and information depot for Miami's small yet dedicated surfer community. The store has been in business since 1976 and employs a knowledgeable customer service staff — mostly surfers — willing to offer you sage advice on whether you should go with a short board, fun board, or long board. With more than 2,100 square feet of inventory, Island Water Sports offers an astounding selection. There's virtually every major brand — Rip Curl, Hawaiian Island Creations, Local Motion, and Kechele, to name a few. And employees do more than just encourage you to buy. They inform you of the best times to surf the limited beaches that offer worthy swells. They clue you in on how to join the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. On the store's website, you'll find instant access to the Miami surf report and a live camera feed of the South Beach coastline that you can control. So the next time you're headed east to catch a wave, take a detour to the Island, mon.
Want chunky Lily Allen-style hoops, long beaded chains, or studded bangles on the cheap? Forget Forever 21 and parallel-park on the east side of the Fashion District's tree-lined median in front of Adriana. Open for retail shopping Wednesdays through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Adriana makes up for it's fluorescent lighting and industrial gray carpet with a rainbow of loud, trendy colors — gold, green, orange, and hot pink — that flood the front of this mirrorless store like a psychedelic mosaic. You won't find a strand of classic white pearls or diamond studs here, but you will discover an assortment of fun, funky, and chunky adornments from $7 to $14. Plus, items on sale run as low as $1.99 for earrings, $2.99 for bracelets, and $5.99 for necklaces. And sure, with prices like these, you're not going to take home any future family heirlooms, but by the time all the coins fall off of your leather cord hamsa bracelet, it'll probably be out of style. Just another excuse to shop!
You want to watch the latest release on DVD, but you know that if you buy it, you'll watch it only once and then the thing will gather dust or serve as a coaster. So what do you do? You head to the nearest rental store and shell out seven or eight bucks for a movie you'll watch once. You'll pay a price equal to that of a movie ticket, and you won't even get the theater experience. But if you head to Porky's Video Club in Hialeah, you'll leave with a few more dollars in your wallet. Porky's is old-school; it still has some VHS releases in the back. Membership is free, and each movie costs $2.50 to rent. There's a large stock — and games too. And new releases come in just as fast as at any chain store. The place has been around since the Eighties, and it feels like it. Every time you step through the doors, you can't help but hear "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls playing in the back of your head.
Miami is one of the world's capitals for midcentury furniture, but out of all of our high-quality outlets, the largest and most diverse is Miami Art and Design Expo. Run by brothers Robert and Carl Massello, M.A.D.E. features booths sponsored by a variety of local dealers, all of whom have favorite styles, designers, and periods, so you'll find bureaus rescued from the old Eden Roc Hotel next to Sixties Brown Jordan outdoor furniture next to Eames Eiffel-base plastic chairs. Come prepared to haggle (prices are quoted on-site) and to spend more than you would at a thrift store. The dealers select the best pieces from estate sales, conventions, etc., so they know the value of everything, and you should too. It's also advisable to come often. The Massellos are nice guys who reward repeat customers, and some of the best stuff hits the showroom floor in the morning and is gone that afternoon. But be careful of developing a designer furniture obsession, or M.A.D.E. might become your second home.
Visiona
In Miami there's no shortage of cool, retro shops. Blame it on all those estate sales and wealthy retires. Still, the vintage collection at Visiona stands out for its ever-changing selection and affordable prices. A few years back, local vintage stores charged extravagant prices for their wares. But with the advent of eBay, these joints have learned to compete. And Visiona, which specializes in authentic 20th-century furniture, is the place to fully appreciate and try out the great designs of the past 60 years. There's no old junk to be found here. All the items in the store's crammed showroom have been selected for their vintage authenticity. Genuine Saarinen tulip chairs, which sell new for $1,200, can be found at Visiona for just $350. While knickknacks such as Panasonic's space-age Sixties TV sets can be had for $200. The store also offers plenty of lamps, sofas, and old design books.
Dolphin Mall
Courtesy of Taubman Centers, Inc.
Texting is so pedestrian. E-mail can be cold. Billboards are too pricey. Wanna say, "I love you," "I hate you," "Join Team Firecrotch," or "I used to be a guy"? Everything looks better on a T-shirt. If you bring your own tee to Embroidery and More, prices start at $10 for printing and $15 for embroidery. From there, what you shell out depends on the type, size, and number of letters you choose. The kiosk is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and can whip up whatever you want while you wait. Go ahead, plaster the name of a loved one across your chest, buy a large fountain Coke, and revel in being a mall rat.
Evelyn Greer Park
Maybe you like to take a break from scurrying around the web by scurrying around the jogging path. Or perhaps you just like to watch some other sucker sweat while you surf and enjoy a cool breeze in the shade. Either way, bring your laptop and grab a seat at one of eight comfy picnic tables under the park's large gazebo. From there you can check on your little ones as they scamper about the shaded tot lot, or gaze upon an expanse of ball fields that host local softball and soccer leagues. Then there are the batting cages and the 15-station Parcourse Fitcircuit. Originally named Pinecrest Park on January 27, 2001, the place was renamed in November 2004 for the village's first mayor (we're pretty sure her election to the Miami-Dade school board the same month couldn't have hurt). In 2005, the park was highlighted as one of the best playgrounds in South Florida by Parenting Magazine, so you know there's plenty of action. For sedentary types, there's a snack bar with an extensive menu of Cuban pastries and croquetas and hot dogs and all sorts of candy and ice cream; most items cost a buck or less. Best of all: The wi-fi is free.
Wine69
This isn't the largest place to buy wine in the city, nor is it exactly a store. It's kind of like a cozy neighborhood bar with an excellent wine list that happens to serve delicious, Mediterranean-inspired tapas. But you can just stop by to pick up a bottle. Owner Ben Neji — he's French, and it shows in the menu and wine offerings — stocks some 250 vintages; the bottles stand, floor-to-ceiling, right in the dining area. Many of them come from small-production vineyards, and (surprise) many are affordable. That is, they go for under $20. There are also weekly winetastings, during which you can pay $17 and try five or six delicious varieties from around the globe. And if you're not sure what to buy for a dinner party, take a seat. Wine 69 offers 10 "flights" of three wines each (from $11 to $17, generously poured), which allow you to sample everything from delicate California Chardonnays to blood-red Old World offerings. Neji certainly took a chance on opening his place on this stretch of Biscayne Boulevard — not too long ago, it was a catwalk for hookers and homeless — but now that Michy's and Starbucks have arrived, he has proven a unique concept can thrive on the Upper Eastside.
Schnebly Redland's Winery
Those were the days. Sneaking sips of Boone's Farm with your high school friends under the bleachers. It splashed across the palate like a boozy, overripe strawberry. Oh so bad, but oh so good. We get older. It becomes all about the Cabs and Pinots — turning our noses at our fruit-flavored roots. Family-owned Schnebly Redland's Winery will bring you back. But not too far. Their fruit wines are far from the cheap stuff. The rural winery transports you to Northern California, where, for $5, visitors receive a glass to sip five of the local fruit wines. Keep the glass; it's good for a lifetime of free tastings. A standout: the award-winning sweet litchi wine. A bottle of it retails for $18.95 and tastes like an exotic Riesling.

Gas prices are killing you. Every time you think about how much you've spent filling and refilling that friggin' SUV, it makes your back hurt so much you can't move. And not long ago, while checking the oil, you tripped and sprained your ankle. And then the damn thing overheated because you didn't add water to the radiator. Well, the answer to your automotive prayers awaits in Little Haiti. It's full-service gasoline — just like it was back in the Sixties. Sure you'll pay a bit more at the Unico — full-serve regular cost $3.94 on a recent day, while self-serve was a mere $3.27. But every now and then, it's worth it. The efficient attendants will make sure your car is in running order (except the tires ... they're your problem). Your hands won't stink of gasoline. And the gentlemen are friendly too. Just say merci when they finish pumping.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®