Best Art Classes 2013 | Art Atelier | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

True art blossoms in the unlikeliest spots. Warhol found it in dilapidated New York warehouses. Banksy made it happen on teetering brick walls in Bristol tenements. So don't be surprised to see Dade's budding painters tucked into a drab strip mall on the southern reaches of U.S. 1. Inside Art Atelier, the walls are covered with the colorful creations of dozens of amateurs and blossoming professionals, mostly working in oil and acrylic paints. The shop (which has another location on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest) holds adult workshops in the mornings and children's classes in the afternoons. Every Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m., $60 gets you into an adult happy hour, with wine and snacks to go with professional instruction. The teachers are all pros, but they're laid-back and ready to help you refine your technique whether you're a color-splattering newbie or an expert scraper working on your blue-period masterpiece.

In the heart of Westchester, tucked between the Tiki Dog Salon and an optical store in a shopping center on Galloway Road, groups of extraordinary beings come together to share their stories of good versus evil. You'll find Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Teen Titans, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men, the Avengers, and hundreds of your favorite superheroes inside the bins of Mac's Comics & Collectibles. This comic book mecca was established in 1988 by the late collectibles guru Frank Goetz. In 2006, Goetz sold his shop to a former customer, Mike McEwen, who's combined old-school brick-and-mortar retail with 21st-century social-media marketing to create a topnotch online and traditional comic book shop. Customers visiting the store for the first time receive a free comic book from the discount bins by mentioning Mac's Facebook page, where McEwen posts daily and weekly images of new issues from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and all the niche publishers out there. Every week, Mac's holds an online contest that rewards each winner with a $25 discount on all comic books in the back-issue bins. Even better, McEwen lets his clients fill out online pull lists that allow them to hold new issues for up to seven days and get 25 percent off. On top of all that, every first Saturday of the month, Mac's Comics pays homage to FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) by giving customers one free book from the discount bins just for stopping by. Caped crusaders, it's worth the short flight to Westchester for this superhuman experience.

Pink, yellow, red, green, blue, and purple. All the colors of a gorgeous day at the beach line the walls and floor of this adorable boutique, nestled in the heart of Coral Gables' Miracle Mile shopping district. The suits have charm and character, and they come in all kinds of styles and sizes, because not all beach bodies are made alike. Curves n' Waves is fully stocked in all beach accessories: hats, sandals, tunics, wraps, and more. And hey, this is Miami — you're probably gonna hit the streets once the sun sets. Check the opposite wall to find the right look for your club-ready nightlife, because the shop has all of that too. It's a boutique, and it does have boutique prices. Most suits go for about $120 to $150, but they're not quite like any suits you'll find anywhere else. After all, the beaches here are beautiful, and you should be too.

Kowabunga, dudes and dudettes! There's finally a spot on the beach where you can rent surfboards and paddleboards, and learn how to ride them with some of the coolest surfers in the Magic City. Owned by Miami Beach surf rats Mark Gamez and Christian De La Iglesia, F1RST Surf Shop has been holding it down since 2008 at South Pointe Park, the premier location to catch Miami's sporadic swells. Instead of a run-of-the-mill surf shop where you'll have to spend close to $1,000 for a board, wetsuit, and all the accessories that come with catching waves, these two bros specialize in rentals of surfboards, skimboards, and paddleboards by the hour. They also offer lessons. Prices for rentals range from $30 to $100, while lessons cost between $75 and $99 (although the price drops for group lessons). If you've got your own board, F1RST offers year-round dry-dock storage inside the store and a private secured cage with 24-hour surveillance inside the Continuum condo tower. Even better, its waterfront location is just 50 feet from the white sands of South Beach. F1RST also carries an inventory of boards and accessories for sale. Find your board shorts and practice that Keanu snarl: Surf's up!

Living in Miami and not taking advantage of the ocean is like living in Vegas and refusing to gamble, residing in Phoenix and forgoing Mexican food, or being lactose intolerant in Wisconsin: It just ain't right. That's why Underwater Unlimited has been prepping local divers for aquatic adventures since Charlie Matthews opened it in 1964, and it's still going strong with more than 24,000 certifications. Charlie Jr. now runs the shop with his beyond-friendly team, whose service technicians and dive instructors go above and beyond. Sign up for their training and you'll get to know the staff — they're not simply going to hand over a certificate. Just ask the University of Miami Scuba Club, which uses UU for its members' certification. Tuition for Open Water Certification starts at $150, with personal, private, or concierge classes from $300 to $500 and affordable specialty courses for continuing education as low as $55 per class. Drop by the dive shop for discount equipment packages and service specials, and once you're certified and geared up, test your newly acquired skills on one of the shop's many dive trips, which go anywhere from West Palm Beach to Key West to Crystal River for dives alongside hundreds of manatees. Don't you want to see those sea cows up close? Get that certification already.

For true cyclists, there's nothing better than that glimmering open stretch of road on a sunny day. But this comes close: a topnotch bicycle shop that refills tires free of charge with absolutely no fuss from the shop mechanic. That's exactly what die-hard mountain and road cyclists know they can always rely on at the RB Cycles locations in Doral and Coconut Grove. The staff eagerly helps pedal fiends keep their legs cranking with efficient repair service and an inventory from a wide array of bicycle parts and accessories manufacturers. "Our goal is to make sure everyone rides off happy," says Doral manager Ricardo Garcia. When you're ready to upgrade that heavy old Schwinn from Kmart to a sleek 16-speed performance bicycle, RB is your source. In addition to the brick-and-mortar store, RB Cycles has a robust website that shows the wide variety of makes and models in the store, from a $900 Felt bicycle perfect for cruising around Wynwood with the hipster crowd, to an $11,550 Trek Madone for pursuing your Tour de France dreams.

Nicholas Olivera

William Arias is a humble urban bike shop owner whose experience includes cycling the French Alps, the steep inclines of his native Colombia, and parts unknown in Mexico. And his shop, Willie's Bicycles, whose motto is "Ride in, ride out faster," delivers without fail. Whether it's a simple flat tire repair ($12 for the tire and labor), a complex overhaul on your fixie, or a fresh built-custom bike, Arias tells you how much it will cost before he starts work. Need a paint job, a tuneup, or some tricked-out accessories? Arias is your man. And he makes radical custom road and city bikes using your specs and his skills. He also imports his own carbon rims and builds each wheel set to order. In fact, he has his own line of Team Willie's Pros that will have you flying on the roadways like a speeding cannonball. As the official wrench of Miami Bike Polo, he's a hero to the local bike scene and a damn good mechanic who enjoys talking shop. He also offers rentals, sales on new and used bikes, and pick-up and drop-off service.

The words "Miami traffic" generally elicit a posttraumatic stress reaction: chills, flashbacks, spontaneous honking. But have you ever rolled down Washington Avenue at 7 a.m. on a Sunday or taken an early-morning cruise on Collins Avenue between 65th Street and Arthur Godfrey Road? Truth is, if you pick your spots, Miami is one of the most scenic places on Earth to enjoy a ride — and there's no better way to soak it all in than from the seat of a stylish Vespa with the wind whistling through your hair and the sun on your neck. Enter Roam Rides. This online-only scooter depot organizes some of the most interesting guided tours, including a trip amid Wynwood's street art, a gallery crawl through Miami Beach and Wynwood, and a South Beach architecture tour ($75 plus scooter rental). Imagine it as a day in the life of the big biker gangs, cruising together on the highways while wearing rugged leather jackets and American-flag bandannas. Except beach attire, flip-flops, a sunburn, and a Panama hat would be more appropriate for this riding tour. By the time it's all said and done, the words "Miami traffic" might bring a smile to your face.

Here's what you have to know about Capt. Carl Starling: He's one of the few people to survive a bull shark attack, he's appeared in a movie alongside Frank Sinatra, he sparred with Muhammad Ali at the legendary 5th Street Gym, and he fought in 24 professional boxing matches (winning many by KO). The seventh-generation Bahamian is what islanders call a real Conky Joe, and he knows Biscayne Bay and the Caribbean like the back of his salty hand. He's also a certified dive master, can hold his breath for more than three minutes, and spear-hunts with a Hawaiian sling (so the fish have half a chance against him). So if you want to go fishing, lobstering, snorkeling, cruising to Stiltsville at sunset, or on any other adventure involving a boat, Captain Carl will get you there and back in one safe piece, probably with a trophy and hours of stories we don't have room to retell here.

Need a pimped-out ride to the airport? Maybe a 40-person party bus for a 96-hour spree on South Beach? How about a hot-pink stretch Chrysler 300 for your last night as a bad-bitch bachelorette? An orange Hummer limousine with tiger stripes? A Ford Excursion superstretch with a champagne chest and mirrored moon roof? No sweat. Just snatch a few C-notes from the transportation fund (not too many, though — prices vary depending upon the size of the ride and the number of hours you need it, but many can be yours for less than $1,000 for the night, tip included). Holler at Miami Limo. And take your pick from SoFla's most extensive candy-colored, animal-printed fleet of vans, shuttles, motor coaches, charter buses, and sports utility vehicles.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®