Miamians love to rant about the 23-mile concrete ribbon snaking above the city — the seemingly random placement of stations, the lack of east-west transport. From Medley to Kendall, there are 23 Metrorail stations, and since Brickell Station opened February 10, 1984, it's been a crowd favorite. Miami-Dade Transit estimates 8,430 boardings there each weekday. It's situated in the city's hub of finance and business, linked directly to the Metromover. Outside the turnstiles, buses to Little Havana, Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, and Wynwood await. Soaring among Brickell's high-rises, noticeably loftier than the other stops, Brickell Station plays Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to announce approaching trains. The ominous "dit-dit-dit-dah" sparks quick smiles, even among the city's most callous commuters.

Amid all the uhntz-uhntz and cosmetic surgery, many seem to forget that the 305 was, in fact, once part of the Deep South. Before Julia Tuttle and our founding fathers established the Magic City, Miami was known as Fort Dallas. Formerly located on the William English Plantation near the Miami River, the fort, which was constructed around 1844, was used as slave quarters by owner William English. English, who is credited as one of the early settlers of the "Village of Miami," abandoned his plantation during the California Gold Rush. The estate was seized by the U.S. Army during the Second and Third Seminole Wars in 1849 and 1855 and renamed Fort Dallas after U.S. Navy officer Alexander James Dallas. When the wars came to an end, the fort was left uninhabited yet again. The structure served several purposes thereafter. It was a post office, a trading post, and even the Dade County Courthouse. But during the late 19th Century, the original boss lady of Dade, Mrs. Tuttle, purchased the property and used it as a storage unit. In 1904, Tuttle's son renovated the building, adding a porch and center gable. It was later rented out as a single-family home and a tea room. Long ago, plans were announced to demolish Fort Dallas. But thanks to a committee led by the Miami Woman's Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1925, the structure was relocated to Lummus Park. Today the building is used as the headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Though not open to the public, Fort Dallas is the only remnant of Miami's slave and militia past.

Readers' choice: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Miami made national headlines this past March after the raid of Coco Farm, an illegal Doral slaughterhouse straight out of a Saw flick. On the site of the 70-acre farm, workers brutally slaughtered more than 4 million chickens, cows, goats, pigs, and other animals over the course of four decades. Their methods, complete with rusty knives and machetes, were the stuff of nightmares. The heroes behind the record-breaking bust were the agents of Animal Recovery Mission (ARM). ARM is dedicated to ending illegal slaughter, animal sacrifice, bestiality, racehorse abuse, and countless other horrors inflicted upon innocent animals. Its investigators go undercover to collect evidence about deeds so stomach-churning that most decent people can't even contemplate them. Thanks to the staunch bravery of these ARM operatives and their police partners, thousands of creatures have gone on to sanctuaries and safe havens nationwide, including 9,000-plus animals from the Coco Farm raid alone. That's more than 9,000 squawking chickens, rooting pigs, mooing cows, bleating goats, and other precious creatures, each experiencing care and compassion for the first time — all because ARM cares enough to take a stand. Imagine if everyone did this.

animalrecoverymission.org

Pasion del Cielo

Whether you're a college student, a freelancer, or unemployed and living some in-between life stage, odds are you're dying to get out of the house and find a good spot to get work done. At Pasión del Cielo, you don't have to feel like a burden for taking up couch space for hours on end. It's expected that this coffee shop's customers are coming by to get their study on. Here's the lowdown on your new office: Fast and free Wi-Fi: check. Diverse coffee bean selection (from Hawaiian to Ethiopian) to keep you wired: check. Early and late hours: check. Friendly baristas who'll feel like your lifeline when you're drowning in work, the right type of music to keep you motivated throughout the day, and a welcoming but focused environment: check, check and check. Pasión del Cielo has three Miami-Dade locations (Coral Gables, downtown Dadeland, and midtown Miami) and three set to open soon (the Falls, South Beach, and Doral). Downtown Dadeland is the best work spot, though, because it's spacious and the first three hours in the parking garage are free.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®