Santa's Enchanted Forest

What type are you? Are you the Paranoid Stoner, always convinced the last toke will bring you closer to Satan? Or are you the Teenage Stoner, talking up your homemade honey-bear bong and sad sage stash? Maybe you're the Chronic Connoisseur, a wake-and-bake badass meticulous about strains and rituals. Wherever you land on the spectrum, there's a wondrous place that welcomes doobie bros of all kinds: Santa's Enchanted Forest. Let's start with the name. Santa: Jolly. Enchanted: It's magical. Forest: Trees are the best. In short, it's a pothead's paradise — an amusement park snow-blasted with Christmas cheer in the middle of the tropics from late October till early January every year. Walking under the giant, rosy-cheeked Saint Nick sign, you're greeted by an archway of lights, the first of many twinkling displays that make your bloodshot eyes widen with delight. What follows is a huge Christmas tree, whose bright decor flickers in sync with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Don't hate — it's awesome. Perhaps most important, the Forest will feed your munchies. You'll find chicharrones, fries, funnel cakes, coladas, arepas, fried Oreos, and other treats. And for the more active stoner, Santa's Enchanted Forest has games and fun rides like roller coasters, bumper cars, and a Ferris wheel perfect for lighting that hidden joint high in the air. At $30 per person, with no separate ride tickets required, the Forest is an affordable must for the happy, blazed kid in us all.

santasenchantedforest.com

Hooking up with a tourist is a time-honored tradition for single people in Miami. And perhaps the best place to snag a sidepiece or a European friend is SoBe Hostel. The trendy Washington Avenue location is pretty nice (even for a hostel). The main floor houses the Hangout, a laid-back bar that's open to anyone. It's a nice change from the uhntz-uhntz-pumping tourist-centric bars and clubs, making it easier for you to impress visitors with your local knowledge. And prices are amazing for a South Beach location. Mixed drinks like Cuba Libres and the bar's take on the mojito cost about $6, and during happy hour, domestic beer goes for as low as two for $4. You can also order ceviche from the restaurant next door and have it delivered right to the bar. If you're not much of a conversationalist, you can impress with your Monopoly or Xbox skills.

Hot dudes read books. It's a universal truth. In New York City, there's even an Instagram account devoted to sexy scholars: @hotdudesreading, which has lured more than 500,000 horny followers to its shots of men lost in books on the subway. Miami book lovers, of course, don't have NYC-level public transit for their perving pleasure. But one month every year (or so), they have something better: O, Miami. The festival, which aims to expose every single person to at least one poem in April, brings out the finest specimens of word nerd during its run. And they're not just sitting around with their noses in books like those subway riders up north. They're nodding their intelligent heads at poetry readings. They're getting drunk and writing verse at Gramps. At this year's festival, O, Miami invited them to bring their adorable puppies to Collins Park to shop and swap books. Did you hear that? That was the sound of a city's worth of panties dropping. Eat your heart out, New Yorkers.

omiami.org

National cycling studio SoulCycle has been making waves in the past few years, garnering a dedicated following among Hollywood A-listers like Madonna, Posh and Becks, Lady Gaga, and Bradley Cooper. When SoulCycle opened in Miami this past January, women flocked to the studio. Though the classes are coed, the place is crawling with females attracted to the high-energy atmosphere and the hope that SoulCycle's signature 45-minute, amped-up cycling classes can endow them with a body like Charlize Theron's. The environment here should be familiar to any Miamian on the lookout for single ladies: toned bodies, sweat, spandex, and thumping music. The place is practically LIV sans alcohol. Prices are $30 per class, $145 for five classes, and $280 for ten. The studio validates for three hours of parking, so there's ample time to linger in Merrick Park after you've impressed her with your cycling skills.

If you're looking for a no-strings-attached kind of fling, Miami has plenty of options. But if you're tired of that routine and are looking to hold an actual conversation away from the nightclub tables and loud music, pop into a CreativeMornings event. Sessions happen all over the world, but Miami has its own chapter. Each monthly talk begins at 8:30 a.m. — intelligent people know better than to waste their mornings — with breakfast, followed by a presentation and Q&A with an invited speaker. Guests have included O, Miami's P. Scott Cunningham, developer Avra Jain, author Vanessa Garcia, and BioHeart CEO Mike Tomás. After 40 minutes, you're free to mix, mingle, and network with everyone in attendance. Though we don't recommend using your cheesy lines on the women at CreativeMornings, being funny and engaging goes a long way. Even if you don't find Ms. Right, you're bound to at least forge friendships with some of the most ambitious people in the city.

Various locations; creativemornings.com/cities/mia

South Pointe Park
Photo by Bruno Fontino / Courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com

Just because Miami is obsessed with online dating doesn't mean chivalry is dead. If you've made it past the messaging-and-emoji stage and are looking for that memorable spot where you'll have your first face-to-face encounter with Mr. or Ms. Right, South Pointe Park is the place. No, you won't be dining at Smith & Wollensky — that's definitely trying too hard on a first date — you'll be rollerblading your way up and down the South Pointe sidewalk, from the Miami Beach Marina to the South Pointe Pier. With the sunset as your backdrop and the ocean breeze blowing through your hair, you just may be compelled to grab that special someone's hand. Sure, it'll likely be to prevent yourself from falling flat on your face, but hey, it's a romantic gesture anyway. Then you'll want to slow things down a bit and have some one-on-one time. Conveniently, South Pointe has plenty of areas where you can sit and lay the mack. If you play your cards right (and if fate permits, of course), you'll end the night making plans for date two. Maybe then you can give Smith & Wollensky a shot.

Biscayne National Park

When you're entertaining tourists in Miami, it can seem like an endless parade of beaches, shopping, bars, and clubs. Aren't you tired of traipsing up and down Lincoln Road or posing in front of Wynwood Walls? Why not show your next guests the best of "weird" Miami and take them to Stiltsville, that random outpost of wood houses built on Biscayne Bay. You can tell them all about how Crawfish Eddie built the first stilt house and how others quickly followed suit. Or you can describe how Stiltsville was dubbed Party Central in the late 1950s, when Miami's well-to-do would escape dry land to spend the weekend drinking and dallying in other vices. Today only seven stilt houses are left standing, thanks to a couple of catastrophic hurricanes, but the ones remaining are remarkably eerie and worth the trip. Sure, you need a boat to get there, but there's nothing more curious than Stiltsville.

Readers' choice: Wynwood Walls

Some of the most prime real estate on the planet is occupied by a handful of stalls and urinals inside an unassuming white structure in the sand. The public restroom facilities at Tenth Street in Lummus Park aren't state-of-the-art, but they are relatively new, serviceably clean, and spacious enough that lines (even for the women's) usually aren't out of control. But what really makes these restrooms priceless is their location: There's no hotter place to be than Lummus Park, in the heart of South Beach. And after a blissful few hours of soaking up SoBe's world-famous sun and fun in its most iconic spot — and probably drinking more than three ounces of something — you'll need a restroom. It's right there, answering your desperate cries. Forget about coughing up $20 for an unremarkable shrimp salad as an excuse to visit a nearby restaurant's porcelain. Thanks to the Tenth Street facility, you barely have to leave your lounge chair.

Readers' choice: Pérez Art Museum Miami

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

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®