Yao Animal Hospital
Photo by Laine Doss

It's no real mystery why Miamians obsess over treating our pets so well. After all, our city is threatening to be swallowed by the sea like a strip-club-studded Atlantis — no wonder we need the stability that only coming home to a furry friend can offer. So when Fluffy gets into that two-day-old chicken burrito you forgot was on the coffee table, you better believe you'll be dragging him to the best vet you can find: Dr. John Yao. He is personable and caring, and gives your baby the kind of attention you wish you could get at an urgent-care center. In fact, the entire staff — from the receptionists to Jack, the canine nurse-in-residence — will make you and your pet feel pampered and at home. Whether you're visiting Yao for an annual checkup, a teeth cleaning, or a rancid-burrito-related emergency, rest assured his office will make you and your yappy one feel better.

The first locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus confirmed in Miami-Dade County last summer sparked a worldwide frenzy. Miamians who were pregnant or hoping to get knocked up were especially spooked. Reliable information was scarce, and panic was a real possibility. Luckily, Miami had Dr. Christine Curry ready to help. Curry, who teaches and practices obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital, was thrust into the media spotlight because of her experience in treating pregnant women with Zika, which can cause severe birth defects. She was fighting in the front trenches of a scary new outbreak, but her calm, collected, and professional demeanor on local and national news became the voice of reason for many viewers during this frightening time. Curry even penned a widely read in-depth essay for Time detailing her experience as an ob-gyn treating Zika-infected patients. She is just as calm and professional in person as she appears on camera, and she puts her patients at ease so they feel comfortable asking tough questions. Whether you're a patient or just a resident hoping for reasoned, nonhyperbolic news about Zika, Curry is the doctor you want at the examination table.

Nobody likes going to the dentist, and anyone who says they do is either lying or a masochist. But it's a necessary evil if you want to avoid starring in your own Fixodent commercial later in life. To counterbalance the discomfort that comes from drilling and scraping, you want a dentist who is charismatic and congenial in addition to being highly knowledgeable about why your flossing habits suck. Dr. Tatiana Suarez at the Center for Excellence in Dentistry possesses all of those qualities, making her a godsend. Hailing from Brazil, she's incredibly warm, putting her patients so at ease that she's halfway done removing plaque before they even realize what's happening inside their mouths. If that isn't enough, her office is decked out in the latest dentistry technology, including chairs that massage you while she's deep-cleaning and flat-screen TVs if you require the extra distraction. And if your teeth aren't the only part of your body in need of maintenance, Dr. Suarez also does Botox and Juvéderm — but your dental insurance probably won't cover those.

On Miami's male-dominated plastic surgery scene, Dr. Jackie Yee brings a welcome woman's touch to the profession. For more than a decade, the California native has run a low-key practice with her husband, fellow plastic surgeon Tracy Baker, in Dadeland, where the couple has built one of the area's most successful cosmetic surgery centers through word of mouth. She's been dubbed both "the Botox Queen" and "the Mommy Makeover Queen" for her skills with injectable fillers, body contouring and sculpting, and facial rejuvenation. Yee's methodology is slow and easy so that clients leave with a natural look, as if no Botox were injected into their faces at all. Her peers have recognized her as an innovator, placing her on two steering committees of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The association has also invited her numerous times to lead training seminars on the latest facial rejuvenation techniques. But Yee makes it clear that patient satisfaction is always her top priority. "If you are going to start with injectables, start slow, make subtle changes," she told the Plastic Surgery Channel a couple of years ago. "As time goes on, it will look like the best possible version of yourself."

Lincoln Road Mall
Photo courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

In barely a decade, the half-mile pedestrian mall that runs through the heart of South Beach has transformed from a collection of bohemian shops, gay-friendly establishments, and tchotchke-filled retailers into an open-air orgy of international brands and restaurants. Whether the scruffy Lincoln Road of yesteryear is better than the gleaming version of today is up for debate, but this fact is indisputable: The blocks of shopping and dining from Washington Avenue to Alton Road have never been more popular. Zara, H&M, Gap, Lululemon, Apple, Nike, Victoria's Secret, Scotch & Soda, Urban Outfitters, Meat Market, Shake Shack, Starbucks, and many others can be found here, making a drive to suburban areas like Aventura and Kendall unnecessary for urbanites. The Morris Lapidus-designed promenade still holds onto its old-school charm thanks to street performers working for tips and shirtless rollerbladers zipping up and down the strip. Plus, the people-watching is still free, and there's still no Orange Julius in sight. Sure, you won't be able to escape the heat like at a traditional indoor mall, but you can cool down with a scoop of ice cream at the Frieze or a cocktail at Segafredo.

Readers' choice: Aventura Mall

MVM Miami
Photo by Kris Tamburello

In hindsight, it's easy to say Wynwood's transformation from scruffy warehouse district to international hipster haven was inevitable. But in 2013, it took serious foresight to land a prime location in the world's new selfie capital. That's exactly what MVM did four years ago thanks to owner Melissa Mosheim's eye for knowing a good thing when she sees it. Mosheim is also a noted prophet of what women want in clothing and accessories. Her fashion boutique is a cool-girl's paradise and carries a covetable mix of established brands such as Citizens of Humanity and Mother Denim, alongside emerging labels such as Flynn Skye, Acrobat, and Grace Willow. Prices range from $55 for a printed T-shirt to $500 for an evening gown. Naturally, the folks working at MVM know a thing or two about styling an outfit and are eager to help customers choose the right ensemble for a pool party, wedding, or night on the town. The store stocks tops, bottoms, dresses, swimwear, accessories, and shoes that are hard to come by at other Miami clothing stores. Wynwood has changed a lot since 2013, but for now it's still a neighborhood that knows how to express individuality — just like its pioneering fashion shop.

Readers' choice: Emporium

Brothers & Brawlers
Courtesy of Brothers and Brawlers

You could drive to your local mall, rummage through the clearance rack in the small section dedicated to men's clothing at whatever fast-fashion store you happen to stumble upon, and just be done with your latest mission to update your threads. Or you could support a local independent store that understands that men need to feel relaxed in order to get in the shopping mood. Brothers & Brawlers, the flagship by local eyewear brand DiRocco, opened in late 2016 to offer Miami men an oasis that is part shared workspace and coffee shop and part clothing and accessories store. In this 7,000-square-foot man cave, you'll find one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, Seaweed & Gravel motorcycles, and bespoke threads — all of it for sale. You'll find T-shirts emblazoned with the Brothers & Brawlers name and brands such as Ace Marks, Wynwood Watch Co., Manready Mercantile, PF Flyers, the Brooklyn Circus, Knickerbocker Mfg. Co., Hue, and Slightly Sinister. But the real gems are the tailored suits custom-made in New York. Of course, looking stylish will cost you more than that $10 shirt you picked up at Forever 21. Store prices range from $20 to $2,000, but looking like a well-put-together man is a worthwhile investment.

Jack and the Beanstalk is not a story about a growing plant. No, this classic fable actually refer to the way kids start out oh so tiny and, with only a splash of breast milk or formula, become giant crawling creatures in the blink of an eye. The moral of the story is that your kids will grow out of their clothing very quickly and that you should be prepared. And because babies need literally everything done for them (mooches!), buying gently used, and thus cheaper, clothing is the way to go. For more than 35 years, the Children's Exchange in South Miami has been selling affordable and adorable baby and kids' clothing and gear, as well as Toke Shoes for tots' feet. So whether you forgot to put that Polo onesie on before the kid gained five pounds or she pooped through the perfect dress before the family photo, you'll feel the sting on your wallet a lot less if you get a replacement at this trusted store.

We won't ask questions about why you need to disguise yourself as a knight in shining armor, Superman, or Princess Leia — we all have our kinks — but it's worth a trip across the county line to visit Crazy About Costumes to track down your getup. The cash-only, husband-and-wife business offers the personalized service of a true mom-and-pop operation, and owners Karen and Keith really know how to dress you up right. Maybe you're a part-time LARPer with a unique request to finish off that Comic-Con-worthy fantasy outfit. Simply describe your vision, and they'll procure the necessary items in just minutes, accessories and all. Or perhaps your daughter needs a full princess look for her birthday. Crazy About Costumes will help you keep your sanity through all the requests, from the wig and the dress to the crown and the shoes. That unicorn pony, however, might be on you. Most of the costumes are available to rent, but some stuff is ready to buy at the right price. All of it is topnotch, much of it made with authentic silk, leather, and velvet, so you won't look like the dollar-store, rip-off version of Capt. Jack Sparrow when you show up at the next costume party.

Shoe Gallery
Photo by Kristin Bjørnsen

Can you tell the difference between a throwback Adidas X Ozweego Bunny designed by Belgian legend Raf Simmons and an Air Foamposite One from Nike? If the answer is yes, chances are you are a certified sneaker head and you already know about Shoe Gallery. If not, let us clue you in: Founder Abram Waserstein fled Cuba four decades ago, leaving his successful shoe business behind to start over in Miami. Of course, Waserstein couldn't stay out of the kicks game: He opened his stateside shoe gallery in 1979, and six years later, his son Jaime brought his own game to the shop, expanding to include then-relevant brands such as Clark's and Kangol. In 2000, a third generation, Danny, took over and took Shoe Gallery to the next level. These days, the shop is often among a select number of stores nationwide chosen to carry super-limited-edition runs, such as the latest pair of Yeezys or Jordans. To top it off, Shoe Gallery regularly teams up with big-name brands — including Adidas, New Balance, and Saucony — to create special-edition kicks inspired by the Magic City. Whether you need those Adidas NMD R1s in that Datamosh Vapour Steel pattern or some old-school Adidas Inikis, Danny's got 'em. Unlike most sneaker spots, Shoe Gallery carries an equal assortment for both men and women, so there's no worry you'll have to search for a size or color.

Readers' choice: FootWorks

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®