Over the last few years, "architects of hope" Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt have softened the hell of flying in and out of Miami International Airport. Travelers from near and far zip past the pair's work daily: the words "Peace & Love" sculpted of flower petals. The colorful welcome sign promises all will be well once flyers make it past the low ceilings, cranky TSA agents, and long queues. Behar and Marquardt are responsible for art installations throughout not only MIA, but Miami at large, crafting visually arresting works meant to instill a tranquil and reflective respite from the crushing chaos and noise of the bustling city. Behar and Marquardt's firm, R&R, was also behind the past Bésame Mucho installation at MIA, which greeted international arrivals stretching their legs after long security checks and even longer flights. Although R&R bears the initials of the founders' first names, in truth, those letters could stand for "rest and relaxation" — fleeting as they may be.

Treehouse

This year alone, Miami has lost popular clubs Ora and Heart. The local nightlife scene is quickly becoming an endangered species thanks to rising rents, gentrification, and nimby neighbors. It's disheartening, to say the least — Miami wouldn't be the city it is today without the nightlife institutions that have made it a place worth visiting. Treehouse seemed about to join the ghosts of nightclubs past when it announced in May 2017 it was "closing for the summer." In Clubland, "closing for the summer" or "closed for renovations" usually means "we're closing for good but are too embarrassed to admit it." Sure enough, summer came and went, and Treehouse didn't reopen for the busy tourist season. But then, weeks before this year's Miami Music Week, the club announced it would reopen with a full slate of parties. And while that could have been temporary, Treehouse has kept its door open, with local promoters Un_Mute booking shows every weekend.

Best DJ
Photo by Nikki Vetsch

In just a few short years, 26-year-old Daniel Edenburg has carved out a niche for himself in Miami's fickle nightlife scene. In a city where EDM and house music reign supreme, Edenburg has become a soul and funk mixmaster. DJ'ing under the moniker Brother Dan, he blends left-field soul, funk, disco, electronic, and more to create a sound not typically heard on Miami's dance floors. Edenburg really shines at his Tuesday night Gramps shindig, Terrestrial Funk, which is also the name of his label and online and mobile record shop. As a label head, he's hoping to shine a light on obscure records. He recently pressed She's Hot With 2,000 Watts, an out-of-print release by Miami funk legend Lang Cook.

Best Electronic Act
Photo by Sean Michael Mccabe

Tampa Bay native Skyler Schubert may have migrated south to attend Florida International University, but the 25-year-old seems to be getting most of his schooling from the city's nightlife these days. Schubert, better known as Get Face, has injected some much-needed experimentation into Miami's dance music scene. With his debut Space Tapes EP, 2018's Horns of a Beast, he veers close to the nonsensical while keeping it danceable. (The influence of other queer dance music acts like Arca and Sophie is evident.) And Get Face isn't done releasing music this year. He's working on a two-track EP for Adrianna "Gooddroid" Moschides' label Materia, and another release he's not yet ready to announce.

Lagniappe
Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr

Quality wine, delicious food, great atmosphere — Edgewater wine bar Lagniappe is inviting for most any occasion. With live music nightly from 9 p.m. to midnight, it's one of the hippest evenings out you can have in Miami. If you're looking for jazz, Sunday is the best night to catch some of the city's most in-demand jazz musicians, such as the Derek Fairholm Organ Trio and Rodolfo Zuniga Trio. It's a great way to cap off the weekend and still make it to work Monday without a hangover. Lagniappe doesn't take reservations, so arrive early if you want a choice spot to enjoy the music and wine.

Revolution Live
Courtesy of Revolution Live

Miami can't keep a midsize venue open to save its life. But just 20 miles north, Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live has been making it look easy for 14 years. With Live Nation in charge of bookings, there's no shortage of stellar touring acts to check out every week. Never mind the thousands of shows over the years — last year alone, Revolution welcomed bands like Social Distortion, Lany, Clutch, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Spoon to its stage. And thanks to a layout that makes for easy viewing from any level, Revolution continues to be a favorite of rock concert connoisseurs. Here's hoping the venue makes out of its teenage years unscathed.

Best Venue for Local Acts
Photo by FujifilmGirl

There's no shortage of places where local musicians can perform in Miami, but few attract crowds as large as the Wynwood Yard. Thanks to its inviting atmosphere and mission as a food incubator, locals and tourists alike flock to the outdoor, open-space venue every day of the week. Local bands are routinely booked to enhance patrons' experience, exposing artists to new listeners. Unlike other established venues, the Wynwood Yard's audience tends to go there more to eat and socialize than to hear music. But it's a testament to the Yard's musician-friendly atmosphere that it frequently hosts local acts like Locos por Juana, Jahfe, and Yoli Mayor, and has surprised guests with pop-up performances by Coldplay's Chris Martin and Shakira.

Best Zine
Courtesy photo

Remember zines? There were the Kinko's-made publications your emo friend in high school used to hand out. Snicker all you want, but for many, it was a way to combine writing, photography, and design into a neat little package. Steve Saiz and Lillian Banderas, cofounders of Dale Zine (pronounced the way Pitbull says "dale"), are keeping the art form alive in Miami while introducing it to a new generation that's more "Tumblr and Snapchat" than "scissors and glue stick." In nine years, Dale has released more than 50 titles, and the zine has recently opened a pop-up at 777 International Mall, where billionaire investor Moishe Mana has extended his art empire. Stop by and peruse Dale's collection of zines and quirky knickknacks, which make unique gifts for the friend who has it all.

New World School of the Arts
Courtesy of New World School of the Arts

When Tallahassee was set to slash funding for New World School of the Arts last year, a veritable who's who of homegrown talent rose up to speak out against the cuts. The downtown Miami magnet high school and college counts Moonlight playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Cocaine Cowboys director Billy Corben, and Hamilton music director Alex Lacamoire among its alumni. In the end, lawmakers made a last-minute decision to abandon their plans. That's good news for locals: The 30-year-old institution provides a topnotch arts education and is ranked the 17th best school in Florida by U.S. News & World Report. Best of all, it's a public school, so any kid in the county has the chance to attend and become Miami's next big thing.

Guitar Over Guns
Courtesy of Guitars Over Guns

This year's horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas shifted all of America's attention to Parkland. But further south, gun violence against children is depressingly commonplace. Between 2013 and 2016, 94 kids were killed in shootings in Miami-Dade County alone, according to the Medical Examiner's Office. Students whose communities have been wracked by gun violence find an outlet through Guitars Over Guns, which provides mentorship through music and the arts. Since 2008, the Miami-based nonprofit has linked about 2,000 at-risk middle and high school students with artists who teach them to sing, dance or play musical instruments. The result? Students do better at school and sharpen their decision-making skills. That's something to get behind, whether you donate to Guitars Over Guns or head to a student showcase to see the kids show off their new musical chops.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®