Best Mall 2018 | Aventura Mall | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo by Leo Diaz

While malls across America continue to wither and die, Aventura Mall seems to be experiencing the opposite trend. It continues to thrive and expand. In the '90s, the mall was home to stores such as Claire's, Spec's, J.C. Penney, Burdines, and Sears. But today's Aventura Mall would hardly recognize its former self. Louis Vuitton, Bally, Gucci, Chanel, Apple, Bloomingdale's, Prada, Nordstrom, Forever 21, H&M, and Longchamp are just some of the nearly 300 brands that call Aventura home. However, the most recent renovation saw the mall transform its food court offerings from bourbon chicken and baked potatoes to lobster rolls and poke bowls thanks to its new Treats Food Hall. A 315,000-square-foot expansion designed by architect Carlos Zapata includes Florida's only Topshop location and a new Zara, as well as food offerings from local favorites such as Cvi.che 105, Pubbelly Sushi, Genuine Pizza, and Tap 42.

Courtesy of the Gym

Want to watch the sun rise while you pump iron? How about doing so in an open-air setting with a 360-degree view of the ocean and Intracoastal? There's a spot for that. The Gym at Fort Lauderdale Beach offers a one-of-a-kind workout experience that both locals and tourists enjoy. The oceanfront business is open seven days a week (Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to keep you feeling and looking good. In addition to boasting a picturesque rooftop, the Gym offers an expansive indoor setup, with machines, weights, mats, a smoothie bar, and a class space for yoga, zumba, Pilates, and other activities. Icing on the cake: The staff is nice and approachable. Now enough reading. Get moving.

Tanning in a booth is so 2008. Sure, you might end up looking like you just spent a week on a Caribbean island, but you could also end up with skin cancer. Is that really worth it? Thankfully, spray tanning exists, and there's nowhere better for it in Miami than Tanning by Ilona. Instead of self-tanning and ending up looking as orange as a certain U.S. president, Ilona will help you pick the perfect skin tone and use her spray-gun skills to apply it. Wait six to eight hours, take a shower, and — voilà! — perfection. No matter your special occasion, you'll glow with beautiful skin.

You're out for a night on the town and dressed to the nines. You're stumbling through the dank recesses of a South Beach club when, suddenly, a drink is spilled. Egads! Your precious (fake) Gucci sneakers are ruined, and your top has a big red stain! Enter Coconut Grove Laundry & Cleaners. In business since 1961, this family-owned store has weathered trends for decades and has the dry-cleaning know-how to rescue your favorite outfits from the trash bin. Plus, cleaning fees for most articles run less than $10, which means you'll be able to save up for a real pair of Gucci shoes.

Don't you hate laundry day? First, you have to lug your dirty, smelly unmentionables all the way to the laundromat because your overpriced condo doesn't have a washer and dryer. Then you must wait around for hours until the clothes are done, just in case someone tries to nick your knickers. All this is made more difficult if you have kids tagging along. Luckily, Coral Way Lavandería feels your pain, which is why it's stocked with amenities. Arcade machines and multiple TV sets help you pass the time, while free Wi-Fi and complimentary computers are provided. Vending machines offer snacks. Plus, the shop is clean, and the machines are kept in working order. Thanks to Coral Way Lavandería, laundry doesn't have to be a total chore.

Courtesy of Churchill's Barbershop

This is no gimmicky hipster place, y'all. When it comes to a damn good barbershop, Churchill's Barbershop is a South Florida institution. Located in downtown Miami, this lovable joint has been offering cuts (starting at $28), shaves ($30), mustache trims ($5), manicures ($15), pedicures ($30), shoe shines ($5), facials (starting at $50), waxing (starting at $10), and other services since 2003. The shop also sells more than 5,000 products to keep you looking sharp. Part of its charm is that its owner, Jose, spends a good chunk of his time mixing and mingling with regulars. So after you leave Churchill's, you basically have no excuse to look like a bum.

Courtesy of Detlev Gessner

Living in Miami can be hazardous to your hair. Summer storms, chlorinated pools, and the oppressive midday sun can make even the perfectly coiffed among us turn into frizzy, fried messes. Leave the job to the professionals at Detlev, an Aveda Lifestyle salon across from CocoWalk. Stylists are good at listening to what you actually want and knowledgeable about products without being pushy. And unlike many salons, Detlev is happy to take walk-ins. If you're offered a cup of joe, be sure to accept — the salon brews local Panther Coffee and offers generous refills while you're waiting for your color to set.

Courtesy of Caleb McGrew

Extractions are one of the gnarliest but most necessary parts of a facial. On his social media accounts, aesthetician Caleb McGrew doesn't shy away from showing such behind-the-scenes parts of his skin-transforming services. And this is one reason he has such a cult following. After he clears the gunk from your pores, McGrew will give a stimulating facial massage and apply a goopy face mask from your forehead to chin. The standard facial starts at $95, or you can upgrade to a special algae mask made with 24-karat gold for $125. Find McGrew inside Junior & Hatter in Wynwood, where he takes appointments Tuesday through Friday. And be sure to follow him on Instagram (@skin_bycalebmcgrew) for weekly specials.

Threading, for the uninitiated, looks a bit like medieval torture. You lean back in a salon chair while someone rips out your stray eyebrow hairs using a long piece of thread and, sometimes, their teeth. But once you get used to the pain, the benefits are obvious: It's precise, chemical-free, and safer than pouring hot wax on your face. At Yodi Threading Spa, walk-ins are welcome, and sessions typically last less than ten minutes. And the prices are budget-friendly too: Brows cost $10, upper lip is $7, and if you're ready to get every last unwanted hair off your face, you can do that for just 30 bucks.

Courtesy of Elianne Donates Mesa

There are a few things a good manicurist should have: a steady hand, a sympathetic ear, and an eye for color. Elianne "Ely" Donates Mesa has them all. She is a triple threat. At her space inside the Phenix Salon Suites, Ely is known for her fastidious technique and knack for nail art. Regular manicures cost only $15, or you can upgrade to gel polish for $25. Perk up with a cup of coffee or wind down with a glass of wine — the choice is yours. You'll never do an at-home manicure again.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®