Best Road to Avoid 2018 | NW Second Avenue Between 54th and 62nd Streets | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

This isn't I-95, with its multiple lanes and sports-car speed demons. It ain't even Biscayne Boulevard, the scene of March's attempted hit-and-run and ensuing sledgehammer retaliation. Hell, there are even some pretty good Haitian restaurants and a Panther Coffee outpost along this stretch of NW Second Avenue. But like Sledgehammer Man, many of the drivers on this relatively quiet street are seemingly crazy. There are lines that appear to mark a bicycle route, but few motorists seem to comprehend the concept. People open their car doors without looking, and accidents happen. Cars hit bikes. Cars hit cars. Cars hit pedestrians. If you're headed to Wynwood from the north, stick to North Miami Avenue or, if you have a bike, use NW Third Avenue. It's pleasant, tree-lined, and definitely not as chaotic as NW Second Avenue.

Courtesy of Soccer 5

Disregard the propaganda coming from Marlins Park, the fake news from Hard Rock Stadium, and the lies told at the American Airlines Arena: The biggest sport in Miami is soccer. Yes, David Beckham is still fighting through what feels like his 35th straight year of trying to bring a Major League Soccer stadium to South Florida. But if the massive sellouts for every international game held at Hard Rock Stadium don't convince you of Dade's fútbol fanaticism, slide on a team jersey and head to Kendall Soccer Park. Every corner of the 37-acre, county-owned park is packed all week with kids working on their step-overs, dads huffing for headers, and office drones blowing off steam on the pitch. To show off your tekkers, head to Soccer 5 Miami, which rents fields for 5v5, 6v6, and 7v7 games for $75 to $95 per hour. There are snacks for sale and helpful staffers who even keep a running list of solo players looking for a pickup game so they can text you whenever a team needs someone. Or just stop by and hang at the fields — somebody is bound to need an extra goalie. And you'll never know who you might spot: Last year, Becks himself popped by Kendall Soccer Park to juggle a few balls before jetting out of town.

Courtesy of Florida Division of Recreation and Parks

Sure, there are more famous miles of Miami — Ocean Drive, Calle Ocho, the Julia Tuttle Causeway, et al. You can plow across the MacArthur Causeway and scream like you're a guest star on Entourage. Or you can stroll up and down Washington Avenue in the early morning and behold some of the truly strangest people you'll ever encounter. But for the best stretch of road, get off the beaten path and head back to an area of land reminiscent of what this place was like before the Florida East Coast Railway, Miami Vice, EDM, LMFAO's "I'm in Miami Bitch," and whatever Pitbull claims to be doing on a day-to-day basis. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a reminder of what the Magic City could have been — a preserved stretch of land unique to Florida and Florida alone, that could have been integrated into Miamians' daily lives instead of drained, plowed over, and turned into sprawling, hot concrete. Join the many cyclists who regularly traverse this path and conclude your ride with a walk to the Cape Florida Lighthouse inside Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Admission to the park costs only $2 for cyclists, and free lighthouse tours take place Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Photo by Gabriel m /

There's no shortage of ways to spend some serious cash in Miami. You could charter a yacht, rent a Lamborghini, or order bottle service at an exclusive club. But if it's a thrill you seek, nothing compares to zooming 40 feet above Biscayne Bay with Miami Flyboard. For $129, you get a half-hour on a Flyboard that mounts to your feet and shoots water out below, lifting you high above the bay. Get a full hour for $229. Learning to fly is easy, the company says, and you should get the hang of it in no time. Then maybe you'll be ready to move on to the Hoverboard, which uses the same setup as the Flyboard and goes for the same price but more closely resembles wakeboarding, snowboarding, or Marty McFly's hoverboard — except this one glides over water.

Photo by Diana Robinson / Flickr

Naples has a well-deserved reputation as a play place for the old and wealthy. But it can also provide a welcome break from the general chaos of Miami. Make the snore-inducing drive across Alligator Alley, and you can spend the day lounging in the sugar-soft sand of the city's much quieter beaches. Head to the downtown strip of Fifth Avenue South to shop at the district's many clothing boutiques, drop by Naples Paddleboard to rent a kayak or paddleboard (rental prices start at $30 per hour), or hit the Naples Beach Brewery to sample the local beer. Grab dinner at the beachfront Turtle Club (be sure to try the $15 famous oysters "Turtlefeller"); then make your way to the Naples Beach Club to take in one of the best parts of Southwest Florida coast: the sunset.

Photo by Bruno Fontino / Courtesy of the GMCVB –

If a public bathroom is noteworthy, it's usually for all the wrong reasons. Not so at South Pointe Park. The rooftop of these restrooms offers a million-dollar view of the water, complete with shaded lounge chairs. Inside, the facilities are sleek and clean, which is about all you can ask for in a restroom that probably gets used hundreds of times a day. Sure beats peeing in the ocean.

Glitch photo

All-day rain is rare enough in South Florida that when it happens, it's tempting to just lie on the couch binge-watching trashy TV and mainlining potato chips. Next time it pours, head to Glitch Bar instead, where you can lounge on its couches while playing Mario Kart. Located in Flagler Village, AKA Fort Lauderdale's mini version of Wynwood, the bar has all the classic arcade games you remember from childhood: Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat II, Ms. Pac-Man, and others. It's stocked with more than 100 bottled and canned beers, plus a cocktail list that includes game-themed drinks such as the Yoshi mojito.

Photo by Amadeus McCaskill

Summer can be brutal in South Florida. While the rest of the country celebrates the first warm weather of the year, it's so hot down here that you need a shower after a short walk from your car to the door. But at least we get mangoes. All summer long, trees across South Florida are heavy with the delicious tropical fruit, and there's no bigger celebration of that silver lining than the International Mango & Tropical Fruit Festival. For the past 25 years, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's fête has been all mangoes, all the time. This year's July 14 and 15 event ($25 for the general public and discounts for children and seniors) will include cooking demonstrations, a tropical beer garden, and a display of the largest mango and tropical fruit collection in the world. Thanks to Fairchild, you can try them all, no backyard tree necessary.

Courtesy of W Miami

The elevator ride up to W Miami's WET Deck is a long one. Perched 50 stories above the Magic City at the top of the W Miami Hotel, this nightlife spot boasts seemingly endless views of the skyline and Biscayne Bay. The rooftop Brickell establishment has previously been called Club 50, but it's always been known for its unbeatable panorama. Inside, find floor-to-ceiling windows, and outside, a terrace with the highest pool in Miami awaits. Grab a cocktail and hit the dance floor, but fair warning: You might find it hard to look away from the windows.

Adrian Gaut

A private room for around $120 a night in the middle of Miami Beach? Believe it. When it comes to fashionable hospitality on a budget, the Freehand, located in the historic Indian Creek Hotel, more than delivers. Central location? Check. Clean rooms? Check. Award-winning bar? Check. A block from the beach? Check. A restaurant worthy of the hype? Check. Don't let the hostel environs scare you away. Yes, there are shared dormitories, which go for as low as $20 a night during the summer, but if you're wary of that arrangement, private king and queen suites are also available (from $160 to $190). If you're heading to Miami Beach or planning a staycation with a group of friends or large family, consider the quad rooms or bungalow spaces (around $200) that offer bunk beds with privacy screens for when you've had enough of the dad jokes. And don't worry: Both the quad and Super 8 dorm-style rooms have en suite bathrooms — in fact, the shared Super 8 spaces have two — so you have to fight for shower time only with your roommates and not the entire floor. The Freehand's outdoor spaces are the hostel's best feature. The James Beard Award-nominated Broken Shaker spills into the courtyard and small pool area, which though not as impressive as some of the water features at nearby luxury hotels, still draws its fair share of beautiful people taking in the Miami Beach sun.

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Best Of Miami®