Best Place to Meet Single Men
Brightline

A speedier commute is the most obvious reason to ride the Brightline express train connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. But when you book your next ride (starting at $17), know that you might just be purchasing a golden ticket to the relationship of your dreams. Brightline stations are comfortable, airy, and bright, easing nerves when you're breaking the ice. You'll have a plentiful and diverse pool of potential candidates to choose from, so make sure you're paying attention when one of them glances up from that cell phone or laptop. Another pro of making this your new place to meet single men: There's no need to go anywhere else for a drink: The Brightline offers passengers a list of libations for purchase.

Best Festival

Are you being shunned from your workplace book club because they found out you were listening to this month's selection on audiobook? That's the 305 bibliophile pride talking. Some of y'all were raised in cities without an eight-day literary festival, and it shows. Miami is home to the largest book fair in the nation, drawing hundreds of thousands of book nerds every November for a jam-packed week of events. From readings and discussions with world-renowned authors to the highly anticipated Friday-through-Sunday street fair, the Miami Book Fair is a spectacle that can't be missed. It's safe to say Miami is experiencing a renaissance of sorts when it comes to arts and culture. But the real OG is the Miami Book Fair.

Readers' choice: III Points

Best Comedian

"But it's my birthday," comedian Rudy Wilson says, mimicking a pintsize heckler celebrating his special day at a Monday-night show. "Don't blow out the candles because it's my birthday." Since transplanting from Washington, D.C. about a year ago, Rudy Wilson has become a Miami favorite. Whether he's hosting a small show in Wynwood or performing at the new Miami Improv in Doral, Wilson oozes confidence onstage. At a recent show, he performed his entire set acoustically after the house's only microphone shattered to pieces. What followed was ten minutes of raw comedy. Imagine Def Comedy Jam by way of MTV Unplugged. It's clear Wilson understands — as all professional entertainers do — that no matter what happens, the show must go on.

Best Power Couple

During former Heat player Ray Allen's illustrious career in the NBA, his wife Shannon became a pro at whipping up healthy food to fuel his game. When he retired, the couple turned her years of cooking experience into a family business: a fast-casual restaurant that serves healthy organic fare. Their company, Grown, has expanded quickly since its 2016 launch and today has multiple locations and a Walmart partnership. Together since 2004 and married since 2008, Ray and Shannon manage the restaurant chain alongside their busy family life. They have five kids, including a son whose type 1 diabetes makes healthy eating all the more important. It's also turned the two into activists in the diabetes community. They've held fundraisers for the Diabetes Research Institute and nonprofits that research the condition. They've been advocates, whether by appearing in commercials warning about the symptoms or by testifying in front of Congress in support of additional research. The Allens deserve credit for making Miami a healthier place.

Best Author

To read Patricia Engel is to be transported. Simply take the first line of her most recent novel, The Veins of the Ocean, and you'll understand: "The Rickenbacker Bridge suspended across Biscayne Bay was full of night fishermen leaning on the railings, catching up on gossip over beer and fishing lines, avoiding going home to their wives." Born to Colombian parents, Engel grew up in New Jersey and earned a master of fine arts at Florida International University, making her a transplant that not only stayed but also has made Miami's literary scene proud. The Veins of the Ocean won the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and she's also the author of It's Not Love, It's Just Paris and Vida. Most recently, though, it's her astounding Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship win that has the literary world kvelling. In her spare time (how, though?) she acts as the literary editor of the Miami Rail and is a writing professor at the University of Miami.

The postrecession economy has not been good to the Miami Herald. Neither have the business decisions of the Herald's parent corporation, McClatchy Newspapers. The Herald has endured wave after wave of layoffs and budget cuts in recent years. But at the same time, the pay of its executives has remained exorbitant: While McClatchy was announcing company-wide buyouts this year, CEO Craig Forman was negotiating a new contract that gave him a $35,000-per-month housing stipend on top of his already massive salary. In the meantime, tons of veteran Herald reporters voluntarily took buyouts, including Guantánamo Bay reporter Carol Rosenberg, who arguably knows more about America's illegal Cuban prison than anyone else on Earth. (Thankfully, she's still covering the beat for the New York Times.) Here's to the folks who put in hard work every day covering the city, only to get booted out the door as a final gesture. Your work was worth it.

Erika Carrillo does something that's oddly rare in local TV circles: She covers city politics closely. A lot of folks in the TV world are known for being wooden, gullible stooges willing to report whatever the hell some local police department or mayor's office wants. Not Carrillo. When politicians see the Univision reporter approaching, they know they're in for a grilling: Carrillo recently cornered Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on-camera and asked him why he flew to China for "research" alongside a bunch of lobbyists and consultants who certainly seemed like they didn't belong. Carrillo's reporting has also had serious impact over the years: In 2016, she caught then-Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan Zapata using public money to pay for his Harvard tuition. And last November, the City of Sweetwater presented her with an award to honor a police-corruption series she authored that wound up getting a few cops arrested. There's a reason Erika Carrillo has won eight Emmy Awards.

Jackie Nespral gets Miami. Unlike many TV (and print) reporters, she's local — she grew up in Little Havana, earned degrees from the University of Miami and Florida International University, and got her start on Univision's Sábado Gigante before working her way up at the network. Her next major move came in 1991, when she landed a job on NBC's Today and became the first Hispanic-American woman to anchor a major cable news show at the age of 26. Since then, she's moved back home and now hosts WTVJ's Sunday affairs program, NBC6 Impact, where she regularly lobs tough questions at lawmakers. During the 2018 gubernatorial race, Nespral sat down with candidates Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum for 20-minute interviews and forced DeSantis to at least answer why he said Gillum would "monkey up" Florida.

Readers' choice: Jackie Nespral

Best Meteorologist

Born in Miami, WSVN's Vivian Gonzalez has guided the city through Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina and seemingly every other named storm since 2005. In a climate where the weather can change by the minute, she always keeps it real, explaining some of the most complex scenarios in an easy-to-digest fashion. You can catch Gonzalez on WSVN weekday mornings from 5 to 10 a.m. Regardless of how grumpy your pre-coffee self may be, it's hard to be moody after she dishes the forecast (regardless of how much rain is coming). Gonzalez doesn't stop with just the on-air info either: She provides video updates, tweets, and more across her social platforms throughout the day. In addition to fulfilling her role as a meteorologist, Gonzalez is also a proud wife, mother, and dog-mom to Brownie Bear the Schnauzer, all of which fans have come to know through her social media posts. She regularly shows love to local nonprofits too, including La Liga Contra el Cancer and Habitat for Humanity, so her community outreach goes well beyond telling locals when to hunker down.

Steve Shapiro began reporting on sports in South Florida almost three decades ago. The Miami Marlins and Florida Panthers didn't even exist yet. Flash-forward nearly 30 years, and Shapiro is essentially the dean of South Florida sports reporters. His connections in the region are pretty much unparalleled — he even hosts a Sunday-night talk show on WSVN with the Miami-based mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus, who is all but certainly the most powerful player representative in the NFL. As NBA coach Stan Van Gundy said when Shapiro hit his 25th anniversary in 2015: "It's more of an accomplishment in Miami that they haven't run him out of town." (He's also succeeded on TV in South Florida while speaking with an unabashed Boston accent.) Shapiro covered Alex Rodriguez's draft into Major League Baseball. Then-University of Miami football star Dwayne Johnson called Shapiro for advice before going into pro wrestling and becoming the Rock. Plus, anyone who's covered the Dolphins for three decades without committing ritual suicide deserves as many awards as possible.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®