Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Any place that lasts more than four decades in Miami deserves a celebration — and in the age of online shopping, the feat is all the more impressive for an arts and crafts store. Since 1978, Easel Art Supply has been a haven for students and artists who take advantage of the 10 percent discount on everything from huge canvases ($373 for six-by-eight foot) to easel rentals for just $5 a day. Part of the store's charm lies in its distinctly homey vibe: Cute handmade signs hang everywhere, special orders are phoned in right away, and prices are out in the open so there's no guesswork. And if owner Mark Glicksman is around, he's always down to chat; odds are he'll even give you his cell-phone number in case you ever need anything, art supplies or otherwise. So whether you're tapping into your inner Frida Kahlo on a budget with a small four-by-four-inch canvas ($3.09) or looking to become the next big street artist with some killer Montana spray paint ($7.95 a can), you'll want to start at Easel. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Certainly, there are people out there who enjoy haggling over the price of a car. But most of us prefer to take the test drive, inhale the new-car smell, and skip over fighting to reduce our monthly payment. For those looking for a set of wheels without an intense negotiation process, Brickell Mazda is a top spot to buy or lease a new or used Mazda. Its salespeople are upfront about costs and obligations from the get-go, and Brickell Mazda adds the extra touches that put customers at ease, such as providing free maintenance for the first two years. As a bonus, the service center's waiting room has a coffee shop and a free old-school videogame arcade. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Readers' choice: Prestige Imports
The worst part about getting your car washed is the wait. At most places, the price of a squeaky-clean vehicle isn't just $20 or so — it's also a half-hour stranded in a dated lobby with only your cell phone, some old magazines, and a selection of car fresheners to pass the time. But that's not the case at Europa Car Wash & Café. As the name implies, this is not your average car wash. It's more like a café where it just so happens you can get your ride hand-washed while you sip coffee and nom on a ham-and-cheese croissant. Car washes range from $25 for a basic job to more than $100 for the works. Settle in at the café and you won't mind the wait at all — you might even enjoy it. The car wash is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and the café's hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
For the mechanically challenged, nothing is more stressful than car trouble. An engine making strange noises or stalling can leave you feeling helpless and at the mercy of those who know their way around under the hood. Though a visit to the South Beach's Little Red Wagon won't be as calming as a day spent on the water, knowing you'll get an honest estimate and a solid fix will ease some tension. Despite its printed address, the garage is located in the alley between Michigan and Jefferson Avenues, behind the parking lot of the Walgreens on Fifth Street and Jefferson. The owner, Enrique Gutierrez, has run Little Red Wagon for over three decades. South Beach drivers of everything from collectibles to jalopies frequent the shop, and if there's a problem Little Red Wagon can't handle, whether it be air conditioning or body work, the staff is quick to provide a dependable reference. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Having someone else take the wheel during rush hour is the ultimate Miami luxury. And if your stress-free journey is enhanced by arriving at your destination in deluxe comfort and style, you'll go from feeling like a commuter to a rock star. Driven Miami offers one of the most fun ways to go out and about in the Magic City. Its fleet of new cars is piloted by professional chauffeurs fluent in English, Polish, Serbian, and Russian. Drivers are trained to tailor itineraries and provide topnotch concierge service including suggestions about the hottest local bars, restaurants, pool parties, and other happenings. The fun begins as soon as you enter one of the fully equipped luxury cars, and you can create new memories riding anywhere in South Florida. Booking is easy through the company's website or mobile app. Rates vary depending upon the car selected, rental time, travel distance, and number of passengers. Driven Miami is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Driving in Brickell is generally nightmare-inducing, but this stretch is something else. This road was seemingly constructed without lanes. Or, if there are lanes, motorists sure don't act like it. Cars whiz in all directions and then stop without warning. Pedestrians dart from the sidewalk into the street with no apparent regard for the erratic drivers. Adding to the chaos are the random bumps that riddle the road, jostling your car and testing its shocks. It's lawless!
Nowadays, most bike shops feel a lot like car dealerships: overpriced, air-conditioned showrooms. But you won't feel that way when you step into Willie's Bicycles on Biscayne Boulevard. As soon as you pass the wall of vintage bicycles mounted on the wall, you're in Willie's workshop, where you'll find the titular owner tending to any one of the refurbished bikes his establishment sells. Whether you need a fixie ($200 to $1,000) to maneuver around South Florida's legion of reckless drivers or a mountain bike (around $200) to tear up the trails of Oleta River State Park, Willie has you covered. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Readers' choice: Fritz's Skate Bike & Surf
A gym that was handcrafted by sports-science, fitness, and nightlife folks? Talk about a uniquely Miami workout experience. The modern space at Anatomy has a true club vibe with personal-training session options, a selection of services including skin treatments, a hair salon, and vitamin infusions available onsite. Month-to-month memberships for the Miami Beach location start at $255, and annual passes start at $189 per month. The class schedule is always hearty too, with 30-to-60-minute options throughout the week, including power yoga, a Metabolic Meltdown session, and a Glute Camp that will absolutely kick your ass. To maximize your postworkout relaxation, this gym also offers a handful of thermotherapy and cold-therapy options, such as an infrared sauna, eucalyptus steam room, and cold plunge. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Readers' choice: Anatomy
Practicing medicine is not for the faint of heart. Before prospective physicians even get to the parts that make most people queasy, it takes a lot of determination to make it through medical school. So if someone is willing to go through that more than once, it means they must really love the vocation. Dr. Livia Gadea completed her studies in Cuba in 1987, but she had to repeat some of the process to be able to set up a private practice in Miami in 2009. A specialist in family medicine, Dr. Gadea also performs outpatient procedures, pre-op, and general wellness and women's health exams. Patients looking to file immigration medical exams are also welcome, because she's a civil surgeon approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Dr. Gadea is also a caring and attentive communicator who takes her time with patients and offers holistic treatment plans based on their needs and lifestyles. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
The fear of going to a dental appointment is real. The thought of those sharp metal tools and the impending shame of potential cavities can send you into a tizzy, especially if you've been shoveling sweets into your mouth like every day is Halloween. Fear no more, Miami, because Coral Gables' Dr. Raymond Kimsey specializes in treating anxious dental patients. Dr. Kimsey and his friendly staff provide quality care and topnotch services, including teeth whitening, dental implants, sinus augmentation, and even treatment plans to tackle dental phobia head-on. A visit here can actually be a pleasant experience despite past traumatic appointments with other dentists. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.
It's 10 p.m. and you're winding down for bed. Your dog is being suspiciously quiet. You get up to investigate and find your sweet angel snout-deep in a dark-chocolate bunny you had sealed in a bag on the counter. A trip to the 24-hour emergency hospital is in order. The team at Miami Veterinary Specialists is more than equipped to handle your dog's late-night antics, and its state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled team of board-certified specialists can tackle complex and unusual ailments that others in town aren't able to handle. The team at MVS is passionate about its four-legged patients and treats every fur baby like one of its own. The knowledgeable staff goes out of its way to ensure your pet is comfortable during times of need. Tail or no tail, everyone is family at MVS. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Nothing brings more joy to a home than a perfectly wound tail, loud snorts, and wet kisses. If you're looking for a best friend who can chill as hard as you on the couch, consider adopting a pug in need from South Florida's Compassionate Pug Rescue. The nonprofit is an all-volunteer, foster-home-based charity that provides food, shelter, medical care, and other necessities to the pugs that come into its care. The ultimate goal is to find these docile pets permanent homes. The application fee for prospective pup parents is $20, and depending upon the pug's health, adoption fees can range from $175 to $450. If you want to help but are unable to adopt, consider fostering a pug in your home, volunteering, or donating. Pugs are sweet, great with kids, and just want to love you 24/7.