Best Miami Hurricanes Football Player
University of Miami Athletics

Shaq Quarterman, Miami's First Team All-ACC starting middle linebacker, doesn't have to be here. He could be making money playing football in any one of 30 cities right now. That's been the case since he burst onto the scene as a difference-making freshman for the Miami Hurricanes 39 straight starts ago. He's here to finish what he started — to win a National Championship. By returning for his senior season, the Canes' steadiest player is in a position to accomplish that goal under new head coach Manny Diaz and an entirely revamped program. Whatever happens in 2019, the Canes are a much better squad with their best player and team leader in the fold. The NFL can wait.

Best Miami Hurricanes Basketball Player
University of Miami Athletics

Sometimes big things come in small packages. Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes, who stood out in an otherwise unremarkable 2018-19 Canes basketball season, has likely heard this his entire life. Lykes averaged 16.2 points on 40.6 percent shooting during the season. Against stiff ACC competition, the five-foot-seven Lykes was able to stand out even as the team cemented its 14-18 record. Despite the setbacks, Lykes did his part to keep the Canes within striking distance during each game. He routinely scored more than 25 points per game last season, including a 27-point effort against the mighty Tar Heels in North Carolina.

Best Sportscaster
Eliot J. Schechter / Florida Panthers

Steve Goldstein — the play-by-play broadcaster for the Florida Panthers on Fox Sports Florida — gets better with age, even if you're not checking in with him every night. In addition to making calls, Goldstein anchors the sports and news for CBS Miami, but his voice is best known for tracking the movement of the puck for Panthers fans. That Goldstein can make even the least amusing Panthers game watchable, and even thrilling, is a testament to his talent as a broadcaster.

Readers' choice: Steve Shapiro

Best Team Owner
Miami Dolphins

It's been a rocky road for Stephen Ross on his journey as the Miami Dolphins' majority owner. He's endured TMZ-level scandals, controversial decisions, and an incredible number of terrible on-the-field products. Much of the headaches and downfalls have been due to unforced errors on his part, but over the course of the past year or so, Ross seems to have turned things around for the team. For starters, he poured more than a half-billion dollars into renovating Hard Rock Stadium, which is now the crown jewel of sports venues in Miami-Dade. The past 12 months have been promising, even as the team is in the midst of an overhaul. Ross recognized it was finally time to renovate his roster and coaching staff the same way he recently refurbished the stadium. He cleaned house by trading longtime quarterback Ryan Tannehill and firing head coach Adam Gase after a disappointing three seasons. Most fans recognized long ago that the Dolphins were in need of a rebuild, and it's encouraging to watch Ross take steps in that direction.

Homestead-Miami Speedway

It doesn't seem like much fun to own an exotic sports car — their 16-cylinder engines get terrible gas mileage, and a bird might poop on the custom airbrush art depicting Corey Feldman and Corey Haim doing karate together. And, really, what's the point of driving a $3 million Bugatti on Ocean Drive at 3 mph? These cars are made for the track and designed by racing enthusiasts. If you're going to come to Miami to take selfies in a Lamborghini — which we know, deep down, everyone really wants to do no matter how long they've lived here — you might as well get the most out of the rental experience and drive the damn things. Miami Exotic Auto Racing offers visitors and locals alike the ability to get the most out of the South Florida exotic-car lifestyle by using the cars to actually rocket around a racetrack instead of, say, sitting in a ten-mile backup on I-95. Prices vary depending upon how many laps you want to take and what type of car you want to drive; for instance, time in an Audi R8 starts at $250, while laps in a Lamborghini Huracán run a minimum of $399.

Artechouse Miami
Laurence Fragnol

Being stoned in public can be overwhelming. Maybe you're trying to sit on a beach but someone near you is playing dubstep on a boombox. Maybe you're too stoned to understand a restaurant menu. These things happen. But if you're trying to really get out of your head in a safe, enclosed, welcoming space, look no further than Artechouse, a South Beach digital gallery where gigantic masses of swirls, lights, and colors are projected on the walls. Artechouse — a portmanteau of "art," "tech," and "house" — lets you bathe in gigantic oceans of color and play in interactive light exhibits that make you feel like a cross between a wizard and Neo from The Matrix. (It's also cool and dark inside in case you need to get out of the Miami sun for a bit.) Adult tickets cost $24 each, which is a surprisingly cheap price to pay to feel like you can control the very concepts of light and space-time.

Virginia Key Outdoor Center
Virginia Key Outdoor Center

Virginia Key is always a great place to kayak — the water is calm and you can duck between all sorts of tiny sandbars and pockets of mangroves. The key is also historic: In segregated Miami, Virginia Key served as the only "colored" beach in town, and it's worth taking the time to reflect on the area's history as you paddle through the water. Like many outdoor renters around Miami, the Virginia Key Outdoor Center offers nighttime full-moon paddling for the adventuresome. The bioluminescent paddles that occur occasionally from June through September are by far the best option. During these events, you leave shore as the sun dips below the horizon. As the sky darkens, plankton and other sea creatures naturally set themselves aglow, transforming the water into a sparkling show beneath your boat. Individual kayak rentals range from $25 for the first hour ($10 for each hour after that) to $85 for a full day.

On your vacation or staycation in the Magic City, maybe you never want to leave Miami Beach and have all of your meals sent to your suite at the Fontainebleau or Setai. Maybe you want to take a walking tour through Little Havana and eat every single empanada you see. Or maybe you want to learn how the city ticks by understanding what goes on in its kitchens. There's no better place to do that than in Romi Naparstek's kitchen. Naparstek grew up in Argentina and attended the Argentine Institute of Gastronomy. Since opening her kitchen, she's partnered with the Wolfsonian and the Jewish Museum of Florida. But the heart of what Naparstek does is simple: She teaches you how to make a mean churro, pastelito, alfajor, or any other Latin American staple you can imagine. Individual classes start at $75 per person.

Readers' choice: Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Biking around South Beach is fun. You get to see art deco buildings and maybe run into DJ Khaled. And, of course, it's worth biking through the Everglades at least once in your life. But for a real Miami experience, hit the Commodore Trail. This paved, five-mile route takes you through the heart of some of Miami's mainland landmarks, from Vizcaya Museum & Gardens to Miami City Hall to Peacock Park. You'll cut through thickets of tropical plants and see fantastic views of the bay. And unlike that bike tour around South Beach, the Commodore Trail gives glimpses of wildlife. But beware: Coconut Grove peacocks can be ornery and have been known to even scratch up cars.

Big Cypress National Preserve

As endearing as Miami can be, some days you just need to get the eff out of town. Luckily, anyone with a car can make the trek to Big Cypress National Preserve. Big Cypress is approximately 80 miles west of downtown Miami and an easy jaunt on U.S. 41. Big Cypress boasts more than 700,000 acres of tropical wonderland. How adventuresome you want to get is totally up to you: You can take a scenic drive and watch wading birds feed; embark on a free ranger-led swamp canoe trip (private canoe rentals are available from about late November to April for $60 to $100 per trip); give your off-road vehicle a spin ($100 per year with a proper permit); or hike miles upon miles of lush trails. If you want more than a simple day trip, Big Cypress offers eight campgrounds for $10 to $30 per night. You'll be hesitant to return to the gridlock after a day out west.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®