Part of the thrill of antique shopping comes from never knowing what you're going to find and marveling at unexpected oddities. Like a book written by a Revolutionary War chaplain. Or a pre-World War I sawtooth bayonet. Or something called a womb chair, which is supposed to be one of the most comfortable things you'll ever sit on. Antique Mall Y'All is an antique aficionado's dream. Come for the vintage perfume or jewelry, stay for a conversation about antique vs. modern furniture with Shelley Stanczyk, who opened the store in 1998 after a career as a schoolteacher and administrator. A self-professed lover of all things beautiful, Stanczyk turned her passion for collecting antiques into a business. With merchandise from over 170 dealers and Stanczyk's eye for the charming and authentic, you're sure to find something wonderful. Choose your own adventure from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

You can go westbound on the Dolphin Expressway until you reach that familiar blue-and-yellow building to pick out ready-to-assemble Scandinavian furniture, but where's the thrill in that? Since 2006, Eclectica has provided Miami-area furniture shoppers with a vintage mid-century alternative. The warehouse, located deep in west Kendall, is open by appointment only, but in it you'll find a treasure trove of lovingly revamped pieces that look like they came straight out of Mad Men. From rich, earth-toned tapestries to geometric vases and industrial lamps, owner Katrina Cristobal has amassed quite the collection of knickknacks to make your home decor stand out. The shop also sells on Etsy for more convenient shopping from home.

Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique
Photo courtesy of Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique

A signature Ahol Sniffs Glue wall mural greets customers outside the aptly named Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique. Inside, the shop has the feel of a modern boutique, where you can grab an espresso from the on-site café and sip while you peruse the artfully arranged display of furniture, books, shoes, handbags, clothes, and jewelry. Styles range from casual wear to work attire to designer togs, and baskets full of sale items contain bonus finds like summer dresses, comfy T-shirts, and bralettes. Happily, spending here goes further than your own closet: The thrift shop operates as a work program for women to learn about retail operations, marketing, sales, and customer service, and proceeds benefit the Lotus House Women's Shelter, which works to end homelessness in Miami-Dade. Visit the store from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Dolphin Mall
Courtesy of Taubman Centers, Inc.

What will you do on your first post-pandemic day of freedom? Head to a water park? Jump around in a ball pit? Lick a doorknob, just 'cause? What about a day at...the mall? Not the upscale "retail centers" with their overpriced boutiques and white-tablecloth dining. When you've got an afternoon to blow window-shopping, you want the true mall experience — and in the Before Times, Dolphin was the malliest mall in all of Miami. It's got stores you can actually afford to spend money in, an honest-to-god food court, and perhaps the best people-watching in Dade County. While many shops are currently closed because of the coronavirus, Dolphin reports that over half of its retailers are open for business. And by the time the pandemic is over, a regular day at the mall will feel like the ultimate treat. Walking around mask-free, teriyaki chicken sample in hand, eavesdropping on strangers — sounds like paradise, doesn't it?

Musicians Discount Center
Photo by Arlenis Brito

Open since 1987 under owner Mike Coen, Musicians Discount Center has easily become the go-to for beginners and pros alike looking for new and used instruments and gear. The shop, conveniently located on U.S. 1 in Cutler Bay, also sports a humble collection of used and new records for vinyl fans to dig through. Other services include band instrument rentals, instrument repairs, and music lessons, which have transitioned to virtual Zoom sessions during the pandemic. Open Monday through Saturday.

Books & Books
Courtesy of Books & Books

In a year as unpredictable as this one, we often long for the comfort of familiarity, and at a time when travel is extremely limited, we might turn to books to help us journey to faraway places. Miami's favorite bookstore didn't leave us hanging on either front when everything shut down. If there was any doubt of Books & Books' status as a local staple, the bookstore proved itself more than ever during the quarantine, continuing to fulfill orders online so we could fill our lonely days with reading, and keeping us connected to the literary community through its Virtual Author Series, which featured interviews with everyone from Carl Hiaasen to Edwidge Danticat to Madeleine Albright. Now that stores have reopened, we can once again enjoy the flagship location and all of its offshoots in person. Plus, the outdoor (and social distance-friendly) café at the store's center in Coral Gables is still one of the best places to grab coffee or lunch while you dive into one of your new books.

In a world glutted with Marvel Studios superhero movies, it's easy for the general public to forget where all those larger-than-life characters came from: the pages of comic books. If you're looking to bone up on the origins of some of your favorite on-screen gods and monsters, there's no better place to do it than the Miami Korka Comics location. The shop has a wide selection of new single issues and back issues, plus shelves upon shelves of trade paperbacks and graphic novels for any superfan trying to build a collection. New issues of Marvel, DC, and independent comic lines like Valiant and Image are all available weekly on Korka's well-organized shelves. And if books aren't your thing, there's also a large assortment of Funko Pops, action figures, T-shirts, busts, and other collectibles, from the smallest Spider-Man figure to a Juggernaut statue as big as a medium-size dog. Korka also hosts tournaments for games like Magic the Gathering and the occasional book signing with writers and artists from Marvel and DC Comics. If you're into geek culture in Miami, Korka Comics is your one-stop shop. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Jerry's Art Supply Wholesale Club of Miami
Photo by Catherine Toruño

Jerry's Art Supply in South Miami offers a sweet deal for artists who are constantly purchasing supplies, or for beginners looking to dabble in the arts: a year-long, $25 membership program that includes access to exclusive wholesale prices, flash sales, and discounted custom framing. The store also offers online shopping with next-day delivery or curbside pickup, as well as limited in-person shopping Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. With all of Jerry's options, Miamians have no excuse for not getting creative.

Casaplanta Garden Center
Photo by Jessica Gibbs

The world as we know it is crumbling around us...but during these trying times, we've come to realize that there's one thing that makes us truly happy, and that's plants. There's something reaffirming about watching your own personal jungle thrive while everything else goes to hell in a handbasket — and Casaplanta wants to help you keep the growing going. The family-owned and -operated oasis offers quality customer service and a wide variety of plants and accessories ranging from tropical palms and shrubs to flowers, pots, and garden accents. Even better? Casaplanta's online plant delivery service lets new plant parents deck out their living rooms without leaving the house (delivery limited to Miami-Dade County). The garden center also offers curbside pickup and walk-in business at limited capacity. Shop all things green Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Whether you're after a special gift, a way to show your affection, or something to liven up your home, Rose Coloured has you covered. Art historian Sara Darling's shop in Little River marries fine art and flowers, so in addition to enchanting fresh and dried blooms, you can peruse the work of local artists and a sweet collection of cards and special gifts. Rose Coloured also delivers all over Miami-Dade or Broward, runs workshops, and creates floral displays for weddings and other events. Searching for the perfect petals? Select and custom-build your own florals from an eight-foot-long stem bar offering a weekly curated selection or ask the in-house design team to create a one-of-a-kind showstopper to fit your style and budget. Rose Coloured is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®