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.

One of the silver linings of 2020 was the number of people who, finding themselves suddenly working from home, decided to foster and adopt pets in need. If you're looking to add a furry member to your own family, foster-based rescue Dachshund Rescue South Florida has been carefully matching dogs to their perfect humans for more than ten years. The rescue is completely volunteer-run and donation-funded, but that hasn't stopped it from helping nearly 300 dogs find their forever homes this year alone. Though they mostly take in doxies and dachshund mixes, they won't turn away any dog in need and have been known to take on cases that other shelters or rescues might assume are lost causes, from dogs with severe medical conditions to sweet senior dogs (who are often the most difficult to find homes for). DRSF keeps its dedicated community updated via Facebook and Instagram, filling their pages with stories of dogs in need, dogs making progress toward recovery, and dogs celebrating their new beginnings.

Pets Kingdom is a cozy little pet store in the suburban hamlet of Miami Springs. What the place lacks in size, it more than makes up for in friendliness and family-like atmosphere. Shop for all your pet supply needs here, including toys, food, cage liners, and — if you're one of those people whose dog has a bigger closet than your kids — cute pet clothes. While you're perusing the aisles, you'll have a chance to meet the most important member of the staff: Mocha the cat, who lives at the store full-time. Pets Kingdom also offers daycare for small, caged animals like lizards and hamsters. And come holiday time, you and Fluffy can snag a picture with Santa at the shop. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Dog From Ipanema
Photo by Jarbas Godoy

Your four-legged friend doesn't have to be tall or tan or young or lovely to be treated like royalty at the Dog From Ipanema. Since its founding in 1986, the South Miami salon for dogs (and cats!) has provided a pampering treatment for all who come through its doors, creating a seamlessly enjoyable experience for everyone involved. A standard full grooming will get your dog a bath, a nail trimming, and a thorough cleaning of both ears and anal glands; if you're in the mood to splurge, you can also have their pearly whites brushed for under $10.

Best Barbershop
Photo by Julian Loaiza

From humble beginnings, the Spot has emerged as South Florida's number-one, er, spot for the best gentlemen's haircut experience. The first shop opened in Little Havana in 2001, and the business has since grown to 16 locations — including outlets in Brickell, Doral, Fort Lauderdale and Sunny Isles. An additional three shops (in Coconut Creek, Pembroke Pines Gardens and South Beach) are in the works. But aside from its obvious success, what makes the Spot so special? Well, services run the spectrum, including blade-edging beard service, nose, ear and eyebrow waxing, pedicures and, yes, a good old-fashioned haircut. The shops' ambiance and staff are always welcoming, too. That may or may not have something to do with the massive "GOD IS GOOD" banner that adorns every location; God has certainly been good to the Spot through the years, and the Spot continues to be good to us.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®