Empire Social Lounge
Photo by Steve Carl

What makes a good cigar shop? Is it the selection? The price range? Both factors play a role, but as cigar enthusiast Steve Carl will tell you, it's a third, less tangible, attribute that elevates Empire Social above the rest. "What makes a good cigar shop is the vibe you get that right off the bat," Carl says. At Empire, he notes, "You can tell by how the leather of the chairs looks, you're gonna be comfortable. And they treat you like royalty." He is correct. As soon as you walk through the doors: the vibe. The dimmed lighting, the smoking-club atmosphere — you know you're in for a cigar experience. Someone asks whether you'd like to start with a cigar or pop over to the bar for a taste from the whiskey selection. The wide selection of the former arrayed in the humidor might appear daunting, but Empire's experts will guide you, helping you pick out the perfect smoke — or smokes — for the occasion or your flavor profile. A paid membership entitles you to discounts on cigars, spirits, and other merchandise, plus your own humidor locker. "My favorite thing is being able to relax in a very chill environment that takes the stress away," Carl sums up. In this, too, he is correct. Open Monday through Thursday noon to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 3 a.m., and Sunday noon to 1 a.m.

Trulieve
Photo by Kristen Bjornsen

Everybody loves a good deal, and there always seems to be one at Trulieve. Between weekly promotions like Mini Monday (3.5 grams of flower for $27) and Senior Sunday (10 percent off), the Florida-based chain has cultivated a loyal following among medical marijuana patients of all ages. Boasting top-tier cannabis and more than 80 stores across the state, Trulieve is the go-to for many Miamians for a reason: convenience. Customers can order everything from vape carts to edibles to their front door through Trulieve's next-day delivery service or via in-store pickup at one of several area locations. Inside Trulieve stores, the staff of budtenders is unfailingly friendly, helpful, and ready to send you home with some swag. Until this state joins the 21st Century, medical customers only can shop from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Vital Tonics founder Natalie Bustamante discovered the many benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) while visiting Thailand. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, she found that CBD, with its anti-inflammatory properties, was the only natural substance that could mute her aches. Now all Miamians can benefit from her explorations, as Bustamante has turned her discoveries, and her newfound passion for CBD, into a business. The company uses nano-CBD, a substance that readily dissolves in liquids, making it easy to drink and digest — and permitting its soothing effects to kick in faster. Vital Tonics' roster of products includes the original CBD tonic (sold as "The Tonic"); a CBD-infused beauty sheet mask; a bath soak; lip balm; and even dog treats infused with CBD to calm your pup during long trips or thundery nights. The company also launched a candle with a combination of oils and a hefty dose of the Tonic. When you blow out the candle, you can pour the melted wax-and-oil combo onto your skin for an instant ooh-ahh moment. Vital Tonics products are available at select locations across the city and ship anywhere within the U.S. via shopvitaltonics.com.

Vintage Liquor & Wine Bar
Photo courtesy of Joshua Ceballos

Smack in the middle of increasingly bougie Midtown lies a gem of a liquor store, where the highest and lowest on Miami's economic ladder can stop in and stock up. Vintage Liquor and Wine Bar's Midtown location (there's a location in Brickell and another in Pinecrest) carries a vast selection of wines, liquors, liqueurs, and beers that run the gamut from bargain-basement to top-shelf. Staff members are always available to lend an ear or a hand. If you like to drink local, be sure to check out the craft beer section. And yes, they deliver.

Toys Tonight Sex Shop Miami
Photo courtesy of Toys Tonight Sex Shop

In some ways, visiting a sex shop as a first-timer can be reminiscent of another "first time" — intimidating, awkward, and full of weird eye contact. But it's impossible to experience any sort of discomfort at Toys Tonight. The staff members are charismatic, friendly, and well-versed in the functions of every toy the store carries. Toys Tonight delivers — literally and figuratively. If you live within a certain radius of their Wynwood or Miami Beach locations, you can have toys, lube, lingerie, male enhancement products, and all sorts of fun stuff delivered to your home or hotel room door within an hour. If you visit the store in person, though, you can try before you buy. Sort of: Both locations (in Wynwood and Miami Beach) feature a sample table that allows customers to see, hold, and turn on toys they're thinking of adding to their collection. Staff are always available to demonstrate how the toys work. You can also sample the edible lube with a tiny, disposable spoon! The Miami Beach location offers educational events related to sexual exploration and seduction. Get your sexy on from noon to midnight every day of the week at the Wynwood location and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Miami Beach location.

Best Flea Market
Photo courtesy of Prism Creative Group

Prism Creative Group is known for its impeccable taste in music, aptitude in staging memorable events, and effortless style. Although the creative agency specializes in large-scale music shows, the team has a penchant for doing whatever it can to support local businesses and elevate the community. Earlier this year, they decided to go back to basics and revive the traditional flea market concept with a unique Prism flair. Staged once a month at Ace Props Studios in Little River, Prism's Tropical Flea assembles a bevy of local shops sprawling inside and outside the warehouse. The location makes for the perfect backdrop to the vintage-themed flea market, as random props —mannequin heads, say, or large marquee letters — are aesthetically scattered around the warehouse while tents are spread out on the gravel outdoors. Vendors change every month, but you'll be sure to find clothing, jewelry, home décor, beauty and wellness, and (duh) food and drink options.

Zeitgeist Spirit of the Time
Photo by Joshua Ceballos

An antique shop ought to make you feel like you're on a scavenger hunt. Like you need to work a little —scrounging through mounds of seemingly random pieces and cabinets filled with tchotchkes organized by...what? Hidden within a plaza of antique- and interior-design stores lies Zeitgeist Spirit of the Time, a small shop brimming as much with personality as it is with treasures. The eclectic collection of paintings, crystal, knickknacks, and vintage memorabilia calls to you to find your own way through its twisting aisles. Only in a shop such as this on can you find a tasteful bust not far from a mug in the image of a busty figurine. Visitors will be greeted by Macho, the shop's mostly-poodle guard dog, who'll usher in each guest and show them around. If he likes you, that means you're a good customer. Open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Best Furniture Store
Photo by Emmanuele Couloumy

An eclectically curated store of rare vintage furniture and home décor from the Sixties to the 1990s, Primaried Studio opened its showroom in Little Haiti early this summer, giving Sweat Records and Churchill's Pub a colorful new neighbor. Miami-raised Jonathan Sanchez-Obias decided to take his hobby of collecting furniture to full-time status once he saw the increasing demand for rare vintage home goods. "The vintage furniture market was booming, especially on Instagram, so I created Primaried," Sanchez-Obias explains. The showroom, which displays designs from Memphis style to postmodern, offers a one-of-a-kind visual experience whether you're looking to furnish your home or just window-shop. Collectors will recognize many of the rare designer names, from Giotto Stoppino to Lella and Massimo Vignelli, Vico Magistretti, Herman Miller, Ettore Sottsass, and Mario Bellini. Open Friday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

El Car Wash (Pinecrest)
Photo courtesy of El Car Wash
El Car Wash (Pinecrest)

In Miami, we like it quick and we like it easy, and no matter what anyone tells you, sometimes size does matter. That's what separates El Car Wash from vehicle-tidying pretenders to the Best of Miami throne. The fast but thorough wash tunnel and easy-to-use pay station make for a headache-free experience for the dirty driver on the go, at a hard-to-beat price. With 15 parking spots and more than two dozen free, unlimited-use vacuums, the Little Havana El Car Wash throws a tasty bone to those who seek to do a little detail work, perhaps on the way home from the beach carrying more beach than they brought. Each and every one of El Car Wash's 15 area locations — including the biggest car wash in Florida, next to Zoo Miami — provides free microfiber towels, glass cleaner and is outfitted with free floor-mat cleaners for those especially filthy days, and each and every El Car Wash is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Check out the membership program!)

Plant lovers can treat themselves to instant joy in the aisles of Midtown Garden Center. Spend an afternoon exploring the center's jungle-esque enclaves brimming with pothos tendrils and stunning succulents. Afterward, enjoy a quick bite at the garden's on-site taco shop, Tacomiendo, or snag a refreshing smoothie at the juice bar. If you're new to plants, don't fret — the helpful staff are ready to guide you to the right plant, customize arrangements, and educate you on overall care and maintenance. The center also offers delivery services and installations for those who need an extra green thumb.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®