Books & Books
Courtesy of Books & Books

Ask any local bibliophile where they sate their craving for dustjackets and enlightenment, and they'll tell you straight up: Books & Books. Mitchell Kaplan's iconic shop is inarguably one of the premier indie bookstores in the nation, with a handful of Miami-Dade locations (and one in Key West), but the Coral Gables flagship is the crème de la crème. Visitors are greeted by a charming outdoor café courtyard, perfect for a coffee and/or a bite while browsing through a periodical or two. The multiroomed store gives the impression of Borges' Library of Babel, with shelves soaring high and wide, filled with books of every genre (and in multiple languages). The best part for discerning Miamians is the local section, where the works of South Florida authors are given prominent presentation, alongside a large selection of books on Miami's history. Kaplan and his crew host readings and other events on the regular, which in turn serves to highlight the fact that the store stays open into the evening hours. Speaking of convenience, the store is located just across the street from of a municipal garage that offers some of the cheapest parking in the Gables, leaving you with no excuse not to drop a few bucks on that new book you've been dying to read.

Dunbar Old Books

Every book lover understands the magic behind the aesthetic of a top-quality used bookstore. (Especially the singular smell!) If you're seeking this experience in Miami, stop by Dunbar Old Books. (Why? It's right there in the name, for heaven's sake!) Quaint in style and stature, the store is packed with shelves that hold everything from 100-year-old math textbooks to the collected works of Charles Dickens. The store prides itself on carrying almost exclusively out-of-print books (about 80 percent of the stock). It's tucked away between storage units in Glenvar Heights, so you're unlikely to stumble across it by accident. But it has endured for a quarter-century because of its astounding selection — and its special place in the hearts of bibliophiles.

Tate's Comics
Photo by Carina Mask

Comic-book nerds and geek-culture lovers in South Florida have a mecca. Tate's Comics is located in Lauderhill, but any self-respecting collector will tell you it's worth the drive for the sheer volume of comics, manga, toys, and collectibles in the shop's massive indoor space. Multiple walls at the back of the store are lined with the week's newest comics from a variety of publishers, including DC and Marvel, alongside an enormous archive of back issues for those looking to find a specific release they might have missed. Tate's also stocks a sizable collection of graphic novels and trade paperbacks, but the crowning jewels are the collectibles: multiple well-illuminated cabinets spotlighting statues, busts, and figurines that run the gamut from superheroes to G.I. Joes to Alien vs. Predator memorabilia. If you have a niche interest the chances are good that Tate's has you covered.

Enter a medieval wonderland, inspired by nature and mythological folklore. Great Oak Tattoo is a woman-owned company whose queer Hispanic artists prioritize all bodies while specializing in traditional and fine-line, and even eyebrow microblading or cosmetic tattooing. When your tattoo is done, linger to browse and sample the homemade herbal remedies and apothecary. The shop opened in 2021 and has already grown to six artists, abetted by frequent guest artists who bring their own years of experience. With styles for everyone from cartoon fanatics to psychedelic spiritualists, this is a must visit if you're shopping for your next — or your first — encounter with ink.

Oddballs Nifty Thrift does more than live up to its name. As soon as you walk through the doors, you're in the midst of a madcap collection of eclectic odds and ends that seems to go on forever. Multiple rooms filled with myriad relics provide hours of fun for the eagle-eyed collector and the breezy browser alike. Oddballs offers consignment services, and vendors can rent space throughout the Oakland Park storefront to show off their weird wares. For buyers, prices are negotiable and the staff will do its best to help you snag that vintage dress, hand-carved cane, or wacky wall art. The best part about shopping here? Oddballs is equipped with a beer fridge, so you can enjoy a cold one (or three) while you're perusing the multitude of treasures that lie within.

Lower East Coast
Photo by Jesse Fraga

Yes, Lower East Coast kind of falls into the "hypebeast" category, but you've got to hand it to partners Rees Escobar, Jonathan Rodriguez, and Steven Sanz: They've proven they're more than capable of curating a shopping experience. Unlike most streetwear stores, LEC doesn't seem particularly interested in stocking brands like Supreme and A Bathing Ape. Rather, this is a place where you can discover the next big thing. And that's on purpose. The shop, which includes a bookstore, is about championing emerging brands. The quality is excellent, which means you'll pay more than you would at a mall chain, but if you're looking to break the addiction to fast fashion, LEC is your cure. Some of our favorite labels here include Stray Rats, Carhartt WIP, and Real Bad Man.

Kith
Photo by Douglas Markowitz

Streetwear brands like Supreme and Bathing Ape have long garnered all the hype, but can you buy Cap'n Crunch-flavored soft-serve at their stores? You can at Kith,the Manhattan-based luxury clothing brand whose flagship Miami Beach store fuses street fashion and food in a unique concept. Kith's swanky Collins Avenue shop is filled with designer clothes and footwear from Nike, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, and Saint Laurent and boasts arches throughout its modern space, constructed with hundreds of cast Air Jordan 5 sneakers. Along with the apparel, the store is known and loved for its signature Kith Treats, which include cereal-flavored milkshakes and soft-serve ice creams designed by the likes of the late Virgil Aloh and rapper Action Bronson.

Whether you're looking to strut through the streets or in need of a period piece to finish off a costume, you'll discover a world of posh fashion history inside the House of Findings. Owner Mayra Gonzalez has been in the vintage game since 1989, and her taste is finer than any designer sitting on South Beach. Clothing as far back as the '30s, international garb, upcycled and handmade goods — she has it all. You can hit the mall and dress like everyone else, or you can visit the House of Findings and look iconic. Which do you prefer?

Over the past decade and a half, the mother-daughter duo of Nicole Valenzuela and Rosana Mattioli has mastered the art of elegant swimwear. Nikki's Beachhouse Boutique's collection of vibrant bathing suits, lingerie, and even bridal beachwear uses high-quality materials and fuses styles from Valenzuela's native West Coast and our own backyard. Whether you're shopping online or at the brick-and-mortar stores in Coconut Grove and South Miami, one thing is guaranteed: You won't find anything basic. Splurge on a reversible bikini set and a white cotton coverup or a matching canvas tote and floppy hat set.

Dadeland Mall
Dadeland Mall

Until someone invents a time machine, taking a trip to the mall is the next best thing to rewinding the VHS of your imagination. Stepping into Dadeland Mall is a bit of a throwback: All your teenage favorites are there, from the Auntie Anne's pretzel kiosk and Mandarin Express in the food court to a two-story Urban Outfitters stocked with thrift-store styles at unaffordable prices. This isn't to say there aren't newer additions, including a Sephora, an Apple store, and a Shake Shack. There are plenty of seating areas and phone-charging stations throughout the mall, plus a play area for restless kiddos. Make a day of it or, if you're so inclined, a night — last fall, an AC Hotel opened up next to Macy's, offering you the opportunity to extend your retroactive respite for as long as you care to.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®