There's nothing wrong with furnishing your house with pieces from Target's Project 62 collection, but why not support a local business next time you need a refresh in décor? At One of a Kind, you get personalized service to help you decide what kind of style you're aiming for. The showroom focuses on organic textures — think woods, natural fibers, and earth tones— that will have your abode feeling lived-in yet put-together. No, you aren't going to find IKEA prices here. That's because the economy of scale does not work in One of a Kind's favor. After all, being one of a kind comes at a price. But the next time you have guests over, you can boast about your custom furniture by founder Roberta Schilling.

In a world awash with ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Total Wine & Mores, Gulf Liquors feels like a trip back in time. The Miami institution, which announces its presence with a neon sign that spells out its name flanked by cartoon bottles, has been purveying booze at a fair price on Alton Road since 1950. Though it has played host to high-profile events and stocks an impressively broad selection of more than 1,600 wines, craft beers, and spirits, it remains at its core a neighborhood mom-and-pop shop with a staff that aims to do all it can to ensure you leave with what you came in for (at the very least). You can also browse and order your liquor of choice from the comfort of your couch via the store's Nifty app.

When a beloved, family-owned neighborhood spot opens a new location, there's always the risk that it will fail to clone the original magic, and the ersatz copy will live on as a painful reminder of what could have been. The original Vintage Liquor & Wine Bar in Pinecrest would've been hard to re-create: a temperature-controlled wine cellar houses roughly 1,500 wine labels and offers private wine lockers for rent. But re-create it did, opening a second outpost in Midtown, and then, as if to tempt fate, a third location in Brickell. Like its siblings, Vintage Liquor III regularly hosts affordable wine tastings and, over the years, its staff has developed inside jokes with regulars and are quick to spring from behind the register to help customers carry their clanking loot to the car, whether it's a rare find from the top shelf or "something cheap that won't get me hungover."

The 54th Street Shell gas station is wedged like a cheesy slice on a triangular lot, a few doors down from Andiamo! Brick Oven Pizza, between Biscayne Boulevard and Federal Highway on NE 54th Street. From the street, the station looks every other Shell station. And if gas prices are what lure you to a specific pump, you can almost certainly do better a few blocks west in Little Haiti. But do you by any chance like beer and wine? This is the gas station for you. And we're not talking quick-shop Natty Light. This place is packed to the gills with craft beers and organic wines. Not to be missed.

Celebrating its 75th year along with the Everglades National Park, the Tropical Audubon Society has been and remains one of the most important crusaders for the protection and restoration of South Florida's ecosystems. Between native and migratory, we've got more than 350 bird species, and beyond their own magnificent language, they can't advocate for themselves. Tropical Audubon Society acts as enforcers on the local environmental front when humans get carried away with development, waste, and industry. (What? Humans do that? Who knew?) The organization also hosts educational events, bird walks, outdoor concerts, movie nights, plant sales, and other activities that raise funds and awareness for the benefit of our winged friends — and that includes bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, and other vital members of the ecosystem.

Best Corporate Branding
Photo courtesy of Vacation

What's fun about sunscreen? Until Vacation came on the scene last year, the answer was "pretty much nothing." The newly launched Miami-based cosmetics brand has managed to bottle up 1980s Vice City nostalgia with what it calls "the world's best-smelling sunscreen." Bottles of the Classic Lotion ($18) are printed with a cheery, royal blue serif font and a palm tree silhouette you might find tattooed on a lower back somewhere on Ocean Drive. The company's Instagram feed (@vacationinc), filled with static photos of Baywatch-esque models with teased hair and slouch socks, feels equally retro and trendy as high-leg swimsuits and bike shorts enjoy a cultural resurgence. Ad copy is written in a corporate "royal we" style, channeling a memo sent via fax. ("We're pleased to share with you an announcement" began one IG caption earlier this year about the company's debut at Ulta.) Leave it to a brand called Vacation to give a joyless product like sunscreen a refreshing reboot.

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®