Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Miami may be known as the "Magic City," but near the southeastern edge of Coral Gables is a wondrous greenspace that'll make you think you've stepped into a fantasy novel where a fairy might be hiding beneath any leaf or branch. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, founded in 1938 by a passionate group of environmentalists and plant collectors (and named after one of them, David Fairchild), is a veritable Garden of Eden hidden amid Miami's suburban sprawl. For $24.95 ($11.95 for kids, $15.95 for students, $17.95 for seniors), visitors can spend a day surrounded by some of South Florida's most magnificent tropical plants and trees and tour the 83-acre grounds while they learn about endangered flora and the Fairchild's mission to preserve them. Don't miss the butterfly garden while you're there — and grab a bite at the Glasshouse Café.

Everyday life is full of little frustrations – sometimes you've just got to throw sharp objects and blow off some steam. Axe Habits is a cathartic way of releasing negative energy while having a genuinely enjoyable afternoon indoors. Book a small or large party for a rollicking good time. There's beer and wine if your aim improves with a little liquid courage and an escape room if you require some extra adventure. If the idea of throwing an axe gives you pause, there's a sharp staff who'll be happy to teach you a skill you'll be sure to pass down to future generations. Rates range from $25 to $35 per person for 30 to 90 minutes; kids 10 to 17 start at $15 (all minors must be accompanied by an adult).

Best Place for a First Date (Non-Restaurant)

Arcade Odyssey

Picture it: You just met a seemingly special someone. After a slew of texts and a phone chat or two, you're ready to ask them out on a proper date. Drinks and dinner is a well-trodden combo and with good reason, but ask yourself whether you want to be tried-and-true or memorable. Don't you want to stand out? Treat your potential keeper to Arcade Odyssey. Spend an afternoon fingering arcade games together — PacMan and Pong and Defender and Galaga, and pinball machines galore. An arcade may not be the place for deep conversation, but it is practically a guaranteed fun time. (Plus, haven't you gabbed enough for now?) Here you can witness in real time how this person experiences joy, how they handle defeat. Bonus: Arcade Odyssey serves beer, wine, boba tea (alcohol-spiked and non-), as well as Asian noodles and dumplings.

Kings Dining & Entertainment
Photo courtesy of Kings Dining & Entertainment

Got the rainy-day blues? Kings Dining and Entertainment's got the cure for what ails you. Though it's best known as a bowling alley — and we are 100 percent in favor of that! — it also houses a fab cocktail bar as well as karaoke rooms. The range of activities can keep you busy throughout South Florida's entire wet season, whether you're in search of a night out with friends or an inducement to get the fam off the couch.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Photo by Amadeus McCaskill

Since relocating to the downtown bayfront from Vizcaya in 2017, the Museum of Science has been the go-to place for families on a rainy day, when it's too hot outside, or any darn time. The sprawling, five-story campus has something for kids of all ages, including an aquarium and planetarium to provide a perspective that's broader, higher, and deeper than ground level. The first floor houses a rotating series of special exhibitions, which means there's something new with each season. If the young'uns simply must have a screen in front of their faces, there's a super-cool multimedia River of Grass room that drops them into a virtual Everglades. It's just like the real thing, but without those pesky kid-eating alligators. Admission is $30; $25 for kids 4 to 11. Annual memberships start at $109 for individuals and $199 for families. The museum's open every day of the year.

Local pool halls hold a special place in the hearts of sharks (not the ones waiting for you by the beach). New Wave Billiards & Sports Bar is spacious and offers food, drinks, and a smoking lounge in addition to its 29 well-illuminated tables. Rates are reasonable, as are the libation prices, so you can easily check yourself in for the entire evening without having to empty your wallet. Best of all? Most players are regulars, so you don't have to worry about chatting it up with tourists and TikTokers. Plus, it's near FIU — oh, so convenient for disposable income-challenged students, so you won't rack up a lifetime of debt (unless you gamble).

Best Coach
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If there was ever a year for Erik Spoelstra to be named Best Coach in Miami, it would be following a season that saw the Miami Heat finish as the first seed in the Eastern Conference, and more important, he was voted by the NBA as one of the top 25 coaches in its history. Yeah, decent 2022 for Coach Spo. In yet another example of his greatness, Spoelstra made headlines this year by leading a roster made up of a majority of undrafted players to the best record in the East, even as "experts" doubted Miami would remain in the top spot for most of the year. For any other coach, a 53-29 season would be the pinnacle of their career and a jumping-off point. For Spoelstra, it's just another notch on his Hall of Fame coaching career belt. Hats off to one of the greatest coaches to ever do it, in any sport, anywhere.

Best Dolphins Player
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Jaylen Waddle entered his 2021 rookie season with a lot of hype surrounding him and what he could bring to the Dolphins' offense. He has delivered on the promise of his stellar play, and then some. Waddle, a finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year, finished the season with 104 receptions – the most by a rookie in the sport's history – but his true impact came as a dynamic playmaker that defenses had to respect, which opened up the Phins' offense that the franchise had desperately missed. Waddle enters this upcoming season as an established threat, and a cornerstone of the Dolphins' future. Not bad for a first-year player, and just the beginning of a beautiful career in Miami.

Best Florida Panthers Player
Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Florida Panthers

Like his Panthers squad as a whole, Jonathan Huberdeau had himself a ridiculous 2022. "Hubby" led the NHL in assists (85) and finished tied for second on the circuit in points (115), was tied for third in power-play points (38) and second in shorthanded points (5). If forced to point to a single impactful individual's performance that led to the Panthers clinching the top seed in the NHL, Huberdeau's mesmerizing season would be it. A Panther since 2011 when the team selected him third overall in the NHL draft, Hubby is finally getting a taste of team successes. Though you might be tempted to think he's hit the downslope of his career at age 29, Huberdeau's play in '22 was a gentle reminder he's nowhere near done. In fact, with the Panthers roster continually improving around him, it's possible he's just getting started.

Best Heat Player
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When you're the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year, that, by default, means you don't even start on your own team. So how does that square with winning our Best Miami Heat Player award? Easy. Herro enjoyed a breakout season in 2022 where he averaged over 20 points per game, second only to Jimmy Butler. More important, he was the key difference between a middle-of-the-road team and a squad that finished the '21 season as the Eastern Conference's best team. With Bam Adebayo injured for much of the season, it would be easy to name Butler the Heat's greatest star, but Herro was indeed the spark plug that turned Miami into a title contender.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®