Best Car Wash 2023 | Miami Auto Spa | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Few cities take car pampering as seriously as Miami. Envision, if you will, the over-the-top ridiculousness of those people who stroll around Aventura Mall with their pets in baby carriages. Now imagine the car version. Don't worry; the knowledgeable and kind folks at Miami Auto Spa aren't looking to shame you for the meticulous attention to detail that you crave. They just want to send your car home sparkling. The spa lives up to its name, offering a menu of services and packages so extensive you almost expect cucumber slices over your vehicle's headlights. Regardless of your budget and needs, the Miami Auto Spa will exceed your expectations, even if those expectations for car cleanliness are higher than most Miamians have for themselves.

George Martinez

A Spaniard's epicurean dream is disguised as an unassuming Mobil gas station near the intersection at SW 17th Avenue and U.S. 1. Whereas other gas station convenience marts are stocked with candy, air fresheners, and cigarettes, El Carajo International Tapas & Wines elevates the experience with an assortment of wines, a Cuban coffee bar with croquetas and pastelitos, and a full-service restaurant that offers charcuterie, seafood, tapas, and paella so good you'll think you've been transported to Madrid. A climate-controlled cellar features globally sourced wines available for purchase whether you're dining in or out. (Are gourmet Mobil gas stations a thing in Miami? Check out "Best Wine Store" elsewhere in this section and decide for yourself.)

With sweeping renovations to CocoWalk and new chain shops and restaurants sprouting up, Coconut Grove would be unrecognizable if it weren't for the local mom-and-pop establishments that help the historic neighborhood keep its charm. Revolution Bicycle Services is one of those local establishments, and Danny Lovett has been running the one-man shop for more than 25 years in the same spot in Florentine Plaza where Main Highway intersects with Fuller Street. There are multiple bike retailers around Miami, but Lovett has endeared himself to locals as a trusted expert for their precious two-wheelers. When you step inside, Lovett or his adorable pup, Hydee, will be excited to greet you.

Open since 1928, Shell Lumber and Hardware long ago cemented its reputation as the go-to destination for South Floridians' home-improvement needs. Over the years, this family-run business has expanded to rival other big chains without ever losing the feel of a mom-and-pop shop unafraid to lend a helping (and knowledgeable) hand. There's a wide range of quality products here — everything from building materials to tools to paints to lumber to moulding and exotic hardwoods — but Shell has survived amid a sea of Home Depots and Lowe's owing to its quality customer service and unwavering hometown feel. Note to weekend reno warriors: Shell is closed on Sundays.

Aventura Mall photo

A good mall is a centralized location for a wide variety of stores. But a great mall supplies all the consumer goods one's heart could ever desire. With more than 300 retailers, Aventura Mall is a great mall — to the point where leaving empty-handed often feels like Mission Impossible. High-end designers? Gucci, Valentino — check! A spot for local sneakerheads? Kick Essentials — check! Fast fashion? There's a two-story Zara — check! Even if you felt like you've lapped the mall enough times to know its blueprint by heart, new stores are constantly added to the roster, including the popular women's boutique Aritzia (which opened this past spring) and new athleisure brands Vuori and Alo Yoga (coming soon). With sit-down and fast-casual restaurants, such as Toku Modern Asian, Pubbelly Sushi, Motek (and its street-food offshoot Yalla Motek), "shopping till you drop" is no longer a worry. Be sure to check out the Aventura Slide Tower before you leave — no trip to Aventura Mall is complete without a 93-foot glide down German conceptual artist Carsten Höller's steel-and-glass structure. (Editor's note: The slide is closed for the summer, but a spokesperson for the mall assures us it will reopen in November.)

Photo by Lou Hammond

The older we get, the more we appreciate the relics that have stood the test of time. For more than 50 years, nautical-themed Stone Age Antiques has saved the curious items that some might consider "old" or "garbage" from landfills and presented them for the consideration of the eagle-eyed collectors who brave the packed aisles at the rustic store. Iron cannons from the 18th Century, old portholes, and weathered anchors are just a few of the items in this maze of rare finds. Proprietor Milton Stone has long understood that time is the only thing separating one man's trash from another man's antique.

Buying new furniture is a lot like clubbing in your 30s: exciting in theory but tiring, expensive, and overrated in practice. But purchasing that new loveseat or bed frame is no longer a chore thanks to local chain Rana Furniture and its nine outposts across Dade and Broward counties. Whether shopping at the store or online, Rana's prices are transparent and its inventory is varied. With Rana's low monthly payments and options for every budget, Miamians don't have to choose between buying their home and furnishing it.

This past spring, fashion-forward friends Dani Klaric´ and Sara Fedz opened a brick-and-mortar vintage thrift store, Peachtree Revival, in Midtown. The whimsical wallpaper, black-and-white vinyl flooring, and giant mirrors entice selfies among a trove of vintage and secondhand finds—from slip dresses to Y2K jeans, belts, bags, boots, and one-of-a-kind accessories. Every Saturday, the shop's garment conveyor belt and curvilinear clothing rack are restocked with new drops. If you're unsure how to pull off that floofy skirt, staff members are on hand for style counseling.

Little River Flea photo

Little River Flea is a convenient and sustainable solution for those looking to avoid Gen Z's scorn and wean off fast-fashion retailers. The roving vintage pop-up market has emerged at various locales around town, including the Selina Hotel's Miami River and MiMo locations, Casa Florida, and the Future of Cities Climate + Innovation Hub in Little Haiti. Little River Flea founder Meghan Alexander vets vendors that include small, sustainable, and primarily women-owned businesses that offer vintage fashion, vinyl, handmade jewelry, and crafts.

Robert Is Here

A cheap shot glass or refrigerator magnet from the Miami International Airport terminal shops is no way to pay respect to South Florida's lush subtropical vibes. Opt for an authentic (and biodegradable) souvenir at Robert Is Here, a family-owned fruit stand dating back to 1959. There's live music, a petting farm, and drool-worthy fresh smoothies and milkshakes on the premises. And if you're looking for an easy-to-ship item to send to friends and family in faraway locales, consider the heaping bags of citrus (grapefruit, oranges, tangerines), exotic fruit (dragonfruit, jackfruit, guanabana), or the myriad jars filled with pickles, preserves, marinades, and marmalades. Bear in mind that Robert Is Here ships nationally for travelers leery of toting produce in their carry-on.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®