Best Charity 2024 | Voices for Children Foundation | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Voices for Children Foundation photo

More than half a million kids in the U.S. are in the foster care system for many different reasons — none of them good. It's an experience that is both traumatizing and disempowering for families, especially children who are largely at the mercy of adult decisions. Often, they've experienced abuse, abandonment, and neglect at home and in the system. Here in Miami, we're lucky to have a guiding light for these kids with Voices for Children. Cofounded by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in 1984, this nonprofit raises funds to ensure that every child in this vulnerable group has guardian ad litem representation, which means they'll have an advocate with them in court. They also work to make sure kids have the things they need that give us dignity, like school supplies, toiletries, and enriching experiences that open up their worlds.

Arlo Hotels photo

Wynwood has been hot for quite some time now, but it wasn't until 2022 that the neighborhood got its first hotel. Arlo, a boutique hotel company with spots in Chicago and New York City, decided to finally bestow our little arts district with sleek and stylish lodging. The hotel has been a hit since it opened, featuring 217 well-appointed rooms, artwork that reflects its setting, a rooftop pool, and Higher Ground, its third-floor bar and terrace that fits perfectly with the area's vibe. Right now, its onsite restaurant is in the middle of a refresh, with a new concept from chef Brad Kilgore coming this fall. The average room price is relatively affordable, around $200, particularly on weekends, but you can expect to pay much more during busier times, like when the city hosts Art Basel Miami Beach or Ultra Music Festival. More hotels are on the horizon for Wynwood (Marriott's Moxy brand will open this summer), but it's going to be tough to beat Arlo.

Buena Vista Mall is like a hidden oasis just blocks from the Design District. Head up for the vibes and then serve some vibes while you're there. It's well worth your time to make it an afternoon adventure, exploring the many merchants in the earthy space. You've got jewelry like Kathee Cuervo, vintage and second-hand stores like the House of Findings, plenty of coffee options, and great dining (Branja, anyone?). If the shopping doesn't do it for you, it's a dreamy space that's ideal for just sitting under the lush tree canopy and enjoying the breeze. You can even do a cold plunge at KOV or get your haircut at classically hip Contesta Rock Hair, a former Miami Beach staple. Name another mall that does it all like this. We'll wait.

Photo by Erin Newberg

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. But finding a loo that woos can be a challenge. Head to Bal Harbour Shops for a really nice place to pop a squat. This public restroom is located on the second floor, just north of the beloved Hillstone Restaurant, which offers seasonal American fare. Now, to get to this best bathroom in town, you'll have to venture down the exterior pathway overlooking the parking lot. Always impeccably clean and perfectly cold, this WC has modern white slabs of marble, circular and well-lit mirrors, and even black and gold fans. With Simplehuman silver trash cans (the equivalent of seeing Molton Brown in a residence), Bal Harbour went as far as installing electric toilet-seat covers to spare your bottom some germs.

Charming and inviting Vinoteca is a new wine shop nestled in the heart of Coconut Grove. It quickly established itself as Miami's premier destination for seasoned wine connoisseurs or dilettantes. Whether you're searching for a robust Spanish Rioja, a delicate French Bordeaux, or an aromatic Argentinian malbec, Vinoteca's curated selection of wines focuses on varieties from Europe and Latin America. A world traveler with a master's degree in viticulture, owner Alex McDonnell brings unparalleled knowledge and passion to her shop. Her expertise ensures that every customer receives personalized and insightful guidance in selecting the right wine. Vinoteca also has a wine club that costs $120 a month. Members receive four different wines each month, along with a write-up about the backgrounds of each vino.

Bryson's Irish Pub photo

Bryson's Irish Pub, founded in 1952 just north of Miami International Airport, has drawn some of the same thirsty loyal customers for decades. Its green walls and three-leaf shamrock insignias — which stand for faith, hope, and love — reference the Irish heritage of the original owner. But as we know, luck comes with a fourth leaf, and that lucky leaf is the pub's liquor store, or "package" store. It has "90 percent of everything you need," says owner William "Dutch" Shelow. You can enter the well-stocked, friendly shop from the street, about a block from NW 36th Street, or just waltz in from the adjacent bar with its laidback '70s time capsule energy. Bryson's may remind you of long-running Happy's Stork Lounge, a bar and liquor store that moved from its original North Bay Village home in 2023. Bryson's has had an uptick in traffic since rolling out its Saturday "Hurricane" steak night with a recipe passed down from the now-defunct legendary Hurricane Bar and Grill in Miami Springs. So, whether your charter jet just landed at Signature across the street or you want to keep the party going at home before that steak settles, Bryson's offers the bottle of booze you want, along with a lot of history and atmosphere.

Barbarita's Liquors in Hialeah has a drive-through that's a step above the makeshift setup typical of liquor-store window service. It's organized, clean, and designed to get customers in and out quickly. Barbarita's already merits props for a wide selection of spirits and friendly service; the drive-thru is a bonus that area residents on-the-go and in-the-know have relied on for years. Located on E. 41st Street near Sedano's supermarket, the store's large red sign and brightly colored wraparound geometric designs make it hard to miss.

Founded by South Florida natives Carla Cavalcanti and Andrea Ocejo, Link'd is all about affordable jewelry that fuses everyday luxury with sustainability and ensures it's clear that you're living that coastal life with nautical themes. Their products, from rings and necklaces to body chains and bracelets, go through rigorous testing to ensure longevity and quality control, and their timeless styles will make sure you'll be wearing them for a lifetime. Although their storefront is digital-only, you can often find them popping up at local vintage and creator markets like the bustling Little River Flea.

Aiden Jae photo

Have you been feeling like an exhausted pile of laundry? Are you ready for an immediate glow-up that will not only restore your faith in yourself but also in humanity? Look no further than Fort Lauderdale's Aiden Jae Jewelry. Brooklyn-bred veteran jewelry designer and mom Randi Salvato created a stunning and sustainably crafted collection that works perfectly as a capsule, with stackable rings, necklaces to layer, and huggies fitting for multiple millennial ear holes. Inspired by the flora of South Florida, you'll find delicate studs that honor fragrant plumeria blooms, an elegant banyan collection that reflects the wrapped roots of this iconic tree, and sunlight, daybreak, and starlight pieces with sustainably sourced gems that reflect Miami's kaleidoscopic skies. Aiden Jae only uses recycled gold, ensuring affordability with 9K or 14K options. Salvato guarantees that Aiden Jae's carbon footprint is next-to-nothing and donates one percent of annual sales to environmental causes — important since, after the polar bears, we'll be the next to bear the brunt of the climate crisis. You'll gasp when you open her handcrafted pouches to reveal delicate forever pieces that moms will cherish and tweens will be borrowing.

If you're a bride who loves a good deal, look no further than the Find. Situated beyond black-and-white-striped awnings on Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables, next door to the long-running Chic Parisien bridal, the small sample sale boutique is filled with racks of dazzling designer dresses marked down to exceptionally affordable prices. The shop sells floor sample gowns from renowned high-end designers like Vera Wang, Marchesa, Monique Lhuillier, and Berta that were brought over from Chic Parisien (we're talking $12,000 pieces marked down to less than $2,000). The dresses usually come and go quickly, so we recommend keeping an eye on the Find's Instagram page. Also, because the store operates on an appointment-only basis, make sure to call before you pop in.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®