Antiques & Collectibles
Miami's antiques shops are scattered in small pockets around the city. Many that feature lower-priced furniture can be found in North Miami, in the 1600 block of NE 123rd Street, near West Dixie Highway. About a dozen shops sell china, silver, glass, furniture, and paintings. But you'll find the bulk of the better antiques in Coral Gables and in Southwest Miami along Bird Road between 64th and 66th avenues and between 72nd and 74th avenues. For international collections from Bali to France, check out the burgeoning scene in the Design District centered on NE 40th Street west of 1st Avenue. Miami also hosts several large antiques shows each year. In October and November, the most prestigious one -- the Original Miami Beach Antique Show -- hits the Miami Beach Convention Center (tel. 305/673-7311; www.originalmiamibeachantiqueshow.com). Exhibitors from all over come to display their wares, including jewelry. Miami's huge concentration of Art Deco buildings from the '20s and '30s makes this the place to find the best selections of Deco furnishings and decorations. A word to the serious collectors: Dania Beach, up in Broward County, about half an hour from downtown Miami, is the best place for antiques (it's known as the antiques capital of South Florida), so you may want to consider browsing in Miami and shopping up there.
You can find local branches of Barnes & Noble at 152 Miracle Mile (tel. 305/446-4152), 5701 Sunset Dr. (tel. 305/662-4770), 18711 NE Biscayne Blvd. (tel. 305/935-9770), 7710 N. Kendall Dr. (tel. 305/598-7292), and 12405 N. Kendall Dr. (tel. 305/598-7727). Borders can be found at 9205 S. Dixie Hwy. (tel. 305/665-8800), 11401 NW 12th St. (tel. 305/597-8866), and 19925 Biscayne Blvd. (tel. 305/935-0027).
Although it is illegal to bring Cuban cigars into the United States, somehow, forbidden Cohibas show up at every dinner party and nightclub in town. Not that I condone it, but if you hang around the cigar smokers in town, no doubt one will be able to tell you where you can get some of the highly prized contraband. Be careful, however, of counterfeits, which are typically Dominican cigars posing as Cubans. Cuban cigars are illegal and unless you go down a sketchy alley to buy one from a dealer (think of it as shady as a drug deal), you are going to be smoking Dominican ones.
Many of the viejitos (old men) got their training in Cuba working for the government-owned factories in the heyday of Cuban cigars.
Fashion: Clothing & Accessories
Miami didn't become a fashion capital until -- believe it or not -- the pastel-hued, Armani-clad cops on Miami Vice had their close-ups on the tube. Before that, Miami was all about old men in white patent leather shoes and well tanned women in bikinis. How things have changed! Miami is now a fashion mecca in its own right, with some of the same high-end stores you'd find on Rue de Fauborg St. Honore in Paris or Bond Street in London. You'll find all the chichi labels, including Prada and Gucci, right here at the posh Bal Harbour Shops. For funkier frocks, South Beach is the place, where designers such as Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani compete for window shoppers with local up-and-coming designers, some of whom design for drag queens and club kids only. Miami's edgy Upper East Side and Design District neighborhoods also slowly but surely are developing as a hot spot for hip-wear. The strip on Collins Avenue between 7th and 10th streets has become quite upscale, including such shops as Armani Exchange and Intermix, along with the inescapable Gap and Banana Republic. Of course, there's also more mainstream (and affordable) shopping in the plethora of malls and outdoor shopping and entertainment complexes that are sprinkled throughout the city.
Children's -- Most department stores have extensive children's sections. But if you can't find what you are looking for, consider one of the many Baby Gaps or Gap Kids outlets around town or try one of the specialty boutiques listed here.
There are dozens of ethnic markets in Miami, from Cuban bodegas (little grocery stores) to Jamaican import shops and Guyanese produce stands. Check the phone book under grocers for listings. We've listed a few of the biggest and best markets in town that sell prepared foods as well as staple items. On Saturday mornings, vendors set up stands loaded with papayas, melons, tomatoes, and citrus, as well as cookies, ice creams, and sandwiches on South Beach's Lincoln Road.
For name designers like Gucci and Tiffany & Co., go to the Bal Harbour Shops.
There are so many malls in Miami and more being built all the time that it would be impossible to mention them all.
You can find any number of nationally known department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Sears, and JCPenney in the Miami malls listed below. Miami's own, Burdines, is now a Macy's, too, located at 22 E. Flagler St., Downtown, and 1675 Meridian Ave. (just off Lincoln Rd.) in South Beach.
People-watching seems to be the number-one sport in South Florida, but for the more athletic pursuits, consider the shops in our listings. One of the area's largest sports-equipment chains is the Sports Authority, with at least six locations throughout the county. Check the White Pages for details.