Best Of Shopping & Services
Best Plant Guru
Some people are born with green thumbs. In David McLean's case, he was born with emerald hands. His garden — an Eden just south of downtown Fort Lauderdale — is brimming with all things tropical, lush, and fragrant. McLean is a master at growing what grows best in South Florida...
Best Summer Camp
Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre Summer Camp
Sure, you could send your kid to a normal camp, one of those sunny compounds with a Native American name that is ironically full of white Jewish kids. There, he'll shoot arrows, erect tents, get tick bites on all areas of his body, and do all that other typical camp...
Best Movie Theater
For almost 30 years, Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale has been the home of FLIFF — the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. This monthlong fall festival is no slouch, playing films that are making their world premieres or have played only at Cannes; films that will go on to win...
There are plenty of hotels for well-heeled socialites armed with martinis and red-lipped smiles who are hunting for husband number two. But Lago Mar is designed for that well-heeled socialite after baby number two. Located just off the main A1A strip in Fort Lauderdale, the comfy hotel has the bay...
Best Public Restroom
Coastars Coffee Bar
Girls rule; boys drool. That's the sorry lesson to be learned in the water closets of Coastars, the coffee bar at the heart of Lake Worth's South J St., AKA Little Bushwick. Owners Chris Palacio and Liz Brach figured they had a crowd of young creative types on their hands...
Make-a-Wish Southern Florida
A 15-year-old Heat fanatic's wish to be a Miami Heat broadcaster. A 6-year-old's wish to go to Alaska. An 11-year-old's wish to meet Taylor Swift. These are just three of the 9,000 wishes Make-a-Wish Southern Florida has granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions over the past 30 years. That's...
Best Place to Adopt a Cat
Abandoned Pet Rescue
Dear Humans, I write to you on behalf of myself and all the other cats at Abandoned Pet Rescue. First and foremost, I hate you. You're all stupid. Your ignorance with respect to the appropriate time and duration of belly rubs makes me want to regurgitate more than just hair...
Volume One Books
Volume One isn't so much a bookstore as it is a big fat Valentine to South Florida bibliophiles. Walking into the store, which is slotted into a strip mall in West Broward, you're immediately surrounded by unruly stacks and cartons and shelves and leaning towers and skylines — of books...
Best Comic Book Store
Geeks are cool. And the coolest of the geeks in South Florida know there is only one place that will satiate their unrelenting thirst for all things comic book and anime. Serving comic book fans for a daunting 21 years, Tate Ottati says opening Tate's quickly turned into the best...
Best Clothing Store
Style. You either have it or you don't — or you have a whole lot of it and you open a boutique. That's the reality for Paula and Laurie Newlands, sisters-in-law and joint owners of StyleNest, a self-described "designer-inspired fashion boutique." Since 2011, StyleNest has been bringing unique and celebrity-inspired...
Best Thrift Store
The Church Mouse
This dainty little Palm Beach thrift shop just down the way from tony Worth Avenue is a testament to the trickle-down theory of furnishings and fashion. Recycling the castoffs of the elite resort enclave's Mr. and Mrs. Money, designer label clothes are a mainstay of the store, as are upscale...
Best Dry Cleaner
Boca's Premier and Personal Touch Dry Cleaners
Boca's Premier and Personal Touch Dry Cleaners keeps you so fresh, so clean, and most important, so worry-free about dropping your cherished belongings off at the store. The friendly service and reasonable prices keep you from feeling like you've been, um, taken to the cleaners when you leave the cleaners...
Sawgrass Mills Mall
This mall is branded "the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States." And it's right, judging by the fact that it takes 30 minutes to buy one pair of shorts at the Calvin Klein outlet on a Monday at 8 p.m., even with five cashiers hustling...
The Dania Beach Marine Flea Market
So you bought a boat. Good for you. Did you hear the one about the two best days of a boat owner's life? How about what "boat" actually stands for? Or the hole-in-the-water line? If you did, then you'll soon learn that the annual Dania Beach Marine Flea Market is...
Festival Flea Market Mall
Once an ordinary outlet mall, Festival Flea Market Mall changed its name and reason for being in 1991 and has become a one-stop shop for buying things you would never expect to take home with you. The indoor air-conditioned space boasts more than 500 merchants offering to peddle you furniture,...
Best Swap Shop Vendor
The Man Cave
In our world of Kmarts and Targets, big business has sucked the fun out of shopping. Little Timmy is no longer excited for a Sunday trip to Walmart, where he'll shuffle through fluorescent aisles, surrounded by dozens of bland, marked-down products and giant butts squeezed into electric scooters. And can...
Best Furniture Store
Mia Home Trends
They say you can read into a person's soul by peering closely at his or her... couch. Let's test it out: My couch has a layer of Cheetos grime, is propped up where one leg should be by a stack of unpaid student loan notices and grad school applications, and...
Best Adult Video Store
Booby Trap Love Stuff
Could porn videos be the new vinyl record? They're something tangible. There's artwork, liner notes, an ability to play it back as many times as you want. Even better, they come with a pause button. Too bad there aren't as many places where you can go browse the shelves for...
Best Liquor Store
Total Wine & More
Why do kids love Disney World? They love it because when they step through the turnstile and the sea of people parts, they don't see just an amusement park. They see a world — an endless land of fun, stretching as far as the eye can see. They won't get...
Precious moments deserve celebrating. And nothing says "I love you" or "Congratulations!" like a fine display of flowers. But if you're going to drop some serious cash on a floral arrangement, go for unique style and forgo that mass-produced, cliché-looking vase. Keep it classy. That's what the folks at Plantation...
Best Plant Nursery
"Family-owned business" doesn't come to mind when pulling up to a garden center at a corporate retailer like Sears. But Wonder Gardens is just that. Owner Roxie Pelliccia has grown her business for more than 25 years in a nook at the Westfield Mall, along with help from son Lenny...
Best Head Shop
Local Smoking Domain
It's a DIY place, handmade, a labor of love as much as a commercial establishment, and that's what we love about Local Smoking Domain. A rickety haven of closet-like rooms in an undistinguished strip mall off South Dixie Highway (with just a few hand-painted signs out front, it's easy to...
Best Paddleboard Shop
If surfing ate a pot brownie, became a vegetarian, and started doing yoga, you'd have paddleboarding. In recent years, you may have noticed an increased number of people standing up in the middle of the Intracoastal, seemingly gliding their way across the water like a trendy Jesus. You may have...
Best Dive Shop
What happens under the sea? Well, besides singing crabs and mermaid love stories? Do you know? You don't have gills, so probably not. Oceans cover a vast majority of our planet, yet — to us — they remain mysterious. What if we're missing out on dolphin concerts or crab wars?...
Best Tackle Shop
Carl's Bait & Tackle
Any tackle shop with a taxidermy hammerhead shark sprawled atop its roof is worth its weight in one-ounce sinkers and fluorocarbon leader. Such is the case with Carl's. Packed inside the 1,334-square-foot store is everything from lead-head jigs for your snapper rigs to electric reels for the next great white...
Best Drift Fishing Boat
Catch My Drift
It's hard to keep a smile on your face when your job entails working in beating sun or pouring rain, covered in fish blood, squid slime, and salt for hours at a time. But the mates aboard Catch My Drift do just that while keeping lines tight and bait buckets...
Best Bicycle Shop
On a sunburnt stretch of asphalt at Dixie Highway and Commercial Boulevard lies Bicycle Spot. This is a store for any bicyclist, not just the kitted-out, Lemond-crazed velodrones. Owner Peyton Walters stocks tons of used bikes along the storefront for beginners and recreational riders and keeps the snazzy stuff inside...
Best Auto Dealership
Rick Case Honda
Davie car dealer Honest island in a sea Of bastard shysters...
Best Car Wash
IShine Car Wash
Let's be honest, choosing a car wash is the definition of a First World problem, but that doesn't mean you should go just anywhere when that problem arises. IShine Car Wash in Boca Raton isn't just some car wash — it's a club. While some places charge an arm and...
Two main things come to mind when it's time to find the right mechanic: cost and honesty, two things Jackson Performance makes sure are not a worry when you drop off your car. Jackson Performance does everything from transforming your car into a Fast & Furious-worthy well-oiled machine to handling...
Best Cigar Shop
Cuenca Cigars Shop
A cigar isn't just something you smoke when you're on vacation. It's not just something stoners cut open and stuff their weed into. The cigar is a way of life. The cigar is a culture. Somewhere along the way, we forgot that. We started selling factory-made cigars in gas stations...
Best Tattoo Shop
Kreepy Tiki Tattoos
Polynesia-island décor, rockabilly, and the undead are not exactly three aesthetics that blend smooth as coffee, cream, and sugar. But for the past six years, Kreepy Tiki has pulled it off, becoming Fort Lauderdale's most interesting place to get something memorable burned into your arm. Really, the shop's whole raison...
Best Record Store
Top Five Records
To hell with you kids and your MP3s. Chuck your iPods. What's a Spotify? Get out of here with that weak sauce. The only real way to listen to music, the true audio experience, is vinyl. And the best locale to scoop up used vinyl in South Florida is Top...
Best Yoga Studio
One of the benefits of yoga is you can do it anywhere. It requires very little equipment — not even a mat if you've got a good towel or a comfortable surface. The only thing you really need for yoga is your body, your breath, and your mental presence. But...
The Gym Fort Lauderdale Beach
Gyms can be a drag. Sure, you want to be able to fit through doors, but is it really worth putting up with all the crap you face at a gym? The guy who won't stop staring at you. The sweaty man who keeps flicking sweat into your face as...
Best Martial Arts School
It's a family affair, blood relation or not, and the family keeps growing. It started in 2005, when Sara Turk, a spirited young woman from suburban South Florida, and Alberto Conceicao (formally, Contra Mestre Betinho), a Brazilian-born master of capoeira, the deeply musical and flowing Afro-Brazilian martial arts form, met...
Best Nail Salon
"Girlfriend! Do you want to go get your nails did?" "Yeah, girl. Let's go." There is no shortage of nail salons in South Florida. But Cool Nail offers unmatched service unlike anywhere else. The technicians here are superefficient and attentive, spending ample time with each client to ensure satisfaction. Want...
Best Hair Salon
Is he a bit of a diva? Was Maria Callas? Can he cut hair? Could Callas sing? It's all part of the experience at David K's ultrahip, eponymous, Northwood snippery. People go here the same way out-of-towners go to the Carnegie Deli to soak up the attitude of the show-biz...
Animals arguably don't belong in a science lab to benefit the beauty industry. Our furry friends deserve a life in the wild, not trapped in a cold and chilling cage. Enter the roaring wave of vegan hair products — yes, that exists — a trend that's steadily catching on. John...
Casbah Spa and Salon
The Moroccan charms and friendly staff are what make this cozy spa rock. Casbah Spa and Salon is that place where you can spend a pampering getaway without the pretension. Want to chillax in the steam room before your Swedish massage ($75 to $115) appointment? Come early and enter a...
If you're going to trust anyone with your body, why not put your twisted, knotted, tense flesh in the paws of those with special knowledge of ancient Indian holy men? At JothiVita, the words of the rishis are taken seriously, and the body and soul are soothed. This Hollywood spa...
Best Place to Buy Condoms
Condom World Gift Shop
Cover your stump before you hump. When in doubt, shroud your spout. It will be sweeter if you wrap your peter. Wrap it in foil before you check her oil. Sex is cleaner with a packaged wiener. House your noodle before releasing your strudel. Shelter your jerky, then nab that...
Best Gun Shop
Weston Arms & Shooting Range
I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking, "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Now, to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean...