Hotspots in Miami, FL
With almost year-round sandal weather, Miami demands pretty toes and this eco-friendly bar has just what you need when it comes to nail services. The salon uses non-toxic Zoya polishes and also offers gel nail services for longer lasting nails. Settle into one of the “bar’s” pod-like white chairs and plug in your iPod or ask for an iPad and surf while your feet get pampered. Other services include brow shaping, an eyelash bar and make-up. Don’t expect a zen-like space. Nail Bar Beauty & Lounge is a fun spot where getting your nails done feels like a girl’s afternoon out, champagne included.
Sun-kissed skin is the norm in Miami but smart girls know to stay out of the harmful UV rays. Enter Forever Tan. Owned by Julia Marrero, the tanning salon has gained acclaim for its natural looking tans. Because the tanning solution is applied with an airbrush, your tan will be more precise and streak-free. Plus, the solution is alcohol and preservative-free, making it safer for your skin. A full-body tan costs $45 and lasts up to 10 days. If you like to keep your skin golden, multi-tanning packages are available. The salon also offers eyelash extensions, where Marrero applies extension hair-by-hair to each lash. The treatment takes 45 minutes and lasts up to two months.
Billed as the world’s largest Christmas theme park and carnival, Santa’s Enchanted Forest boasts more than 100 rides, shows, games and attractions. Multiple roller coasters plus Ferris wheels, a water flume and three funhouses are favorites. There’s also a paintball field, petting zoo, pony rides and a bungee jump. And nightly shows feature tigers, alligators, sea lions and circus performers. Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open from early November through early January each year and boasts South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree. Make it a family outing, a fun date with your guy or a girls’ night out after a day of holiday shopping.
Why go to Starbucks when you can have a great cup of coffee prepared with beans roasted in house? Eternity Coffee Roasters is one of few micro-roasters that recently opened shop in Miami. It serves coffees selected in different parts of the world, including Colombia where the family of one of the owners has a coffee farm. Coffee prices range from $2.45 for a shot of espresso to just under $5. Because it's located in downtown Miami, Eternity caters office meetings and serves pastries, sandwiches and wraps. Parking is free in the nearby Ingram building, an added bonus for those who don't work downtown and want to stop by to get a taste of Eternity's coffees.
In Miami, Spanish is spoken on every corner so it's natural to find Spanish-language bookstores in many areas of the city. While most stock religious, esoteric and Cuban literature, Revistas y Periódicos specializes in Colombian literature and books. What started as a magazine and news stand, explaining the store's name which literally means mangazines and newspapers, the Colombian-owned book shop now carries more than 20,000 books including a good selection of Spanish literature and books by Cuban authors as well as books on health, nutrition, psychology and politics. It also continues to sell magazines and newspapers from most every Spanish-speaking country around the world.
If you’re a sucker for the bright lights of the season, you’ll love the Holiday Fantasy of Lights at Tradewinds Park. From mid-November through early January, the park literally glows with three full miles of giant animated holiday displays and illuminated trees. This drive-thru event attracts more than 150,000 visitors in 35,000 cars, trucks, motor homes and busses annually. Pick up a pair of 3-D glasses on your way in for an enhanced view. Holiday Fantasy of Lights is open nightly throughout the event’s run, including on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Check the calendar for the annual bike night and 5K run and walk.
Take your workout to the waters of Key Biscayne. Sailboards Miami offers instruction in windsurfing, kayaking, SUP (stand-up paddle boarding), and kiteboarding. Each works out multiple muscle sets, helping you tone your arms, abs and legs, increase strength and have a blast enjoying the great outdoors while you’re at it. A top choice for toning those arms is a self-guided kayak trip to Vizcaya, Grove Isles, the Sister Islands, Shrimp Lagoon, Bill Bags Park or Key Biscayne. Not only will you get a great workout and a little time communing with nature, you’ll also catch a glimpse at several amazing celebrity homes.
Take a walk on the wild side this holiday season at Jungle Island. The annual Winter Wonder Island event features an interactive cirque production by Humanimals, a troupe of stilt walkers, contortionists, dancers and acrobatic performers decked out in the coolest animal-inspired costumes you’ll ever see. And here’s a holiday celebration idea you haven’t thought of: A romantic camel ride down Jungle Island’s private La Playa beach. After all, if it was good enough for the Wise Men, it’s good enough for you and your man. Jungle Island is open 365 days a year and is home to some of the world’s rarest animals.
Kids and critters just can’t get enough of each other at Zoo Miami’s Children’s Zoo. In fact, the Children’s Zoo is one of few places at the 740-acre facility where visitors can get some real face time with dozens of small creatures. A favorite is the Wacky Barn, where your toddler can help groom a goat. He can pick up a few table manners from the Madagascar giant day geckos licking up plates full of fruity baby food at the Toadstool exhibit, or from the bug-munching meerkats. A stroll through the Butterfly Garden, ablaze in color and movement, always delights infants. And when all that walking leaves your legs looking for a respite, you’ll enjoy a ride on the old-fashioned carousel or a real live camel.
Bright colors, zany sounds and tons of hands-on exhibits make for a sensory overload for your baby or tot visiting the Miami Children’s Museum. Dubbed "MiChiMu" by the locals, the museum features nearly 20 permanent, interactive exhibits designed to entertain and educate. A supermarket, a bank, a cruise ship, a music studio, even a two-story sand castle provide endless opportunities for exploration. A favorite of the toddler set is MiChiMu’s The Sea and Me exhibit, designed specifically for kids under age five. Don’t skip the You and Me and Teddy Bears Too section. And sign up your child aged 18 months to five years for the Early Childhood Institute to foster a love of learning early on.