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Yes, southwest Miami has some real gems. Here are 10 of them.

By Madari Pendas

Southwest Miami, with its vast strip malls and chain restaurants, is often excluded from guidebooks and tourism websites – and hated on by the rest of the city. But hey, it’s where tons of us grew up, and this mostly unincorporated part of Miami-Dade County has some real gems.

We’re not totally sure what to call it. A lot of it is Kendall – but we know we’ll get crap if we call ALL of it Kendall. Some of it is South Miami and Westchester. Basically, we’re talking La Saguesera.

It’s often treated like a place to move out of as soon as you can get out of your parents’ home, but it’s an alternative to the congested and frenzied traffic of Miami Beach and the overcrowded streets of Wynwood – and provides residents and tourists with an authentic and unique experience of the Magic City.

As a native “saguesera,” these are some of my favorite places. What did we miss?

Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Another Southwest Miami tradition is sitting on the picnic tables outside of Wall’s Ice Cream (simply Wall’s to locals), the Metrorail running overhead while you enjoy one of their famous bananas splits. It’s a family owned business in South Miami that has made an indelible mark on Miami, and makes every customer feel special and acknowledged.

walls ice cream

What they do: Ice cream
Website: Visit Here
Phone: 305-740-9830
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12 noon to 10 p.m.
Friday to Saturday, 12 noon to 11 p.m.
Address: 8075 SW 67th Ave.

Mack Cycle and Fitness

In a city that is constantly reinventing itself, this iconic bike shop in South Miami is impressive simply for lasting more than 60 years. The store with its vibrant yellow façade, flanked by all models of bicycles, has extensive fitness equipment and staff ready to match clients with the perfect gear. The family-owned business continually engages with the community through its monthly women’s ride and cycling events. They often partner with other organization, like the Underline, to bring enthusiasm for exercise to Miami.

What they do: Cycling store
Website: Visit Here
Address: 5995 Sunset Drive

Miami Twice

This vintage clothing and boutique store in Coral Terrace originally opened in the mid-1980s. The family-owned business offers retro, art deco, and high-end clothing and accessories. The store even has a conveyor belt with clothes divided by eras for those seeking a specific decade-themed outfit. The employees are knowledgable and always now how to create a one-of-a-kind outfit.

What they do: Vintage clothing store
Website: Visit Here
Address: 6562 SW 40th St., Miami

A&M Comics

Miami may not have a large sci-fi scene, but A&M Comics is a cultural landmark and the oldest comic book store in Miami. The store’s western facing wall is painted with classic superheroes, like Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman. The employees know where everything is located among  the compact, dusty, and overwhelming assemblage of comic books, graphic novels, figurines, and classic memorabilia that fills the store. If you want to discuss alternate universes or are searching for an antique collectible, this is the place to go.

What they do: Comic books
Website: Visit Here
Address: 6650 Bird Rd., Miami

Sugar

Sugar is a staple of the LGBT South Florida scene that hides behind a plain storefront on 32nd Avenue. While most gay clubs are situated on the Beach, Sugar is planted in the heart of Coral Way. Pulse music ranges from contemporary to Latin to EDM, and on a Friday night the place is packed with swinging bodies. Clubbing at Sugar is a rite of passage for those raised in the suburbs. They still remember when it was called “Azcuar.”

What they do: Nightclub
Website: Visit Here
Address: 2301 SW 32nd Ave., Miami

Los Gallegos

This unassuming eatery in Coral Terrace brings authentic Spanish cuisine to Miami. The intimate setting allows guests to converse with the owner, who usually greets clients and chats with regulars and will vehemently defend Real Madrid. It’s a great spot for traditional tapas, jamon iberico, fresh zarzuela de mariscos (shellfish stew) and paella.

What they do: Spanish restaurant
Website: Visit Here
Address: 6549 Bird Road

Sandwich King

An old school haunt with some of the best and most authentic Cuban food in South Florida, with prices that reflect an older way of life. Located near South Miami Senior High School, many green and orange uniformed students can be seen shuffling in and out. One can eat at the takeout window, Jarrito and croquetta preparada in hand, or dine inside and listen to the conversations that drift from the kitchen.

What they do: Cuban food
Website: Visit Here
Address: 6791 Miller Dr., Miami

Comedy Inn

In Palmetto Bay, lodged in a Quality Inn, comedians from all over the world bring humor to rapt audiences. The performances are a mix of  local comedians and big names, normally revealed via email. This literally hidden venue features local comics who riff on the traffic, brusqueness of Miamians, and overall oddness of South Florida.

The shows are always different. On one recent evening they filled the room with a Mariachi band to sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the members. Always unexpected and interactive, the Comedy Inn brings laughter and joy.

What they do: Comedy club
Website: Visit Here
Address: 14501 S. Dixie Hwy, Miami

South Florida Center for Percussive Arts

Brandon Cruz, a local educator and musician, founded the SFCPA in Kendall to provide Miamians with music education and opportunities. The center allows musicians to practice and rent studio time with marimbas, drums, vibraphones, and many more instruments.

The center has an extensive musical library that can be borrowed during practice and drum jams every Friday evening. They make music accessible to a community that usually has to hit the expressway or US-1 to get this kind of thing.

What they do: Music facility
Website: Visit Here
Address: 12600 SW 130th St., #10, Miami

Miami Equestrian Club

The Miami Equestrian Club subverts Miami stereotypes with its expansive fields, seclusion, and horse stables. It’s a respite from city living in a secluded region of Kendall, where one can play cowboy and learn how to ride horses, or immerse themselves in a country lifestyle through their volunteering program and seasonal camps.

What they do: Horseback riding
Website: Visit Here
Address: 11970 SW 64 St., Miami