Lifestyle

Lean Into the Back-to-School Vibes with These Adult Classes in Miami

From skydiving to sushi making, these are the best classes for adults in Miami.

Photo courtesy of the Slice Girls
Photo courtesy of the Slice Girls
Photo courtesy of the Slice Girls

Miami’s definition of “self-improvement” often involves some sort of silicone injection or just finding the right Instagram filter. But if you’re looking to better yourself by learning a new skill or pushing your boundaries, Miami has plenty of cool classes for adults that don’t require much more than a reservation. Whether you want to pick up some new knife skills or learn how to fly on a trapeze, there’s someone in South Florida who’ll teach you. From skydiving to sushi rolling, here’s a look at the best adult classes you can take in and around Miami.

Photo courtesy of Flour & Weirdoughs
Photo courtesy of Flour & Weirdoughs
Photo courtesy of Flour & Weirdoughs

Food and drink classes in Miami

Learn to roll sushi at Casa Sensei
Las Olas
If sushi prices are limiting your ability to enjoy a nice set of rolls, perhaps consider learning to make sushi yourself. Fort Lauderdale waterside sushi hotspot Casa Sensei gives you the chance every second Saturday from 3 to 5 pm, where you’ll learn how to make two different sushi rolls while sipping on a glass on house sake. Classes are $60 per person, with an option to upgrade to premium sake for $20 more.

Japanese craft and tea classes at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Delray Beach
South Florida’s leading Japanese cultural center is more than just a place to meditate among meticulous gardens. Each weekend, the museum hosts a workshop covering some kind of Japanese art, ranging from the cultivation of Bonsai trees to delicate gift wrapping classes around the holidays. This month, you can learn the art of Kokedama-growing plants in a moss-covered ball of soil-on September 9. Then learn how to play the Koto on September 16 before diving into indigo dying on September 24 and 25. Morikami also hosts classes in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies inside its ornate garden tea house.

Croissant making at Flour and Weirdoughs
Key Biscayne
You think making croissants is as easy as popping open a tube and throwing them on a baking sheet? Not if you’re making them like Miami’s croissant kings at Flour and Weirdoughs, who walk you through their painstaking process once a month. This month’s class is on September 12, where starting at 7 pm you’ll learn how to mix, laminate, cut, and shape a full batch of croissants, all the while enjoying unlimited wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Wine education at Vinya Wine and Market
Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne’s destination wine shop invites you to gain some knowledge from the sommeliers who stock its shelves. Allegra Angelo leads classes delving into different regions of the world, as you learn about the distinguishing characteristics of its wines and some names you should know. This month’s September 20 class is Rhone: North vs. South where you’ll explore the wines on both sides of France’s Loire Valley then vote on which you think is better. And yes, the classes include wine tasting too.

Pizza making at Mister 01 and Harry’s Pizza
Wynwood and South Beach
Two of Miami’s top pizza makers teach you how to make pizza like the pros. At Mister 01 in Wynwood, weekly evening classes have you making your own pie while tasting some of the pizzeria’s most popular drinks and pizzas, then going home with some dough to try on your own. Mister 01 also offers a family class once a month where kids aged 9 and above are welcome. Out on Lincoln Road,¬†Harry’s Pizzeria is hosting a cooking class on September 27, where the restaurant’s top chefs help you create pizzas while you sip on Harry’s menu of specialty cocktails.

Cooking classes at Feeding South Florida
Boynton Beach
South Florida’s largest food bank has all kinds of ways to hone your culinary skills at its Boynton Beach Community Kitchen. Each month, Feeding South Florida hosts a handful of different cooking classes focused on particular dishes and cuisines from Pad Thai to French Patisserie and tart making. It also offers courses in cooking technique, like a knife skills class coming up on September 13.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Road
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Road
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Road

Sports and dance classes in Miami

Tennis lessons with the Slice Girls
Various locations
The Slice Girls Tennis Club aims to get women involved in the game through four-times-a-week classes for beginners and intermediates. Slice Girls’ also hosts skill-specific clinics with catchy names like “Forehand Frenzy” and “Backhand Bash,” with each class lasting about 90 minutes on rotating courts around Miami. Lest the men feel left out, the team hosts weekly coed sessions on Mondays.

Dance classes at the Miami City Ballet School
South Beach
You don’t need to devote your life to being a bunhead to get some of the fitness, flexibility, and grace that comes with learning ballet. Miami City Ballet has open adult classes for all levels at its South Beach studio, where dancers can drop in for beginner classes on Mondays, and intermediate and advanced classes Tuesday through Thursday. You can also try a Thursday night intro class, or bring your little one for Toddler and Me Tuesdays at 9 am.

Belly dancing at Belly Motions
Pinecrest
Ever wanted to master the art of belly dancing? Now you can at the Jill Mallory Dance Studio near The Falls. Dance and fitness instructor Portia Lange leads beginner and intermediate classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays where you’ll get the basics and put together your own routines. If the Falls feels a little far, Belly Motions also offers online videos and private classes.

Open-air tango classes on Lincoln Road
South Beach
As the air cools down, the tango heats up on Lincoln Road. The landmark pedestrian mall hosts monthly outdoor tango classes near the Euclid Circle, so show up on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 pm and you’ll get a one-hour tango lesson from a top professional instructor, followed by a few hours of “open milonga” where you can test out your new skills.

Skydive at Miami Skydiving Center
Homestead
There are classes that make you a better person. And there are classes that make people say, “Are you having a mid-life crisis?” Some might say skydiving lessons would be both, as you’ll learn to conquer your fears and find confidence in yourself, all while plummeting towards the earth with a parachute on your back. You can always do the standard tandem dive, which is the staple beginner skydive everyone does to cross it off their bucket list. Then you can take Skydive Miami’s Accelerated Freefall Program, which takes you through a series of jumps until you’re ready to literally fly solo.

Photo courtesy of OCISLY Ceramics
Photo courtesy of OCISLY Ceramics
Photo courtesy of OCISLY Ceramics

Arts and culture classes in Miami

Trapeze and circus skills at Miami Circus Arts Center
Allapattah
Ever gone to Cirque du Soleil and thought, “I could do that!” Probably not, but you can at least gain a little proficiency in everything from trapeze to contortion at the Miami Circus Arts Center. It works a little like a group fitness gym, where you pay by the class and attend regularly scheduled workshops based on your discipline and skill level. So on Monday, you can show up for your 7 pm trapeze class, then go on Tuesday for Rope and Saturday for Straps.

Art classes at Oolite
South Beach
Lincoln Road’s local art showcase offers an array of classes in addition to its regular artist exhibits. Whether you’re interested in figure drawing, screen printing, textiles, mixed media, or watercolor, you’ll find a class that fits. Courses last anywhere from one day to six weeks, with a small selection of virtual courses available too.

Pottery classes at OCISLY
Wynwood
Head to this idyllic backyard garden in Wynwood for pottery lessons to the tune of great music. Each beginner wheel-throwing class at OCISLY is themed to a different playlist, so whether Bad Bunny will get you going or you’d rather cement your new skills to iconic TV Show theme songs, they’ve got you covered. The studio also hosts special events with other local businesses-for example, later this month you can learn to make your own smokeware at a Puff Puff Pottery workshop or build a new home for your plants.

The Curious Gardener at Pinecrest Gardens
Pinecrest
Pinecrest Gardens stretches the idea of gardening classes with its Curious Gardener series every third Thursday. Course topics are all over the board, with September offering a Garden to Glass Cocktail Making Class; Sip and Create Painting Floral Skills in October; and Festive Floral Arranging for November. Regardless of the topic, each class runs about three hours and includes one free drink.

Pottery and painting classes at Color Me Mine
Hallandale Beach
Color Me Mine in the Village at Gulfstream Park goes far beyond the traditional paint-and-wine experience that’s become so popular for a night out. Sure, you and your crew can sign up for a private class and learn to paint pre-made pottery with a bottle of BYOB vino. But you can also take classes in everything from clay hand building to holiday ornament painting, if you want to get your Christmas shopping done early and learn something at the same time.

Glass blowing at Benzaiten Center
Lake Worth
If you’ve always wanted to host a dinner party where wine was served in colorful glasses you made yourself, consider some classes at the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts. This trackside Lake Worth studio offers classes in glass blowing, flameworking, and fusing, where you’ll craft everything from marbles to vases and paperweights.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on¬†Instagram,¬†TikTok,¬†Twitter,¬†Facebook,¬†Pinterest, and¬†YouTube.

Matt Meltzer¬†is a Miami-based contributor for Thrillist, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, former pageant judge in the Miss Florida America system, and past contributor to¬†Cosmopolitan¬†magazine. Matt graduated with a BBA from University of Miami and holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Florida. He currently lives in Miami with his Betta fish, Bob.

Lifestyle

The Best New Bookstores in LA are Curated, Specific, and Personal

Discover a new favorite book, join a book club, and maybe even do some karaoke at the new wave of LA bookshops.

Photo by Innis Casey Photography, courtesy of Zibby's Bookshop
Photo by Innis Casey Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop
Photo by Innis Casey Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop

A couple of years ago, the legendary Powell’s Books in Portland released a perfume designed to evoke the smell of a bookstore. The scent has notes of wood, violet, and the lovely and unusually precise word biblichor, the particular aroma of old books. The reality of the scent is what it is-mostly sweet and floral-but more important is the imagery it conjures. The best bookstores are both cozy and mysterious, familiar and surprising, with endless potential for discovery.

Los Angeles has a wealth of independent book sellers, including beloved legacy shops like The Last Bookstore, The Iliad, and Chevalier’s. But a new wave of bookstores has been growing over the last few years, shops that eschew the traditional one-of-everything mindset to focus on specificity, curation, and point of view. There are bookstores with themes, bookstores that double as event spaces, bookstores that reflect their neighbourhoods, bookstores that take inspiration from a specific person-whether that’s the shop owner, a historical figure, or a little bit of both-and so many more.

Like the niche-ification of the internet and the culture at large, these new and new-ish bookstores provide a space to discover books, ideas, and perspectives led by an expert, the kind of things that you may never have found on your own. They can also be a safe harbour for pure nerdiness, a place to dive deep into your favourite category or cause. To help you on your way, we’ve put together a list of some of the best new bookstores in LA, with a focus on curated shops with their own specific perspectives.

Photo courtesy of Octavia's Bookshelf
Photo courtesy of Octavia’s Bookshelf
Photo courtesy of Octavia’s Bookshelf

Octavia’s Bookshelf

Pasadena
Pasadena is a famously book-friendly city, with bookstore royalty in the form of legendary Vroman’s and its own literary alliance. Now it has one of the most exciting new bookstores too. Octavia’s Bookshelf is owner Nikki High’s tribute to the science fiction master Octavia E. Butler, who was a Pasadena native herself. The name of the shop provides a clue into High’s inspiration, titles she imagines Butler would have had on her shelves, with a focus on BIPOC authors. The storefront is small, but the collection is impeccably curated and the space is cozy and welcoming for readers of all backgrounds.

Photo by Mads Gobbo, courtesy of North Figueroa Bookshop
Photo by Mads Gobbo, courtesy of North Figueroa Bookshop
Photo by Mads Gobbo, courtesy of North Figueroa Bookshop

North Figueroa Bookshop

Highland Park
Vertical integration can be a beautiful thing, especially when it allows independent creators more control over their products. The new North Figueroa Bookshop is a shining example of the concept, a storefront built on a collaboration between two publishers, Rare Bird and Unnamed Press. North Fig features titles from those presses, of course, including lots of striking literary fiction and memoir, but it also features a curated collection of other books. They’ve made it a point of emphasis to serve the needs of the local Highland Park, Glassell Park, Cypress Park, and Eagle Rock community-there’s lots of fiction from fellow independent publishers, other general interest titles with a focus on California history and literature, and plenty of Spanish-language books.

Photo by Karen Cohen Photography, courtesy of Zibby's Bookshop
Photo by Karen Cohen Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop
Photo by Karen Cohen Photography, courtesy of Zibby’s Bookshop

Zibby’s Bookshop

Santa Monica
Speaking of vertical integration, there’s another new combined publisher and bookstore on the other side of town. Zibby’s Bookshop is the brainchild of Zibby Owens, Sherri Puzey, and Diana Tramontano, and it’s the physical home of Zibby Books, a literary press that releases one featured book a month. That system is designed so that each book gets the full attention and resources of the press. Owens is an author, podcaster, and book-fluencer, and she has become something of a lit-world mogul with a magazine, podcast network, event business, and an education platform too. The shop has a unique sorting system, built around a feeling for each book-in store many of the shelves are labelled by interest or personality type, like “For the foodie,” or “For the pop culture lover.” On their webshop, you can browse for books that make you cry, escape, laugh, lust, or tremble. There are recommendations from Owens and the staff, sections for local authors, family dramas, and books that have just been optioned. If this all seems a little overwhelming, you should probably avoid the section dedicated to books that make you anxious.

The Salt Eaters Bookshop

Inglewood
Inglewood native Asha Grant opened The Salt Eaters Bookshop in 2021 with a mission in mind-to centre stories with protagonists who are Black girls, women, femme, and/or gender-nonconforming people. Over the last year and change that it’s been open, it has also become a community hub, a place for Inglewood locals and people from across town to drop in, to see what’s new and to discover incredible works in the Black feminist tradition. They also host regular events like readings, discussions, and parties.

Lost Books

Montrose
Thankfully, legendary downtown bookshop The Last Bookstore’s name is hyperbole, and owners Josh and Jenna Spencer have even gone so far as to open a second shop, Lost Books in Montrose. Instead of the technicolour whimsy of the book tunnel at The Last Bookstore, Lost Books has a tunnel of plants that welcomes you into the shop, which opened in the summer of 2021. They sell those plants in addition to books, and coffee and vinyl too, which makes Lost Books a lovely destination and a fun little surprise in the quaint foothill town just off the 2 freeway.

Photo by Claudia Colodro, courtesy of Stories Books & Cafe
Photo by Claudia Colodro, courtesy of Stories Books & Cafe
Photo by Claudia Colodro, courtesy of Stories Books & Cafe

Stories Books & Cafe

Echo Park
Ok, this one is fudging the criteria a little-Stories has been open for almost 15 years. But over those years the shop has become a pillar of Echo Park community life, hosting readings, discussions, and events, and their cafe tables function as a de facto office for about half of the neighbourhood on any given afternoon. After the tragic recent passing of co-owner and Echo Park fixture Alex Maslansky it seemed like the shop’s future was in doubt, but thankfully after a brief hiatus co-owner and co-founder Claudia Colodro and the staff were able to band together to reopen and keep the beloved cafe and bookstore going strong.

Page Against the Machine

Long Beach
The name alone makes it clear what you’re getting at Page Against the Machine-revolutionary progressive books, with a collection centred on activist literature, socially conscious writing, and a whole lot of political history. The shop itself is small but the ideas are grand, with fiction by writers like Richard Wright, Colson Whitehead, and Albert Camus next to zines about gentrification and compendia of mushroom varieties. They also host regular readings and discussions.

Photo by Viva Padilla, courtesy of Re/Arte
Photo by Viva Padilla, courtesy of Re/Arte
Photo by Viva Padilla, courtesy of Re/Arte

Re/Arte Centro Literario

Boyle Heights
Boyle Heights has its own small but mighty combined bookstore, art gallery, gathering space, and small press in Viva Padilla’s Re/Arte. Padilla is a poet, translator, editor, and curator, and as a South Central LA native and the child of Mexican immigrants, she’s focused on Chicanx and Latinx art, literature, and social criticism. Re/Arte’s collection has a wide range of books, from classic Latin American literature to modern essays and everything in between. Re/Arte is also now the headquarters for sin cesar, a literary journal that publishes poetry, fiction, and essays from Black and Brown writers. There are always community-focused events happening too, from regular open mics and zine workshops to film screenings and more.

The Book Jewel

Westchester
Most bookshops host events, but few host them with the regularity of The Book Jewel, the two- year-old independent bookstore in Westchester. Their calendar is so full with readings, several different book clubs, signings, and meet and greets that there are sometimes multiple events on the same day. The shop also hosts a ton of family-focused readings, with regular storytime on Sunday mornings often followed by a talk with the author. It’s a great fit for the relatively low-key (but not exactly quiet) suburban neighbourhood, and it’s no coincidence that storytime lines up with the Westchester Farmers Market, which takes place right out front.

Reparations Club

West Adams
Most bookstores lean into coziness, aiming to be a hideaway for some quiet contemplation or maybe a quick sotto voce chat-not so at Reparations Club, the exuberant and stylish concept bookshop and art space on Jefferson. Owner and founder Jazzi McGilbert and her staff have built a beautiful and vibrant shop full of art from Black artists, including books but also records, candles, incense, clothing, and all sorts of fun things to discover. There’s a perfect seating area to sit and hang out for a while, and they host a range of wild and fun events from readings to happy hours, panel discussions to karaoke nights and more.

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Ben Mesirow is a Staff Writer at Thrillist.

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