Lifestyle

The Best Rainy Day Activities in Miami

Stay dry, friends.

Xtreme Action Park
Xtreme Action Park
Xtreme Action Park

In a city where the sun’s out pretty much all the time, it’s easy to forget that we’re almost exclusively set up for good weather. But when it rains, stuff like rooftop bars, beach clubs, and outdoor movie theaters all of a sudden don’t seem so inviting. Waiting out the rain is always an option, since our storms often last less time than it takes to complain about them. However, should the rain continue all day, the day’s not shot. From our collection of museums to sports best experienced in bad weather, South Florida’s still got plenty going on. Here’s what to do on a rainy day in Miami.

Immerse yourself in high tech art

Miami has become an American hub for tech-driven art and immersive experiences. The most renowned is Superblue in Allapattah, where the current exhibit “Every Wall is a Door” features a mirrored maze from Es Devlin and the trippy, minimalist Ganzfeld piece from James Turrell. In South Beach, Artechouse, as the name might imply, fuses art and technology for interactive walk through art installations that rotate every few months.

Browse books and drink wine

What with the advent of Amazon, bookstores have had to get creative to keep their niche alive. In Little River, Paradis Books and Bread lets bookworms curl up with a new book and a glass of wine, doubling as a book shop and one of Miami’s best wine bars. You don’t even need to leave if you get hungry, since their house baked breads could get them on a list of best bakeries too. For a bigger selection of books, but not nearly as much wine, check out Books and Books in Coral Gables, which hosts frequent author readings and has a small caf√© onsite.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Pose in front of the Oculus at the Frost Science Museum

There is actually more to our downtown science museum and aquarium than the big, circular window that’s more ubiquitous on Instagram than bikini pics on a boat. It’s also got a full mock-up of the Everglades on the top floor, where you can see baby alligators and rare roseate spoonbills. And a stroll-through live lab where Frost staff is regrowing coral species. You can also delve into an underwater coral reef as you descend to the ground floor, then take in a galactic show at the planetarium.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Ponder modern art

If you wanna see that head-tilting stuff that your parents wouldn’t understand, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, where galleries are filled with provocative works, and special exhibits from Latin American and Caribbean artists. Though we might not suggest a walk through its sculpture garden on a rainy day, the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Design District has an inside filled with cutting edge modern showcases. It’s also free, if your rainy day fund got used up at the bar over the weekend.

Topgolf (Miami Gardens)
Topgolf (Miami Gardens)
Topgolf (Miami Gardens)

Go golfing…up top

You won’t worry about your six iron becoming an instant lighting rod when you smash some balls at Top Golf, where every driving bay is completely covered from the elements. You and your crew will marvel at the brave souls who still go out in carts and shag balls in such nasty weather. But as you order your fourth round of beers and tee up another game, that thought will dissipate as soon as you hear that first thwack of the club.

The Edge Rock Gym - Miami
The Edge Rock Gym – Miami
The Edge Rock Gym – Miami

Climb some rocks in South Dade

If they can put a ski slope in Dubai, by God, they can find a way to import climbing rocks to South Florida. Sure, the rocks at The Edge Rock Gym are about as real as the snow in the Arabian desert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a solid afternoon indoors tearing up your hands as you traverse over 14,000 square feett of climbing wall-or just relax in their brand-new yoga room.

Expand your horizons at an art cinema

Going to the movies in Miami is a special experience, what with the bonus soundtrack of people on cell phones saying stuff like, “Oh my God, bro, you won’t believe this movie I’m at right now.” If you prefer more polite movie audiences, try catching some lesser-known art films at places like¬†O Cinema, the Coral Gables Art Cinema, Tower Theater, and the Cosford Cinema at UM. You’ll not only hear the movie, you might actually learn something, too.

Xtreme Action Park
Xtreme Action Park
Xtreme Action Park

Enjoy safe driving at Xtreme Go Karting

If it’s raining out, you will no doubt see better driving from the collection of 10-year-olds on the Go Kart Track here than you will on any of the roads in South Florida. But if you don’t feel like taking your life into your hands at your destination, too, this Ft. Lauderdale entertainment palace also has a ropes course, escape rooms, bowling, and a laser tag/paintball hybrid called Bazooka Blast. And a brand new VR dive where you can don a headset and fight zombies, still a safer experience than I-95 during a rainstorm (or anytime, really).

Flickr/Dan Lundberg
Flickr/Dan Lundberg
Flickr/Dan Lundberg

Learn about art, history, or sex at one of our museums

Downtown’s P√©rez Art Museum Miami (or PAMM, as the cool kids call it) might be the sleekest-looking art museum in America, with a killer view and a great restaurant at Verde. But the Rubell Museum in Allapattah probably boasts the city’s best collection of classic art, and a stunning restaurant at Leku. History buffs can learn about the Miami that once was-or even Frank Sinatra-at HistoryMiami Downtown. Or if you want to get a little risqu√©, the World Erotic Art Museum in South Beach can make for an interesting-or very awkward-date.

The Miami Beach EDITION
The Miami Beach EDITION
The Miami Beach EDITION

Try to bowl over 100

Though the Miami native in your group will inevitably not shut up about Don Carter’s, there are still some pretty cool bowling alleys in Miami that offer totally different experiences. It can be a chic, trendy South Beach experience if you hit the lanes at EDITION, or a full dinner with drinks and dancing when you roll to King’s Dining and Entertainment in Doral. Or-our suggestion-an absolute immersion in Miami culture if you hit the legendary Bird Bowl in Westchester.

Day drink at a local brewery

Experience the fun people in Seattle and Portland have been having for the last 30 years when you spend an entire day inside looking at overcast skies and drinking craft beer. In Broward, hit Funky Buddha for a Disneyland of beer experience or Tarpon River for the best brewery food in Ft. Lauderdale. In Dade, try intense sours at Tripping Animals or belly up to the dozens of taps at M.I.A. in Doral. You can also drink craft beer in the mall at EST. 33 in Brickell City Centre, or in a sprawling Hialeah warehouse at Unbranded. Wherever you are, remember to relish in the fact that you won’t have to do this for nine months at a time.

Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center
Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center
Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center

Smoke cigars in Little Havana

All the trademark cigar shops will let you smoke inside, and many serve drinks. Without the cigars, you can still grab drinks at historic Ball & Chain, or see what bars were like in Havana 60 years ago at the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center. OR… catch a movie at the historic Tower Theater.

Flickr/Keith Wescourt
Flickr/Keith Wescourt
Flickr/Keith Wescourt

Play the ponies at Gulfstream Park

Pro tip: rainy days are when the most long shots come in at the horse track. Maybe? Regardless, an afternoon at Gulfstream betting on horses in the slop can be profitable, and is always educational. You’ll not only learn the precise science of reading the racing form, you’ll also learn how to curse at slow-moving animals in about 14 different languages. Valuable life skills all around.¬†

Explore a historic home

That wedding or quince you went to at Vizcaya was probably out in the gardens. But have you ever really taken the time to tour the actual house? Or made the trip to the Deering Estate to see that Gilded Age mansion? Miami’s historic mansions are as grand as anything you’d find in Newport, and even more impressive considering people lived in them‚Ķ. without air conditioning.¬†

Escape a panic room

The premise here is pretty simple. You and your friends are put in a room, and have a set amount of time to follow hidden clues in that room to try and escape. Run out of time, and all hell breaks loose, and, yes, panic ensues. The rooms have themes like CSI: Miami or Halloween or Mediaeval times, and teach you to think in different ways. Try The Great Escape Room near the Gables, South Beach Room Escape in the Beach, or Escape Hunt Downtown.

Bust your ass trying to ice skate

Though the only naturally occurring ice we have in South Florida bedazzle gold watches and chains, the skatable variety can be found in a few locations and, if nothing else, will have you learning a fun new skill on a rainy day. The Kendall Ice Arena is a locals’ favorite, but also check out the Scott Rakow Youth Center in Miami Beach, or if you want to be fancy, the basement rink at the EDITION.¬†

Matt Meltzer moved to Miami for the friendly people and doesn’t feel cheated at all when it rains. He’s also got a million followers on Instagram, follow him to more lies¬†@meltrez1.

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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