USA Flea Market
BEST FLEA MARKET Flea Market USA 3015 NW 79th Street

Miami

305-836-3677 Located in the heart of Liberty City, Flea Market USA is the bargain mecca for people who earn money through the underground economy or want to look ghetto fabulous. Inside several makeshift barbershops and unisex salons men and boys sit patiently in swivel chairs as stylists weave their long, unruly Afros into intricate cornrows. Young women dressed in shorts and tube tops and donned in gold bling get their nails painted. Dozens of booths sell marked-down name-brand sneakers, clothes, car and home electronics, and jewelry. Tough-looking guys and girls line up at tattoo parlors for ink. Flea Market USA is also one of the few places in Miami-Dade where dope dealers can buy the specialty materials for making crack. Some might find this place exotic, but for us it's essential.

Recycled Blues
BEST LEATHER Recycled Blues 1507 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach

305-538-0656 This haberdashery of vintage clothing and accessories could easily double as a dressing room for Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, or Jimi Hendrix. Hundreds of worn, torn Levi's jeans hang from the walls. Hawaiian shirts, surf jams, plaid golf pants, bowling shirts, fluorescent polyester dresses and dress suits, old-school T's, and track suits complement the denim inventory. Of course nothing beats Recycled Blues' leather goods collection, a mish-mash of suede and black-leather rocker jeans, winter parkas lined with animal fur, bomber jackets, trench coats, and rad outfits only a glammed-up superstar should wear. Styling an individual look for yourself won't break the bank: Prices start at $25, with the most expensive item retailing at $150. Recycled Blues is open daily 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

BEST BABY STORE Genius Jones 1661 Michigan Avenue

Miami Beach

305-534-7622 This is a children's store all grown up. Owners Daniel Kron and his wife Geane Brito, New York fashion- and design-world refugees, opened shop in 2003 specifically because they were so disappointed with what was available when shopping for their first child in 2000. "For too long in the baby business people just accepted what they were given because there were no alternatives," Kron says. So he and his wife found interesting and beautiful alternatives, such as the cardboard snap-together rocket from Brazil, big enough for kids to crawl into; vintage guayaberas and concert T-shirts, recut and miniaturized; and their signature item, the $729 Bugaboo Stroller from Holland. They stumbled upon that pricey kid-cart before it was even available in the U.S., becoming one of the first five stores to carry it. Since then it has gone on to become the celebrity stroller, used by Gwyneth Paltrow and featured on Sex and the City. Kron says he looks for inspiration when selecting gear. "I want them to show me a great design, show me a better way, show me something aesthetically stunning," he says. "We never think in terms of what we can make a lot of money on." Their approach seems to be working: They intend to open a second location at 49 NE 39th Street in the Design District, probably by June. "A lot of our success has to do with the fact that people in Miami are having more babies than in other cities," Kron adds. "People are more into their families here, it seems."

BEST BIRD SHOP Aviary Bird Shop 22707 S. Dixie Highway

Goulds

305-258-2473

www.aviarybirdshop.com Just south of Cauley Square on South Dixie Highway -- amid tire shops, liquor stores, and various building-material supply warehouses -- stands the Aviary, a not-so-tiny oasis where wings and an affinity for sunflower seeds are the only residency requirements. Day-Glo green parrots, mohawked cockatiels, and hyperactive parakeets are all treated to garden views, plenty of shade, and all the dried fruit their beaks can handle. In addition to the usual supplies, the oldest bird shop in Miami also offers boarding (in its Tweety Motel), microchipping, and, soon, an area on-premises for special flighty occasions. Go for supplies, a new feathered friend, or an afternoon of bird watching. Think of it as a miniature Parrot Jungle without the roller-skating parrots or $25 admission fee.

Uncle Sam's Music
BEST PLACE FOR DJS TO BUY VINYL Uncle Sam's 1141 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach

305-532-0973

www.unclesamsmusic.com This was a toughie, with honorable mention going to Grooveman. In the end, however, Sam's amazingly expansive selection (which they should consider cataloging into a computer) coupled with the fact that DJs can drop their potential wax on the needle before they commit, is what put the Uncle over the top. This independent record store has been a staple of the underground music scene since it first opened its doors in 1992. Some of the most influential DJs in Miami know that if they need a juicy, little-known track to get the party bumpin', they'll be able to find it here. It's not just the locals either. Deckmasters from around the world can't help but drop in to check out the latest and greatest. The life of a working DJ usually doesn't begin till well after the sun goes down and Sam's knows that. They stay open till 2:00 a.m. daily, allowing for late-night perusing of all the goods, including exclusive vinyl not to be found anywhere else to merchandise and even concert tickets.

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Best Of Miami®