R.F. Orchids, Inc.
Vandas, ascocendas, and mericlones, oh my! R.F. Orchids, founded in 1970 by orchid wizard Robert Fuchs, is worth the journey down the Historic Redland Tropical Trail. There you'll find rows upon rows of orange, purple, yellow, and white floral beauties that dazzle and mystify. These gems have earned more than 800 awards from the American Orchid Society. The nursery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and offers free tours — led by Fuchs himself — on weekends at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Enjoy the idyllic garden, where you can lounge in a hammock or chat near a fountain and pond with a complimentary cup of passion fruit juice. Don't worry — you won't wake up in Kansas.
In these uneasy economic times, it comes as no surprise that pawn shops are making record-breaking numbers of transactions. In Miami, especially, as the real estate bubble bursts, you can make some serious deals. And the definitive place to do business has to be Miami-Pawn, located smack in middle of bubble-bursting downtown. Open since the early Eighties, the place has clearly benefited from the condo boom. Fancy new buildings surround the shop, giving it an air of respectability and style sometimes absent from this sort of establishment. The entrance looks ultraclean, while the outside walls are painted white and blue, a nice contrast to typically dowdy colors. Inside you'll find top-quality flat-screen TV sets (a 32-inch Sony model was going for $500) along with plenty of bicycles, name-brand watches, and jewelry. There's also a varied collection of musical instruments such as Gibson guitars and Fender amps. Even better, the shop's employees are helpful and attentive, making the whole experience as pleasant as it can be.
In the era of laptop jocks and blog house, there's still a place for those addicted to vinyl: in north-central Miami. Super Soul Records, the down-South outpost of the legendary Bronx shop of the same name, quietly deals out the doses. Open since May of last year, it's run by George Johnson, a.k.a. King George, a longtime collector who is respected in New York for supplying big-name DJs and stores with the latest and greatest 12-inches. The local spot is a dusty crate-digger's dream. It carries only used records and specializes in all forms of dance music — meaning anything with funky bass, from reggae to hip-hop to soul to Latin. What's more, it's open seven days a week, and prices are nice. Recent finds have included 12-inch singles by hip-hop legends Mobb Deep and Jungle Brothers for just $3 a pop, and a 45 by vintage reggae hero Byron Lee for $15. It's enough to drive a digital convert into a wax relapse. A tip: Call before you go; the small strip-mall/warehouse location is hard to spot from the road.
Tattoos by Lou
Karli Evans

Local stalwart Tattoos by Lou is sort of like the Starbucks of tattooing and piercing, and we mean that in the most complimentary way. For starters, wherever you live in Miami-Dade County, there's a location more or less convenient for you (Kendall, North Miami, two in South Beach). Second, they're pretty standardized — you'll get the same efficient, polite service regardless of which one you choose. And they're clean — of course, a quality of the utmost importance when you're going to get stabbed with a piece of metal. But where Tattoos by Lou beats the competition is in relative price. They won't charge you an arm and a leg to poke a hole in another appendage; recent advertised specials have boasted piercings for as low as $20, including jewelry. In our book, there's no better place to get stuck.

Pass by the pizza shops and overstocked bodegas lining Washington Avenue and press your thumb to the fingerprint recognition apparatus outside the sexiest shop you've never been to. The black glass door slides open, you're transported into an oasis of modest-yet-actual arousal, and your inner sex kitten purrs with excitement. This women-only, membership-only boutique is the place to go for European lingerie, evening gowns, shoes, perfumes, jewelry, and all the other tools a certified minx uses to cast her spells. Outfitted in black lacquer and Swarovski crystals, dazzling Roberto Cavalli chandeliers, and mirrored hardware, Sex & ...'s décor is as alluring as it's merchandise. Prices range from $25 to several thousand dollars, so it doesn't matter if you're toasting at the champagne bar, perusing the solid gold vibrators, or trying on a teddy in one of the mirrored fitting rooms, the vibe alone will bring your sexy back in no time.
For more than 30 years, this family-owned business has met the discerning gagster's rubber-chicken, joy-buzzer, and squirting-lapel-flower needs. It also boasts thousands of Halloween costumes including Yoda and Princess Leia getups suitable for pets. The shop is stocked with hundreds of jokes, gags, magic tricks, and accessories guaranteed to unleash the inner prankster in you. Oh, and for that turd you want to plop on the boss's desk, it will crimp you a five spot.
You wish you had a bike, but you don't want to spend any money. You looked on Craigslist, but blah blah blah. We understand. This is what you need to do: Get your ass to the Broken Spoke, even if it means crossing water, and buy a bike already. Chris Marshall, the owner, is a friendly, fun-loving dude who's a total nut for bikes. He hand-built the glistening chrome-plated tricycle he calls "Double Trouble," in the corner — and he'll hook you up at a reasonable price. If you just want a cruiser or a cheap mountain bike, he's always got a nice selection out front, most of them under a hundred bucks. We bought a clean little number for our kid at a stunningly low $25. If you're in the market for something faster, walk on in and see what's hanging from the ceiling — there's always something good.
The Beer Depot
Have you reached the point where the only way you can afford beer better than Schlitz is to nab a Grolsch at the Wynwood art walk? Then art-walk yourself a little bit farther down NW 36th Street to The Beer Depot, a funny-looking shack that has the best selection of microbrews in town. The shop carries pretty much every decent beer that's peeped its head above the frozen grounds of distribution anywhere in Miami, and most bottles sell for about $1.50. On the more expensive side are Rogue's Dead Guy Ale, Dogfish Head's elusive 120 Minute IPA, and one of the Shipyard Brewery's fine Longfellow ales. The place is a bit disorganized (just make a price list already, please!), but the guys who run it are friendly and, hey, the way you're headed, you'll be drinking Lite soon. So mosey over to The Beer Depot, snag a six-pack, and go get trashed with a little dignity.
Deco Drive Beauty Supply
In exactly four seconds, your hairstyle will be out of style: 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1. Time to hit Deco Drive, because whether your 'do is fried, too-dyed, or smashed to the side, redemption is possible within these walls. You can take your look from Plain Jane to long, luscious mane with the simple clip of a ponytail; or maybe you want to turn curly-top into short-and-sassy-crop with a Tanya wig; or perhaps you yearn to just say hey to a headful of hair in a vibrant, new color. The store is chock full of hairpieces starting at $2.99. There's wavy, straight, curly, and kinky. And the colors include your typical black, brown, and blond, but also hues typically found in a crayon box — blue, purple, pink, yellow, green, and maroon. And if you need to step up your wig game, try a Rehana with golden ringlets; a short, red, and spicy Teri; or a blond shagged Joyce, and no one will ever call you Plain Jane again.
Harold Golen Gallery
Lowbrow art started in California, where a group of wonderful wackos incorporated fun elements of popular culture such as pink plastic flamingos, masked Mexican wrestlers, and tiki mugs into their art. Nowadays works by in-demand lowbrow artists, including Shag and Mitch O'Connell, are coveted by collectors; they sell for thousands of dollars in select galleries around the world. As luck would have it, Miami is home to the Harold Golen Gallery, one of the leading lowbrow art peddlers in the country. The colorful place forsakes cold, art-world pretense by selling everything from magazines, books, stickers, and toys to original art. Prices start around $24.99 for a Matt Dukes Weirdo Deluxe book and can reach $5,000 for an Isabel Samaras painting. What's more, nationally acclaimed artists such as Skot Olsen and O'Connell visit the gallery during openings, signing autographs and mingling with patrons. The original locale is undergoing extensive renovations after an accidental fire in December. Even so, the gallery continues to thrive at its temporary space by featuring monthly cult classic movie nights, book signings, and music shows, making it the definitive spot for pop culture junkies in Miami.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®