This ain't your old man's stogy shop. In days of yore, when bearded wizards graced the sides of Chevy vans, a head shop such as this one would have had black-light posters, mushroom ashtrays, and tie-dye shirts. Today it's Marley banners, Rastaman incense holders, and urban street wear that greet you when you slip in through the back door. (You're not being sneaky — that's where the parking lot is.) Once you get past the temporal distortions, you'll find the same accessories your dad might have needed for a wicked concert at the Hollywood Sportatorium. There's a vast assortment of rolling papers and other smoking accouterments laid out next to the blunts and bidis. Don't forget to pick up a detox potion or those necessary feng shui items. And there's a pizza joint next door if you just happen to get the munchies.
Culture Kings
You are not going to find mainstream brands such as Phat Farm and Zoo York at this underground hipster store on the outer fringe of Miami's Design District. No way, son. You will only turn up labels like Crooks & Castles, 10 Deep, Kidrobot, and the Hundreds, ones only true backpackers and skate punks know how to rock. "We've got brands you would only find in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, or Tokyo," says owner Chris Oh. "Once a brand starts getting to the department stores, we stop carrying it." The 26-year-old South Broward native opened Culture Kings in 2006 after spending the early part of his adulthood as a financial advisor. After making a considerable amount of cheese and a couple of real estate flips (before the market crashed), Oh decided it was time for a new, more fulfilling venture — one that tapped into his childhood days as a graffiti artist. In addition to dope T-shirts, hoodies, and jeans, Culture Kings stocks limited editions of Nike and Jordan sneakers. But save your pennies. These kicks will cost you between $250 to $450. The boutique has already caught the attention of hip-hop's glitterati. Pharrell Williams, Fat Joe, and Lil Wayne are customers, as are local artists Brisco, Piccolo, and R&B band Pretty Ricky.
Felix Hobby Shop
Hobby shops are a rare sight here in Miami. Perhaps it's because most locals aren't really into hobbies. (Drinking and clubbing are not hobbies, although some certainly define them that way.) Or it could be because it takes a special kind of patience to glue together all of those tiny plastic parts. Whatever the case may be, Felix caters to folks who find the art of precisely detailing a perfect scale model of a pirate ship, pirates included, to be a fulfilling experience. The place has an on-site mechanic to repair gas-powered hobby cars. Among our favorite products are the Estes rockets, which range from wee ones that cost just a few dollars to monsters that go for big bucks. All the engines and paraphernalia are here too. The store is open seven days a week (Monday through Friday noon to 6 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.), but don't show up before noon unless it's Saturday. Most hobbyists aren't morning people.
Cybr Caffe
Internet cafés take the solitary act of working or gaming on a computer and transport it to a social setting. It's not precisely like hanging at a cool SoBe club, but at least when you look around, you see other live human beings. Cybr Caffe is a budding local chain of Internet cafés that hopes to persuade you that these places are nothing more than a coffeehouse with a wireless connection. Custom-built computers line the tables in the small store space in the Lotus Plaza on Biscayne Boulevard, and although there are pastries, coffee, and juices for sale, it is clear the edibles are not the focus of the small establishment. One hour on these beauties costs $6; two go for $8 (prices differ at locations.) There are no restrictions on the sites you visit; however, the fact that other people are around will likely stop you from surfing those websites. Gamers and businesspeople alike commune at the café, which leaves you feeling like there is still a spirit of camaraderie in the world. But then, when you leave, you might hear someone yelling at a driver for going too slow, too fast, or not going at all.
Japanese Market Sushi Deli
Looking for a certain trendy Japanese toy? Hungering for the latest installment of grotesquely cute anime gore? Then keep flipping — because Japanese Market is all about food, and the real stuff at that. Tiny it is, but filled with goodies. An easy dozen of canned curry pastes inhabit one shelf, right below a diverse crop of fish sauces, dried shrimp seasonings, and things made mostly of fermented soybean. For those seeking a quick fix, there are plenty of exciting Japanese munchies to try, from wasabi peas to ... well, we're not sure what they were, but they looked good. Frozen tuna, pickled ginger, shrimp tempura, and a hundred other tasties line the fridges; one is given entirely over to sake, of which the little shop boasts an impressive collection. There are also sake sets, as well as fancy chopsticks, sushi tools, and — for those missing the homeland — a few Japanese newspapers for sale. If you get hungry while you're there, take a seat at the shop's small sushi bar, where you'll discover tasty and very reasonably priced plates — eight bucks, and you've had one terrific lunch.
Sesame Step
It's all about cute shoes and customer service at this Kendall-mom, window-shopping favorite. It's best to look first and then bring in your little rugrat — feet can grow by the hour, and employees here take the time to measure and analyze their teeny customers. The people at Sesame Step make recommendations based on your specific needs, rather than price and profit. This isn't some overpriced joint where they're just trying to make a buck, prices for a pair of chic, perfect-for-dress-up gold flats start around $28. And the highest price you'll pay is $70 for an adorable, unique sandal.
Casa Bonita
Ever been in a Goodwill for too long? Your eyes are red, your lungs are slowly filling with mold, and just when you feel like one more $10 rack will transform your nostrils into Niagara Falls, you happen upon the perfect vintage leather jacket. That's what Casa Bonita — a jewelry, belt, and handbag store in the heart of the Fashion Distict — is like. It's filled with buried cuteness and future compliments, minus that musky, icky secondhand feeling. And, okay, at Casa Bonita you're not going to stumble upon any labels that read Chanel or Louie Vuitton. Nor will you find a carbon copy of that drool-worthy Birkin bag you saw in the pages of Vogue. But you will find brands such as Bella Collection and Rina Rich, knockoffs of knockoffs, that sell for $20 to $35 a bag and $4 to $8 a wallet. They're not posh, but perfect for the thrifty fashionista who likes rare finds.
Nowadays many record shops are losing costumers and boarding up their doors. Music downloads and file sharing are rendering them obsolete. In spite of all this, the mighty Do-Re-Mi Music Center keeps attracting scores of clients. The reason: Well, Do-Re-Mi specializes in hard-to-find Latin music. Many of its albums are out-of-print gems that are not available on iTunes or anywhere else. The always-impressive selection includes rare albums from old-time, classic labels such as Alegre, Tico and Vaya. The large store also offers modern Latin music including reggaeton and rock en español, but the bulk is reserved for incomparable Latin music legends such as Sandro and Celia Cruz. A truly educated staff enhances the shopping experience, offering suggestions and help in finding those long-out-of-print, 1950s Celia Cruz Old Havana recordings. Do-Re-Mi also has a colossal selection of music DVDs, with classics such as The Fania All Stars in Yankee Stadium for $19.99. So the next time you can't find that special tune on the Internet, head to Do-Re-Mi, where the record store tradition lives on.
Demis Liquors
As we enter this little liquor store, we become mesmerized by the hundreds, if not thousands, of beautiful bottles on display. An entire wall of vodka takes up is the first aisle, where we grab our favorite: a liter of Ciroc ($42.99). Then we head over to the whiskey and bourbon aisle, where the fluorescent lights reflect off the myriad glass vessels. A 750-milliliter bottle of Gentleman Jack goes for $31.99. At the back of the store, we find the fridge. It's full of beer, energy drinks, and another fave: cold bottles of Hypnotiq ($13.99 each). We also come across those icy-cold little bottles of Alize for $13.99 apiece. And then we spot some fresh Phillies, not those dried-up pieces of crap that most liquor stores peddle. This shop is in Kendall, so these people know we need our blunts moist for our chronic. Cognac Phillies go for $1 each, so stock up. The location is in a nice little strip mall that also houses a Cuban bakery, a pizza place, and a convenience store. If you don't live in Kendall, take a drive through Miami's best burb, and be sure to stop at Demis.
Modern Nail Spa
Let's keep this short and sweet — just like the amount of time you'll spend at this tiny nail salon nestled in a nondescript Pinecrest shopping center. You enter, take a seat, get your hands soaked and your fingernails clipped, nipped, filed, and polished. Next, settle into a large leather massage chair and indulge in your choice of trashy celebrity rags as heavenly as the skilled fingers that buff your callused feet. The best part: This mani/pedi combo costs only $30 for women and $35 for men, plus pedicures last for an entire month. Full-service with a fabulous finale — now that's what we call a happy ending.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®