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.
Smoke Shop
For some reason — and despite the fact that Miami would probably ban poor people from bars before stopping the wealthy from smoking in them — it's hard to find rolling tobacco around here. And when you do find it, usually on Miami Beach, the prices are marked way up — six, seven, even eight bucks for a bag of something decent. And for the kind of do-it-yourself, hardy type of person who prefers to roll his or her own, that's just too wacky for a bag of tobacky. So get sane. Head for the humbly named but ornately decorated Smoke Shop, where bags of the finest rolling tobacco available on the American market — that would be Bali Shag, of course — are only four dollars, as reasonable a price as you'll find anywhere. So roll 'em fat and smoke 'em down! And when you're ready to quit, remember: You'll never waste more than four bucks throwing it all out.
Kidrobot
Do you know the difference between a Dunny and Smorkin Labbit? If so, the ultrafabulous new Miami Beach Kidrobot store/gallery is the perfect place for you. Founded in 2002 in San Francisco by visual artist Paul Budnitz, Kidrobot is the shop to buy limited-edition vinyl toys. There are only three other Kidrobot stores worldwide — two in California and another in New York City. The Miami shop, which opened this past November, is a treasured destination for vinyl toy collectors around the globe. The store's unique appeal lies in the fact that many of the playthings are specially numbered editions made by world-famous artists such as Shepard Fairey and Frank Kozik. Some of these limited numbered toys are highly valued by collectors. Even the prestigious Museum of Modern Art caught the Kidrobot bug, getting hold of 13 rare vinyls for its valued collection. So now is your chance to snag that pink plastic, cigarette-smoking rabbit (the $4.99 Smorkin Labbit) or a specially designed glow-in-the-dark Dunny ($9.95). And yes, these toys are made for grownups, so it's okay to want one.
Don't go to U.S. Tops expecting to find haute couture or anything that graces the pages of Vogue. This place is bad-ass, not Bal Harbour. Think tiny tank tops; doll-size, acid-washed capris; and tight T-shirts with sexually suggestive sayings. This is a store for the young (and wannabe young) women who love door-knocker earrings, name-plate necklaces, and Sharpie lip-liner — the females popularized in 2007's "Chongalicious" song. Most of the fabric includes spandex or polyester and looks ludicrous on anyone over the age of 17 with more than three percent body fat. Prices, however, are excellent. Where else can you get a pair of pink stretchy hot pants for $4.99, other than at the flea market (which is kinda dangerous and has all those funny smells)? Still, if you're hankering for cheap club wear (or you're just cheap), this is the place to go.
The Little Big Store
Wikipedia (we know, a really reliable source) defines boho-chic as "a style of female fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences." Walking into this kaleidoscopic Commodore Plaza boutique, it's hard not to notice all the groovy gems. Brilliant blue lapis lazuli ($145) and green swirly malachite ($75) pendants sit in glass cases among amber, ocean jasper, and turquoise embellished with twisted silver fixtures by Avi, the store's owner of about 20 years. "I love Coconut Grove," he says, showing us a modern red coral shark tooth he recently designed. "It's a little slice of Europe in Miami." And though the Grove has become significantly less free-spirited (goodbye, Adam's House) and more frat-friendly (hello, Mr. Moe's) in the past few years, this little shop with a big selection keeps the la vie de bohème vibe alive with leather and silver bracelets that boast giant heart clasps for $35 to $38. Other funky finds include charms made out of Israeli coins and what Avi calls "the modern yin and yang" — a sterling silver peace sign over a dog tag ($75). More hip than hippie? The Little Big Store also carries Sass & Bide and True Religion jeans for $75 to $80. Other designer labels include Diane von Furstenberg, Milly, and Twinkle, all at 75 percent off. And if that beautiful Mandalay dress calling to you on a 50-percent-off rack is just a little too big in the bust, Avi will custom-fit it right there. "I hem skirts, cut sleeves, and knot them so they fit tighter," he says. "I just want every woman to walk out of this store feeling beautiful."
Galloway Farm Nursery
The soil must be more fertile on Galloway Road. Or at least the businesses near South Dixie Highway make it seem that way. Not far from the venerable Norman Bros. Produce, you can buy high-quality earth at Parker Sod and stock up on gorgeous flowering plants at the neighboring Galloway Farm Nursery. Here you can find bright, blooming jewels for your front yard, lush green filler plants, and hardy Florida bromeliads. The specialty of this bountiful, beautiful place is butterfly gardening, and they have everything you need to create an enviable spot for feeding and egg-laying. Bleeding hearts cascading with red and white flowers cost $14; good ol' red and yellow milkweed sells for $3.95 apiece. The Dutchman's Pipe is $16.95 and sprouts a stunning purple blossom that's practically the size of your palm. Green-minded gardeners (aren't we all?) can solve pest problems by buying some ladybugs. And if you have a brown thumb, there's a dazzling assortment of urns and outdoor yard art, including Pottery by Campania of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and imported Italian clay.
Remember the last time you took a pipe wrench to your leaky faucet? You were worried that if you didn't fix it yourself, you'd pay the plumber way too much money, right? So you ended up paying a lot more cash when you made matters much worse ... after hours. And it's the toilet this time, huh? Save yourself the agitation and the expense by calling José Sosa before you screw up the next repair job. He'll give you an honest assessment at a price that can run a third less than the big companies. And he'll get the job done quickly and efficiently. He's been working in Miami Beach neighborhoods for about 40 years, and all the Beach old-timers have been relying on him to keep them out of hot water. Now it's your turn to sit back and just relax.
Bayside Marketplace
Driving out-of-town friends around Miami doesn't really give them the full flavor of this surreal subtropical metropolis. There is nothing more exhilarating than taking a powerboat cruise on Biscayne Bay, where you can tour the coastlines of Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, Surfside, Bal Harbour, Haulover Beach, and Sunny Isles Beach. With three docking stations, Miami Yacht Charters has a wide variety of power boat rentals to choose from. The fleet includes Sea Ray Sundancers and Sedans ranging in size from 36 to 51 feet. A minimum three-day excursion costs about $3,200 to $4,000, but split among a group of four to six people, the price is worth it. For the true oceanic baller, there's a fleet of motor yachts piloted by captains, so you don't have to worry about navigating Government Cut or cutting back on those rum drinks you like so much. The vessels include a 55-foot Ferretti, a 60-foot Viking Cruiser, and a 77-foot Millennium Sport Yacht. On these beauties, price packages vary; the least expensive is a four-hour trip for $2,800. If you're feeling like Kanye West, throw down 30 Gs for a weeklong excursion on the Millennium, and get a free tender or WaveRunner rental. A security deposit is required.
Sweat Records
Paolo Santosuosso
Sweat Records is a hub of Miami underground culture. After the store opened in 2005, hurricanes soon damaged it and drove the shop from its original NE Second Avenue location. After a short homeless stint, it was back and in business farther up the street, in a back-patio annex of Churchill's Hideaway. The spot was buzzing but cramped, so earlier this year Sweat moved into new digs — right next door. Done up in trademark aqua and purple, the location is spacious but still cozy. Comprising prodigious bins of CDs and vinyl, the stock is an eclectic mix — everything from Malian guitar pop to German techno to the latest hyped assembly of skinny British guys. Most CDs sell for $12 to $15. One blues/rock disc that's flying off the shelves these days is Attack and Release by the Black Keys, which goes for $15. If you like vinyl, Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire's double LP sells for $21 and comes with a free MP3 download. And you can expect to find basically every release currently in print by local artists; if something's not there, they'll smilingly get it for you; they'll also offer coffee, tea, snacks, and free wi-fi. The place even has a dizzying array of casual, in-house social activities (even a science club). Sweat wants you to stay awhile. And we hope it stays in the neighborhood for a long time to come.
Mr. Blue is chilling on a huge chunk of bark inside his terrarium, letting the bright light warm his black-and-Carolina-blue scaly skin. Mr. Blue hails from Batanta Island on the western tip of New Guinea, so he is not having any trouble adjusting to South Florida weather. The three-foot-long tree monitor lizard is totally digging being one of the cool reptiles for sale at Snakes in the Lakes. At $999, he's one of the stars. But the dude is a bargain compared to the black-and-yellow Australian lace monitor, which goes for $4,500. If you buy this cold-blooded sucker, you'll need an industrial-size terrarium. Lace monitors can grow up to six feet long. Fortunately, Snakes in the Lakes has a wide selection of terrariums and screened habitats, ranging in price from $50 to $220. Of course, snakes are the main attraction. You can select from seven types of boa constrictors starting at $119. Hell, you can really stand out with the $1,499 Albino boa. For reptilian lovers on a budget, the store offers a variety of chameleons, frogs, geckos, snakes, and turtles for under $150.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®