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.
Scooter's Super Shop
If you have never cruised through South Beach on a scooter, you better go down to Scooter's Super Shop and rent one of these babies. For a mere $50, a perfect machine can be yours for 24 hours. The place has a sleek selection of Yamahas and Hondas, and the staff will help you decide which one is perfect for you. As you haul ass on Washington Avenue, feel the magic as the cool ocean breeze blasts against your face. Fly past the tattoo shops, liquor stores, hotels, and bars. Hit 30 mph on that sucker, the blinking neon signs whizzing by as you turn toward Collins. Stop at the red light and quiver as that motor vibrates between your legs. Yell "Wahoo!" at the top of your lungs as you ride across the Venetian Causeway and through downtown Miami. When you get back to the Beach, stop at the Cameo (1445 Washington Ave.) and just sit on the scooter and pose. By the time you return to Scooter's, you'll probably want to throw down another 50 bucks. What the hell ... do it again.
What makes a secondhand store special? To some people it's the low prices, while other folks want variety and quality. At North Miami's Red White and Blue thrift shop, you can find almost anything — clothes, furniture, electronics, old records, and books — at affordable prices. While many thrift stores fall victim to in-the-know collectors who deplete the cool finds from the sale racks, this one receives daily truckloads of fresh merchandise. No other secondhand store in Miami offers such an assortment of women's and men's clothing, with prices starting at $1. In the immense housewares section, a cool red Fifties teapot can be had for just 99 cents, while vintage LPs such as Sly and The Family Stone's There's a Riot Going On go for $2.99. In the electronics department, there's a plethora of working vintage computers, including a 1990 Apple Macintosh ($99) and old Atari, Nintendo, and Sega videogames for less than $5 each. Of course, there's always the tantalizing possibility of finding a rare designer piece at a rock-bottom price. And if you don't find it today, there's always tomorrow.
Miami Beach Convention Center
Your kitty has been lonely. Your kitty wants to play. Your kitty deserves better than the sticky-floored place 'round the corner. For three hot days in April, you can get the finest in fake. Exxxotica Miami is where you go to make your naughtiest fantasies come true. Every year, the three-day porngasm takes over the typically staid Miami Beach Convention Center and fills the mofo up with scantily clad sluts and the bad boys who wanna poke 'em. Past years have seen once-stunning, now-scary skin-flick queen Jenna Jameson meeting and greeting fans, still-smokin' Tera Patrick smooching for photos, and Ron Jeremy signing titties and flirting up a storm. This year's ho-down took place April 18 through 20 and brought pneumatic blonde hotties Jesse Jane and Stormy Daniels along for the ride. But besides the knicker-twisting array of girls, there's the merch — products for sale to fill every orifice and then some. Imagine a kinky wonderland filled with magical vibrators, whips, and Realdolls. It's all here for the taking. You can play it safe with rabbit vibes, ben wa balls, and nipple clamps, or try something new for size, like the OYes vibrating cock ring, erotically delicious chocolates by Bedazzle My Bonbons, or the Hard On Lip Balm that claims to um, prolong the fellatio experience. "Best Before Head" is the slogan.
If you're an English-only novice to the maxin' and relaxin' scene, you might think ESPA is just Spanish for spa. But let's set you straight right away. This is an internationally respected name. Spa guru Susan Harmsworth founded ESPA more than 30 years ago in the UK, and the name has become synonymous with high-quality and eco-friendly pampering. The concept is basically that, as the world spins on its axis at speeds that seem increasingly dangerous and reckless, it's important to stop, center yourself, and smell the aromatherapy. The Acqualina was lucky to snag the title as ESPA's first branded U.S. spa. Miami designer Isabel Saavedra-Tragash helped create this modern dream of a five-star salon of decadence. There are 11 treatment rooms, slate showers with ocean views, a Finnish shower, and a crystal steam room. The specialty is simply called "Time." A spa therapist designs a customized two-hour treatment to give you the maximum ahhh for your buck. Treatment prices begin at just $120, but packages such as "Time" cost more. Ballers on a budget should wait for that tax rebate check to roll in: The joint is actually offering the Acqualina Tax Rebate Package, which includes an oceanfront room and continental breakfast for your trouble. The package costs $1,200 per couple.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®