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.
Rainbow Connection
If you head to this place on a Saturday morning, be prepared to park at the Thai restaurant next door. It's insanely packed on weekends. Rainbow Connection caters to all areas of flower-power interest. This isn't just a head shop, it's a place where hippies and lovers of boho chic can come to trick out their dorm rooms and VW vans. Looking for Grateful Dead incense? They got you. How's about a chess set where the pieces are all colorful dragons? Look no further. Jewelry boxes, mosaic mirrors, statues of Buddha and Ganesh, stained-glass lamps shaped like animals, wacky key chains, and irreverent bumper stickers all vie for your attention in the store's PG front space. You must be at least 18 years old to pass through the beaded curtain to view the impressive collection of bubblers, sherlocks, and one-hitters. Mini-hitters are a steal at $15. Then there are flavored papers, cigarette rollers, and bongs. Whoops, we mean water pipes. Ask for a bong and you might get kicked outta the store!
This small, unassuming place is tucked between a gas station and an empty storefront, but you can't miss all that it offers. A (partial) list of the services and goods offered by the Haitian-owned business is advertised in large white letters on the windows, luring the captive audience standing at the fuel pumps outside: "Pay Bills. Flags. Special Books. VHS. Immigration. Translation. Bible Center. Health Juices. Vitamins. Calypso. African Movies. Cell Phones. Haitian Movies. Internet. Perfume. Travel." Why would anyone need Wal-Mart?
Island Water Sports
Island Water Sports is not just a place to buy wave-riding gear. It is a way station and information depot for Miami's small yet dedicated surfer community. The store has been in business since 1976 and employs a knowledgeable customer service staff — mostly surfers — willing to offer you sage advice on whether you should go with a short board, fun board, or long board. With more than 2,100 square feet of inventory, Island Water Sports offers an astounding selection. There's virtually every major brand — Rip Curl, Hawaiian Island Creations, Local Motion, and Kechele, to name a few. And employees do more than just encourage you to buy. They inform you of the best times to surf the limited beaches that offer worthy swells. They clue you in on how to join the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. On the store's website, you'll find instant access to the Miami surf report and a live camera feed of the South Beach coastline that you can control. So the next time you're headed east to catch a wave, take a detour to the Island, mon.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®