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.
Want chunky Lily Allen-style hoops, long beaded chains, or studded bangles on the cheap? Forget Forever 21 and parallel-park on the east side of the Fashion District's tree-lined median in front of Adriana. Open for retail shopping Wednesdays through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Adriana makes up for it's fluorescent lighting and industrial gray carpet with a rainbow of loud, trendy colors — gold, green, orange, and hot pink — that flood the front of this mirrorless store like a psychedelic mosaic. You won't find a strand of classic white pearls or diamond studs here, but you will discover an assortment of fun, funky, and chunky adornments from $7 to $14. Plus, items on sale run as low as $1.99 for earrings, $2.99 for bracelets, and $5.99 for necklaces. And sure, with prices like these, you're not going to take home any future family heirlooms, but by the time all the coins fall off of your leather cord hamsa bracelet, it'll probably be out of style. Just another excuse to shop!
You want to watch the latest release on DVD, but you know that if you buy it, you'll watch it only once and then the thing will gather dust or serve as a coaster. So what do you do? You head to the nearest rental store and shell out seven or eight bucks for a movie you'll watch once. You'll pay a price equal to that of a movie ticket, and you won't even get the theater experience. But if you head to Porky's Video Club in Hialeah, you'll leave with a few more dollars in your wallet. Porky's is old-school; it still has some VHS releases in the back. Membership is free, and each movie costs $2.50 to rent. There's a large stock — and games too. And new releases come in just as fast as at any chain store. The place has been around since the Eighties, and it feels like it. Every time you step through the doors, you can't help but hear "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls playing in the back of your head.
Miami is one of the world's capitals for midcentury furniture, but out of all of our high-quality outlets, the largest and most diverse is Miami Art and Design Expo. Run by brothers Robert and Carl Massello, M.A.D.E. features booths sponsored by a variety of local dealers, all of whom have favorite styles, designers, and periods, so you'll find bureaus rescued from the old Eden Roc Hotel next to Sixties Brown Jordan outdoor furniture next to Eames Eiffel-base plastic chairs. Come prepared to haggle (prices are quoted on-site) and to spend more than you would at a thrift store. The dealers select the best pieces from estate sales, conventions, etc., so they know the value of everything, and you should too. It's also advisable to come often. The Massellos are nice guys who reward repeat customers, and some of the best stuff hits the showroom floor in the morning and is gone that afternoon. But be careful of developing a designer furniture obsession, or M.A.D.E. might become your second home.
Visiona
In Miami there's no shortage of cool, retro shops. Blame it on all those estate sales and wealthy retires. Still, the vintage collection at Visiona stands out for its ever-changing selection and affordable prices. A few years back, local vintage stores charged extravagant prices for their wares. But with the advent of eBay, these joints have learned to compete. And Visiona, which specializes in authentic 20th-century furniture, is the place to fully appreciate and try out the great designs of the past 60 years. There's no old junk to be found here. All the items in the store's crammed showroom have been selected for their vintage authenticity. Genuine Saarinen tulip chairs, which sell new for $1,200, can be found at Visiona for just $350. While knickknacks such as Panasonic's space-age Sixties TV sets can be had for $200. The store also offers plenty of lamps, sofas, and old design books.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®