Salvation Tattoo

Getting new ink is comparable to experiencing a major life event. You're essentially branding yourself with something you won't mind seeing forever. You might have a few stamps already — whether you got them in a drunken stupor one night in college or after having an epiphany, words, shapes, and pictures are all fair game in the tango between ink and skin. The first thing to do after you've decided on a tattoo is to choose a good place. It's imperative that it's clean, licensed, and safe. Friendly — and most important, patient — artists and staff are always a plus. You can get all of that at the finest tat shop in town: Salvation Tattoo on Washington Avenue. With its sultry purple-neon interior, comfortable couches, and topnotch artists, you can ink your body in style. It's only a $50 deposit for your appointment (with tattoo prices varying based on the complexity of the design), so the time is right to finally get that "Mom" in a heart you've always dreamed about.

USA Flea Market

It's Saturday morning. Grab your boo. Jump in the whip. And go get a fade, a weave, a brand-new nail job, and matching two-for-one tattoos at Flea Market USA. Tucked behind a ten-foot-tall chainlink fence, flying a bunch of tattered American flags, and painted faded shades of red, white, and blue, this enormous Liberty City shopping spot and ersatz community center is the epitome of 21st-century American capitalism in action. It's filled with teen loiterers, bargain-starved customers, and hard-hustling small-business people manning bootleg-movie tables, dollar stores, Chinese junk joints, barbershops, beauty salons, tattoo booths, and grub stalls. There's even a bunch of (rarely operational) indoor carnival rides for the kiddies. So whether you just need to stay fresh for Saturday night or your shopping list includes a samurai sword with a flashlight for a handle, a few vials of royal ginseng jelly, Hot Latin Head on DVD, a neon Jesus clock, or a supposedly "platinum" pendant shaped like a set of testicles, this is the place. Welcome to the USA, where ballin' on a budget never stops.

Gentlemen, please listen up. When it comes to buying your favorite lady revealing bedroom attire, do yourself a favor and skip the hoochie stores you might find adjacent to I-95 or the Palmetto Expressway. Show her you appreciate her lovely figure with the most refined undergarments this side of Paris. Headquartered in downtown Miami, Oh là là Chéri adds a sophisticated French flair to its wide array of reasonably priced bras, panties, bustiers, and baby-doll nightgowns, made from the finest blends of lace and satin that will have your fair maiden enthusiastically modeling for your pleasure seven nights a week. And Oh là là Chéri understands that beauty runs from size small to extra-extra-large, so even pleasantly plump sweethearts can feel seductive. "Lingerie is meant to be very special," Oh là là Chéri owner Nicolas Attard says. "A woman wants to feel good and sexy when she puts it on. So I put a lot of passion into our undergarments." Items in Attard's line range from $3.50 to $89.99.

After operating for the past few years as a family-owned online store, Man of Action Figures decided to buck the e-commerce trend by opening a brick-and-mortar outpost in Cutler Bay. Even if you haven't played with an action figure since your mother sold your Boba Fett at a yard sale (dammit, Mom!), this place is bound to make the kid in you as excited as if he just chased an entire package of Sour Patch Kids with a liter of Mountain Dew. Fight the urge to call Mom to demand a set of X-Men mini-mates, a 25th anniversary G.I. Joe, and the entire collection of WWE Classic Superstars figures. You make your own money now, remember? So calmly put the phone back in your pocket and buy yourself that Boba Fett. You know you want it. You deserve it. Oh, and pick up something for your own kid while you're at it.

Truly old-school Miamians who loved playing with remote control model toys back in the day probably remember a spot in Allapattah they could always count on. Tucked inside an old bowling alley on NW 36th Street at Ninth Avenue, Orange Blossom Hobbies was packed with people buying the latest RC cars, trucks, planes, and boats. Michael Jones remembers it too. He worked the counter there on and off for 25 years, starting when he was 10 years old. Today, the remote control buff is hoping to re-create the familial ambiance he came to know and love until Orange Blossom closed in the mid-'00s. The Homestead native and his wife Shannon opened Hobby Pro in October 2011 on the second floor of a retail plaza facing the south runway of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. The couple stocks a wide array of gas- and electric-powered model vehicles and parts. If it's not in stock, you can place an order via Hobby Pro's website. "We're slowly building our inventory," Shannon notes. The shop carries an abundance of Traxxas brand electric RC toys, including the company's popular monster truck replicas such as Grave Digger, with prices ranging from $200 to $500. You can also pick up models for under $150, and at least once a month Hobby Pro hosts its Sunday Funday, when enthusiasts can play in the parking lot.

Tucked behind an IHOP on Hallandale Beach Boulevard, Reggae Land Muzik isn't so much a record shop as it is a reggae museum. Meticulously organized crates of hard-to-find vinyl give way to stacks of epic dancehall mix CDs and carefully catalogued cassette tapes. Whether you're looking to venture beyond Bob Marley for the first time or you're an avid collector on the prowl for a Don Carlos release from back in the day, the affable and informed owner, who goes by "Juicy V" or "Jah V," will be more than happy to weigh in and help you find what you're looking for. "I love this space. I love vibing with my people," the Jamaican-born Juicy says. For more than 18 years, he has been slinging riddims both new and vintage, amassing more than 100,000 vinyls during that time. "What you see up front in the store, that's a teardrop of what I have in stock." Now he's in the tedious process of uploading his collection to the store's website. "In five years, I'll still be uploading 45s."

Botanica Nena

For all of your religious and otherworldly needs, Botanica Nena is the place to be. Open for more than 42 years, this devotional botanica is a one-stop shop for pretty much anything you might need for practicing the art of Yoruba. The employees are knowledgeable and friendly, and there's a vast inventory ranging from candles to religious artifacts to jewelry. Herbs? Check. Porcelain soup bowls to hold orishas (or spirits)? Check. Libros de IFA (a key Santero text)? Check. Soperas and other tools for the warriors? Check. Incense? Check. Hell, even Anthony Bourdain visited Botanica Nena during the taping of his South Florida stop on No Reservations.

Inside just about any gay bookstore, you'll find a little porn. OK, maybe more than a little porn. Maybe a decent selection of porn. Fine, a lot of porn. Tons and tons of porn. Lambda Passages has got your porn; in fact, half the store is dedicated to video rental. But y'know what else it's got? Cookbooks. In its used-books section, you can pick up a few recipes from somebody's mom's gently worn kitchen guide. You can browse a selection of novels too, some of which might count as porn of the literary variety, and others so tame you don't even need to take them home in a brown paper bag. And if you swing by Lambda in search of a gift for that very special someone, you won't have to hit up Hallmark afterward; there's also a selection of snarky, gay-friendly greeting cards. Even the porn selection at Lambda is shockingly refined; amid modern skin mags, you'll find vintage issues of Playgirl and Playboy. Turns out Lambda's moderately sketchy location, right between the Wonderland strip club and the Jamboree Lounge on Biscayne Boulevard, belies its refined interior. This is a place for gay people who love sex, sure. But it's also a place where you can appreciate other stuff too.

Miami-Dade Public Library

Never let it be said that Miami is not a trendsetter. Well before pop-up restaurants and pop-up bars exploded in popularity, Miami began hosting a pop-up of its own: the Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale, which has been springing up during the holiday shopping rush for the past 11 years. For most of the year, the downtown branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library System is just an average city hub for book lending and covert napping. But for five days of every year, usually in early December, it transforms into this city's best bookstore. Tens of thousands of books, CDs, and DVDs are available for purchase, making it one of the largest book sales in South Florida. The prices reflect some killer discounts, so you can justify fleshing out your home library as well as picking up a couple of titles to wrap up as holiday gifts. And your friends and family won't be the only ones who'll benefit — sales proceeds go toward funding the library's cultural and literary programs. So when you buy a book to read, you're also helping others do the same. It's hard to get that warm, fuzzy feeling from downloading an e-book to your Kindle.

Grove Scuba

We don't know about you, but we take our personal safety rather seriously. We wear a helmet when we Segway to work in the morning, swaddle our children in cheesecloth and bubble wrap — holes for eyes, nose, and mouth, of course — and are terrified by revolving doors. So when it comes to exploring the mysterious, gaping maw of the Atlantic Ocean, we refuse to let some slack-jawed scuba instructor hold our life in his Corona-swilling hands. We shell out for the best, and the best in this case is Grove Scuba. Co-owner Bill Lamp'l is the only person in Miami who can actually train you to become a dive instructor. He's also an underwater photography fiend. Grove Scuba is a bit pricier than some other dive shops around town, but it makes up for the expense with cheap underwater camera rentals and a mind-blowing 57 dive locations in Miami and Key Largo. They include dozens of wrecks, reefs, and a statue of Jesus. Open-water scuba certification costs $475, but dive novices can try a two-dive intro course for $195. If you decide to get certified, those dives count toward it.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®